The prospect of voting in the year of 2022 should not come remotely close to as difficult as it did in 1965. If the Biden administration’s struggle to pass voting rights the week of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is any reflection of this upcoming Mercury Retrograde, then we’re all in for a doozy. So, in case you were waiting to hear a definitive answer about quality mask distribution by the government from Vice President Harris, or busy being one of the Lord’s favorites and unboxing your Telfar that you ordered during Bag Security III way sooner than you anticipated, here’s a few things you might have missed this week.
1. Ronnie Spector of “The Ronettes” Dies
Only 14 days in and 2022 has already claimed the lives of so many beloved celebrities. Of them, includes ’60s rock ‘n’ roll siren Ronnie Spector. She was 78. The Ronettes’ frontwoman died on January 12 after a brief battle with cancer. Her sister and bandmate Estelle Bennett passed away in 2009, leaving their cousin Nedra Talley as the only living member of the original trio. Zendaya—who was hand-picked by Spector, will star as the late icon in the upcoming A24 biopic—posted a heartfelt tribute to the singer on Instagram following the news of her death. The Euphoria star wrote, “Ronnie, being able to know you has been one of the greatest honors of my life.” She continued, “You are a magical force of greatness and the world of music will never be the same.”
2. Coachella Festival Sold Out
While the Golden Globes can’t find celebrities to the award show, Coachella is booked. The passes presale was announced on Wednesday. On Friday, in 75 minutes, the passes for the three day-long, multiple weekend music festival reportedly sold out. With Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) as one of the headliners, festivalgoers can expect performances from Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, City Girls, Ari Lennox, Giveon, Lil Baby, Big Sean, and more.
3. Black Speculative Fiction Is Coming To FX
The Mother of Afrofuturism is coming to the small screen! FX announced a new series based off of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred. The adaption of the genre-bending, sci-fi novel tells of a young Black writer who finds herself time traveling through current-day Los Angeles and a nineteenth century plantation, unearthing her family’s secrets. Under the direction of Janicza Bravo (ZOLA), the series will star newcomers Mallori Johnson, Austin Smith (Random Acts of Flyness), and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Godfather of Harlem). This is exactly what the people want, need and deserve.
4. Students Demand Better Covid-19 Safety In Schools
There is something inspiring about seeing the youth protest for their rights on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, as much of his efforts were organized by youth/student groups. A number of student-led protests against in-person learning amid Covid-19 surges in Chicago, Boston, and some parts of Connecticut occurred on Friday. Earlier in the week, Brooklyn high school students kicked off the protest after newly-appointed Mayor Adams announced a firm stance on keeping schools open. With reports of more planned walkouts by students, districts will be forced to take heed to the students’ concerns about their safety and education.
5. Nichole Barnes Marshall To Bring Inclusion and Diversity to Pinterest
Pinterest appoints Nichole Barnes Marshall as Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity. The image sharing platform revealed in a press release, Barnes Marshall brings more than 20 years experience to the role. She is also very active in the community on a variety of issues, including social justice, educational access, and economic opportunity.
“Doing the important work of diversity, equity and inclusion is not just my occupation, it is my occu-passion,” said Nichole Barnes Marshall. Her hiring follows after the platform pledged to spend $50 million on improving its diversity and equity. According to NBC News, Pinterest settled a lawsuit with shareholders who alleged the firm’s workplace discrimination toward women and racial minorities hurt its reputation just last year.
6. Cardi B Share Mental Health Struggles In Defamation Case
Cardi B finally took to the stand in her libel case against YouTuber, Tasha K on Thursday. The “Up” rapper told a federal jury that she became “extremely suicidal” over Tasha K’s allegedly false claims about her sexual health to the blogger’s nearly one million followers. The blogger made multiple videos, with many disparaging claims in 2018 and 2019. The Hustlers star also explained she struggled with depression and felt as if she “didn’t deserve” her daughter Kulture, who she and husband, Offset of The Migos, welcomed in 2018. Cardi B admitted she sought out therapy for the trauma. While it is extremely heartbreaking to hear of the rapper’s mental and emotional anguish, hopefully this case will draw a necessary line in the sand for all media outlets to be more mindful of what they published.
7. Three Speeding Tickets Equal A Criminal Record, Apparently
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) voiced serious concerns with one of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, Andre Mathis on Wednesday. She referred to three unpaid speeding tickets and a suspended license from over ten years ago as a “rap sheet.” Blackburn listed the “rap sheet” as one of the few reasons she would oppose Mathis’ nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The usage of RAP, meaning Record of Arrests and Prosecutions, suggested a criminal record when there was none. She went on to say, “We expect our judges to respect the law, not disregard it. If Mr. Mathis thought he was above the law before, imagine how he’ll conduct himself if he’s confirmed as a federal judge.”
Visibly embarrassed, Mathis apologized and took accountability for his actions. Thankfully, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) defended Mathis, referring to their own driving records as “rap sheet.”
Despite her fears that Mathis believed that he was above the law by not paying tickets, Blackburn failed to recall her own behavior. In March 2021, CNN reported that Blackburn flashed her congressional pin to indicate that she was a U.S. senator when she was pulled over by the Capitol police for speeding.