“Everyone else is making funds off Henrietta’s cells. I am sure my grandmother is up in heaven saying, ‘Well, what about my family?'" - Ron Lacks
A modern spin on the Hottentot Venus, the story of Henrietta Lacks gained widespread public attention with the publication of bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which told the story of Ms. Lacks' biological cells. Taken from her when she died of cervical cancer in 1951, Ms. Lacks' cells were the first to live outside the body in a glass tube and quickly became the most widely used human cells in science. One problem: no one ever told the Lacks family that her cells were being used. Ms. Lacks' son will file legal action in the coming weeks.
This case isn't just about the overdue compensation, but is a strong reflection of the exposure, exploitation and commodification of the African American female and her body.