You’re about to enter the #TeamMeghan zone

Even though I’m not obsessed with the Royal family, I’ll be tuning in to Oprah’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

If you’re looking for me this Sunday, you can find me in front of a screen watching Oprah’s exclusive primetime interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry while I inhale bowls of Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn with the voracity of a Shark Rocket DeluxePro and squint my eyes every time Queen O asks a question in a tone that makes it sound more profound than it probably is. I’ve never been particularly obsessed with the minutiae of the Royal Family, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem like pleasant enough people. And I stan a man who defends his partner against attacks — even if they’re from his own family.

I also have empathy and grace in spades for Markle, as she navigates a relentless stream of racism and microaggressions from Buckingham Palace and the British press. Just yesterday, a British journalist dismissed claims that his critiques of Markle were unmotivated by her skin color: “Oh God, that one again!” he said. “I never look at her and think, ‘Gosh she’s Black!’ in the way you look at Oprah Winfrey, you would be in no doubt.” Oh yeah, he’s definitely not a racist. And Lee Brown at Page Six reports today that British politicians are against the interview even airing due to the hospitalization of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Phillip. “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the [British monarchy] is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle said in a clip shared by CBS. Talk that talk, Meghan! 

I’m ready for my Fauci ouchie: My parents and sister received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine this week. Meanwhile, I’m waiting on New York City to text me my appointment date when all everyone here wants to talk about is how toxic our governor is. It seems like I’m not alone either, as vaccine FOMO is on the rise. Allie Volpe at VICE News found that waiting our turn especially sucks “due to the reality of the pandemic, where rich and powerful people were the first to receive access to testing, adequate masks and now, occasionally, vaccines.” When I finally get my call, I may follow the cues of these folks who are dressing up for their Fauci Ouchi: “I have my outfit ready for my vaccine on Sunday,” Yvonne Moore, a Brooklyn-based blogger tweeted. “I am going to be so extra. It’s deserved.” I know that’s right.

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The Democrats’ scarcity could backfire come next year’s midterms: Last week, the House passed the Biden Administration’s $1.9 pandemic rescue plan, which includes $1,400 direct payments to the majority of U.S. households. Now, the legislation is in the Senate where it’s likely to also pass before heading to President Biden’s desk but here’s the rub: a handful of moderate Democrats, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, have persuaded the White House to strip 12 million adults and five million kids of relief by narrowing the eligibility threshold for the rescue checks — for no apparent reason. (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is convinced that a $1,400 check is so lucrative people won’t want to ever work again. It’d be funny if he weren’t serious.) The Manchin pay cut, as it’s been dubbed on Twitter, guarantees Democrats will send fewer and less generous checks than the T**** administration did and gain the US treasury $12 billion for the cost of denying a sizable share of potential 2022 voters. As for the bill itself? It’s just 0.63 percent cheaper with the eligibility restrictions. From Kaylen Ralph at Teen Vogue: “I wish [President Biden] would [go big]. And I mean go really big — big enough to actually fail, to piss off the Republicans who don’t care about poor people, to jettison his own political reputation as a sensible moderate to fight for those who are suffering.” Me too, Kaylen. Me too.

Black-owned doesn’t mean Black only: There’s been a lot of attention paid to the gap between the economic value Black creators receive for their work versus their white counterparts. Matter of fact, last month I wrote about how beauty retailer Sephora’s 2021 class of its Accelerate incubator program features a cohort comprised exclusively of founders of color for the first time and represented “the gold standard for consumer brands” to make good on their promise to provide marginalized creators with the education, relationships and access we need to sustain our businesses. But as Dhani Mau at Fashionista found, “the persistent emphasis on Blackness on the part of press and retailers can be frustrating” for founders “who want consumers to understand their products are for everyone. This is due in part to how Black-owned brands are merchandised: On dedicated lists or in sections of a website or retail store instead of integrated into the overall inventory. “While the objective may have been to make it easier for shoppers to identify and support those brands, a potential downside is the messaging that those products aren't for everyone.” It’s also another instance of white supremacy’s “separate-but-equal” legacy.

Save The Date

On March 22, my friends at the On Deck Writer Fellowship are hosting Drafted, a free day-long writing and learning event designed to be everything that makes ODW great. Join me at noon EST for a crash course on how to write a daily newsletter or blog with confidence, clarity and consistency and tell all the writers in your life to sign up too! It’ll be time well spent, I promise.

An ad-friendlier News Feed may be on the horizon: From Garett Sloane at Ad Age: “Facebook is slowly moving forward with a brand safety test that advertisers say will have drastic implications for the future of content and ad delivery in its most highly trafficked real estate—News Feed.” An executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sloane that the experiment will enable advertisers to avoid categories like social issues, news and politics and crime and tragedy. Facebook and its ad-supported business have found itself under intensifying scrutiny from activists, politicians and journalists for its unwillingness to fact-check political ads or reveal the inner workings of its algorithms. But advertisers love the app because, as I wrote on Monday, “Facebook ads are not only cheaper than the TV or print variety but they’re also more targeted since the company can parse several data points that organize audiences into unique segments with laser-like precision.” I’m curious if the News Feed will downrank posts within the aforementioned categories since they’re now less likely to be monetized. A Facebook spokesperson referred me to a blog post from January announcing the program when The Supercreator asked the company to confirm the experiment.

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Michael’s Picks: The Weekend Edition

  • This book is a hilarious and heart-warming reminder to shake the table and bring all of who you are to every room you enter

  • I’m looking forward to an at-home spa day with this five-star cleansing and exfoliating brush.

  • I’ve never met a premium knit with an abstract print that I didn’t like. This checkered sweater is no exception.