Fresh off of one of the most lively news weeks when it comes to the intersection of current events and Black people, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with everything happening.
In case you missed some of the biggest news moments this past week, NewsOne has curated this recap of some of the most significant events of the past seven days to help you catch up with what we call, Your Week In Black News.
While some stories are still developing, such as gospel singer Kelly Price’s reported disappearance and the fate of police reform — the latter of which has officially died in the Senate — others have been playing out right before our eyes, some to historic proportions and others with damning implications moving forward.
Keep reading to find more about Your Week In Black News.
Ironically, the week in Black news began with a white woman. In particular, it was the media saturation of news coverage about Gabby Petito, who went missing in Wyoming in July and became a cause célèbre despite hundreds of indigenous girls and women who also gone missing from the same state but never received anywhere close to the same outsized media attention.
Amazingly, Petito’s fiancee — who, as of Sunday morning, the police still refuse to call a suspect in her death and have only recently issued a warrant for his arrest because of his suspicious use of a credit card — has avoided the same law enforcement fate that Black suspects accused of much less typically meet. NewsOne chalked it up to the white privilege apparently enjoyed by Brian Laundrie.
The shocking death of actor and comedian, Anthony “A.J.” Johnson, was announced this past Monday, prompting an immediate outpouring of condolences from fans of one of the faces of the cult classic film, “Friday.” But after his widow started a GoFundMe to help pay for his funeral and take care of his family and hardly anyone donated, she went public to bring attention to what she described as “fake love” from her husband’s friends and Hollywood colleagues. That prompted people to reach a bit deeper in their pocketbooks and help the GoFundMe more than double its $20,000, thanks in no small part to Lil Rey Howery’s contribution.
The week started with the Biden administration expelling — don’t say deporting — some of the Haitian migrants who had gathered in Texas along the southern border after crossing from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. Pleas from the Haitian government for a “humanitarian moratorium” were effectively ignored by the U.S., which continued removing the migrants and returning them to a country that has been decimated by natural and political disasters.
But when the footage went viral showing Border Patrol agents on horseback using reins as whips to physically attack the Black migrants to keep them from crossing the Rio Grande River, it evoked unfortunate images of slavery — images that the Biden administration downplayed and denied was inhumane.
Black leaders like Tamika Mallory slammed the Biden administration’s response to the migrants at the border and helped bring attention to the historical relationship between Haiti and the U.S., the latter of which invaded and occupied the latter in 1915 in an act that has had devastatingly lingering effects to this very day.
That made the U.S. abruptly stop its mass deportations — er, expulsions — and allow the migrants a chance to seek legal asylum (even though data shows the U.S. has historically granted asylum to fewer Haitians than all other nationalities.)
The media infatuation with Gabby Petito shifted slightly after mainstream news organizations were called out for rarely covering Black people who go missing. As a result, a few news stories popped up about Jelani Day, a graduate student in Illinois who had been missing for just about a month — the same amount of time that Petito disappeared. Day’s mother said she wanted her son to get the same kind of media attention that Petito was receiving. Sadly, just as Day’s case was receiving an increased amount of news coverage, an Illinois coroner’s office announced it had made a positive identification of Day from a body found earlier in the month.
Lastly, the lengths that people have gone through to discredit the COVID-19 vaccine is intrinsically linked to Black people, and it’s mostly for the worst. From a special education staffer in Oregon wearing blackface to protest a vaccine mandate to Florida’s new surgeon general — who is Black — being an anti-mask, vaccine skeptic, the controversy over getting vaccinated is very much a Black thing, too.
That truth revealed itself this week in myriad ways, including and especially when an anti-vax Black Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Nevada was literally tossed from a committee meeting where a resolution declaring COVID-19 vaccine misinformation to be a public health crisis was announced. And then right-wing talk show host Wayne Dupree — who has dismissed the vaccine’s effectiveness — suggested he may have contracted COVID-19.