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#QuarantineAndChill: Things to Do During the Covid-19 Crisis

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Folks are trying to manage how to teach their children at home and fulfill employment obligations while not losing their minds during this new normal marked by disappointments like canceled proms and graduations, rogue relatives refusing to follow the rules and constant news coverage of those who are sick and have passed away.

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Keep thoughts of isolation at bay by reconnecting with friends and loved ones and making use of what’s available in real time and online. #QuarantineAndChill and enjoy the time you have with those you love. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

Covid-19, Coronavirus or “Rona” as some are calling it has changed the way society typically functions. Some cities have imposed mandatory quarantines while others are encouraging self-control and self-quarantining. Many are complying with official requests for social distancing and eliminating contact with those outside of the household.

Folks are trying to manage how to teach their children at home and fulfill employment obligations while not losing their minds during this new normal marked by disappointments like canceled proms and graduations, rogue relatives refusing to follow the rules and constant news coverage of those who are sick and have passed away.

Despite these challenges there is a silver lining. Just when you were lamenting over failing to follow through on giving up social media for Lent, lots of people are coming together on social media to offer wonderful activities for those at home. Check out a few below:

Free Celebrity Performances on Instagram:

Celebrities are offering outstanding free programming. John Legend was joined by model and partner Chrissy Teigen for a CONVID-19 benefit concert from his living room that played on Instagram. If you didn’t catch John Legend, musical acts as diverse as Luke Bryan, JoJo, Miley Cyrus, D-Nice and Common are offering online concerts via Instagram. All you need is an Instagram account to watch and you’re good to go.

If those folks don’t do it for you, then check out NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series, intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of “All Songs Considered,” host Bob Boilen. Rising rap star Chika’s performance just dropped and shows her skills and playful side. Other popular performances include The Roots featuring trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and Bilal, Rev. Sekou and The Seal Breakers, Lizzo, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Omara Portuondo.

Speaking of Instagram, can you say Debbie Allen? The iconic dancer, choreographer and director offered up a free dance class this past Wednesday to lift the spirits of those feeling isolated during the crisis. Thousands checked in and had a blast based on the comments.

Not to worry, if you missed it, she’s offering the dance class every Wednesday at 1 p.m. PST during the COVID-19 crisis. How much would it normally cost to take a dance class from Debbie Allen? Who knows but now you can dance with Allen for free and in the comfort of your home. Allen is also offering a kids class Saturday on Instagram at 11 a.m. PST so set your reminder!

Things for the Kids

If the Debbie Allen kids dance class is not for you, then check out some of the following things your kids might enjoy. Many zoos and museums are putting exhibits online during the COVID-19 crisis. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens is livestreaming several animals and exhibits on their Facebook page.

Cosmickids.com offers yoga, programming and lesson plans to teach yoga and mindfulness to children. Although, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is closed due to coronavirus, they have an app that features highlighted objects from their collection, multimedia and augmented reality and stories exploring their 12 inaugural exhibitions.

If arts and crafts are your thing, Michaels has lots of do-it-yourself projects for children that are easily made with materials around the house. If you’re jonesing for the touch and feel of cotton, then you can order online and pick-up curbside at participating Michaels stores.

Now is a wonderful time to breakout the boardgames like Sorry, Monopoly, Life, Clue, Jenga, Escape Room in a Box and Black Card Revoked, which not only entertain kids of all ages but also offer fun for adults. Not to fret adults, there’s also Spades Plus (virtual), virtual Chess games, Words with Friends and several online Tonk and Bid Whist sites, so you can get back to making blind bids and running Bostons on folks in no time at all.

For parents who have slacked off on watching media with their kids, now is the perfect time to practice media literacy by sitting down and playing video games with your kids so you can see what they’re doing and talk about it in a critically engaged, and fun way. You may just understand why you should think thrice before allowing your kids to play Grand Theft Auto or World of Warcraft.

You can also show them some of your favorite video games which parents may discover they like just as much. Finally, for those who are having anxiety over teaching their younger children academic lessons, check out ABCMouse.com which is offering a free 30-day trial. It’s where learning and fun meet online.

Binge-A-Thons

COVID-19 has created the perfect opportunity to binge on television series and film genres that you love. Blaxploitation films are often available On Demand for free via your cable provider. Choose your favorite director like Spike Lee, Gina Prince Bythewood, Ryan Coogler, John Singleton or Ava Duvernay and watch their films until your heart is content. You might also like TV shows from the 1970s and 1980s, many of which are also available On Demand.

If you want to Netflix and chill, check out outstanding programming you may not have had an opportunity to watch yet like Raising Dion, Dear White People (season 3), Dolemite Is My Name, Jezebel and Queen Sono. Netflix’s highly anticipated series Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker comes out Friday, March 20, 2020. “Inspired” by the life of Madame C.J. Walker, the first self-made woman millionaire, the series stars Academy award-winner Octavia Butler, Blair Underwood, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Garrett Morris and Kevin Carroll.

If you’re tired of “Netflix and chilling,” then check out Lena Waithe’s new series Twenties, season 2 of Boomerang or Tyler Perry’s show Sistas on BET. For the black foodies out there, watch Kardea Brown make Gullah inspired recipes on Delicious Miss Brown (Food Network) or Caribbean Pot (Black Life TV) featuring the food of Chef Phil La Rosa.

After eating that delicious food, get up and get moving to the plethora of free workout videos available on YouTube. Follow your favorite YouTube fitness stars Jenelle Salazar (@getbodiedbyJ), Lita Lewis (@followthelita) for workout routines for various fitness levels. You may now have time to finally try Zumba or subscribe to a fitness site like Daily Burn which is offering a 60-day free trial.

Once you collapse on the couch after working out, there are also many web series to watch. Giants follows the lives of three young people chasing their dreams and struggling with various issues of romance, identity and mental health as they come into adulthood. Giants is now an award-winning television series on Cleo TV.

Pillow Talk makes you think and feel and The Punanny Diaries, which is an oldie but a goodie, makes you chuckle and thank God you are no longer in your twenties.

TV One’s Unsung series always satisfies dropping tea about entertainers you grew up with in the 1990s. Don’t forget to watch HBO’s Watchmen, which will not be coming back for Season 2 as of now, so watch it while you can, or forever hold your peace.

As the kids would say, COVID-19 is gonna COVID-19, so we may as well make the best of our time #AloneTogether. Outside of holidays, when do folks really have this much potential time to spend together?

Keep thoughts of isolation at bay by reconnecting with friends and loved ones and making use of what’s available in real time and online. #QuarantineAndChill and enjoy the time you have with those you love.

This article was written by Nsenga K Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. An expert in intersectionality and media industries, Dr. Burton is also a professor of film and television at Emory University and co-editor of the book, Black Women’s Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire.

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Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Entertainment and Culture Editor

The documentary She Had A Dream by Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari premieres on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series tonight at 8 p.m. EST on WORLD CHANNEL. Season 14 of the acclaimed documentary series captures Black artists and activists shaping and reclaiming culture, advocating for change and mobilizing for brighter futures. She Had A Dream offers an intimate portrayal of one young Black Tunisian woman’s quest for political office and her fight against racism and oppression in a society that often seeks to overlook both.

The documentary follows Ghofrane, a 20-something Black woman from Tunisia as she walks the path of self-discovery of young adulthood while running for political office in a homeland where many still view her as an outsider.

Watch the trailer below:

A dedicated, charismatic activist and a modern, free-speaking woman, Ghofrane in many ways is the embodiment of contemporary Tunisian political hopes still alive years after the Arab Spring. She Had A Dream follows Ghofrane as she works to conquer her own self-doubts while attempting to persuade close friends and complete strangers to vote for her. As audiences follow her campaign, they also follow the dichotomies of her life as a woman striving for a role in politics in the Arab world and as a Black person in a country where racism is prevalent, yet often denied.

“The 14th season of AfroPoP shines a light on the collective power, strength and resilience of Black people and movements around the world,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, AfroPoP executive producer. “Viewers will see artists use their platforms to push for progress and human rights and see ‘ordinary’ people do the remarkable in the interest of justice.”

Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.

She Had A Dream airs on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel and begins streaming on worldchannel.org at the same time.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is presented by Black Public Media and WORLD Channel. For more information, visit worldchannel.org or blackpublicmedia.org.

This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BBC Africa is reporting Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is facing a water shortage because of changing weather patterns and aging water facilities. The article reports, “Residents in informal communities like Kibra pay private vendors for water, meaning they now control the supply and access to water in the community.” The privatization of water access has led to an increase in the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for water.

“Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena. Check out the 2018 ANEW documentary short below:

The water crisis and the sexual exploitation of girls and women as a result of the water crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

To read more about this crisis, visit BBC Africa‘s series of articles and videos on Kenya’s water crisis and the Water Integrity Network’s (WIN) study on sextortion.

This news brief was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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#WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright

THE AFRO — Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Maya Pottiger, Word in Black

It’s no surprise that we’re living through difficult times. After two years, we’re still in a global pandemic, which has predominantly impacted people of color. In addition, Book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and partisan political fights target everything from Black youths’ sexuality, to history, to health.

And we’re seeing the effects.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.

For a variety of reasons — ongoing stigma, lack of insurance, most accessible — Black students often rely on the mental health services offered at school.Outside of a mental health-specific practice, Black students were nearly 600 times as likely to get mental health help in an academic setting compared to other options, according to 2020 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In fact, mental health services in schools have been steadily gaining popularity among students since 2009, before dropping slightly in 2020 when the school year was interrupted, according to the SAMHSA report. As a result, the rate of students receiving mental health care through school decreased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

So how are schools changing the way they address and prioritize mental health — and the specific needs of Black students — since 2020?

The Renewed Focus on Mental Health

For school-aged people, the majority of their time is spent in a school building — about eight hours per day, 10 months out of the year. To help address mental health during academic hours, schools are trying to focus on social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. This includes teaching kids how to be in touch with their emotions and protect against adverse mental health outcomes.

But it’s been difficult.

Though there’s been more conversation, the implementation is challenging, says Dr. Kizzy Albritton, an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There was already a shortage of school-based mental health professionals before the pandemic, which has now been exacerbated, as have mental health issues. In addition, though schools clearly recognize the importance of mental health, they aren’t always provided adequate resources.

“Unless there are more resources funneled into the school system, we’re going to see a continued catch-up issue across the board,” Albritton says. “And, unfortunately, our Black students are going to continue to suffer the most.”

In a survey of high school principals and students, Education Week Research Center found discrepancies in how principals and students viewed a school’s mental health services. While 86 percent of the principals said their schools provided services, only about 66 percent of students agreed. The survey did point out it’s possible the school offers these services and students aren’t aware. The survey also found Black and Latinx students were less likely than their peers to say their schools offered services.

Dr. Celeste Malone, the president-elect of the National Association for School Psychologists and a Howard University associate professor, says she hasn’t previously seen this degree of attention to mental health in schools.

“I see that a lot in my role for a school psychology graduate program: the outreach and people contacting me with openings where they didn’t exist previously,” Malone says. “With this increased push in funding to hire more, that’s definitely a very, very positive movement.”

Mental Health Is Not One Size Fits All

Just like with many aspects of health, Black youths need different mental health support from their peers of other races. They need a counselor who understands their lived experiences, like microaggressions and other forms of discrimination or racism, without the student having to explain.

For example, in order to best address the specific mental health needs of Black students, districts need to provide information breaking down mental health stigmas; focus on hiring Black counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals; and fund anti-racist and trauma-informed mental health practices, according to the Center for American Progress.

While she hears a lot of talk, Albritton says she isn’t seeing widespread evidence of these solutions in practice.

“There needs to be a willingness, first of all, to understand that our Black students, their needs look a lot different,” Albritton says. School officials need to understand where Black students are coming from — that their families and households experience systemic and structural racism, which are known to trigger anxiety and depression. The effects of the racial wealth gap also play a role, from the neighborhood kids are living in, to the schools they can attend to the impacts on their health. Students might be bringing worries about these challenges to school, which could be reflected in their behavior. This is why, Albritton says, it’s crucial to also work with students’ families.

The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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