Stay ready: ‘What’s In It For Us’ talks Juneteenth and legislation we’re still fighting for

"This feels like we're celebrating crumbs and I want a loaf of bread," said host Dr. Christina Greer

A Pan-African flag flies from Black Lives Matter Plaza overlooking the White House
A Pan-African flag flies from Black Lives Matter Plaza overlooking the White House on Juneteenth to mark the liberation of slavery in 1865 on June 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

Another week of whirlwind headlines sparking big conversations on our timelines and, of course, What’s In It For Us, hosted by theGrio politics contributor Dr. Christina Greer, Ph.D., is helping us make sense of what it all means for Black people and Black culture. 

The show continued celebrating Pride Month with guest host, educator, comedian and founder of The Black Teacher Project, Dr. Micia Mosely, joining in on the discussion. 

First up, everyone’s favorite Hollywood heartthrob, Michael B. Jordan, is finding himself on the wrong side of an ongoing conversation about cultural appropriation. The actor is launching a new rum brand that he was initially going to call J’ouvert, which is a term used in Trinidad and Tobago to celebrate emancipation and carnival. Much of his critics claimed that Jordan and his business partner, Scott Robert Williams, were appropriating and misusing Caribbean culture for capitalistic gain. 

Mosely said that while she understands the criticism, she hopes that ultimately the faux paus serves an entry to a larger conversation about the African diaspora and its shared culture.

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan attends the LA Community Screening Of Warner Bros Pictures’ “Just Mercy” at Cinemark Baldwin Hills on January 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“We can’t change what he’s done so let’s pay attention to what he does now,” said Mosely. “Have the critique but also what do you want? Do you want him to divest or do you want him to use some of that money to help the people (of Trinidad and Tobago)?” 

Speaking of celebration and emancipation, many Black Americans are still rejoicing after the Biden Administration signed a law that officially made Juneteenth a federal paid holiday. Greer acknowledges the long, arduous battle of activists like 94-year-old Ms. Opal Lee and 65-year-old Revered Ronald Myers, who have worked tirelessly to gain recognition for the holiday.

However, both Greer and Mosely echoed many of the sentiments expressed throughout the Black community about some of the critical and urgent issues that still remain unaddressed.

“This feels like we’re celebrating some crumbs and I want the whole loaf of bread,” said Greer. “We’re still waiting for the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, we’re still waiting for the Emmett Till Lynching Act, we’re still waiting on the For the People Act.” 

The legislation Greer mentioned that is still waiting to be signed into law would address racial violence and inequity, as well as restore some of the 1965 Voting Rights Act protections respectively. Mosely added that making Juneteenth a federal holiday while simultaneously banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools makes the gesture feel somewhat hollow. 

“It’s saying ‘ya’ll get the day off, but don’t actually talk about the implications of why folks didn’t know that slavery ended and why it took two years for news to get to Galveston, [Texas],” said Mosely. “From an education standpoint it’s really challenging especially if you’re trying to explain things to younger children who are really trying to make sense of race in this moment.”

Lastly, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib is quickly becoming a household name after coming out as gay in a video posted on his Instagram page. Making Nassib’s announcement even more impactful is the fact that he also pledged to donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, which is an organization dedicated to providing resources to and saving the lives of LGBTQ+ youth.

As an educator, Mosely says getting involved in local organizations and supporting youth at school is vital to their care and protection.

“One of the safest places and one of the most dangerous places for LGBTQ+ youth can be school,” said Mosely. “We’ve got to make sure that our tax dollars that are going to public schools are helping to keep all of our young folks safe.” 

What’s In It For Us is now streaming on Apple Podcast, Spotify and Stitcher. 

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