Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair

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Madam CJ Walker

Everyone loves a good bootstrap story, and you can’t get more “Started from the bottom now we here…” than Madam C.J. Walker. Born black in Louisiana only 4 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Madam C.J. Walker (then known as Sarah Breedlove) worked in the cotton fields and was an orphan by age 7. She spent her early life living with family members and deadbeat husbands. By her mid-30s, she was working as a laundress in St. Louis, busting ass for barely more than a dollar a day, intent on keeping her daughter enrolled in school. She was married to some absentee asshole and, on top of all of this crap, she starts to lose her hair.

Part of why I love Madam C.J.’s story is because she found the key to her fortune and success through what at first seemed like an unfortunate circumstance. In her effort to try to fix her failing hair, she came across Annie Turnbo Malone’s “Wonderful Hair Grower.” This hair product would change her life. She quickly became a saleswoman for Malone’s hair product, making way more money than she’d ever made while spending her days speaking with other black women. By 1906, she had relocated to Denver, started her own hair product business, and married Charles Joseph (C.J.) Walker.

This is the power of fixing your hair, bish.

Madam C.J. Walker became hugely successful and was one of America’s first black female millionaires. Over the course of her career, she employed tens of thousands of African Americans, most of them women. She became well-known as both an activist and philanthropist, and when she passed away in 1919, she left ⅓ of her estate to charity. Hers is truly a remarkable, redemptive story.

Learn more in “Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair.”

-Madam C.J.

Lauren Chamberlain

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Lauren Chamberlain is a professional softball player and body positive icon who’s on a mission to transform girls into women by promoting athleticism. In a sad deficient world consisting of plastic social media influencers that promote unattainable body goals, Lauren is here to motivate our youth to find empowerment in strength. Our bodies can do incredible things and they can be pushed to physical lengths most women aren’t determined to experience. Lauren is using her fame and her imperfect athletic body to show girls that beauty can be found and achieved by utilizing our muscles and exercising our physical strength.

Lauren was featured in the 2018 ESPN magazines 10th Anniversary “Body Issues” edition where she posed naked to show off her curvaceous body, tummy rolls and all! She’s captured naked in a variety baseball stance positions and holding her bat, posed and ready to hit a ball. The photos are raw, real and unedited and show that even the most successful career athletics have the same extra pounds of fluff like you and I. Lauren loves her body, she loves it enough to slap it naked on a magazine cover to be displayed to a world that HATES imperfection. That’s some fucking balls right there, pun intended.

Hear more about Lauren’s incredible softball career and her body positive mission in “Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair”.

-Melissa

 

Episode 14 – When Fortune Comes Knocking

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The Fox Sisters

On a March night in 1848, the Fox household in Hydesville, NY was besieged by a series of loud rappings. It was if an unseen force was knocking against the walls. The Foxes asked their daughters, Kate and Margaret if they were making the noise, but they insisted they were not. The parents could hear the rappings even while looking at their daughters, who were sitting perfectly still. Convinced that the house was haunted, the Foxes fled to a neighbor’s house, where the noises persisted. It quickly became clear that the Fox daughters were able to communicate with the knocking spirits by asking them to spell out words using number correspondence (1 knock for A, 2 for B, 3 for C, etc.). When the eldest Fox daughter Leah came home to see what all the noise was about, she quickly realized the family had something special (a.k.a., $$$$$$).

Within two years, the Fox Sisters were performing seances to paying public audiences and to private, high-class clients. Their act marked the beginning of the Spiritualist Movement – in the subsequent decades, tens of thousands of mediums posted professional ads in newspapers across the country.  The Fox Sisters became massive celebrities, touring the US and Europe to show off their supernatural abilities. Leah served as the road manager and ring-leader, while the Kate and Margaret communicated directly with the spirits.

But the rapid fame came with a cost. The sisters quickly fell into a vortex of alcoholism, family drama, and poverty. In October 1888, Margaret held a press conference at the New York Academy of Music to admit that the seances had been an act – the sisters had been making the noises by cracking their toes against the floor. While she later reneged on this confession, the damage had been done. The public lost interest in the Spiritualist movement, and the sisters lived out the rest of their lives in obscurity.

Learn more about the fascinating Fox Sisters in “Episode 14 – When Fortune Comes Knocking.”

-CJ

Carol Burnett

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I nominate Carol Burnett into the Guinness Book of World Records as the luckiest person to walk the face of the earth. Like, can I rent out her guardian angel for a day? Carol was born into the world with a predetermined fate of finding fame and success. While she deserved every bit of that fame and success due to her hard work and natural talent, she did have some type of high power witchraftery on her side assisting her along the way.

There was that time a $50 bill miraculously appeared in her grandmother’s mailbox to cover one year’s tuition at UCLA, a fund she was incapable of affording at the time. Then there was that time she attended a party where a man handed her over a $1,000 interest-free loan to relocate to NY in an attempt to kickstart her career in musical comedy; another fund she was incapable of affording at the time. Oh, and you can’t forget that time a beautiful bouquet of birthday flowers arrived at Carol’s house signed by her dear friend, Lucille Ball, several hours after the news reported Lucille Ball has died. Huh?

Carol’s ridiculously successful career included starring in sitcoms, performing on The Tonight Show, appearing in Broadway musicals, her highly popular CBS-TV special “Carol + 2”, and The Carol Burnett Show that ran for 11 years and won more than 25 awards, making Carol famous and a role model for women in comedy and television.

But why stop there?! This month, Carol  was honored at the 2019 Golden Globes where she received her own television special achievement award. Steve Carell presented her the Carol Burnett Award following an incredible slideshow of all her accomplishments. Carol graciously accepted her award and gave a thankful speech that you can watch here- a janky video of it I found on YouTube – Golden Globes – Carol Burnett Award.

Listen to “Episode 14 – When Fortune Comes Knocking” to hear Carol’s life of luck and witchcraftery + the tale of her inspiring career.

-Melissa

Episode 13 – Bumblebee Cumbersnatch

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Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was a Victorian-era badass who designed the world’s first computer program. A bright girl from a noble family, Ada showed an aptitude and interest for math at an early age – a passion she inherited from her mother, Annabella Lovelace, who was also a Lady Math Whiz. Ada meets Charles Babbage at the age of 17, at her society debut. They develop a bond over their shared intellectual interests and maintain a correspondence for the remainder of their lives.

In 1842, Babbage’s plans for his Analytical Machine are published in a French journal. While the machine was never actually built, it represented the potential of mechanical computation. Ada Lovelace translated the paper from the French to the English. In this translation, she details a potential program function for the machine – and thus, the world’s first-ever computer program is born.

Ada Lovelace also spoke about the philosophy of artificial intelligence (AI) before computers even existed. All the way back in 1842 she posited that computers can only perform the functions that we program them for, i.e., that they are incapable of original ideas or action. Twentieth century mathematician Alan Turing referred to her assertion as “Lady Lovelace’s Objection,” and famously used it as part of his inspiration to attempt to prove that computers are capable of independent thought.

Ada is not only the world’s first computer programmer – she’s also the grandmother of computer philosophy. Learn more about her life and her amazing contributions to science in “Episode 13 – Bumblebee Cumbersnatch.”

-CJ

Clara Shortridge Foltz

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In another episode of men that fuck over women, meet Clara Shortridge Foltz, the woman who was inspired to pursue her political childhood dreams in order to support all 5 of her children after being deserted by her worthless, cheating husband. Clara bossed up and embarked on a public speaking career, taking woman suffrage as her subject. Clara wanted to take the bar exam, but she faced a California code provision that limited the practice of law to white males only. SHOCKER. So Clara bossed up again and gathered a group of sister suffragettes to lobby her Woman Lawyers Bill through the legislature asking to replace the term “white males” with “person”. Guess what, it passed! In 1878, she passed the bar exam and was the first woman admitted to the California bar.

Then, Clara applied to Hastings College of Law but was denied admission due to her gender. So what did she do? SHE BOSSED UP A THIRD TIME and sued Hastings College of Law and won admission. Note to the world, don’t waste your time telling Clara “no”, she’s just going to school your ass and steal your job. Save yourself the embarrassment.

Clara’s biggest claim to fame came in 1893 when she made her first highly public presentation of her idea of the public defender. Her then radical concept of providing public assistance to criminal defendants is used today throughout the United States.

Listen to her full life story in “Episode 13 – Bumbleebee Cumbersnatch” and witness CJ die over her newfound favorite boss bitch lawyer.

-Melissa

Episode 12 – Genesis Ch. 1, or whatever

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You know how everyone goes through an Ancient Egypt phase when they’re a kid? I went through mine a little late, at the ripe old age of 31. For several weeks at the end of 2018, I spent many nights sitting at my desk, stoned, watching any and all documentaries on Ancient Egypt that hadn’t yet been caught by Youtube’s copyright bots. I happened upon one such series that actually wasn’t boring – “Immortal Egypt” hosted by Egyptologist Joann Fletcher. (Yes – Egyptologists are a thing.) Dr. Fletcher is an eccentric and entertaining fireball, and I highly recommend anyone who is even remotely interested in Egyptian history to check out her videos.

One of Dr. Fletcher’s documentaries, “Egypt’s Lost Queens” mentioned a female pharaoh named Hatshepsut, who ruled in the 18th dynasty from 1478-1458 B.C. Largely regarded as one of Egypt’s most successful pharaohs, Hatshepsut came into power following the death of her husband Thutmose II. His heir, her stepson Thutmose III, was too young to rule, so H-shep was like ‘Mmmmm lemme just slide onto this throne here real quick.’ A prolific builder, Hatshepsut led Egypt into a period of peace and prosperity. But we almost never knew about her.

For reasons unknown, her baby back bitch step son began to erase her from the historic record at some point in his reign. He went so far as to have her name and image removed from buildings and statues. He was a real asshole about the entire thing. Luckily, Egyptologists eventually found some hieroglyphs that, loosely translated, said “Hey this was a female pharaoh. And she was fucking great.” Learn all about the Egyptian Pharaoh that history almost forgot in “Episode 12 – Genesis Ch. 1, or whatever.”

-CJ

 

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Lilith

Eve? Eve who?

The biblical book of Genesis contains two contradictory stories of humanity’s creation. The first is known as the Priestly version where God creates man and woman simultaneously. The second is known as the Yahwistic version, where God creates Adam, places him in the Garden of Eden, and then decides to provide him a companion known by the name of Eve. Isn’t it strange that God’s PR team only promotes the second story – Adam first, Eve second? Why did Lilith’s story die and get overshadowed by Eve? Ohhhh, that’s right, because Lilith dumped Adam and bounced out of the Garden of Eden to go fuck the archangel Samael.

Legend has it that Lilith and Adam fought all the time and didn’t agree on pound town. Adam wanted to be on top, but Lilith wanted a turn in the dominant position too! When compromise couldn’t be met, Lilith bounced on dat ass and left Adam alone to fend for himself. A guy, fend for himself?! The blasphemy! God replaced “first Eve” with “second Eve” to meet Adam’s need. But this time, to ensure “second Eve” wouldn’t be as strong, intelligent, or independent as Lilith, God made her from Adam’s own rib to ensure she maintain a submissive and obedient nature. But then, the snake. Don’t get me started on the snake.

Tune in to “Episode 12 – Genesis Chapter 1, or Whatever” to hear more about the original first woman that God’s PR team marketed as the sex-crazed demon who snatches up babies in the night.

-Melissa

 

 

Episode 10 – Fried Eggs and Polkagris

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Angela Davis

Angela Davis is one of the most well-known political activists of all time. An academic and author, Davis was deeply involved with the Civil Rights Movement and Communist Party activism of the 1960s and 1970s. She was arrested in 1970 for conspiracy to murder following several deaths during a hostile courtroom takeover in Marin County – a crime for which she was not present. Police stated that the guns used in the takeover were registered in her name. Her friend and lover, George Jackson, was killed in the incident. Davis was on the run for 3 months (during which time she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list) before she was captured and imprisoned. She spent a total of 16 months in jail. The public was torn – many loathed her, yet many others adored her and rallied together to support her. She was eventually acquitted of all charges.

In the years since, Davis has written and spoken on Marxism, feminist theory, and the Prison Industrial Complex. She has strongly advocated for the abolishment of all prisons in the U.S. and has noted how corrupt and inhumane the U.S. prison system is. She has published several books and held various prestigious academic positions, including Professor Emerita in UC Santa Cruz’s History of Consciousness department.  

I chose to focus on Angela Davis in “Episode 10 – Fried Eggs and Polkagris” because at the time I was fundraising for a charity ride called Nola to Angola (check it out!). The proceeds from the ride go the Cornerstone Builders Bus Project, an amazing organization that provides folks across the state of Louisiana with transportation so that they can visit their incarcerated loved ones. The fundraiser is now over, but you can donate to the Cornerstone Bus Builders Project at any time here.

-CJ

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 Amalia Erikkson

What did people do in the 1800’s? They died. Literally everyone just died of anything and everything. Amalia’s parents and all 5 of her siblings died of cholera when she was 10 years old. Later in life, she gets married and has twin daughters, one a stillborn. Shortly after, her husband dies from dysentery, and now Amalia is alone with a newborn child, no husband, and no family. The grim reaper was not fucking around in the 1800’s.

One day, Amalia’s daughter comes down with a sickness but Amalia did not have the funds to buy her proper medicine. So what does she do? She heads to the kitchen and makes shit happen. Amalia combined peppermint oil, vinegar, and sugar in hopes her DIY formula would help cure her last living family member. While it wasn’t actually medicinal, Amalia’s medicine was so good her daughter gobbled it right up! BOOM! Amalia just found her million dollar idea.

BUT WAIT… it’s the 1800’s and people are dropping like flies and women SURE AS FUCK aren’t owning their own businesses. So what does Amalia do? She petitions the Swedish town council to allow her to open her own bakery and sweets shop. She began selling her minty creation, which came to be called “polkagris” which evolved into a candy we know as the candy cane. Step aside Santa, will the real Mrs. Claus please stand up. I see you Amalia, you out huuurrr snatchin’ up businesses and changin’ laws.

Thanks to Polkaris, Amalia became extremely wealthy and is regarded as one of the most important people in Granna, Sweden. Not only did Amalia turn her life around from total despair to success, she resisted poverty in a society that privileged men, AND she outlived the entire 1800’s fighting the good fight up until 99 years old!

Fuck, hand me a candy cane… otherwise known as “Polka-lives”.

Check out the full story + where you can purchase polkagris today in “Episode 10 – Fried Eggs and Polkagris”.

-Melissa