Seattle’s Tina Bell is forgotten no more

Black and white photo of Tina Bell performing.
Black and white photo of Tina Bell performing.
Tina Bell. Photos courtesy of Scotty Ledgerwood.

When you think of grunge, do you picture a bunch of long-haired White guys in plaid shirts, singing about teenage angst and self-loathing? Time to expand that viewpoint. Standing above them all should be Tina Bell, a tiny Black woman with an outsized stage presence, and her band, Bam Bam. It’s only recently that the 1980s phenom has begun to be recognized as a godmother of grunge.

This modern genre’s sound was, in many ways, molded by a Black woman. The reason she is mostly unknown has everything to do with racism and misogyny. Looking back at the beginnings of…


RACE / RACISM

Catch up on the race and racism news you might have missed.

Photo by Steve Strang on Unsplash

The stories highlighted in this week’s roundup of race-related news illustrate how much harder it can be for Black people to get what’s due to them, whether that’s a home loan, medical treatment, or flood prevention infrastructure. If reading about that stresses you out, don’t miss the last roundup item about how Black women are using cannabis products in their self-care routines — and founding businesses to help others do the same.

The Black Brooklyn neighborhoods where Black people can’t get a home loan

It may not be a huge shock to learn that there are still places where Black people are denied home mortgage loans. But what about when those places…


Race/Racism

This week, English soccer’s best players face racist threats while Black female athletes’ mental health issues are met with little sympathy

Marcus Rashford reacts after a missed penalty shot in a match against Italy. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images

Several of this week’s selections got me thinking about the price Black people are sometimes forced to pay when they excel. There are always folks who seek to minimize or explain away our successes and maximize our failures or missteps. Black players on England’s national soccer team are facing harassment and threats after reaching the finals of the European championship. Athletes like Sha’Carri Richardson are penalized for taking measures to protect their mental health. Black families whose ancestors scraped and saved to buy land after emancipation are finding themselves cut off from disaster aid because their forebears didn’t have access…


Race/Racism

From stopping an oil pipeline to getting reparations, protesting anti-Black injustice is getting results

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This news roundup usually points out and discusses stories about anti-Black racism, and though I try to include at least one feel-good item every week, it’s generally a necessarily sobering read. But this week, I can start off with some good news, for a change? We’ve got several stories about how protesting anti-Black injustice is getting results, from stopping an oil pipeline to getting reparations (of a kind) for a Georgia neighborhood erased by urban renewal.

Activism works

Plans to build an oil pipeline that would have run under several predominantly Black Memphis neighborhoods have been canceled after strong opposition from environmental…


RACE/RACISM

Catch up on the race and racism news you might have missed.

Photo credit: Getty Images

If there were a theme for this week’s roundup of race and racism news, it could be “the problems behind the problems.” There are stories about how lack of access to healthy food can be a factor in gun violence, how policies about acceptable swim gear can make Black people feel othered, and more. Stick around until the end, though, and you’ll be rewarded with the tale of how a Black-owned Caribbean resort is defying stereotypes about Black locals’ role in tropical travel.

How hunger and gun violence overlap

Preventing gun violence isn’t just about who has access to firearms — it’s about preventing the circumstances…


Race/Racism

Your weekly roundup of race and racism stories you need to know.

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Despite its seasonal rhetoric on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, corporate America too often gives itself the benefit of the doubt when facing allegations of racism. Power will go to great lengths to preserve itself, and a few of the stories in this week’s roundup exemplify that — from financial services companies who use scorched-earth methods to discourage workers from lodging discrimination complaints, to White farmers suing to prevent the government from compensating Black farmers for decades of racist policies. But take heart — there’s some…


This week’s collection of the race-related stories you might have missed

Happy Juneteenth, everybody! By the time you read this, you’re probably on the cusp of celebrating when the day’s news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas. It’s just become a federal holiday, a move which is sure to be seen as a victory by some who have fought decades for it to be recognized. Whether you’re marking the day with some reflection time to yourself or a party with the red food and drink traditionally associated with the holiday, take a few minutes to read up on the ways Black folk continue to fight…


True to its origins, this year’s Juneteenth combines incremental victory and continued struggle.

A woman wipes away tears after the names of Black people killed by police were read while marching to mark the Juneteenth holiday June 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Juneteenth is now an official federal holiday, with legislation creating “Juneteenth National Independence Day” having passed in the House and Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden. This victory is hard-won, the fruit of decades of activism from people like 94-year-old Opal Lee, who once walked from Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., (at 89!) to push for federal recognition.

So finally, the U.S. is getting a national holiday dedicated to the emancipation of our enslaved ancestors. But it’s happening amid a concerted right-wing effort…


Race/racism

Catch up with this week’s racial news roundup.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

This week’s collection of race and racism news opens with some startling information about the ways the economy loses out when Black women can’t fulfill their potential. We also highlight some efforts to recognize the untold stories of Black working-class New Yorkers in the 1800s, and the names of enslaved Black ancestors whose names were never properly recorded. We close with something light — a story that brings together two music icons: Patti LaBelle, and Prince.

The high cost of counting Black women out

A new report by financial services company S&P Global has found that obstacles to Black women’s…


Catch up on the race and racism news you might have missed this week.

A color photo shows a row of white marble military-style headstones, each decorated with a miniature U.S. flag sticking out of the ground in front of it.
A color photo shows a row of white marble military-style headstones, each decorated with a miniature U.S. flag sticking out of the ground in front of it.
Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

We’re in the middle of graduation season — praise and congratulations for all those who have completed their high school, college, or advanced degrees! But even if school is out, there’s still so much interesting race and racism news to learn about. This week’s roundup features some African and African American history you might not have seen in your textbook.

Memorial Day’s Black roots

Whether you marked Memorial Day with barbecue or with solemn reflection on the nation’s war dead, you have formerly enslaved Americans in Charleston, S.C., to thank…

Stephanie Siek

Stephanie Siek is a writer and editor who loves cats, cookie dough and aborted alliteration.

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