It's National Nurses Week, a time for recognizing the amazing work nurses do and the innovations, issues, and challenges they face in the healthcare industry. Nurses have been impacted tremendously by the complications and demands of the job, especially in minority communities that are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 fallout. Research shows that there are almost 4.2 million registered nurses in the U.S. and more than 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners. Black people make up the second-largest group of minorities in the field, at 6.7%.
And, while a global shortage of nurses has been widely talked about and reported (and there are indeed major issues in the industry related to burnout, salary inequities, and barriers to career advancement for Black nurses in particular), a U.S.-based study last year found that 81% of nurses indicated they have job satisfaction and, despite the challenges of a boom in demand during the pandemic, they planned to remain at their jobs.
Social media is always an ideal platform as a way to build community, highlight the challenges, and even provide a bit of hilarious workday relief, so check out a few influencers you need to add to your follow lists on Instagram and TikTok who are giving voice to Black women in nursing. (And even if you're not in the field, much of their content is relatable to almost anyone.)
This mom of four offers a great mix of humor, beauty, and smarts that is both informative and entertaining. Her platform is a refreshing look at defining career balance as a nurse on your own terms.
@ieshachataun One and done #agencynurse#fyp#nurselife#nursehumor#nursesoftiktok♬ original sound - Jane Dowden
This nurse offers funny takes on everyday scenarios nurses face in the workplace, as well as snippets of her life as a wife and mom who takes time out for self-care and enjoyment.
She challenges her tribe to "level up" via advancing education in nursing and offers tips for those pursuing degrees in the field. From encouragement on writing papers and working while in school, you'll definitely find a safe space for getting through that degree program.
@mylifeassugar_ No ma'am/sir, it's time to go!!!! #nursingjokes#nursesugar#nursetoks#nursingfyp♬ original sound - TY FOR 10K!!!
Her name says it all, and she's a Nigerian-American nurse who represents for the culture and the best of the industry. Funny, clever, and informative, her TikTok posts (as well as those on Instagram) are for anyone who might need a quick laugh and release during work, no matter what your industry might be.
She's all about inclusion and diverse reflections of those who work in the nursing industry. On top of that, she represents for those who work in psychiatric and mental healthcare, adding more to the narrative in terms of resources and tips via fun videos.
Career flexibility, negotiating contracts, and getting to the bag are major themes this influencer focuses on via Instagram and her web platform, encouraging women to take back their peace and follow purpose in the healthcare field.
Her mini-vlogs about how it feels to walk in her shoes during a shift are both relatable and refreshing to watch, and she intermixes travel and luxury lifestyle content on her Instagram that's just as engaging.
She's a New York-based nurse whose giving comedy Reel-ness on IG, and we're here for it. From topics related to shift assignments to quips about workplace culture, you'll definitely get the humor fix you need with her page.
@lo_ashley Reply to @edevine6 #nurse#nursesoftiktok#lpn#rn#nurselife#studentnurse#nursingstudent♬ original sound - Lo_ashley
This nurse has a tell-it-like-it-is vibe that will remind you of your smart Biology class bestie in college who wouldn't let you give up or drop out, or the workplace bestie who makes the shift that much less stressful and long. Get tips on balancing nursing school obligations with home life as well as real-world insights on salary and education.
@thebougienurse Psych ED & Medical ED, I dont want NO 💨 #psychnurse#ednurse#icunurse#travelnurse#nursesoftiktok#nursetok#nursesoftiktok#nursetok#studentnurse#nursingstudent#nursingschool#ednurse#BigComfy#EasyWithAdobeExpress#viral♬ original sound - AngelBae😚
A TikTok video of her deep conditioning her hair under her work bonnet went viral, and there's more where that came from in the humor and entertainment department. She also gets serious about dispelling myths about the industry, advocating for Black women in nursing and highlighting the challenges they face.
Can't do a list like this without this influencer. While she doesn't post a lot about the nursing industry, she has a delish platform, That Nurse Can Cook, where she offers Caribbean recipes and meal-making how-tos. The wife and mom of two balances building her ever-expanding culinary business with her commitment to her nursing work.
All of these Black women are just a few of the thousands who serve millions of patients, playing important roles as the true heartbeat of the healthcare system. We salute all nurses this week and beyond!
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30 Years Later: Here's Why I Think 'Living Single' Had The Healthiest Couples On TV
I don’t know about (some of) y’all but every time that I see a 90s movie or television program turn the Big 30 (or hell, even 20, for that matter), it definitely makes me feel some type of way. Lawd, where does the time go? Truly. And I definitely don’t feel any differently about Living Single — the show that, for starters, we all know Friends should attribute at least 75 percent of its success to since it basically gypped its entire concept from it. (Don’t get me started! Just know that you can read more about that very thing here, here, here, here, and here).
Anyway, there is so much to adore about the sitcom, even as it (rightfully so) plays in heavy rerun rotation to this day. There are the solid friendships between four Black women who remind me, interestingly enough, of the four hilarious seniors fromThe Golden Girls: Khadijah could easily be Dorothy; Synclaire would be Rose; Max would be Sophia, and Regine would be Blanche (wild, right?). There’s the beautiful friendship between their male sidekick neighbors, Kyle and Overton (Black male bonds are also a very precious and necessary thing). There are the relevant storylines, quick wit, and the kind of entertainment that most television shows today can’t even begin to touch (le sigh). Yeah, Living Single deserves all of the flowers to the point where I’m still pissed that it was canceled in the middle of its fifth season (although, thankfully, many questions were actually answered in the last episode).
Yet, even with all of this said, if I had to name my absolute favorite thing about the show, hands down, it’s the fact that when I stop and think of all of the shows that I’ve watched over the years (and it’s been a lot of them), Living Single is one where I think that every main love connection was pretty damn healthy. Not only that, but there is one couple, in particular, who I think a lot of folks could stand to learn how to love well and right from (heads up, it’s probably not the one you think).
So, in honor of the show being 30, humor me as I take just a few minutes to formally and officially shout out a few reasons why, when it comes to displaying Black love and hell, love in general, Living Single set the bar, raised it and then added tax — thirty years ago and present day.
Khadijah and ScooterGiphy
I like getting t-shirts made with pics of some of my favorite Black love couples. For instance, I recently got one done with Jesse and Angie on it (the real ones know who they are); folks always compliment me when I wear it.
There’s one couple, in particular, though, who’s been triggering the mess outta me for the past several months. It’s because, although I crown them as the healthiest fictional couple in television history (Black or otherwise), it’s hard as hell to find any good shots of them. Yep, that would be Khadijah (Queen Latifah) and Scooter (Cress Williams).
They were childhood friends who stayed friends. They always wanted what was best for each other. They didn’t let really good sex (remember their first time when Khadijah said, “We started kissing, and my clothes fell off!”) infect their friendship. Even when they got engaged, they broke it off because they knew that, even though the love was there, they were doing it (at the time) for the wrong reasons. They supported each other’s careers. Scooter was not threatened by Khadijah’s ambition (or other boyfriends; remember when she was about to move in with ole’ boy and Scooter was basically like, “I mean, I did pop in unannounced. My bad.”) Yet, he was also confident enough to tell her about herself sometimes (because if there’s one thing she hated, it was receiving correction and giving apologies).
On the flip side, when Scooter had to travel away for long periods of time, she didn’t put unrealistic restrictions on him. They both just kind of let each other be and allowed their love for one another to exist — even if it had to change different forms in different seasons of their lives. Their love was so full, real, and special that I truly believe that if Fox hadn’t “foxed” the show (SMDH), they would’ve gotten married — and had a really solid and drama-less union. Because the relationship was about freedom, respect, and friendship. And that is healthy as hell, y’all.
Yeah, HANDS DOWN, they are the cream of the crop when it comes to relationships to me. Who gives AF about Rachel and Ross (from Friends)? Khadijah and Scooter have always run crop circles around them in my eyes, chile.
Synclaire and OvertonGiphy
I already know that most of y’all probably think that I should’ve led with Synclaire (Kim Coles) and Overton (John Henton) since they were definitely the most popular couple on the show (again, I had to go with my personal favorite, though) — and with just cause.
All of the “day ones” remember that the first episode of Living Single featured Overton seeing Synclaire for the first time and instantly being drawn to her and her quirkiness (like that big ass troll doll that she rolled up to the brownstone with). He pined away silently for what seemed like forever as he was low-key courting her in the process (like when he faked being an accounting expert just to spend time with her). When they finally did get together, Synclaire and Overton took their time before having sex and yet were super affectionate and doting on one another in the meantime; this serves as a great reminder that intimacy doesn’t have to require copulation. They openly communicated their needs and expectations. They shared a liking for some of the strangest stuff around.
Overton had a way of being protective yet supportive of Synclaire (like when she was naked in that play), while Synclaire had his back when it came to things like resolving matters with his ex (remember when he kissed his ex and realized he was really over her? Classic). Something else that was cool about Synclaire and Overton is you saw dating go to courting, courting go to engagement, and engagement go to a traditional church wedding. They were sweet. They were old-fashioned (without being super critical of the other couples). They were adorable. They had a not-perfect-yet-very-uncomplicated kind of love. And isn’t it grand to be reminded that Black love can be just that way?
Synclaire and Overton are the kind of relationship that a lot of us probably imagine our great-grandparents had back in the day. And if anyone on this list is probably still together with some grandkids who also have troll dolls and tool belts for toys, it would be them. No question.
Maxine and KyleGiphy
These two right here, boy. Definitely, the couple who was the most fun and entertaining to watch consisted of Maxine (Erika Alexander) and Kyle (TC Carson). And can we take a moment to shout out the trendsetting hairstyles Maxine had and how intentional Kyle was about tailoring his outfits? Salute. Anyway, if any two people are an example that constant banter can indeed be foreplay, they would be it.
The clap backs were top-tier (and daily), and yet, there was a brilliance in their timing and delivery that makes them ending up together (eventually) make a ton of sense. Come to think of it, that’s what I liked the most about them — the way they let life mature some things in them both. When they had sex for the first time, they went on a date and realized (I think it was more Max’s fear than anything at the time) that good chemistry and great sex do not automatically make a solid relationship (which is mature as hell).
When they tried having just a sexual relationship (because the sex was so good), they were careful not to let it ruin their, I’m not sure if it was exactly a friendship (LOL), yet they were definitely solid advocates of one another. Even when tinges of jealousy would rear their ugly head (like when Kyle brought a woman, played by Kenya Moore, on a date), they were self-aware enough to reel it in, and when it came time for Kyle to leave for London (check out the backstory on why TC Carson actually left the show early here), even though he wanted Max to come with him, they didn’t “fairy tale” their journey. Kyle went on with his life, and Max went on with hers. Hey, it happens. Even with great sex and chemistry…to some, it happens.
Yet the best part about these two is how the universe has a way of making sure people who are meant to be have ample opportunities to accept that fact. And while it is a little wild to spin the story to where Max goes to a sperm bank and the sperm she gets is Kyle’s — I do adore that she ended up pregnant at a time when both of them appeared to be ready for a baby and a relationship together. Finally, there was full-circle peace — still loads of banter-foreplay but also a ton of peace. Well played.
Regine and Darryl
Okay. If y’all are true fans of the show, then you know that a fun fact is Regine (played by Kim Fields, who also left the show early; read why here) and Kyle dated briefly — which makes them another healthy couple when you stop to think about it because going from dating to a very sweet brother and sister dynamic? That doesn’t happen every day. And while some of you might be surprised that I didn’t go with fine ass Keith (Khalil Kain), Dexter (Don Franklin), who she ended up getting engaged to, or even the Jamaican writer Russell (Shaun Baker), who always got her to shimmy and who she said was a great kisser…I think there is another romantic connection she had who topped them all: Darryl, who was played by the late and great Heavy D — the ONLY celebrity who, to this day, I can personally say that I haven’t heard one negative thing about whether it was during his life or it was after his death.
Clearly, their relationship wasn’t super long-lasting because I couldn’t even find a GIF for it like I did for the others. Doesn’t matter, though. Darryl was a blue-collar brotha with a heart of gold, a strong sense of spirituality, a profound way of looking at life, and a comfortableness in his skin that actually got Regine out of a lot of her superficialness and materialism — and that deserves a lot of props all on its own. And because he taught Regine to look past the surface, even when they did break up, they continued having a deep respect for one another. So much, in fact, that when Regine found out that Darryl’s bride-to-be, Tina (Vivica A. Fox) was screwing around, she made sure to tell him because that’s how much she still cared for him. Beautiful.
Regine and Darryl are reminders that sometimes people come along to “refine our rough edges” so that we’ll be ready for who our “forever” is actually supposed to be. And yes, that deserves its own round of applause.
Can you tell that I watched Living Single more than a lil’ bit? Indeed and with no regrets, especially these days. Because sometimes, as I’m flipping through channels and I can hear my own self say, “TV really does hate my people” (which is another message for another time), it’s nice to see throwbacks that are full of integrity, humor and yes, healthy Black love. And as you can see, one that was in excellence is Living Single, for sure.
So, from the very bottom of my heart and with oodles of appreciation — Happy 30th, Khadijah and Scooter, Synclaire and Overton, Max and Kyle, Regine and Darryl. You will always be necessary…because healthy Black love always is.
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