“I can’t help it…when things come up, when I read certain articles and they spark things in me that mean something to me I can’t help but to be vocal about it and share my opinions on it. Because I can’t imagine not being able to share my experience and my opinion as a Black woman…. [There is this] idea that Black people are to be seen and not heard…and there’s so many varied experiences among us…there’s no need to try to silence us. Any way that I can just be honest, more than anything, and also inspire other people to be vocal about things, I like to take that opportunity.”
WONDER BREAD HAM SANDWICHES & MAD MEN
I wanted to watch Mad Men. I wanted to enjoy Mad Men. I really did. If for no other reason than the fashion and the constant reminders of the pure recklessness with which the bosses of our parents and grandparents lived. The smoking and drinking while pregnant, at the office, during business meetings before evening arrives and everyone’s husband starts sleeping with everyone’s wife.
At least that’s what I got from the few episodes I saw. I wanted to watch Mad Men and I wanted to like it, mostly because of Teyonah Parris. So I tried. When it didn’t work I wasn’t surprised.
See, the way my life is set up, there’s a certain level of representation required in the media I consume. It’s sort of like a ham sandwich made with Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip only – that can’t be good for anyone. Just when the show seemed like a lost cause for me something magical happened. Apparently there was “another Black character” on the show who’d lasted more than one or two episodes and the news was all over my Twitter timeline one night.
The infamous “Hello Dawn, Hello Shirley” scene is what hooked me. I gave praise to the writers for the cleverness and to the performers for the nuanced delivery of such a an important message. A message we, on the margins, know all too well. The same message that so many of the folks who live center stage overlook, tune out and often times perpetuate with ease and privilege.
Dawn, played by Teyonah Parris, runs into “the other Black secretary,” Shirley, while getting coffee. Dawn says, “Hello Dawn” to Shirley, to which Shirley replies, “Hello Shirley” and the two continue with their conversation. Immediately a sly grin creeps across my face and “I see what you did there” pushes through my mind like a scrolling marquee. Clever.
If you’ve ever been one of four Black students in a Psychology class of 200 or maybe one of only two Black kids in your sixth grade class or one of a handful of people of color in your workplace or if you’re Asian it’s likely you understand the scene instantly. It was the first time I felt a twinge of representation while watching the show. There were Black women on the show before but they didn’t represent me, which just goes to show that representation is about more than meeting a color quota. For a fleeting moment – the scene is less than two minutes long – a piece of my story was on screen, an important piece.
More important, in that one scene Shirley is developed as a character; we see her personality and get a fuller picture of who she is, how she thinks, what she believes. As if to drive the point home, we see a striking contrast between the two Black characters on the show, which then helps define Dawn as well.
Conservatively dressed, relaxed hair, single and looking, landing on the demure side of life, Dawn is practically the opposite of Shirley in every way. Shirley, the only other Black woman in the office in 1969, is hands down the boldest of all the secretaries – at least when it comes to the presentation of her self. She’s paired a red, floral print mini-dress (I really hope Shirley didn’t drop anything in the office that day), with knee-high leather boots, the entire looked topped off by the mini fro atop her head (Bamis’ Shirley is credited with bringing the first afro to the show). She knows her place and knows it isn’t the same place her fairer skinned contemporaries have imagined for her and she’s engaged to a man that sends her large bouquets of roses on Valentine’s Day.
Still, folks in the office apparently get the two mixed up often enough that it’s become an inside joke between them. As pleased as I was that Mad Men decided to comment on the issue and as impressed as I was by how they did it, that’s not my favorite part of the scene. It’s when we see Shirley’s resolve after dealing with the internal battle all rational revolutionaries tackle on a regular basis. She decides to approach her boss who mistakenly and arrogantly mistook the extra large bouquet of roses on Shirley’s desk as hers. Shirley wants them back. For her, it’s the principle. Dawn encourages her to just let it go, asking Shirley if its worth the trouble that will come with telling her very white boss, “Hey, those flowers that you took off of my desk are actually mine.”
Back in the 60s there were basically two kinds of Black people – the ones who made conscious decisions not to make whites uncomfortable, and took the more passive, quieter approach to change in an effort to not make waves, to survive. Then there were those on the opposite end, the marching, sitting-in, unapologetically vocal Blacks who sought radical change and knew it wouldn’t come if they didn’t demand it – they wanted to do more than survive, they wanted to thrive. The Butlers & The Butlers’ Sons, the survivors and the thrivers.
Today we have at least a third option: the Rational Revolutionary. Principled enough to stand up and speak up when something is amiss, reasonable enough to pick and choose the battles worth fighting, smart enough to know how best to fight each battle and wise enough to know how to play and win the game we call “Life as a Person of Color in America.”
This is where Shirley resides. This is where I saw the most representation on Mad Man, of myself and the company I keep, the folks I went to Xavier and Hillman with, and the people I share war stories and compare battle wounds with via social media everyday. Now Mad Men had my attention and so did the actor playing Shirley.
SOLA BAMIS: THE RATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY
After just a few minutes of research, Sola Bamis very quickly became more than just the “other Black lady on Mad Men.” IMDB helped with most of the facts: the resume and the background – a one dimensional, unfulfilling depiction of who this woman is that brought Shirley to life so perfectly.
It wasn’t until a quick perusing of her Twitter timeline that I was convinced she was an actor I’d be following for a long time to come. Go figure, a few quick messages of 140 characters or less told me everything I needed to know to become a fan, be a supporter, and decide I wanted to profile her for The Visibility Project.
Her willingness to be vocal on issues that concern her may not seem like a big deal until you consider these factors: Black, woman and working actor in Hollywood. The fact is, it’s a very big deal.
I’ve written about this before:
For the folks without privilege it’s difficult. You have to be careful about speaking the truth. Because then you get the “angry Black woman/man” label, or the “Crazy,” or “Sensitive” tag, or perhaps even the “obsessed with racism” sticker [“Telling me that I’m obsessed with talking about racism in America is like telling me I’m obsessed with swimming when I’m drowning.” –Hari Kondabolu]. You might even get a fellow person of color calling you crazy for discussing racism when we have a Black president. As an actor you don’t want to be thought of as difficult to work with, or picky and goodness you definitely don’t want to sound like a Black feminist!
The simplest way to navigate life as an actor of color in Hollywood is to just answer questions and go through interviews with the political correctness you’re supposed to – remember the talking points your agent/manager/publicist provides, smile sweetly, charm and be done.
However, more and more, we’re starting to see men and women reject sexism and racism in interviews, use their platforms, however big or small, to speak out about things that matter and the things they believe. More and more we’re starting to see folks – with and without privilege – be aptly truthful and honest and real about real life things.
It’s those people who are bringing about the biggest change in the entertainment industries of America. The more these rational revolutionaries speak up, the more fuel and validation it provides the audiences, their constituents, who are demanding more, wanting better from the media they consume.
Sola Bamis is one of those rational revolutionaries.
First we included her in our #CouldvePlayedNina series. What started as a list of Black actresses better suited to play Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic, quickly turned into a roster of talented working Black actresses that deserve the spotlight and she was on the original list.
I reached out to Bamis asking if she would be willing to let us profile her for The Visibility Project. After an enthusiastic yes and second confirmation via email, I brought the news to the rest of staff, leading with the main reason I wanted to feature her. I then told them to take a peek at her timeline. Everyone agreed. Sola Bamis is one of us.
We discussed ideas for her shoot, got carried away into the land of tangents and discourse and eventually circled back when I realized this was the perfect opportunity to manifest my soapbox series idea. Sola Bamis was, is the perfect artist to kick start this series.
Artists like her are why we felt the need for The Visibility Project in the first place. Sure we wanted to spotlight artists and playmakers of marginalized demographics who don’t get enough shine. That alone is enough reason for The ViP to exist. However, from the beginning I’ve been interested in those artists who are bold and brave enough to use their voices, their platforms for something more than promoting themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t shade, we’re not “calling out” or even looking down on artists and playmakers who work, in other ways – in their own ways, to bring about the changes we so desperately need. We, here at The ViP, just know what it feels like to be the one on the soapbox, speaking up when not enough people are. It’s kind of lonely and mildly scary. Especially for Rational Revolutionaries, who see the pros and cons very vividly, constantly weighing self-preservation against principle and the strong desire to see better for your people.
Indeed we know how it feels and we know what can happen, which is why it’s one of the first things I tackled in my interview with Sola Bamis.
On her decision to be vocal:
“I can’t help it…when things come up, when I read certain articles and they spark things in me that mean something to me I can’t help but to be vocal about it and share my opinions on it. Because I can’t imagine not being able to share my experience and my opinion as a Black woman. That’s why I really love The Visibility Project and why when you introduced the idea of the soapbox and megaphone I had so many ideas. [There is this] idea that Black people are to be seen and not heard…and there’s so many varied experiences among us…there’s no need to try to silence us. Any way that I can just be honest, more than anything, and also inspire other people to be vocal about things, I like to take that opportunity.”
On if she ever feels pressure to censor herself (especially considering her career) & picking and choosing her battles:
“I’ve definitely started a tweet and then backspaced, backspaced, backspaced. (laughs) Because for those situations I felt like, ‘You know what it’s not worth it, Sola. Take a step back.’ One of the things that I wish for daily for myself, I ask for grace, compassion, understanding of people and their situations. I’ve definitely thought about sub-tweeting and sometimes not so [subliminally tweeting], but I think, ‘That person has feelings too.”
She brings up the recurring Azalea Banks and T.I. debauchery to help prove her point. “I honestly don’t feel the need to drag anybody through that. I [wouldn’t] want to be dragged through that. I don’t want somebody to write vile things about me. And anything I can do to try to prevent that…I’ll do that.
“How Do We Feel About” Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone?
Carefully she replies, “I don’t feel positively about that either (smiles). I think that the casting directors and the directors and producers could have done better and cast someone closer to Nina Simone physically. The fact that they could look at Zoe Saldana and then say, ‘Oh she could play Nina Simone’ and they already have that in their head, I think that says a lot about their misunderstanding of the different experiences different types of Black women have – based on skin color, hair texture, all those kinds of things, you know?”
After I add my two cents: “and perhaps a misunderstanding of who Nina Simone was,” Bamis continues, “Exactly! And deeper than that, from what I hear the story they’re portraying…they’re making things out to be more sordid than they actually were and I don’t think that’s the legacy Nina Simone wanted to leave. I’m not a fan of what that might become.”
On people of color creating our own lane, the industry within the industry, and the recent surge of diversity (and natural hair) in media:
“I love it! I love the fact that my niece can see somebody whose hair looks like hers. I think it’s two fold because I think part of it is because we are creating our own content, we’re [portraying] ourselves in the way that we see ourselves…and we’re in control of it so we don’t edit it out and I really like that.
But I also think that a lot of Black women, a lot of Black actresses are just going in with their natural hair and [are] like, ‘you’re going to take me or you’re going to leave me.’ If a casting director, director, producer is shallow enough, asinine, foolish enough to turn down the best actress for the role talent-wise, because her hair doesn’t look a certain way…then that actor wasn’t meant to be in that production. I really, really, really like that and I hope the movement continues.
I think empowerment is one of the hallmarks…and where I see us going as a unit. I think it’s important for us to do things by ourselves and for ourselves. They didn’t want to do it…ok let’s do it. It is harder than it looks. [That doesn’t] negate our right, our prerogative to complain because that’s how changes come about. I support anybody who wants to portray us as Black women in a more positive light.”
On Progress vs. Pacification
“I think one of the hallmarks for us, for Black actresses, Black performers, Black writers…[will be] when it’s not a big deal when good things happen for us anymore, when we don’t need The Visibility Project anymore. That is when we can say, ‘I can sit and take a breath now.’ When we can pass The Bechdel Test over and over and over again, to where we don’t have to test it anymore. Do I see it happening anytime soon? Not necessarily but it’s a good thing to strive for. As long as we can keep moving toward that road it’s always a positive.
What more do you want to see?
“I want to see more Africans as Africans on television. I would love to play an African on screen. At the end of the day that’s my heritage and I would love to represent that on screen. I don’t think opportunities for that come up very often – Africans in America on screen.
I am interested, very much so, in Black couples together in programming. Not that I have any problems with interracial relationships, I would just love to see a Black man and a Black woman or a Black woman and a Black woman or a Black man and a Black man on screen. My sisters and I were talking about this, I think the reason they split the baby is because when you pair a Black man and a Black woman then it becomes a Black movie, a Black show…it doesn’t necessarily have to be that.”
On being a first generation Nigerian and the preference of Black vs. African American:
“I don’t have a preference, whatever makes the speaker feel more comfortable. The language is for them, it’s more for outsiders than it is for me. I’m Sola. I see you as a person, I don’t have to label you. It’s not that I don’t think about it, it’s just not a huge concern of mine. I do consider myself Nigerian American I guess if I were to think about it. As long as they’re respectful I don’t have any preference.”
On Identity: Are you a woman first or are you Black first?
“I would say I’m Black first. The way I worked that out is that if I were to end up with a Black man and have a child, it can either be a boy or a girl – that’s 50/50 – but it’s 100% going to be Black. (laughs) And definitely, my identity as a female in society, how that’s been constructed is definitely important to me too, but I would say that I’m Black first.”
On the lack of privilege relegating Black women to the bottom of the totem pole: When did you first feel gender discrimination?
“When I came into adult relationships with men, mostly Black men and started to see how our gender constructions made things different in the way that we related to one another, in terms of just the power dynamic. That was when I first understood the notion of patriarchy. Now I’m more aware of how that affects me on a general scale and how Black men can have male privilege. Black women, we don’t have white privilege nor do we have male privilege…can’t get any lower than us (laughs) and of course there are some intersectionalities [at play].
When do you feel like you graduated from Hillman (see our Hillman Alum article)?
“I don’t want to be cocky but I feel like I graduated from Hillman when I was like five years old. (laughs) I had a strong awareness of my Blackness and [womanhood] and the fact that we were supposed to be something but I was like, ‘I get to be whatever I want to be!’ very, very, very early. That came with growing up in somewhat of an Afro-centric household, growing up in Miami where there is a lot of diversity but there is a large African-American, Black, Caribbean community and there’s a lot of diversity within the Black community. So I had a very strong awareness of my Blackness and what that meant very early on. ‘I’m supposed to do this, as a girl, but I want to do this anyway because who can tell me no?!’ So maybe not five, but very, very young.”
So you graduated as a toddler, what was your major?
After a bit of thought, “My major was Malcolm X studies.”
You’ve been invited back to Hillman as a guest lecturer, what’s the topic of your lecture series?
“The title of my series would be, The Ninth Inning: Who’s Going to Go to Bat for Black Women?” After a high-five and strong affirmation from me, Bamis continues, “That really hits home for me because nobody goes to bat for us. We go to bat for Black men, we sometimes go to bat for white people.” Here she cites examples such as Justin Bieber and Lala’s interview with Charlamagne. “Watching that interview was an indication of how people see us and where we really are in people’s minds.”
I echoed her sentiments, “Sometimes I say if you really want to know what people think of us you just have to turn on the TV or radio,” then reference the example of characters Reggie and Sam in Dear White People, where Reggie pushes Sam to be the voice and face of the two percent of Black people at the very fair Winchester University and do things he isn’t necessarily willing or brave enough to do himself. As I begin to explain how, throughout the film, Reggie stands safely behind Sam, Bamis echoes, “Safely!”
That echo from Bamis takes the interview into the land of relaxed conversation for several minutes as we discuss white and male allies who are down for the cause until the cops show up, Dear White People, and more. If we didn’t both have places to be after the interview, I have no doubt the discourse would’ve continued and I can’t say for sure how long.
Sola Bamis is easy to talk to – conversation with the Miami native is energizing and affirming. It’s clear she knows who she is and despite being on a very different path up until her senior year of college, she knows exactly where she’s headed.
SOLA.0: PAGEANTS, PRESSURE & A PURPOSED PATH vs. NIGERIAN PARENTS
“I went to undergrad for chemistry, I was pre-med because I have Nigerian parents and you’re either going to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, something like that, some other kind of professional. (laughs) I had taken the MCAT, applied to medical school, everything. Then fall semester of senior year I was just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”
Her parents eventually came around and became super supportive, which no doubt helped in her journey after such a major transition. After taking a year off from school she attended California Institute of the Arts to hone her craft. She took on smaller roles here and there after graduation until she auditioned for Mad Men and landed the role of Shirley. She notes there was a time before Mad Men when things were slow for her and her parents told her maybe she’d reconsider med school after all. This only pushed her further down the path she was head, deeper into her purpose.
New to southern California, Bamis was no newbie to performing. Like many artists she recalls the joy of performing and being in front of the camera from a very early age. Despite her med school track she performed in productions throughout her teen years as part of her high school’s drama club as well as during all four years at the University of Miami. In 2007 she was crowned Miss University of Miami and went on to place 1st-runner up in the Miss Florida pageant.
We talked about the significance of competing and winning with natural hair in a realm where the standards of beauty dictate natural hair has no place. “People were like, ‘You did [the pageants] with your hair like that?!’ I had no other choice really,” said Bamis.
“This is the fullest expression of myself…my hair being like this. I had a relaxer for about six months in 2011, had a weave for a couple of months. But then I went back to my Caesar because that’s just [who] I am. It’s so funny, the day I cut my hair I went to my house and my roommate had a friend over and they were like, ‘oooh snap! Sola.0’ – like the original me. (laughs) The relaxed hair – it was a look, but it’s just not my style. ”
With such major, significant accomplishments I wondered if she had completely avoided any of society’s pressures for performers to fit a certain look, particularly with natural hair. “There hasn’t been pressure to relax my hair to work. There’s been pressure to relax my hair in other areas of my life but not so much professionally,” she concluded. Well now I needed the tea, because I had a feeling what at least one of those other areas might be – unfortunately I was right.
“Relationships,” she laughed. I bring up a conversation with the ladies from the pilot presentation of Twenties, that had happened just days earlier where Courtney Sauls discussed having the same experience, after which Bamis elaborated. “I think that there’s more pressure to have relaxed hair [from] Black men versus with white men,” said Bamis.
“I can’t say that I have a lot of experience with white men and I did have a positive experience in a relationship with a Black man who loved my hair the way that it is. “I think Black men love what they perceive as ‘good hair,’ whether that is straight hair, weaves, long hair or even hair with large curls,” she added.
She made a point to note it wasn’t her intent to generalize and that she was speaking solely from her own experiences. “Just from my observations and what I’ve seen – you see whose hands they’re holding. You know, I’ve been a Black woman all my life so I kind of peep that…you get those clues [and] that’s the general idea I have.”
BAMIS MEANS SERVE FACE
Profiling Sola Bamis was simultaneous exhausting and exhilarating, draining and life-giving. Wait. Let me explain. For The Visibility Project team our day started somewhere around 6:20 the morning of Bamis’ interview and photo shoot. We had a smaller shoot at 8a plus we still had to build the soapbox and get to the location of the shoot by 10a. The four of us dedicated to this profile were split up getting things done. It wasn’t 10a and we were already exhausted.
Lucky for me Bamis got caught up by Los Angeles traffic (never thought I’d be thanking L.A. traffic), which gave us a few minutes to breathe and check out the Santa Monica pier before she arrived with her niece and sister, who she calls her right hand.
We were on the phone trying to find each other when I spotted her and began walking toward the trio. Bamis introduced the two of them. Not that she really needed to, she and her sister could be twins – or maybe not, but certainly there was no need to tell me they were related. “There’re two of them!” I thought. I’d already been looking forward to shooting Bamis – she’s gorgeous! Now I knew there were two, or perhaps two and a half if you include her face-serving, heart-stealing niece.
I wasn’t sure how much direction I was going to have to give or how high my level of inspiration would stay or rise during the shoot. I just knew I was going to love having Sola Bamis in front of my camera. Let me tell you, she did not disappoint – it was exhilarating.
It’s always a wonderful thing when the subject of your shoot exceeds your expectations. Folks have this notion that all actors and performers are great in front of the camera and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Working with the photographer, working for the camera and using it all to your advantage really is a skill, some have it naturally, some learn it and others never do.
There’s no one way to do it, though there certainly are a lot of wrong ways. It’s about adapting and adjusting – sometimes the photographer to the subject and sometimes the other way around. There was no adjustment needed with Sola Bamis, at least not on my part. She was a dream to work with, intuitive and attentive. With every shutter click I got a brand new frame, a whole different photograph. The slight raise of an eyebrow (she totally does the eyebrow thing and I love it), the modest parting of her lips or the almost imperceptible adjustment in how wide her eyes are opened are enough to change the entire feel of the photo.
She knows herself, she knows her face and she knows how to serve both. This was another one of those times I had to remind myself to stop shooting. We shot for well over an hour in her first ensemble before the team formed a prayer circle so she could change into her second, a simple feat with everyone present standing well over 5’ 7, except for me and her.
The sun was blazing and already we were drained, me from shooting and all that comes with it, my assistant from holding a 72” reflector, lenses and other equipment, and our other two staff members from building then designing the soapbox. Once we saw her after she finally finished her transformation there was a collective agreement amongst the team: life given.
THE FULLEST EXPRESSION OF HERSELF
During our email exchanges we’d discussed the concept of the shoot and the inclusion of the soapbox and megaphone. She’d be signing and tagging both with a single word – the one word she’d say if she had the whole world’s ear. Then she would be using both in any way she could possibly imagine. She wasn’t short on ideas and impressed me with a few of the ways she thought to incorporate the staples on camera.
Being in front of any camera is performance art. Some act and some model – Sola Bamis did both, switching between the two with ease. It’s what prompted me to ask if she’d done any modeling work previously and why her ease in front of the camera all made sense when she reminded me of her pageant experience later in the interview. “I’ve always loved being in front of the camera, but I’m too short for modeling.” Standing eye-level with me at five feet, three inches, I understand what she’s saying but can’t help but to think she has to be an exception to his rule.
Throughout the shoot her sister and niece popped up, not intrusively, just in ways and moments that allowed me to get a fuller picture of who Sola Bamis is. Her niece adores her. More than once she ran up to her aunt and held onto her leg for dear life. Whether it was simply for the affection and sharing of love in the unconditional, unjaded way that only children can proffer or to make sure one of her favorite people in the world hadn’t strayed too far for too long, it was endearing. Every now and then the team caught glimpses of the two interacting, taking selfies together. By the time we finished shooting Bamis had a co-star, her niece who we’d affectionately named, BabyBamis.
Right off the bat it was pretty clear the sister who was present at the shoot (Bamis is one of three sisters who have a younger brother) is her best friend, “her right hand” as she calls her. If you have a best friend – you know the one who knows you too well, maybe even better than you know yourself – their friendship is easily recognizable. The way they communicate or perhaps their lack of verbal communication spoke volumes. There was a moment right before the interview when they exchanged a message. I would probably tell you what the message was, except, I honestly don’t know. There weren’t complete sentences being used – they weren’t necessary.
At the end of the shoot her sister, Tolu, asked, “What do you all do?” For a brief moment I wondered if this was another one of those age things (people tend to mistake me for being a lot younger than I actually am). Very quickly I realized her interest was genuine, she wasn’t being patronizing or vetting us – at least not with skepticism and distrust, only in the way that you vet the folks that come into your best friend’s life.
Walking back toward our belongings on the pier, conversation with the Bamis trio was easy and familiar. I’d already flipped what I call my “introvert/extrovert switch” but in that moment I didn’t need the protection that comes with the façade of extroversion and social normativity. There’s a comfort that Sola Bamis’ presence provides and encouragement and validation in her words.
THE REVOLUTION MIGHT BE TELEVISED
Sola Bamis is the embodiment of representation we have yet to see portrayed on screen wholly and without a disclaimer. She’s smart and intelligent, bold and brave. She could have been a doctor but found her calling in the healing powers of art instead. She’s humble and hilarious and there’s a good chance that her profound gratitude may come in the form of a perfectly chosen gif or superlatively appropriate meme.
The perfect blend of sassy and sweet – a clichéd phrase so gross I roll my eyes as I type it but keep going because it’s the fullest, most accurate description of her well-balance personality, Sola Bamis is candid and commending. She doesn’t mince her words, won’t sugar coat and has no problem giving credit where credit is due. Her wisdom is evident in the battles she chooses and how she chooses them – a diplomatic equilibrium of self-preservation, compassion and principle. She’s awake and aware, witty, charming and well spoken, traits that no doubt help her get her way more often than not.
Sola Bamis is the realization of how the revolution has evolved over three generations. There’s nothing rational about racism, sexism or any of the other isms so it can be argued that any efficient and effective approach can’t be either. That simply isn’t true. No longer do we only have two options to choose from, Malcolm or Martin. Now we have the Justin Simiens, the Lena Waithes, the Ava DuVernays, Lupita Nyong’os, Adepero Oduyes and artists like Laverne Cox, Benjamin Cory Jones, Dee Rees and Sola Bamis who are actively, vocally working to change the narrative and fight for proper, fuller representation of marginalized folk in the media we consume.
Gil Scott-Heron swore the revolution wouldn’t be televised, though as long as we have artists like Sola Bamis on our screens that might prove to be untrue after all.
Most recognizable from Mad Men, you can also catch her guest appearances in episode 13 of Mistresses and episode five of the now defunct, Killer Women.
Just as a bonus if you want life that Sola Bamis and Co. serve on a daily basis, you definitely want to follow her on Instagram. Do a little stalking perusing and you’ll see that serving face runs in the blood – or at least in the family name. You’re welcome.
Wait. Speaking of BONUS, check out some of these awesome clips of Sola Bamising. (Yes. It is also now a verb.)