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…


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…


Race/Racism

Your cheat sheet for the race and racism news of the past week

A middle-aged man with a beard and a middle-aged woman high-five each other in apparent celebration inside of an office.
A middle-aged man with a beard and a middle-aged woman high-five each other in apparent celebration inside of an office.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

In this week’s roundup of race-related news, we’ve got questionable allyship, lying law enforcement, and (metaphorical) ghosts. We’ve got people fighting against lipstick-on-a-pig corporate diversity efforts and sunlight revealing ugly truths that lay buried for years. But don’t give up: We conclude with a heart-warming story of how one man is using his love of birds to heal both wounded raptors and wounded people.

Why buy into diversity, equity and inclusion when you can rent?

Diversity initiatives and consultants have become big business in the aftermath of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the murders of eight…


Catch up on the race and racism stories you may have missed

Viola Fletcher, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre, testifies before the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing on “Continuing Injustice: The Centennial of the Tulsa-Greenwood Race Massacre” on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

We start this week’s racial news roundup with lessons of the past, as we edge closer to the May 31 centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Some of the massacre’s oldest survivors have just told a House subcommittee about all that was lost beyond lives and property — chances for education, generational wealth, and the sense that American justice could work in their favor. …


File This Under Racism

Everything you need to know about this week in race and racism

Burning of a church where ammunition was stored during the Race Riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June 1921. Photo: GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As spring keeps springing, Covid-19 vaccines become more available and pandemic restrictions ease, you probably have other things to do instead of comb the internets for the latest stories on race and racism. But you still want to stay woke. Well, lucky you — we’ve rounded up some of the important stories you won’t want to miss. Read about the fight to preserve Black Wall Street’s place in history, hot chicken as a case study in appropriation, and more.

Cementing Greenwood’s legacy

This year marks the centennial of the racist destruction and massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district. But the remainders of the…


File This Under Racism

That and more this week in race and racism

Getty Images

In our latest roundup of race-related news, there are stories that evoke sadness and righteous anger. But there’s also hope. In each of this week’s stories we find groups and individuals fighting for and achieving some measure of justice. And I end the segment with a real treat: MSNBC’s Joy Reid reading Fox host Tucker Carlson to filth. Here’s this week in racism.

Acid in the wound — Can you imagine having a law enforcement officer kill your loved one, then having that same officer’s colleagues mount a campaign of harassment against you and your family? A report by the…


Your weekend-ready, “Did you SEE that story?” cheatsheet

Jane Austen’s writing desk in England. // Getty Images

This week’s tour of race and racism news takes us from the English countryside to the world of “Quiet Storm” radio. The economic suffering of Black millennials, deadly environmental racism, and racist abuse on a college debate stage are also featured in this week’s roundup of stories you might have missed.

Pride and Prejudice (and Slavery)

A Jane Austen museum in Chawton, England has decided to include information about the Austen family’s ties to the slave trade. Austen’s father was trustee of a sugar plantation in Antigua, and many commonly used products in homes in Austen’s era…


This Week in Racism

That and more this week in race and racism

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

There’s been plenty of racial/racism news on the front pages this week, with a conviction in one police killing at almost the exact same time as another was taking place. We learned that ex-officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, and as we were all processing what that meant, we found out police in Columbus, Ohio, had fatally shot teenager Ma’Khia Bryant.

But here’s some other important news that you also need to know.

Not at rest: Why the hell are the bones of two children killed in the notorious Philadelphia MOVE bombing in 1985…

Stephanie Siek

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

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