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As long as our culture refuses to hold the Depps of the world accountable, there will always be women like Heard who will be tasked with watching their abusers prosper.

[TW/CW: discussion of domestic violence, rape culture and mentions of sexual assault.] New York Magazine's July 27th, 2015 cover is still as harrowing as it is iconic. Just beneath the bold red lettering of the publication's moniker are 35 women—the victims of Bill Cosby's serial sexual abusedressed in black and seated calmly in their chairs. The uniformity of their open poses and solemn, forward-facing expressions portray a shared preparation for public scrutiny, a feeling all too familiar to anyone who has ever spoken aloud of the abuse they have suffered. Seeing these women congregate in one image is an impactful sight on its own, but the standout element for many of us sits at the end of the last row: an empty chair. It remains unoccupied by all of the women who, despite the presence of nearly three dozen fellow survivors, still didn't feel supported enough to tell their stories. That doubt something that so many silent survivors harboris substantiated by a society that not only continues to interrogate, mock, and ultimately gaslight victims of abuse, but also protects their abusers when they are especially powerful or popular. Johnny Depp is an immensely popular actor. When he and actress Amber Heard divorced in 2016, Heard detailed for the court a history of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Depp. Her testimony included pictures of her bruised face and a detailed witness account from a friend who had to physically shield Heard from Depp's assault. When his legal team claimed that Heard's accusations were false and motivated by possible financial gain, she promised to donate her entire settlement$7 millionto charity.
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When I found myself as the victim within an abusive relationship, one that was marred by queerness, blackness, and a profoundly turbulent love resonating between the two of us, I was stunned into submission.

[TW/CW: descriptions of emotional abuse and physical violence.] Last month while sitting in a smoke lounge on the westside of Atlanta, a friend leaned over to speak directly into my left ear, trying to whisper under the music. “Speak in my other ear, I’m partially deaf in that ear,” I said, as I have to often. “Wait, really? I didn’t know that.” She responded. “Why are you deaf in that ear?” Such a simple question leads me to the painfully uncomfortable conversation, by which I spend several minutes thinking to myself how to tell her, or even if I should tell her, that I am deaf because I used to date a super villain. And he beat the shit out of me. The first time it happened, he left my right cheek with a red tint over brown skin; an awkward silence dwelt within our kitchen in that moment. He no longer looked quite like an honest man, especially the man I’d fallen in love with, rather he resembled one of the grotesque villains I’d watch my favorite cartoon characters fight when I was a child, The Joker maybe. “Why did you embarrass me in front of my friends?” he would say, then a push, one strong enough to knock me off my balance and onto my knees. “I didn’t mean to,” I’d reply, not even remembering what I did wrong in the first place. I would say whatever to make the moments when the super villain was in my kitchen stop, or at least slow down. I thought I was seeing past it, always telling myself it was my fault, blaming myself for the speed and the force with which I was hit. The thoughts that raced through my mind this time were fleeting embarrassments and angering confusions that left our kitchen in an awkward silence for a moment: this wasn’t normal, this doesn’t happen to our kind; these types of violences are surely rare for us, and I’m now feeling as if I am a part of an anomaly within a sea of already demonized love. Here I was months deep into a love which was once all power and puff, now saying and doing whatever I could to defuse a situation I thought I was to blame for. When I found myself as the victim within an abusive relationship, one that was marred by queerness, blackness, and a profoundly turbulent love resonating between the two of us, I was stunned into submission. The person whom I was giving so much to, and borrowing so much from, became the very person who made a mess of me; the one who swore he wanted to build a nest up high with me began clipping my wings.
Related: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ABUSE IN QUEER RELATIONSHIPS

For Tiffany Haddish to make light of Cosby’s wrongdoing is nothing short of disappointing. The situation is no laughing matter.

By Jessica Dulaney Fresh off the release of the hit film Girls Trip, comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish has been charming audiences around the world while working the press circuit. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to gush about her escapades with her co-star Jada Pinkett Smith; she was featured on The Breakfast Club to share her story of surviving domestic abuse and poverty to help raise her younger siblings and she dazzled on a recent cover of Essence magazine. Suffice it to say Haddish has been glowing in this newfound spotlight. Throughout her promotion for Girls Trip, Haddish has proven herself to be hilarious, down-to-earth, and downright likable. Celebrated as the breakout star of the film, she seems poised to take over Hollywood as the new comedic it-girl. However, a disturbing answer to a routine interview question now threatens to erode her newfound good graces in the eyes of the public. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times released last week, Haddish outlined her unlikely path to fame from foster care to comedy camp to sitcom scenes. She was one of eighteen black women comedians interviewed about their careers and the state of the industry. When asked to name some of her comedic inspirations, Haddish took an unexpected turn with her comments and named–of all people–Bill Cosby. For those out of the loop, in the past year, nearly sixty women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault. Cosby himself has admitted to extramarital affairs that included the non-consensual use of Quaaludes. While the court case ended in mistrial, the Cosby controversy is far from over, and the world is still reeling from the horrific revelation of a formerly beloved icon’s true character.
Related: CAPING FOR CHRIS BROWN WON’T MAKE HIM LOVE YOU

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