With views from the intersection of wackness and anti-blackness, here’s a roundup of the crazy and the WTF happening in government and the impact on the culture.
A woman in Ohio is facing criminal charges after allegedly leaving racist and threatening voicemails for two Michigan state reps., both being Black women and Democrats.
According to a press release, 58-year-old Sandra Bachman of Batavia, Ohio, allegedly made threats last year against Rep. Cynthia Johnson (D) and Rep. Sarah Anthony (D). If convicted, Bachman faces prison time on “three to four counts of false report or threat of terrorism, ethnic intimidation and telecommunications services – malicious use.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office says Bachman left a threatening voicemail for Anthony in May 2021. The voicemail allegedly contained the message of, “Hay um, need to cancel that bill against the vets, you little traitor. And, um, you won’t see the bullet coming, let me tell you that. So, stop this sh*t and you’re fired. We’ll be coming to Michigan soon to remove you from your post.”
The following month, Bachman was also accused of leaving a threatening voicemail for representative Johnson that included racial slurs. “We are going to get you,” Bachman allegedly said, including two racial slurs as well. “You will die. You are one of the worst offenders. We actually have a tier too, in like points for how much you are worth once we kill you…. You’re going to die and I’m happy about it. The whole world will be rejoicing, just know that. Sleep well.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, Bachman had also allegedly made a threatening call against Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters. Michigan State Police reportedly referred the incidents to the AG’s office for investigation once they did their own, according to Nessel, Michigan Attorney General.
“This rise in threats against elected officials will not be tolerated,” Nessel said. “Those who think hiding behind a phone or keyboard will prevent them from facing criminal charges are severely mistaken. I appreciate the work done across state lines to bring accountability in this case.”
The Walt Disney Company has made waves with its soft stance on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a new anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation in Florida. Gabrielle Union, who is starring in Disney Plus’ upcoming reboot of “Cheaper by the Dozen,” made her disdain known as she strutted the red carpet during the streaming release.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Are you disappointed?’ I’m disappointed when my order isn’t right at In-N-Out. I don’t even think that’s a word that you could use for something like this, where children’s lives are literally hanging in the balance,” Union said to Variety at the premiere. “We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period. The damage is done.”
The Walt Disney Company and CEO Bob Chapek have received backlash over the past weeks for the corporation’s initial decision to take a soft stance on new legislation in Florida, referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill would limit discussions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation in educational environments and was passed by the state’s House of Representatives on Feb. 24 and the state Senate in early March. According to Variety, Disney employees had requested that the company take a public stance condemning the bill before it was passed. An Orlando Sentinel report revealed that Disney has donated money to every single sponsor and co-sponsor of the bill.
“There are so many states that are following suit [with Florida’s legislation] because there is no pushback because no one in positions of power [or] corporations are taking a hard stance,” Union continued. “Let’s look who’s donating to what and let’s call people out… I think a lot of people like to confuse accountability and consequences for cancel culture. And as long as you have a microphone and a stage that’s not cancel culture, honey… We have to campaign and fund for those people who stand for all of us.”
A group of LGBTQIA+ employees at The Walt Disney Company have planned a week of staff walkouts in response to the Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. From Tuesday March 15th through Monday March 21st, employees began scheduled walkouts during a 15 minute break period, taking place at 3:00 PM-3:15 PM respective to the employees timezone. On Tuesday March 22nd, they will engage in a full stage walkout.
Our sister Gabby also spoke out about the anti-trans legislation in Texas. She had a message for trans youth who may be fearful of its impact on them. “There are bad people controlling your fate, but we are working our asses off to make sure that not only do you survive but that you thrive,” said Union. Gabrielle is the stepmom to Zaya, husband Dwyane Wade’s son who self-identifies as trans. “There are so many more people that are working actively so that you have peace and that you can exist in the same way as everyone else has the ability to exist,” she said. “We are fighting and we will never stop fighting. As long as I have air in my lungs we will not stop fighting for you and I’m not alone in that.”
On Sunday, March 13, at a keynote conversation at South by Southwest, Lizzo criticized the new Texas laws and its policies restricting access to abortion and targeting trans children and their familes.
“I’m proud to rep Houston, but I’m not proud to rep Texas politics,” said Lizzo, who grew up in Houston, with loud applause as her response. Lizzo then added, “Mind your business,” she added. “Trans rights are human rights.”
Lizzo was fervently passionate when discussing Texas lawmakers ban on abortion after six weeks, or at the detection of a fetal heartbeat, putting conservative politicians on blast for, as she says it, being “all up in your uterus.” Opponents of the law say that most women are unaware of pregnancies at that point.
“The abortion ban is atrocious,” Lizzo said. “Mind your business. Stay out of my body. This is not political.”
Coming from the LQTBQ+ angle, queer communities and their allies across the nation expressed anger and outrage over comments from Texas Gov. Gregg Abbot in February, who called on child protective services and private citizens to report families that appear to be supporting children undergoing “elective procedures for gender transitioning,” and pledging that other state agencies would investigate these issues.
“We got a lot of other things that we need,” Lizzo said, adding, “there are people in charge who can change things on a systemic level and they’re letting us down.”
Two years and four days after the murder of Breonna Taylor, Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, is still fighting for justice for her daughter.
On Monday, March 14, Palmer met with officials in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to bring federal charges against the officers who were responsible for her murder. In a statement, Palmer said, “I’m here at the Department of Justice asking them to do the right thing. This is bigger than Breonna. If no one addresses this issue, they’ll keep kicking in our doors and murdering us… For the nation, it’s been two years and one day. For me, I’m trapped in March 13, 2020. I don’t know how people think I should just move on.”
A spokesperson for the Justice Department had stated, “Today, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke and attorneys in the Civil Rights Division met with the mother of Breonna Taylor, members of her family, and her attorneys. As has been previously stated, this matter is currently under investigation, and we have no further comment.”
Benjamin Crump, who serves as the attorney for Taylor’s family, had released his own statement about the 45-minute meeting with Clarke and disclosed that “They told them to, ‘Be not dismayed’ and assured them that the DOJ is turning over every stone, looking at any civil rights charges on behalf of Breonna Taylor, because they would do the same for any citizen. Because Breonna Taylor deserves it.”
SOHH U KNOW: On March 13, 2020, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT worker undergoing training to be a nurse, was at her apartment, which she shared with boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Just before 1:00 a.m. police rammed down her door using a no-knock warrant as their justification and under the suspicion that mail from her ex-boyfriend, who was a drug dealer, had been coming to her place. Current boyfriend Walker, believing that it was indeed Breonna’s ex-boyfriend who was breaking in, grabbed his firearm, one he legally owned, and fired, wounding former officer Jonathan Mattingly. Hankison, Mattingly, and former officer Myles Cosgrove returned fire, striking Taylor six times, killing her. Get more on Breonna Taylor.