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In These Tweets is a weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter. A collection of snapshot analyses on a variety of moments impacting our world. Sometimes serious, sometimes light, always substantive. We outchea, #InTheseTweets.
As the story of Ahmaud Arbery has dominated much of Black America’s and the world’s conversation, with regards to a grave injustice being done, the story of #BreonnaTaylor had been relatively couched beneath the headlines. Taylor, who worked as an EMT for the city of Louisville, KY, was shot to death on March 13th during a police raid on her home. According to initial reports, police entered Taylor’s home on a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation. Upon police entering Taylor’s place of residence her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was alleged to have shot an officer. In the midst of the melee, Louisville Metro Police Department shot Taylor eight times, killing her in her bed. A pending investigation into the case has thus far not produced accountability for the officers involved.
And though the world has rightfully been swept up in advocating for Ahmaud Arbery, we also know that advocacy for Black men who have been killed at the hands of the state or vigilantes often looks like a globalized show of force when juxtaposed with the advocacy for Black women who meet a similar fate. But we are more than capable of aggressively pursuing justice and groundswell mobilizing on multiple fronts. Breonna Taylor epitomized what a frontline worker in a pandemic looks like. As a decorated EMT, it was a part of her job to ensure that patients suffering from the coronavirus and any other ailment/emergency were properly transported to receive the help they needed. Her life did not end from being subjected to COVID-19, her life ended by being subjected to the erroneous work of Louisville police. The person they were looking for had been arrested earlier in the day, and their miscalculation ultimately resulted in the death of a public servant. We must shout her name from the rafters as her life and her work deserves our fervent advocacy.
Y’all know the president of the United States is a xenophobe and a racist, right? I’m sure I’m not providing anyone with breaking news here but because he keeps the racism and xenophobia poppin’, we have to consistently drive the point home as an exhaustive means of not normalizing this kind of leadership. During a recent coronavirus briefing White House correspondent, Weijia Jiang, asked dude why he is framing America’s pandemic response as some kind of “global competition” and this muhfuc…this public official said told this Asian American woman that maybe that was a question she should ask China. Based on his track record of culturally insensitive and racially inflammatory statements, I’m gonna place a safe bet that he would not have flippantly told a white reporter to “ask China.” Sometimes his bigotry is subtle, most times it is a bullhorn yelling directly at the American public. I personally do not see the subtlety in this instance.
Speaking of White House correspondents that Donald Trump has gotten out of pocket with, veteran correspondent, April Ryan, tweeted a bit of pertinent insider information regarding the health of White House workers. Ryan tweeted about the likelihood that the virus is more prevalent in the White House than officials want us to know. And why wouldn’t it be? We have seen images of Trump, Pence and other senior officials gallivanting about without masks, I suppose as a means to not evoke panic. But news of people who work closely with this administration contracting coronavirus is not new. The reality is as over 90% of American states are set to reopen, the last thing the White House wants is intel leaking to the public about how much of its own staffers are being infected. This administration posits in lies, misinformation, propaganda and false optimism for its supporters/fear-mongering for its detractors. You’d damn near have to see the coroner leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to get some transparency about how poisonous the environment actually is.
The past weekend was extremely painful for the world of Black music as news of three iconic figures passing rocked music lovers to the core. Uptown Records founder, Andre Harrell, soul singer, Betty Wright, and rock-n-roll icon/originator, Little Richard each transitioned, contextualizing the adage that death comes in threes. Little Richard’s death, in particular, can almost be viewed as the epicenter of the music world’s mourning as his career and personhood ushered in the liberation of Black artistry that created a pathway for generations to follow. He embodied fearlessness, orchestrated a genre, challenged a culture’s attitudes on sexuality and gender presentation, wrote classic music and never compromised his truth. You may not get the sass of Betty Wright’s penmanship or the bravado of hip hop culture that Andre Harrell shepherded without the audacity of Little Richard. Richard Penniman taught a culture what it meant to be your unapologetic self and shift the earth on its axis while doing so. Long live the pioneer of rock-n-roll.
Writer and organizer, Charlene Carruthers, gave a simple truth about productivity in a period when we all are reexamining our methods of getting shit done. When Carruthers tweeted “Friends, let’s stop having meetings without agendas. Your time and everyone else’s time is worth more than a disorganized, purposeless, structureless meeting,” I felt as if she had peered into every agenda-less clusterfuck of a meeting I’ve ever had to attend. There is no value for anyone to call a collective of people to meet and not have an agenda, and when one is not prepared you typically spend valuable time (if not the whole meeting time) setting one. Also, time your agendas to the minute. You give someone an unlimited amount of time to do a check-in, they may tell you their whole goddamn life story. Contrary to the idea that working from home gives us more time to be laissez-faire, the truth is that it does not. If anything we need to be more intentional with the time we have with our colleagues as we are all having to navigate the complexities of a pandemic while remaining efficient in our endeavors.
Set a damn agenda y’all!