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Diversify Your Feed this BHM

Published on 2/2/2021 8:52:24 AM
By Gwen Howerton, Texas A&M University Office of Undergraduate Studies
 
Black History Month (BHM) is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people in America. One way to participate in BHM is to broaden the perspective of your social media feed by following Black voices you may be unaware of. We’ve put together a short list of rising and inspiring artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and educators as a starting point with the hopes that you will continue your search in diversifying your social media feeds.

 

Loretta J. Ross

Activist. Public Intellectual. Professor.
Twitter: @LorettaJRoss

 
Loretta J. Ross, activist, public intellectual, and visiting associate professor at Smith College. (photo source: NYTimes.com)

During a panel discussion with Gloria Steinhem, Loretta J. Ross, a visiting professor at Smith College, asked a woman in the audience her thoughts on the negativity and nastiness she saw on Twitter.

“Oh, you mean calling out?” the woman responded.

It was then that Ross had a profound idea: What if instead of calling people out, we called them in?

Ross, who has worked with women’s advocacy groups and sexual assault counseling programs and researched hate groups, now teaches classes at Smith College on her concept of “calling in”: a remedy to what she sees as the unnecessary hate and tearing down that comes with cancel culture, one of the biggest battlegrounds of the 21st century’s current culture war.

“I am challenging the call-out culture,” Ross said in a November profile by the New York Times. “It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up.”

Ross believes that the key to rooting out racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia in every day settings is to have uncomfortable conversations with others, rather than angrily demanding that others “do better” without any explanation of how or why.

On Twitter, Ross continues her work outside of the classroom by posting about calling in while still speaking truth to power.

 

Shontay Lundy

Entrepreneur
Instagram: @shontay_lundy
 
Shontay Lundy, founder of Black Girl Sunscreen. (photo source: BusinessInsider.com)

In 2016, Shontay Lundy, underwhelmed by sunscreen options for women of color, decided to risk it all and launch her own brand of sunscreen made specifically for Black skin.

“I knew that there had to be a solution to the lack of options," Lundy said in an October interview with Business Insider. "The journey began to find a solution for eliminating white residue and making women of color feel great and look great in the sun."

Starting a company as a black woman in her mid-thirties was extremely difficult, and Lundy found that Black women were extremely underrepresented in investing circles. Venture capitalists and investors were reluctant to take a risk on her, and she found that less than 0.2% of all venture capital goes to Black women entrepreneurs.

However, the risk paid off. Lundy’s sunscreen brand, Black Girl Sunscreen, is the only independent, Black-woman-owned skincare brand carried full time by retailers like Target.

On Instagram, Lundy shares posts about her company and inspiration for Black women interested in building their own businesses.

 

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Viral Immunologist
Twitter: @KizzyPHD
 
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbet, Viral Immunologist at the NIH Vaccine Research Center. (photo source: ABCnews.com)

When Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was asked about the role of Black scientists and researchers in the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Fauci had an instant shoutout: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, affectionately nicknamed Kizzy.

“Kizzy is an African American scientist who is right at the forefront of the development of the vaccine,” Fauci said during a forum hosted by the National Urban League.

Corbett has been a key player in the race to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the disease that causes COVID-19. A leading scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Corbett was part of the team that worked closely with pharmaceutical giant Moderna in order to create a viable vaccine using mRNA.

In early March last year, Corbett was part of a team of scientists who spoke with former President Donald Trump at NIH. She recognized her visibility as an important step for young scientists of color.

"I felt like it was necessary to be seen and to not be a hidden figure so to speak," Corbett said. "I felt that it was important to do that because the level of visibility that it would have to younger scientists and also to people of color who have often worked behind the scenes and essentially [who have] done the dirty work for these large efforts toward a vaccine."

On her Twitter, Dr. Corbett shares updates on the development of vaccines, insights into the fight against COVID-19, and inspiration for Black girls interested in science.

 

Lianne La Havas

Singer / Songwriter
Twitter @liannelahavas

 
Lianne La Havas, singer/songwriter. (photo source: NationofBillions.com)

Lianne Charlotte Barnes, better known by her stage name, Lianne La Havas, burst onto the indie R&B scene with her 2012 debut album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” In 2020, La Havas dropped her second, self-titled album. Full of lush melodies and chill, jazz-inspired instrumentation, La Havas makes joyful, tantalizing music for an uncertain age.

Born to a Jamaican mother and Greek father in London, La Havas’ music spans cultures and genres as a tribute to her upbringing. Although her roots are squarely in R&B, La Havas mixes genres from jazz to pop and even art rock, with her new album featuring a soulful take on Radiohead’s 2007 song “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi.” Her versatility is exemplified by her myriad of production and vocal work, having performed backing vocals for Prince during his performances on Saturday Night Live, as well as lending her voice to indie darlings like Alt-J and Bon Iver.

On social media, La Havas’ shares a mix of musical performances, lighthearted posts, and her stream of consciousness as a performer in a time where live performances are off limits. La Havas also shares her unwavering commitment to social justice and uses her platform to uplift smaller Black women musicians, working to give back to her community.


More #’s and @’s To Follow


Instagram
#YoungBlackArtists
#BlackWomenInStem 
#BlackHistoryIsAmericanHistory
#BlackIsBeautiful
 
Twitter
@BlackAndPinkORG
@BlackWomenInStem
#BLACKandSTEM
#BlackHistoryIsAmericanHistory

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Media Contact: Anna Transue, transuea@tamu.edu