Simone Manuel becomes the first black female swimmer to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics.

Simone Manuel became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual swimming event when she she pulled off a stunning upset victory in the women’s 100-meter freestyle race Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.

Twitter users were quick to applaud Manuel’s pioneering accomplishment. Of course, this wasn’t even her first big win of the week.

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Newspaper reduces Simone Manuel to ‘African American’ who shared historic night with Michael Phelps

Simone Manuel made history Thursday night when she became the first black female athlete to win a medal in Olympic swimming. But according to the San Jose Mercury-News, Manuel was just some nameless African-American who happened to share an event with Michael Phelps.

The Mercury-News was blasted on Twitter for the headline, which not only left out Manuel’s name while confusingly promoting Michael Phelps—but also referred to her by her race only.

The headline has since been changed, and the paper issued an apology. But many aren’t happy with the statement.

soap-lady  asked:

Have you thought about covering Madame C.J. Walker? Her story is fantastic, the first female black millionaire in the U.S. Or is she in the book?

I really should. I put her on the website early on as a Modern Worthy (back when I was limiting it to anyone who hadn’t been alive in the past hundred years), but I think she’d make a great RP.

narusaku-girl  asked:

What about being the first female black avenger and amazing everyone with our skill. Also being buddies with rhodey and Sam.

“Good work out there today.” Steve says, a hand on your shoulder before he wanders off. You nod at him, exhausted but happy with a job well done.

“Yeah, you really saved my ass out there.” Clint snarks, “My wife would thank you if she were here.”

“You’re fast.” Natasha adds, looking at you evenly, “I’ve never seen someone take down that many Hydra agents without a weapon.”

Tony throws his helmet to the side, the half crushed headgear landing on one of the counters before rolling off onto the floor. “And that’s why she’s with us.” Tony responds, nudging you before he starts yelling something to Jarvis.

As you and your team troop into the tower you examine the bruise coloring your left forearm before deeming it not important. Bruises aren’t too stark on your brown skin anyway, so you choose to leave it be, instead opting to collapse on the couch in the living room. Sam plops down next to you, looking like he’s barely keeping himself awake. His wings are set down a few feet away from you, and you can see a wing is dented. You keep telling him to take T’Challa up on his offer to make his wings. Vibranium wouldn’t dent like that.

This is something that has become pretty routine, and you can’t really fully believe this is your life. You trained to be on their team, but every now and again you still pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. You’re the first black, female avenger, and the media had a field day. So not only are you on a team with people who defend the earth on a daily basis, you’re also an icon.

Just the other a day a little girl-no older than seven-who looked just like you ran up to you, wearing a tiny version of your outfit and beaming up at you like you were a hero. 

Well, you suppose you are. Your teammates never hesitate to tell you so, and honestly, you’re quite proud of yourself. You’re holding your own very well. Better, actually. The last time you fought with Thor you actually saved him from what would have been a rather damaging blow to the head. You saved the demigod.

And you’ll never hear the end of it. Thor boasted about you for the entire two months before he left and headed back to Asgard. 

So here you are, nursing a few bruises and about to fall asleep on the couch next to Sam Wilson himself. You still can’t believe you’ve become such close friends with the Falcon, or War Machine, who plops down on your other side. “I’m definitely down for a drink.” you mutter, wincing as you stretch sore muscles, “And I’m getting one with or without you two, so ya’ll need to make your decision before I leave you both.”

Sam huffs a laugh, “Damn, girl. You’d do that?”

You grin, raising an eyebrow and getting to your feet, stretching, “Yep.”

“I definitely need a drink.” Rhodey groans, reaching a hand out toward you, “Help me up?”

You do so, as Sam stands. He puts an arm around your shoulders, and Rhodey puts one around your waist as the three of you resume your conversation, joking and laughing, walking away.

Ava DuVernay Is on a Mission to Make the Kind of Movies You’ve Never Seen

Our L.A. Woman cover star has three very different, incredibly ambitious projects in the works

At last year’s Academy Awards, Ava DuVernay was the first black female director to have a film—Selma—nominated for Best Picture. That she was not nominated for Best Director helped spark the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Ask DuVernay and she’ll tell you being omitted was no surprise. She hasn’t let it slow her down, and this month is proof of that. First, a new TV series she created, a family drama calledQueen Sugar, debuts September 6 on OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s network. Weeks later, when the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opens its doors in Washington, D.C., visitors will be welcomed with a short film by DuVernay.

Then, at month’s end, her new documentary, The 13th, which chronicles the history of racial inequality in the United States, will open the New York Film Festival. (The rest of us can watch it on Netflix in October.) All that while she’s prepping a $100 million-plus adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel A Wrinkle in Time for Disney. We talked with DuVernay, an L.A. native, about these projects as well as her efforts to help women and nonwhite filmmakers find an audience. It is the job of the privileged to lift others up, she says. She does that every day.

You made The 13th—whose title refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—in secret, going public only after it was completed. Why?

I didn’t want there to be any industry pressure or expectation. I wanted it to be what it was going
to be, and I didn’t know what that was. I just knew that I had a lot of questions. After the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the press tour for Selmahappened in the midst of all these slogans—“Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” “Don’t Shoot”— becoming calls to action. At the time a lot of journalists were trying to link Selma with what was going on. When I finished with the whole circus of awards press, I wanted the chance to think of this current state of police aggression from a historical context,
 so I started studying. I read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, and Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and then looked at a lot of documentaries. There’s something really disturbing that happens when you take all of this information and put it together. You see the through-line, the thread, the inevitability of so much of where we all are— black, white, brown, and otherwise— and how it’s been blossoming, you know, from the seed that we’ve been watering.

The film focuses on the high incarceration rate in the United States and, in particular, the incarceration of black men.

Yeah, there is a lot of unpacking of our thoughts as a society about criminalization: who we regard as criminals, how we think of white-collar crimes as opposed to street crimes, what we think of people who used powder cocaine as opposed to crack cocaine, as seen in the very laws that would prosecute people more for the rock than for the powder, when it was the same drug. In the film we look at mandatory minimums, “Three Strikes You’re Out”—all of these things that have increased the prison boom.

It’s the first documentary that’s ever opened the New York Film Festival.

Someone told me it was the first time an American woman has opened the festival, and the first black person, male or female.

When you’ve been asked about #OscarsSoWhite, I’ve heard
 you say that at this point, instead of taking part in diversity committees, you prefer to “just
 do the work.” Meaning, your creative work.

That’s right. I only have so many hours.

More at LA Mag

anonymous asked:

i'm white and Iris is not the first black female character I liked. I used to love Vanessa on Gossip Girl and Bonnie on TVD. I also thought the characters had wonderful chemistry with their white male love interests. Some people had the nerve to say that Vanessa was the villain of the show (like, what?). Bonnie was also hated and fans used the siblings excuse to discredit the ships she was involved in. I thought I was the "crazy" one seeing chemistry where there was none but now I know better.

For me it’s not even about wanting to see Black women with white men, but if I’m going to get any type of romance on those kinds of shows he’s going to be a white guy more often than not. And the ones that I have shipped have always has chemistry.

Simone Manuel gave proof that America's ugly history with black swimmers could be cracking

Medal count | Olympic schedule | Olympic news

RIO DE JANEIRO – The tears trickled down her cheek immediately after she sang two words: “gave proof.” Whether it was just a neat bit of timing or her recognizing the history she made, it was perfect that Simone Manuel, standing atop an Olympic podium, a gold medal hanging from her neck, the first black American female swimmer to have won one, happened to melt at the precise moment in “The Star-Spangled Banner” that encapsulated her night.

Gave proof. She didn’t just give it to black Americans. Reducing Thursday to that would be wrong. What Manuel did at the Rio Games’ Olympic Aquatics Stadium – storm back from a deficit in the 100-meter freestyle mad dash, set the Olympic record in 52.70 seconds and tie 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the rare two-gold race – was give it to Americans, period.

[Slideshow: Meet Team USA’s Simone Manuel]

The history of black Americans and swimming is a microcosm of the institutional racism that held back the United States for so long and still percolates in society today. The perception that black people can’t swim is ignorant; the reality that black people don’t swim is closer to the truth – USA Swimming estimates 70 percent of black children don’t know how to swim and the CDC says they’re 5½ times likelier to drown than white kids – and it’s a symptom of the errors of our forebears. Errors that someone like Simone Manuel is going a long way to erase.

Simone Manuel reacts after winning the gold and setting a new Olympic record. (Reuters)

Understand, this dates back nearly 100 years, to the public-swimming boom of the 1920s and ’30s, when pools shot up across the United States. Segregation kept black Americans from joining. Pools shot up in black communities after integration, but they were often of poor quality and minimal size. Generations of black Americans could have learned to swim just as well as anyone. They were simply denied the proper opportunities to do so.

Manuel wasn’t. She grew up in an upper-middle class suburb of Houston. She danced and swam. When she was 10, she was urged to specialize. She chose swimming. And as she grew into an elite sprinter and matriculated to Stanford and stood on the 100 free podium at the NCAA championships with two other black women and prepared for Rio, she did so with the duality of wanting to win for all those before her who proved black kids can’t just swim but do so at a world-class level while not trying to pigeonhole herself as the girl defined by her race because the mistakes of past generations put her in the position to be the first at something.

“That’s something I’ve definitely struggled with a lot, just coming into this race tonight,” Manuel said. “I kind of tried to take the weight of the black community off my shoulders, which is something I carry with me just being in this position. I do kind of hope it goes away. I’m super glad with the fact that I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport. But, at the same time, I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it’s not ‘Simone, the black swimmer.’

“The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I’m not supposed to be able to break records. That’s not true because I work just as hard as anybody else and I love the sport and I want to win just like everybody else.”

When Manuel popped up from the water Thursday and turned around to see the scoreboard, her lower lip trembled. Then she realized what she’d done, and her jaw dropped, literally. Her left hand shot out of the water and covered her mouth. She stormed back from third place at the turn to tie Oleksiak, to beat Australian Cate Campbell, to call herself Olympic champion.

She wept when she exited the pool, lost it when she celebrated with her friends and couldn’t hold back the two tears, one dripping down her left cheek and another her right, as she sang the anthem. Unwittingly, Manuel had shown something far more important than her ability to beat the best swimmers in the world or that a black swimmer could win Olympic gold.

Simone Manuel is the first African-American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event. (Getty)

Manuel gave proof that progress is real. That despite the continued marginalization of minorities in some communities, our recognition of past blunders and willingness to remedy them yields positivity for the entire country, not just segments defined by race. America was introduced to its newest gold medalist Thursday night, and that she happened to be of African-American descent only reminded the country that our best and brightest come from everywhere.

Twenty years after Dominique Dawes and Betty Okino were the first black girls to win gold in gymnastics, Gabby Douglas captured all-around gold. And on Thursday, another Simone from Houston was even more remarkable. With one dominant day, Simone Biles made a compelling argument that she’s the greatest gymnast of all time. Less than a quarter century after one kind of history was made, so was another.

More than any Olympian in Rio, Simone Biles inspires girls – black, white, Latino, Asian, everyone. The love for her is overwhelming and understandable and universal. Perhaps Simone Manuel’s win will help bring a kid – black, white, Latino, Asian, anyone – into the sport who transcends like Biles.

“I hope that I can be an inspiration to others,” Manuel said. “So this medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find the love and drive to get to this point.”

[Related: Simone Manuel’s race delayed because the bus driver got lost]

There’s already a pipeline of young black swimmers who are taking the overwhelmingly white pools of USA Swimming and making them look more like America. Other communities are nearly as underserved: Nearly 60 percent of Latino children in the U.S. struggle to swim. Same goes for around 40 percent of white children, not an insignificant number by any means.

Swimming stereotypes don’t haunt them like they do the black community, though, which is why Simone Manuel’s name rang out and her deed resonated. The United States is fractured in plenty of ways, screwed up in plenty more, but it is capable of taking steps, baby though in size they may be, to address its wrongs. The tears of Simone Manuel were simply a reminder that no matter how obscene our past, no matter how problematic our present, Americans of all kind are capable of amazing things.

More Olympics coverage from Yahoo Sports:

Oprah Winfrey Has Removed The Word ‘Diversity’ From Her Vocabulary

When it comes to the world of films and television, the word diversity has been thrown around a lot in order to mean the inclusion of people of color.

From the #OscarsSoWhite controversy to having people of color leading TV shows versus just appearing in them, people have finally began to learn that representation matters. Oprah Winfrey is learning this from director Ava Duvernay.

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