How is it May already?! I swear it was February two days ago. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the US and we're looking forward to sharing stories from the wonderful women in these communities through this month.
This week's main story is India - she needs our help as she battles a massive COVID-19 outbreak. We've shared some ways you can assist.
We're also celebrating the history making wins from the 2021 Oscars, with a special feature on Ma Rainey, talking about real life Wonder Women, celebrating health and wellness and cheering on a series of firsts for some trailblazing women.
So, let's get glowing!
Helping India Fight COVID-19
India is facing a deadly second COVID-19 wave
400,000 COVID-19 cases were recorded in just 24 hours. This follows 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 cases every 24 hours.
The situation is dire, with one person dying every five minutes. Hospitals are overwhelmed, the healthcare system is collapsing and there are oxygen and vaccine shortages.
We've all been living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have spent months in lockdown, worried about what could happen in an outbreak that threatens the lives of our loved ones, or overwhelms the healthcare system.
India needs our help. If you have the means to donate, please do so. Spreading the word is also helpful!
Not sure where to start? The diaspora is doing what it can to spread the word and raise funds.
Entrepreneur and fashion blogger Masoom Minawala Mehta created this videobreaking down five foundations you can donate to from anywhere in the world to help India fight COVID-19. The Foundations include:
- Hemkunt Foundation - who are supplying oxygen concentrators to people in need.
- Mission Oxygen - helping hospitals across India get immediate access to oxygen concentrators.
- Khalsa Aid - helping India with oxygen supplies and COVID relief.
- Uday Foundation - providing necessary medical help and assistance to the most disadvantaged.
- Feeding From Far - providing meals to disadvantaged people.
Meanwhile, Nicole Mehta has teamed up with UNICEF to raise money to boost access to critical oxygen therapy and acute testing for citizens across the country. (For full transparency, team Glowreel donated to UNICEF Australia's drive for India)
Radhi Devlukia-Shetty and her husband Jay Shetty set up a virtual event to raise funds for Give India.
Every little bit counts and will contribute towards helping those who need it most right now.
You Need To Watch …
We're celebrating the history making wins from the 2021 Oscars with this trio of must watch films:
- Nomadland - All about a woman who goes on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession. History making Oscar win: Nomadland Director, the brilliant Chloé Zhao, is the first Asian woman (Zhao is of Chinese descent) and the first woman of colour to win the Oscar for Best Director. She's also only the second woman in history to win this award.
- Minari - The film follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home. History making Oscar win: Yuh-Jung Youn is the first South Korean person to ever be nominated for, and to win, an Oscar for acting. She plays the sassy grandma in Minari!
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - The film covers an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer Ma Rainey. Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. History making Oscar win: Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to ever be nominated for, and to win, an Oscar for hair and makeup team for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Neal and Wilson won the award alongside fellow stylist Sergio Lopez-Rivera.
- Meet some real life Wonder Women from around the world, thanks to the Wonder Woman. Impact with Gal Gadot is a new National Geographic docu-series that follows the powerful stories of six womenwho are making an extraordinary impact on their communities around the world. women like Kayla Gore who is building 20 tiny houses for homeless transgender women of colour across Memphis. And Tuany Nascimento, a 23-year-old ballet dancer who started a dance company for young girls in the middle of one of Rio De Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas.
- In Oscars related news, Andraéa Lavant made history as the first visibly disabled Black woman on the red carpet. Lavant is the Impact Producer for the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary, Crip Camp. She shares her reflections on the monumental moment, sharing that while she might have been the first visibly disabled Black woman on the red carpet, she's determined not to be the last.
- Ain't no mountain high enough! Priyanka Mohite recently became the first Indian woman to scale Mt Annapurna - aka, the 10th highest mountain peak in the world. 28-year-old Mohite is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and describes herself as “a girl whose dancing legs are climbing now”.
- Want to know the values that support a successful career in tech? Sharon Harris has got you. The Chief Marketing Officer of Jellyfishshares how an upbringing rooted in values like empathy, kindness, integrity, and hard work ended up as the perfect springboard for a career in the fast-paced tech world. You can read her beautiful and insightful piece here.
- Ophir Cassidy is the first Māori judge with a moko kauae to be appointed to the district court of New Zealand. Cassidy's appointment makes her the 31st Māori judge in New Zealand. The moko kauae is a sacred Māori facial tattoo. New Zealand's first Māori female foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, made history in 2016 when she became the first woman to display a moko kauae in Parliament.
- Solai Valliappan is on a mission to ensure women-owned ventures have more female investors. Valliappan is a champion of female founders, hoping to inspire more women to start their own companies and get the backing they need to bring their big ideas to the world. “Increasing capital allocation to women does not mean that it is not being given to men. It’s about thinking about growing the pie."
- Shriti Vadera has become the first woman and the first person of colour to chair Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK. The appointment is a "joy and honour" for Vadera, who grew up in Uganda and India. "I read and imagined Shakespeare before I saw it performed and it opened up a different world, giving me the courage to aspire to possibilities that transformed my life."
Shania Bhopa: Helping Homeless Youth While Also Adding A Little Bit Of Wellness To Your Life
23-year-old Bhopa makes life better for everyone!
In May 2020 she, along with her 16-year-old sister, Anya, launched The Canadian Courage Project. The Toronto based non-profit organisation aims to provide relief to the homeless youth population and their animal companions by providing homeless youth with the essentials they need to support themselves and their animal companions.
Bhopa also hosts the Global Health Collective podcast - a student podcast series designed to inspire listeners to make a lasting impact on our globe.
Annnnd, she's also here to help you with your overall health and wellness.
She shares tips on how you can best look after yourself, including sharing stress and burnout management techniques and health tips that are naturopath & physician backed.
The Legendary Mother Of The Blues
Ma Rainey was known as the “Mother of the Blues. She was renowned for her energizing, straight-talking performances and full-throated vocals
We couldn't talk about Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in today's newsletter and not talk about the Ma Rainey!
Rainey was the first entertainer to successfully bridge the divide between vaudeville (aka, the cabaret-style shows that developed out of minstrelsy in the mid-1800s) and authentic black Southern folk expression.
Rainey was born in April 1886 - according to her, but official records listed her birth date as September 1882. Her birth name was Gertrude Pridgett. She first heard country blues music in 1902 and began touring with different minstrel troupes alongside her husband Will Rainey after they married in 1904.
She became a bonafide celebrity in the 1920s, recording nearly 100 songs. Many of which were national hits
She was signed to the small Wisconsin-based Paramount label until they went bankrupt in the early 1930s.
Rainey returned to touring and performing at private parties. She retired from music in 1935 and worked for a few years as a theatre proprietor. She died of a heart attack in December 1939.
Rainey helped to mainstream black female narratives, and proudly proclaimed her bisexuality, through her lyrics. Her musical style became a nationwide craze
In her 1983 biography of Ma Rainey, Sandra Lieb highlighted that she “offered to whites a glimpse into black culture far less obscured by white expectations, and offered to blacks a more direct affirmation” of their cultural power.
Rainey sang openly about her attraction to men (she was married twice) and women, In her song Prove It On Me Blues she candidly sings:
"Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men. It’s true I wear a collar and a tie, makes the wind blow all the while. Don’t you say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me. You sure got to prove it on me."
One Lioness To Another
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”