Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (E! Online)
It’s finally happening! Former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle got engaged to her boyfriend Price Harry (heard of him?), and they announced their engagement a week ago. The two attended a photocall in the morning at Kensington Palance’s Sunken Garden, and sat down for an televised interview revealing more details with the BBC later that day.
This engagement is big for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it’s breaking barriers: Markle will be the first biracial person (and first biracial woman) to join the royal family. (Markle’s mother is Doria Ragland, an African-American woman, and her father is Thomas Markle, who is Caucasian. Markle self-identifies as a “strong, confident mixed-race woman.”) Many are excited because Markle will be the first “Black Princess” (though technically she’s more likely to end up with a Duchess title), but there are more nuances to the situation. “Elle” has a a great piece where 16 Black women aired their reactions to the engagement news; it’s well worth reading in full, so go check it out!
The engagement is also a powerful step towards revolutionizing the British monarchy and the public’s perception thereof. Princes Harry and William have spoken out about their mental health and its importance, and seem to want to make the monarchy more progressive. Along with the fact that Prince Harry will be marrying a biracial woman, he’ll also be marrying a divorcee: Markle was previously married to film producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. The last time a British royal married a divorced woman, he had to abdicate the throne. This happened in 1937 when the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, which caused quite a scandal.
One thing is for sure: this engagement is hurtling the British royal family into the 21st century. As “The New York Times” puts it:
With one heady announcement, it seems, Harry and Ms. Markle have thrown out generations’ worth of quietly repressed tradition and presented a new royal model to a country that will have to adjust to it, whether it wants to or not.
Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Globes 2017 (Elle)
Last night at the Golden Globe Awards, the always amazeballs Tracee Ellis Ross won the award for Best Actress — Television Series Musical or Comedy. Ross plays Bow Johnson, badass doctor and matriarch of the Johnson family in the ABC comedy “Blackish.”
Ross is also the first Black woman to win that category in 34 years. The last Black woman to win in that category was Debbie Allen for “Fame.”
In her historic moment, Ross’s acceptance speech celebrated inclusion, especially for women of color:
This is for all the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important. But I want you to know that I see you. We see you.
Congratulations, Tracee, and keep being you!
A single lady’s ring finger (NY Mag The Cut)
Single women are a force.
Granted, they’ve always been a force to be reckoned with. But now they’re becoming a powerful voting bloc that could decide this election.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Author Rebecca Traister’s book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation focused on this demographic and how its members are shaping and redefining social norms when the book was released earlier this year. One of Traister’s sources, Page Gardner, predicted that “there could be more unmarried women in the electorate this year than married women — and they vote super left.”
Single Women On The Rise (NPR)
This trend gained steam in 2012. Single women comprised 53% of the voting population, and supported President Barack Obama at around 55%. Compare this to men, who supported Obama at around 45%.
And beware, these single ladies are selective with their votes: The results of the American Women Web survey in the Elle March 2016 issue found that 86% of single women, and 84% of overall women, would not vote for a candidate that was anti-women. This wasn’t partisan, since 73% of Republican women agreed with that statement.
Priyanka Chopra, “Elle” (The Express Tribune)
Fashion magazine “Elle” doesn’t exactly have the best track record in terms of showcasing diverse women. Over the years, they’ve lightened Gabourey Sidibe’s skin, and photographed Mindy Kaling in close-up. (Incidentally, Kaling was photographed for a cover of the Women in TV list for 2014.) But it looks like they’re finally getting it: The magazine’s 2016 Women in TV list is its most diverse yet, and three of its five cover stars are women of color.
Taraji P. Henson (from FOX’s “Empire”), Viola Davis (ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”), and Priyanka Chopra (ABC’s “Quantico”) each received their own special cover. And none are in closeup or otherwise “hidden.”
This is heartening step forward for non-white women to see themselves represented and recognized in mainstream fashion magazines. I certainly hope it lasts and grows from here.