Luvvie Ajayi by Damon Dahlen via The Clarion-Ledger
By Nikki Igbo

Many of us of a certain age can easily recall growing up with the desire to see our own faces, stories, opinions, style and identities reflected in magazines, newspapers and on television. We understood that we had a unique perspective of the world—a valuable perspective—and we were eager for others to recognize, appreciate and uplift it. Today, we are happy to be able to name many black women in mass media who are shattering glass ceilings to have our voices acknowledged and applauded on a grand scale. Here are just a few of those luminaries making moves, voicing the true and unedited spectrum of beauty that is the Black woman. 



BET's Robin Thede

By Nikki Igbo 
Trust me; you know Robin Thede. Even if you never saw her on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore or Key and Peele or Difficult People, you’ve heard her jokes and experienced her genius writing. She’s written for the BET Awards for forever as well as the NAACP Image Awards, the BET Honors, the Queen Latifah Show and Real Husbands of Hollywood. Finally the Northwestern University graduate and Second City alumni has her own show featuring her signature in-your-face, unapologetically Black, and unapologetically feminine take on current events. Since its première on BET on October 12, the Rundown with Robin Thede has been such a necessary late night attraction. Just in case you haven’t set a reminder for yourself to tune in every week, here are seven reasons why you should.

Robin Thede & Larry Wilmore 
Because the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore went away too soon. It was a real shame the way so many folks slept on Larry Wilmore’s show. But after a year on the air and 259 episodes, the Nightly Show is gone. Robin Thede was the show’s head writer as well as a contributor for the cancelled show---and that show (hand clap) went (hand clap) in (hand clap) as you can see in an example here.

Because the Black female comedic political perspective needs and deserves more attention.
So far on late night, there are 27 late night shows offering political and social commentary throughout the week. While there are 19 White male hosts, there are a mere six Black male hosts, 2 Latina female hosts, 2 White female hosts and 1 Asian male host. Until Robin Thede’s show, there were zero shows hosted by a Black female in late night—a sad fact that doesn’t accurately reflect Black female involvement in political and social movements at all.

Questlove
Because Questlove created the show’s theme song. If you know, love and bump music by the Legendary Roots Crew, then you’re already aware of drummer Questlove’s musical genius—and therefore can surely guess that this theme song is both the bomb and the grenade.

Because of Robin Thede’s Twitter page. To get a better idea of who Robin Thede is and what drives her comedy, check out her Twitter page. She’s candid. She’s endearing. She’s observant. She’s witty. She’s woke. It’s no wonder she was the first Black woman to be the head writer for the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

President Barack Obama
Because of the Rundown’s Instagram page. If Thede’s Twitter page doesn’t sate your thirst for this down woman, her Instagram page will surely save the day. With its mix of videos, glamour selfies and pics with some of America’s favorite Black people (Michael K. Williams, Jussie Smollett, Issa Rae, Uzo Aduba), it’s hard not to develop a healthy amount of celebrity feels for the savvy social commentator.

Because of the Randown with Robin Thede podcast. Each week following the show, Thede continues the conversation on the late night show’s topics on this podcast with other Black luminaries. The first episode featured Roy Wood Jr. while the second episode featured Ashley Nicole Black and Amber Ruffin. The conversations are both hilarious and illuminating.


Because the Rundown with Robin Thede is just plain good. This might be the only show that actually commented about California using prison labor to fight the wildfires in Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa. Yes, that happened. She also gave CTE the attention it deserved. It’s these kind of stories that need to be discussed in a more detailed and nuanced manner but usually aren’t. Thede’s show gives us a broadened scope of the American experience because, as a Black woman, she sees what others don’t—and that is definitely worth watching.

The Rundown with Robin Thede airs Thursday nights on BET.

Have watched 'The Rundown With Robin Thede'yet?


Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.
Artist Miles Regis
By Nikki Igbo
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” French impressionist artist Edgar Degas once made this statement and it could not be truer when considering the contributions of visual artists throughout history. Visual artists, through their work, clarify, expose, underscore and inform in ways that transcend age, ethnicity, language and time. Think Jean Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett—all African-American artists whose work still speaks volumes and has great influence. The following 7 African-American artists are taking the baton from these artistic giants and running us all into a new age of beautiful and much-needed expression.

Continue



Colin Kaepernick: The fashionisto.com
By Nikki Igbo
Despite the fact that Colin Kaepernick has become a household name whether a football fan or not, it’s amazing how most people don’t really know the former 49er quarterback’s background. Besides leading what can be easily described as the civil rights and social justice fight of current times, Kaepernick is pretty badass in general. Here are seven interesting facts about the kneeling freedom fighter.


Kapernick's Older Siblings
Kaepernick has siblings. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kaepernick was adopted by Teresa and Rick Kaepernick when he was just a few weeks old. He has two older siblings, his brother Kyle and sister Devon. His adoptive parents lost two other babies due to heart defects before being introduced to Heidi Russo, Kaepernick’s biological mother.

He was a very sickly kid. As a child, Kaepernick suffered from chronic ear infections. He had such constant illness that his parents had him tested for cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disorder, twice.

Colin Kaepernick in high school
Kaepernick excels in baseball. Though he’s played youth football since he was eight years old and always dreamed of playing for either the Green Bay Packers or the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick could throw a 94 miles per hour fastball in high school. He received baseball scholarship offers from Arizona State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
 
Colin Kaepernick playing for the University of Nevada

He’s made history in more ways than one. As a quarterback at University of Nevada, Reno, Kaepernick became the first in the history of the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards.

Colin Kaepernick tatted up
Kaepernick has two Biblical verses tattooed on his body. On his left triceps, he has Psalm 27:3 which is, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” His right arm bears Psalm 18:39, “You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.”
Colin Kaepernick playing with the San Fransisco 49ers
His vegan diet is said to be a reason for his free agency.
In 2015, the quarterback who led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII in 2012 became a vegan. Following Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice, a San Francisco Bay Area sports reporter Matt Maiococo tweeted, “At season’s end, Colin Kaepernick stated he was fully committed to football. But some teams are unconvinced and wonder about his vegan diet.” Such athletes as Philadelphia Cardinal Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texan/Miami Dolphin Arian Foster, and New England Patriot Tom Brady are all vegan.


Colin Kaepernick in Harlem
Kaepernick has pledged $1 million to charitable and community-building causes. Kaepernick stated, “I will donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities, 100k a month for 10 months.” He has made good on that pledge since October 2016, having donated to such organizations as Urban Underground, Meals on Wheels, and Lower East Side Girls Club. Kaepernick also fully funds Know Your Rights Camp which is free youth campaign promoting higher education, self-empowerment and knowledge on how to properly interact with members of law enforcement in various situations.

What interesting facts do you know about Colin Kaepernick?

Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.
LL Cool J. & Nina Simone
By Nikki Igbo

Last Thursday, 19 nominees for induction into the 2018 class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame were announced. While the list included such well-known musical acts such as Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode and Radiohead, here are the five acts of whom you definitely should be aware because of their ridiculously important contributions to music history and Black music history specifically. 

Continue
If you’d like to make sure that one or all of these five artists are indeed inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, you have until 11:59pm EST on December 5, 2017 to cast your vote. Using a Facebook account or your email, you can submit one ballot per day each day leading up to the deadline. The list of 2018 inductees will be announced in December with the induction ceremony being held in Cleveland on April 14, 2018. To place your vote, click here.