Midweek Tribute: Joi “SJ” Harris

I was saddened to hear of the untimely and tragic accident which claimed the life of this courageous, determined, trailblazing woman. Joi “SJ” Harris, the first African-American stuntwoman, died on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, 14 August. From CBC News:

The American stunt rider who died in Vancouver on Monday while shooting an action sequence for the film Deadpool 2 has been identified as SJ Harris, a 40-year-old from New York City.

Harris died in a motorcycle accident after she crashed through a window in Shaw Tower near Jack Poole Plaza…Deadpool 2 was Harris’s first gig as a stuntwoman. Her manager, Porsche Taylor, described her as a “trailblazer” in motorcycle road racing.

“Once she got on the track, she fell in love with it. And she was surprised that there weren’t very many women who were racing and no women of colour, or no African-American women, in particular,” Taylor said in an interview Tuesday with As It Happens.

“She was excited to be able to break some new ground.”

Harris began riding in 2009 and received her race licence in May 2013. She started competing in 2014, racing in the American Sportbike Racing Association Championship Cup Series.

“SJ was super competitive on the track,” Taylor recalled. “She would race with men as well as women — and often give as good as she got.”
In a 2015 profile published in Black Girls Ride Magazine, Harris was described as the first African-American woman to become a professional road racer.

“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” Harris told the magazine in an interview.

Muscle cars and motorcycles have always been a love of mine, and I know full well what Ms. Harris is talking about when it comes to the “good-ole-boys” atmosphere which is prevalent at any motorcycle or classic car event that I attend. With the events of Charlottesville still fresh in the mind, I recall how many confederate flags and other racist decals and emblems decorated various vehicles or articles of clothing, or people who had those emblems tattooed on every inch of exposed skin.

I’m certain that Ms. Harris was well aware of those who pushed back against her desire to succeed, and fought that much harder to prove them wrong. According to an article in the Huffington Post, Harris described herself on her website as the “first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned, motorcycle road racing events.”

Kevin Elliott, president of the American Sportbike Racing Association, said Harris began racing with the association’s beginner-level Champion Cup Series in 2014 and this year moved up to a “feeder” series that is meant to prepare riders for racing at an expert level.
He said her other activities prevented her from competing enough to be automatically given expert status, but if she had requested it based on her 2016 and 2017 finishes, it would have been granted.

For the first two years she was racing on a bike that was too big, but when she switched to a bike that was more suited to her size, her talent showed itself to be “very promising,” he said.

“She was just a good, solid competitor. She rode well,” he said.

Ride on, sister…ride on. You were certainly an inspiration.

Tender Moments For Tuesday: 15 August 2017

I need a break from all of the hate. Everywhere I go, I hear people talking shit and nonsense. I see people doing nothing but ensuring that they are part of the problem, and doing nothing to be part of the solution. The lunatics have officially taken over the asylum, from what I’ve seen. At least my sanctuary in my little corner of the world remains solid, fortified, and secure. The royal fortress in the meadow stands tall!

Apologies for the quality of the pictures; they’re the best that I could take on short notice, with only my cell-phone camera!

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Last Week Tonight: North Korea

In today’s installment of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver breaks down the relationship between the United States and North Korea. It isn’t so much Kim Jong-Un’s rhetoric that is frightening, but the fact that the current administration is woefully ill-equipped to do anything constructive or reassuring.

Bonus clip: John addresses the horrific events which happened at the racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s one of the few talk-show hosts who have done so, and he has my respect for it.

Moment of Silence: 13 August 2017

Marshawn Lynch Sits During National Anthem in Raiders Pre-season Game

Marshawn Lynch has always been a person of honour and integrity, who rates a high degree of support and respect.

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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

by Jeremy Woo via si.com

Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch appeared to stage a silent protest before Oakland’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, taking a seat during the playing of the national anthem. AP photographers snapped Lynch taking a seat on a cooler on the sidelines as the anthem played.

Lynch’s apparent protest comes in wake of this weekend’s violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va. and falls in line with what Colin Kaepernick started around the NFL last season as players found ways to protest racism and police brutality during the playing of the anthem before games.In Charlottesville, white nationalists with torches marched, chanted racial slurs and attacked counter-protestors in Charlottesville on…

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Silent Moment Saturday…Domestic Terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia of last night and today leave me heartsick, speechless, and sadly, unsurprised. It was only a matter of time, what with the hateful and vitriolic language and attitudes spanning the internet. Pointing out the obvious was labeled as “ranting” by others and deemed unworthy of listening to, while those who spread the racist rhetoric are adored and fawned upon. The amount of sickness out there is staggering, to say the least. The articles below are testament to how little is really being done to address this madness, which has long been festering in the hearts and minds of many.

Charlottesville: One killed in violence during U. S. racist rally (link to BBC article)

Fascist, neo-nazi groups on the march in Charlottesville chant: “Blood and soil,” echoing the words of their hero (link to HuffPo article)

One dead as white terrorists march through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA (link to CBC article)

Friday Funtime: Colbert, Conan, and ‘Wrecked!’

I think that a bit of comedy relief is needed, what with the bellicose atmosphere between Baby-Hands McDrumpf and Kim Jong-Un blanketing the week.

My taste in humour is not one that is easily pinned down, much like my personality or personal beliefs. Those who look to be offended by me, or anything that I say, are always going to be. I’m looking for positive and upbeat collaborators, not negative drama queens and self-absorbed shit-stirrers: so, the needless, mindless, and baseless criticisms of bullshit artists will no longer be entertained here.

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With that caveat, enjoy these five comedic clips that had me doubled over with laughter! Along with John Oliver and Samantha Bee, I rely on Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert to keep me smiling through these tense times. They, and the TBS television show ‘Wrecked,’ are genuine gems!

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The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: News on the March

Conan O’Brien: A Message from the Guam Tourist Board

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Best of Season 1

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Season 2 Official Trailer

‘Wrecked’ on TBS: Season 1 – Full Pilot Episode

5 On Friday: My Excerpts!

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve selected five excerpts from my fan-fiction-related short story for today’s installment of my “Five on Friday” posts, in preparation for a more regular schedule of my writings. I also added a few new screen-shots for the viewing enjoyment of all!

I hope that your respective weekends are off to a great start. Mine certainly is!

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Festivities: This excerpt details some of the goings-on during a celebratory dinner.

Comeuppance: Revenge is a dish best served cold, as detailed in this brief tale.

Seclusion: Self-driven solitude is a necessity, at times – for the protection of others, as well as oneself.

The Wild Hunt: A cure for an illness comes in an unexpected ritual.

The Entertainer: Confidence can be earned, and learned, from the most obscure sources.

Frederick Clay, Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Wins Freedom Back after Nearly Four Decades in Prison

This is an excellent bit of news! I’m very happy for Mr. Clay and his family.

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Frederick Clay, center, who was wrongfully convicted of a 1979 murder, leaves Suffolk Superior Court with attorneys Jeff Harris, left, and Lisa Kavanaugh yesterday. (photo credit: Angela Rowlings)

by Chris Villani via bostonherald.com

A Boston man who has maintained his innocence through nearly four decades behind bars was granted his freedom after Suffolk, MA prosecutors admitted his 1981 murder conviction was tainted by discredited witness identification and police tactics. “To quote Sam Cooke, ‘it’s been a long time coming,’ ” Frederick Clay said after walking out of the Suffolk Superior courtroom yesterday. “It’s been 38 years for something I didn’t do. I’m overwhelmed and sort of nervous.”

Clay, 53, emerged from the Boston courthouse with his arms raised and a wide smile on this face, having last experienced freedom when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer was at the top of the charts. He…

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Full Frontal Thursday: Meme-Wars & Judicial Appointments

In today’s installment, Ms. Bee discovers the connection between Steve Bannon and GamerGate, and talks about the Drumpf’s truly terrifying judicial appointments. Also, during her recent trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, she spoke with Peshmerga women. It was an interesting interview! I wonder when, or if, she will interview the girls and women who had been imprisoned and enslaved by Boko Haram? Their stories certainly need to be told, as well.

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