Issue #11

#DaughtersOf, Erykah Badu + Jill Scott, Pulitzers, Fresh Prince

This is The Dossier.

Each Sunday we deliver the latest developments in world affairs, political economy and culture straight to your inbox, served with a generous side of soul.

We spend the week scouring the internets for essential information and meaningful content to keep you informed, inspired and mildly entertained.

Today is Mother’s Day. Despite the pandemic, consumer spending for Mother’s Day is expected to top $26.7 billion in 2020, up 7% from 2019.


📰 Week in brief

  • The unemployment rate more than tripled from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April—the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Hispanics had the highest unemployment rate, 18.9%, followed by 16.7% for Black people. FiveThirtyEight explains how the latest employment report understates the severity of the economic crisis.

  • Two months after the lawless murder of Ahmaud Aubrey, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Gregory and Travis McMichael, charging the father and son with murder and aggravated assault. The New York Times has a timeline of the case.   

  • The FDA gave emergency use authorization for an antibody test and approved phase 2 trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine. Meanwhile, the agency revoked approval for dozens of N95 mask manufacturers in China, citing serious quality concerns

  • With reports of White House staff testing positive for COVID-19, three members of the coronavirus task force—including Dr. Anthony Fauci—enter into self quarantine. 

  • Citing economic uncertainty, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) vetoed a $580 million increase in funding for the state’s HBCUs. Hogan also vetoed an historic bill that would invest billions of dollars more in public education.

  • A federal judge ruled against members of the U.S. women’s national team in their equal pay suit against the United States Soccer Federation. 

  • Musical icons Andre Harrell, Little Richard and Betty Wright rest in power.


🌍 #DaughtersOf

GirlTrek hosted a candid conversation about radical self-care and healing with Nikki Giovanni and Angela Davis as they kicked off their #DaughtersOf campaign. The campaign examines the importance of self care and healing through Black matrilineal traditions. 


🗳 Veepstakes: balance

As reported last week, Joe Biden has enlisted a group of his closest allies to sift through the resumes of potential running mates. Given Biden’s age (he would be the oldest president ever elected and may decide to serve only one term), ideological tensions within the Democratic party and the apparent existential stakes of this election, his decision on a vice presidential nominee is more consequential than ever before.

The operative word here is balance.

Emerging from a primary field that included an historic number of women, Biden has already committed to nominating a woman to be his running mate. 

Hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania and having represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 36 years, the former vice president may seek to shore up support in the critical midwest region.

As a fixture in the establishment moderate wing of the Democratic Party, Biden may see an opportunity to consolidate the party’s base and nominate someone who is more progressive.

And there has been significant buzz around the fact that Biden may pick an African American woman to join his presidential ticket. While picking an African American to join him on the ticket might motivate Black voters, the numbers may not necessarily support that move.

In a recent CBS/YouGov poll, Black voters overwhelmingly favored Elizabeth Warren (72%) for the VP nod, followed by Stacey Abrams (61%) and Kamala Harris (60%). Warren was the top overall choice for all likely Democratic voters. According to the poll, the Massachusetts Senator led the field among women (72%), men (68%), moderates (63%), liberals (75%), independent voters (73%), and every age group.

There are no clean lines between matters of race, experience, geography, and ideology when considering potential vice presidential nominees. Black Democrats, and Democrats in general, are all over the political spectrum.

We don’t know what Joe Biden will do, but he has a multitude of factors to consider. The running mate he chooses will be a clear indication of his strategy for the general election.


📚 2020 Pulitzer playlist

The Pulitzer Prize board posthumously honored Ida B. Wells “for her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.”

From the historiographic 1619 Project to an operatic treatment of the Central Park Five, a selection of this year’s Pulitzer winners and finalists announced this week form a multi genre playlist of notable works by and about Black people.


🎧 Erykah Badu + Jill Scott 👑

The highly anticipated Jill Scott and Erykah Badu ‘Verzuz’ battle took place Saturday night. Days prior, all the talk was about who would win the battle. However, a battle was the last thing on Jill’s and Erykah’s mind. What we witnessed was a vibe session: an epic groove that raised vibrations for more than 730,000 viewers.

🤯🤯🤯 The ladies did it BIG.... A BILLION BIG. Swipe for a recap if you missed it. Happy Mother’s Day. 💐 #verzuz
May 10, 2020

📺 #ICYMI: Fresh Prince reunion

In a Mother’s Day Instagram tribute to Black TV moms, Essence subtly confirmed what we already know: there is only one true matriarch of the Banks family.

Last week, American actor and rapper Will Smith—best known for his starring role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Airreunited the cast of the 90's sitcom. This is the first time that the cast has been together since the show's final episode in May of 1996. The group of actors took us down memory lane with iconic scenes and memories from various episodes. The celebrated cast also took time to honor the memory of the late James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the show.

This heartfelt reunion is everything we didn't know we needed as we relived our days watching and laughing at the antics of Will and his adventures with the Banks family.

Reunited and it feels so… AHHHHHH! It’s been 30 years since the first season of The @freshprince of Bel-Air so I thought we should have ourselves a lil Zoom reunion!! Check us out, link in bio. #WillFromHome
April 29, 2020

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