Jolene and Beth

Netflix

"You're all a bunch of f**king c*cksuckers!"

That's how we're introduced to Jolene, a Black girl living at Methuen Home where Beth—the main character—is taken after surviving the car crash that killed her mother. She doesn't get nearly enough attention in The Queen's Gambit, appearing only in the first two and last two episodes to bookend Beth's life as a famous chess player, but she is critical to the plot.

The treatment of Jolene in The Queen's Gambit is quite similar to treatment of Black women in the social and political arenas: only acknowledged when useful in ways that can no longer be ignored.

Jolene, though older than Beth, proves to be more savvy than anyone would expect of a girl her age. In line to get "vitamins," she advises Beth to save the green pills to take at night when they work best.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture Feature

The Missed Opportunity in Tracee Ellis Ross’s "Elle" Cover

We know Ellis Ross is fun and has an offbeat style, but her hairstyle felt like a caricature, and one that was completely unnecessary because there are Black women who have the kind of hair she seemed to be trying to mimic.

Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of Elle magazine's State of Black Beauty issue

Elle magazine

Black hair is political.

It is still a radical act for Black people to wear our hair just as it grows out of our heads.

Just as Black people are diverse, Black hair is inclusive of a broad range of colors, textures, density, and porosity. Terms like 3B and 4C are commonly used to describe hair types. While some people still think of hair types as a grading scheme, much like the debate about having "good hair," we are learning more about how hair types have specific care needs. As we grow deeper in love with ourselves and our hair, Black people are looking for the best products on the market and are committed to supporting Black businesses.

When Tracee Ellis Ross announced the launch of Pattern Beauty, there was a lot of buzz and excitement. A Black woman we love and whose hair has always been an unapologetically overwhelming feature was going to respond to Black hair care needs. Sign us up! Now, however, with her Elle magazine cover, some Black women are wondering if Ross is taking up too much of the Black hair space.

Keep Reading Show less
CULTURE

Grieving Chadwick Boseman and Imagining Black Futures

The Black community is grieving the death of Chadwick Boseman together.

Chadwick Boseman smiling

The New York Times

On August 28, the death of Chadwick Boseman was announced, and the news carried with it a particular kind of sadness.

We saw him in 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods. He played Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up. We learned to associate him with greatness, even before Black Panther, but the Marvel movie put him over the top. No one else could have played T'Challa. No one else could have brought that energy. Boseman is the one we called king. Now he has gone to be with the ancestors, and those of us still here are mourning this earthly loss.

Keep Reading Show less