Thursday, November 16, 2017
CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS AND QUEEN SUGAR'S KOFI SIRIBOE COVER ESSENCE DECEMBER ISSUE
Christina Coleman Nov, 14, 2017 Before Maxine Waters (D-CA) ever went viral for reclaiming her time at a congressional hearing this summer, she was advocating for constituents domestically and globally. That’s what makes her rise to popularity within social media feel familiar — she’s been about this life, battling injustice, inequality and systematic silencing for over 40 years. So when she delivered the now-famous line in a House Financial Services committee hearing in August after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attempted to filibuster her, it was business as usual. “It’s [the] regular order of business,” she told political commentator Angela Rye in ESSENCE’s Dec/Jan issue. “I think it was important for me to let him know that he couldn’t get away with that.” For millennials — who affectionately call the California Congresswoman “Auntie” — that kind of no-nonsense advocacy has inspired memes and movements that position Waters’ words as bible for those looking to stand their ground, organize and activate. Recently, “Reclaiming Our Time” became the theme for the Women’s March Convention in Detroit. For those who remember when Waters took on apartheid in South Africa through divestment in the 1980s, or who are familiar with her creation of the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998, it’s clear that she has no plans to slow down or to give up on the communities she represents. Maxine Waters isn’t a trending topic. “One of the things I discovered a long time ago was that I make people uncomfortable and that my advocacy goes beyond what politicians normally do,” she told ESSENCE. “I have a strong sense of what’s fair and what’s not fair, and for vulnerable people who are being taken advantage of, or who are being bullied or intimidated, I tend to want to be protective or to fight for them,” she continued. And in all, through her work as a wife, mother, grandmother, organizer and legislator, one thing reigns supreme. “I want to be remembered as a courageous fighter.” Read the full interview in the Dec/Jan issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands this week. Danielle Kwateng-Clark Nov, 14, 2017 To truly know Kofi Siriboe is to love a young man with ambition. Yes, that skin, beard, perfect white teeth and toned stature immediately grab your attention. But behind the 6'2" frame is a deeply conscious 23-year-old man constantly delving deeper into his love of film and heritage. In his second season of OWN's Queen Sugar, the talent plays Ralph Angel, the youngest brother of the Bordelon family reclaiming his birth right as a co-owner of their sugar cane farm. Balancing the process of redemption with fatherhood and business, his character is constantly challenged to step up to something greater than he ever expected. "When I read the description, Ralph Angel was in a hard place," the Ghanaian-American actor told ESSENCE in the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 issue. "He was with his son and about to rob a liquor store, but I didn't see him as aggressive. I just thought he was broken. Even though I have not been incarcerated and don't have a son, I remember a time when I felt broken. I also know what it's like to try so hard and feel as if the world is against you." For Siriboe, he's also trying hard to make his mark in the world with his debut project, Jump. He wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film about mental health. And then there was Girls Trip, the box-office hit he starred in that grossed over $100 million. But near and dear to his journey is fostering a deeper understanding of his African roots. "In first grade I was asked 'What's your favorite food?' I said, 'Fufu,' and everybody laughed. I also remember asking my teacher not to say my full name, Nana-Kofi [Nana means 'son of kings']. Last year I went to Kumasi, in Ghana, for the first time and met the king, whose real name is Nana." "I didn't always understand the roots that are woven into my name, but that realization is happening now." Read the full interview in the December issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands this week.