Briana Banos’ life changed due to Red Skin Syndrome (RSS), a condition caused by topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). Before, she was professional dancer and newlywed with a world of possibilities in front of her. Briana never imagined that her pesky eczema would change her life’s path.
Briana followed her doctors’ orders and applied steroid cream to her itchy skin and eventually found it was actually making it worse. To her surprise, stopping the steroid led to inflamed and oozing skin and tremendous pain. Unable to find relief, she took to Google, and found she was not alone. Reading the symptoms, she discovered that her condition matched a condition called Red Skin Syndrome, and she was not alone.
A once very active person, a person who loved to make people smile, Briana’s felt suffering alone and mindlessly binge watching television was not the most she could make out of her life. She began documenting her journey of Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) on YouTube. Briana found a network of other people also dealing with the effects of Red Skin Syndrome. She also learned that the most medical community were not recognizing their condition as real. In the spirit of Briana Banos, she felt she could do more to spread awareness.
Preventable: Protecting Your Largest Organ, A Film by Briana Banos
Despite still very much dealing with her own painful symptoms of RSS, Briana Banos, in true dream chaser fashion, and no professional filmmaking education, set out to make a documentary. She fundraised, and was in awe of the support she received through fundraising, a not of approval from International Topical Steroid Addiction Network, (ITSAN), and the National Eczema Association.
Briana Banos, one woman film crew, flew not only around the country but around the globe. She talked to families affected by RSS and TSW and heard their stories. She interviewed medical professionals that were not only agreeing that this is real- but providing treatment to patients. You can view Briana’s documentary here, for free.
Connect with Briana Banos and DC&CM/The People Need to Know
You can find Briana on her instagram page for the film, @Preventable_Doc, or on her YouTube channel, here. For the People Need to Know, she suggests Brené Brown’s Netflix Special, A Call to Courage. In addition, she recommends Ruthie Lindsey’s instagram, @RuthieLindsey.
For the first time in DC&CM history, Betty and Alé share the same People Need to Know. They HIGHLY recommend Meggan Watterson’s masterpiece of a book, “Mary Magdalene Revealed: The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel & the Christianity We Haven’t Tried.” Purchase, here. Also, Alé recommends Meggan’s free meditiation, Prayer of the Heart, which you can listen to here on Apple Podcasts, or search wherever you listen to Podcasts.
In this post we will give you bios of 11 black change makers you didn’t learn about in school. Learn the rich history from yesterday and today of some of the most influential, pioneering and badass black Americans who influence our history.
1. Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was a child during racial segregation and lynchings and grew to have the nickname, “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” for having danced and toured all over the world. He had a strong sense of black pride that developed at an early age while attending a southern baptist church and juke joints. He found dance at Lester Horton’s dance school. Ailey went on to popularize modern dance and his show “Revelations,” is the best known modern dance performance in history. He founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and later the Alvin Ailey school. Although the dancers were multi-racial, Ailey wanted to ensure black dancers were given opportunities because they were often turned away from other performances. He died in 1989, and after his death Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Honor. @alvinailey‘s dances theater continues on today.
Dr. Jemison became the first black woman in space in 1992, going into orbit on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. She was selected to join the Astronaut Corps by @nasa while she was serving the @peacecorps in the 80’s. Currently she is the principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. Oh, and she’s been an actress too! She’s been featured on Star Trek: The Next Generation. 🚀
This man’s resumé is more than impressive but here’s a little info: @keithboykin1 was the editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law review, while attending Harvard Law. He later went on to be the highest ranking openly gay staffer in the Clinton White House, as special assistant to the president and Director of Specialty Media. He published his first book in 1996, “One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America.” He is often seen as progressive broadcaster and commentator on CNN, and he is the cohost of “My Two Cents,” a talk show on BET.
If you’re like me, you have never heard of Anna J Cooper despite her impressive contributions to society. Not only was she the first black woman to earn her PhD, she is often referred to as “The Mother of Black Feminism.” Ms. Cooper was born enslaved and at only 9 years old she was able to earn a scholarship and began her teacher training and road to academic excellence.
@angelarye is a change maker currently impacting history. She is an attorney and a liberal political commentator on @cnn and a political analyst for @npr. She is involved in several organizations– including the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network. Angela also co-founded @impactstrategies which encourages young professionals to engage both civically and politically.
Rejecting the idea to become a secretary, Octavia E. Butler entered a field dominated by white men, and became an award winning science-fiction writer. Ms. Butler spread her success around by teaching several writing workshops as well. Furthermore, Octavia Butler’s stories explore far reaching issues of sex, power, and race. Her writing garnered her a diverse following, and she claimed black readers, sci-do fans, and feminists were her most loyal fans.
@janetmock is a transgender activist, a New York Times bestseller, a TV producer & host, an NYU grad (woo woo), and has been a magazine editor. She was assigned male at birth but affirms that she always been female. Her book Redefining is the first book written by a trans person who transitioned in their younger years. She’s also been a guest on Oprah’s (😍) #supersoulsunday. She stands as with other black and trans change makers, like Laverne Cox.
Despite his brilliant mind and his PhD in physics Edward Bouchet was unable to get a job as a college professor because he was black, even though he was one of the only people in country to have attained that academic achievement. Additionally, he taught at some of the only schools that offered rigorous curriculums of chemistry and physics offered to African Americans for 25 years. It was only after death that his work was given accolades with several awards and honors.
If you haven’t heard of her yet, @rachel.cargle is an educator and academic. She is one of the most influential black change makers of our time. Her work focuses on the intersection of womanhood and race. She has a large Instagram following where she asks her followers to #dothework and unlearn the racism that has been perpetuated throughout white culture. For black history month, Rachel has posted a prompt for people to google and learn about important black history. She also is a speaker and tours the country with her lecture, “Unpacking White Feminism.” Rachel writes for Harper’s Bazar. She is also a student at Columbia University, and an entrepreneur.
Ella Baker is one of many black change makers who worked largely behind the scenes with famous civil rights leaders, like MLK. She was a mentor to many other activists. One of her mentees was Rosa Parks. Her work involved empowering the oppressed to advocate for their rights. She also called out racism and classism within the civil rights movement. Ms. Baker worked within the NAACP for 15 years. She started as a secretary and worked her way to becoming the highest ranking woman within the organization. However, she challenged hierarchies within organizations all together.
Atlanta based rapper, Killer Mike is half of the Grammy award winning rap duo, Run the Jewels. He is a political activist whose work leads to empower the black community. In the 2016 election and now, he has been an outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders. He invests in property and owns a barber shop. Killer Mike aims to show the black community how they can find financial security and success outside of sports and music. He has recently produced and released a Netflix series, “Trigger Warning: with Killer Mike.” It is enlightening and HILARIOUS, he is certainly one of the highest ranking entertaining black change makers.
Angela Davis is a writer, activist, educator, and revolutionary. Her work is vast and spans decades. She is known for work in prison abolition, she herself was jailed, accused of participating in a prison outbreak but was later cleared. She has written several books, including a title called, “Women, Race, & Class.” Throughout recent history she has spoke out on major events like the Vietnam War, LGBT rights, the war on terror, and was a co-chair for the @womensmarch on Washington in 2017.