Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez, Bianca Marroquín and Lindsay Mendez are committed to the “sisterhood” of Latinas in the arts, and they are all working hard to encourage young people to pursue creative work. Pictured from left to right: Actresses Lindsay Mendez, Mandy Gonzalez and Bianca Marroquín.
Mandy Gonzalez was a teenager when she sat in her bedroom in Saugus, Calif. and watched the cast of “Rent” perform at the Tony Awards. Watching actress Daphne Rubin-Vega sing “Seasons of Love” made a lasting impression because she was “someone who looked like me… I thought ‘I can do this,’” recounted Gonzalez.
Flash forward to today, and there’s no doubt Gonzalez, who is Mexican and Jewish, has made it in the acting world. She currently plays Angelica in Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton.”
Gonzalez is one of a small group of Hispanic professional theater actors working on Broadway today. Even though Hispanics make up 18.3 percent of the nation’s total population, the first-ever Actors’ Equity Association study of diversity noted that less than 3 percent of its members identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Broadway audiences don’t reflect our country’s diversity, either. A January 2018 report from the Broadway League discovered that Latinos account for only 7.1 percent of theatergoers.
However, Broadway has indeed been inching toward progress in terms of diversity over the years. For example, the original 1979 Broadway production of “Evita” was picketed by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors for not hiring Latino actors to tell a story about Argentinians. But when “Evita” was revived in 2012, it had actors of Latin descent in the two lead roles, among others.
And today, a quick glance at the headshots of performers in “Hamilton” paint an inclusive picture. Aspiring Hispanic performers can also look to multiple Broadway shows for inspiration—there’s Karen Olivo in “Moulin Rouge,” Eva Noblezada in “Hadestown,” and Shireen Pimentel in the upcoming “West Side Story,” to name a few.
Still, many are quick to note there is still a long way to go.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy/Ted Ely/Courtesy of Bianca Marroquín
Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.
Kim Kardashian West is explaining her polarizing Met Gala look. Kim took to Instagram Tuesday to explain the Balenciaga fit and share some BTS photos from the night in her all-black ensemble.
“What’s more American than a T-shirt head to toe?!,” Kim said of the outfit, which she explained fit the night’s theme of “American Independence.” Kim wore a T-shirt dress with an incorporated bodysuit, completed with jersey boots, Pantaleggings, jersey gloves and a mask that covered her entire face, except for her ponytail which stuck out from the back.
In the photos shared to Instagram, Kim showed off some red-carpet pics, her getting-ready process and a few snaps alongside Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, who accompanied Kim at the event.
The look echoed the form-hugging Balenciaga bodysuit she wore while supporting estranged husband, Kanye West, at the second listening event for his new album, Donda. A source told ET, “Even though Kanye is not attending tonight, his presence will be felt on the carpet. It was him who introduced Kim to Demna and was instrumental in the newly formed relationship between her and Balenciaga.”
According to the source, Kim’s look is intended as a new subculture and fashion statement. No logo, no face, but everyone knows it’s her.
“Kanye gave her the courage to push creativity and people’s imagination through art,” the source added. “It’s the ultimate confidence.”
“We deserve multicultural projects. We deserve to see ourselves. Everyone deserves to see themselves, and not just see themselves up there [on the screen] but also behind the scenes too,” shared Primetime Emmy and Grammy winner, Tiffany Haddish.
“You’re entertaining multicultural people. You’re entertaining a nation that is a melting pot. It’s not one thing. We are a melting pot. So, it needs to be that represented by our industry.”
To the critically acclaimed comedian, actress, producer, author, activist and philanthropist, diversity, equity and inclusion are not just buzz words. They are the bedrock and foundation of her career, as well as the legacy she hopes to leave in the world. That fortitude and dedication to service is what made Haddish an easy choice for Professional Woman’s Magazine’s 2021 Wonder Woman of the Year.
It would be hard to go anywhere in the country and find someone unacquainted with Haddish’s work. From her comedy performances and television appearances (Def Comedy Jam, The Carmichael Show and her hit Showtime special Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood) to her New York Times bestselling memoir, The Last Black Unicorn (which debuted at the number 15 spot) and her hit films like Girls Trip, where she starred alongside other greats, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, or Nigh School co-starring with Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish is easily considered one of the most recognizable women in comedy.
Her comedy album, Black Mitzvah, made history as the second time an African American woman has won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album since Whoopi Goldberg in 1986. Her accolades further include hosting the revival of the historic CBS special, Kids Say the Darndest Things, as well as a frequent guest host of the award-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, when fellow comedian Ellen DeGeneres needs to take breaks. She is also a successful entrepreneur as the founder and owner of her own production company, She Ready Productions.
About the Vision
She Ready Productions has been a dream in the making for Haddish, who started her company to make a change, not only in her life, but the lives of as many people as she could. “It was important to me because I wanted to be able to tell our stories the way that I think they should be told, and I wanted to provide jobs for people,” said the star. “I could be that selfish person like, ‘I’m the star. It’s all about me!’ It’s not all about me, and I don’t have all the stories. There are so many stories to be told. I wanted to create a company that is female-run and that is telling our stories and giving opportunities.”
Because the country is currently in a rebuilding phase from the pandemic, especially the entertainment and media industry, Haddish wants to support those who need work and opportunity the most. “The vision is 500 jobs every 3 months for 500 people. That’s my vision,” she said. “Every time we do something, that’s 250, right? So, if I get two projects going at the same time, that’s 500 people working. In my mind, this time next year, 1600 people would have been employed, put their kids through school and paid their rent. In my mind, that’s what I see.”
About the Future
Born to an Eritrean refugee and African American businesswoman in South Central Los Angeles, Haddish grew up in and out of the American foster care system. Her father left when she was very young, thus her mother remarried and had two more girls as well as two boys. When Haddish was nine years old, their mother was in a car crash that her stepfather later admitted to causing, leaving her mother with severe brain damage that caused aggressive and violent changes to her behavior. After that, Haddish became the major caregiver for her siblings until they were temporarily separated in foster care when she turned 12. When she turned 15, their grandmother reunited them once more under her care.
These experiences left a special place in Haddish’s heart for displaced children and those in the foster care system. She has partnered with Living Advantage, a nonprofit that focuses its work on the welfare of foster children, as well as the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp and her own organization, the She Ready Foundation, which facilitates programs for foster youth like the She Ready Internship Program.
When asked about the program, Haddish was effusive. “It’s going actually very good. The kids are learning a lot, and we have these meetings every few weeks, just checking in with them to make sure they have the skills. We’re giving them life skills as well.” She continued, “They’re coming from a place, well, you know where they’re coming from: where I came from. Nobody showed me how to do a lot of things that I wish somebody would have shown me instead of me having to bump my head and figure it out.”
Haddish has often described her formative years and experiences as difficult and without much guidance. From not understanding her body in her early years (and even being hospitalized with toxic shock syndrome at one point) to living in her car during her twenties, Haddish had to learn a lot about life for herself, something she wants to spare the youth in her program. Along with life skills, they are also learning about the entertainment and media industries and how to navigate the business of bringing people joy.
“We’re showing them. We’re giving them the blueprint…they’re talking about their experiences so far…how much they’ve grown and learned. I’m just excited for them. I’m a big believer in Whitney’s song, Greatest Love of All,” Haddish shared while reciting the lyrics, like a poem and a motivational speech. “It is my mantra. Every month, we say this honey! So, that’s what I’m trying to do, and I see it. I see them growing. I see their whole demeanor, their whole energy, changing. I know they are my future. People who know where I come from are about to be running this business, and it just fills my heart up with so much joy.”
About Her Business
So, what comes next for the woman who has starred in at least one profitable blockbuster every year for the past five years, now that she’s adding producing credits to her acting accolades?
“Director,” she said immediately. “And then we’ll go for my doctorate because I want people to call me Dr. Haddish,” she continued. “I just want to hear people call me Dr. Haddish…I would probably get it in communications. A doctor of communicating; I love it.”
But that’s not all. Haddish also plans to publish more books in the future. “Yes, there will be another book coming, sooner than later,” Haddish admitted. “There’s three books coming. One is a memoir that picks up where Black Unicorn left off. There’s a middle-age/YA teen book coming and a children’s book.”
Each book is very different and has a unique focus that you might not expect. “The children’s book is about unicorns,” Haddish said, “and about being comfortable with yourself. The YA book is about my experience going into high school, or junior high I should say. And the memoir is about these last five years.”
“I really focus mostly on adults. I’m a grown up. But I do realize that these kids need something too, and I love them. They love me. I work well with children, and they’re my future. So, I want to give them something that’s going to bring them up…it’s books I wish I could have read when I was a kid.”
Haddish is focused on using her experiences, lessons and unique brand of funny to give the industry a better tomorrow. Ultimately, it’s her goal to help people overcome the same obstacles that she’s had to face, to build the futures they want and experience life with dignity. She wants everyone to know that it all starts with you.
“I want [people] to know that it is important to love yourself. You take care of you first and then take care of everybody else. Don’t ever feel guilty for that.”
Read this story and more fascinating articles in the digital issues here!
Britney Spears and Sam Asghari are ready to say “I do!”
Spears and Asghari announced their engagement on Instagram on Sunday after more than four years of dating.
The singer and actor-fitness enthusiast were first romantically linked after meeting on the set of Spears’ “Slumber Party” music video in 2016.
Spears, 39, and Asghari, 27, shared the happy news on Instagram, and Asghari’s manager Brandon Cohen shared in an additional statement to PEOPLE that he is “proud to celebrate and confirm the engagement.”
“The couple made their long-standing relationship official today and are deeply touched by the support, dedication and love expressed to them,” said Cohen, adding that Spears’ new ring was designed by N.Y.C. jeweler Roman Malayev.
“He couldn’t be happier to be involved and make this one-of-a-kind ring,” added Cohen.
In a sweet video, Spears — who a source tells PEOPLE exclusively is “ecstatic” about the proposal— showed off her new rock with Asghari by her side. “Yes!” she tells Asghari after he asks if she likes her new bling.
The singer has had a year filled with up and downs as she continues to fight to end her 13-year conservatorship.
In August, Spears praised her now-fiancé on Instagram for helping her through the “hardest years” of her life.
“Not only has this cute asshole been with me through the hardest years of my life but he happens to be an extremely good cook 👨🏽🍳!” Spears wrote. “Fast & Furious franchise, don’t miss out on your next star 🌟🏎️👗🤓 !!!!”
An Interpol-issued Red Notice is a global alert to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted. But when a daring heist brings together the top FBI profiler (Dwayne Johnson) and two rival criminals (Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds), there’s no telling what will happen.
The high-flying adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the dance floor, trapped in a secluded prison, into the jungle and, worst of all for them, constantly into each other’s company.
The all star cast is joined by Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopolous. Directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, Skyscraper) and produced by Hiram Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions, Beau Flynn’s Flynn Picture Co. and Thurber’s Bad Version, Inc., Red Notice is a stylish globe-trotting game of cat-and-mouse (and cat).
Britney Spears is one huge step closer to being free. On Sept. 7, Jamie Spears—the star’s father and her conservator for 13 years—filed a petition to end his daughter’s conservatorship altogether, in what her lawyer called “a massive legal victory for Britney Spears, as well as vindication.”
“Recent events related to this conservatorship have called into question whether circumstances have changed to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist,” reads the filing, as seen by People.
“Ms. Spears has told this Court that she wants control of her life back without the safety rails of a conservatorship,” the filing continues. “She wants to be able to make decisions regarding her own medical care, deciding when, where and how often to get therapy. She wants to control the money she has made from her career and spend it without supervision or oversight. She wants to be able to get married and have a baby, if she so chooses. In short, she wants to live her life as she chooses without the constraints of a conservator or court proceeding.”
Jamie Spears had previously agreed to step down as conservator “when the time is right” after initially refusing to step down at all. But for Britney Spears’ lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, this wasn’t enough: The singer’s father should step down immediately, he said.
This new court filing therefore represents a huge leap forward for Britney Spears’ case. “As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the filing continues. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.”
Jamie Spears wanted to step down only if certain financial demands were met, but Rosengart was fully opposed to this settlement. “Having exposed his misconduct and improper plan to hold his daughter hostage by trying to extract a multi-million dollar settlement, Mr. Spears has now effectively surrendered. There is no settlement,” Rosengart told People.
He continued, “To the extent Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, he is incorrect and our investigation into financial mismanagement and other issues will continue.”
Click here to read the full article on Marie Claire.
It’s a good week to be director Nia DaCosta. Not only did her new film, horror flick Candyman, have a spectacular opening weekend, she made history in the process, becoming the first Black female director to debut at No. 1 at the U.S. box office.
Before DaCosta, Ava DuVernay had come the closest to nabbing the top spot, opening at No. 2 in 2018 with A Wrinkle In Time.
Candyman, an update of the classic 1992 horror film of the same name, opened in theaters nationwide on Friday and ended the weekend raking in more than $22 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
DaCosta’s Candyman places the urban legend in contemporary Chicago and stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (previously seen in HBO’s Watchmen) as protagonist Anthony McCoy, an artist whose career aspirations lead him to dangerous places.
DaCosta directed and co-wrote the film with Get Out director Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, one of the executive producers of BlacKkKlansman. Premiering alongside the film was a “social impact initiative,” a campaign created to promote conversation around issues explored in the film, such as gentrification.
Candyman’s box office success and DaCosta’s historic accomplishment are especially impressive given the current climate. Movie theaters are still recovering, as the pandemic drags on. Last year’s lockdowns hit the film industry hard, but as theaters have reopened over the last year with new safety measures in place, industry experts are predicting an eventual comeback.
Next up for DaCosta? She’s joined the Marvel cinematic universe after having signed on last year as director of The Marvels, a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel that’s currently in production, according to Deadline. It’s another history-making move for the 31-year-old director and screenwriter: The Marvels will make her the first Black woman director to sit at the helm of a Marvel movie.
Kelley Flanagan is sharing “some not so good news” with her followers — she’s tested positive for Lyme disease.
The former Bachelor contestant, 29, posted a video on Instagram where she tearfully explains that she’s struggling with the news about her health.
“I’m not having the best day today,” Flanagan said, before sharing that she tested positive for Lyme disease. The reality star said that she suspected that something was off because her body “is so much more sensitive and super reactive to a bunch of things.”
“Two of my brothers have Lyme disease and a lot of their symptoms sounded really similar to me,” she said. “Cause I’ve just always had something off since I was young, and like, really really had to take care of myself.”
Flanagan said that she thinks “this is something that I’ve had maybe for a while,” and she’s partially relieved to have a diagnosis.
“It’s a blessing and a curse because now I can target why I feel off so often but also means several different lifestyle changes and extensive research on how to help/hopefully cure this!” she wrote in the caption. “I know this is going to be tough for me seeing what my brothers have gone through mentally and physically but I’m going to put so much of my time and energy into figuring this out and combatting this.”
Flanagan, crying, said that her diagnosis is “not the end of the world, but it’s definitely going to [lead to] a lot of changes.”
The reality star promised to take her followers “on this journey of me figuring it out.”
“I’m trying to stay positive,” she said.
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Entertainment.
While the talent we see on our TV screens has begun to diversify and characters look more like those of us watching, according to a recent McKinsey & Company study, the film and TV industry remains disproportionately white.
Diversity off-screen is particularly where underrepresentation is most prevalent with less than 6 percent of the writers, directors, and producers of US-produced films being Black.
The McKinsey study found that “fewer Black-led stories get told, and when they are, these projects have been consistently underfunded and undervalued, despite often earning higher relative returns than other properties.” An inequality that persists in this space and costs Hollywood $10 Billion in missed revenue.
In a mostly homogenous industry, multi-platform brands such as Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud are breaking the mold by ensuring that the elevation of Black voices in entertainment are core to its business foundation. With its efforts focused both in front of and behind the camera, LOL sets itself apart from others in the industry by creating one of few spaces where you will find several Black women in comedy and in leadership positions.
At the helm of LOL’s strategy are two leading Black female executives, Thai Randolph (President & COO) and Candice Wilson (Head of Production). Helping to build the network and studio into a multi-platform comedy brand with a global distribution reach of over 200 million consumers. Under their leadership, the company also hit a major milestone of 2.2 billion content views across its portfolio, which includes 22 original series, over 300 original stand-up specials and more.
For these women in power, diversity is more than just a buzzword but a cornerstone of their leadership at LOL. “I think this idea of being diverse by design is really a key differentiator for us,” says Randolph. “We think of diversity not as a goodwill initiative but instead as a key strategic pillar.” Centering Black voices and recognizing its value has proved to be not only profitable for the brand and talent involved, but also key to driving culture and comedy forward.
Grey’s Anatomy became the biggest medical drama since ER when it premiered in 2005. People couldn’t stop talking about it, tuning in to bawl their eyes out over the latest melodramatic episode—and the show is still somehow going strong today.
But turns out that being on one of TV’s biggest shows wasn’t as fun as some may think. Sandra Oh—who left the show in 2014—opens up about the difficulties of Grey’s success and her subsequent rise to fame during a recent appearance on the latest segment of Sunday Today With Willie Geist.
Before Grey’s, Oh’s biggest role was in Oscar-winning Sideways, starring as wine pourer Stephanie. The year after the hit indie film came out, Oh received her first TV starring role as Cristina Yang. When Geist asks what dealing with that immense fame was like, Oh doesn’t hold back. “To be perfectly honest, it was traumatic,” she says. “The reason why I’m saying that is the circumstances you need to do your work is with a lot of privacy. So when one loses one’s anonymity, you have to build skills to still try and be real. I went from not being able to go out, hiding in restaurants, to then being able to manage attention, manage expectation, while not losing the sense of self.”
Oh credits her “good therapist” for helping her navigate the fame and her loss of “anonymity.” She also adds, “I’m not joking, it’s very, very important. You just have to work at finding your way to stay grounded. And a lot of times it’s by saying no.” And it looks like a lot has improved in Oh’s way of handling fame. Since leaving Grey’s, Oh’s found success with another hit TV series: Killing Eve, that also has a fervent fanbase. She’s also the star of Netflix’s limited series The Chair, where she plays Ji-Yoon Kim, a professor who becomes the first woman of color appointed as the chair of the English department at the fictional Pembroke University.
Elizabeth Olsen has her fellow Avenger’s back. The actress lent her support to her former co-star Scarlett Johansson, who is currently suing Disney.
The WandaVision star spoke with Vanity Fair about the effects COVID-19 has had on theatrical releases in a joint interview with Jason Sudeikis published Friday. Commenting on Johansson’s recent lawsuit, Olsen said, “I think she’s so tough and literally when I read that I was like, ‘Good for you Scarlett.’”
She explained, “When it comes to actors and their earnings, I mean, that’s just, that’s just all contracts. So it’s either in the contract or it’s not.”
After the release of Marvel’s Black Widow, Johansson sued the studio’s parent company, claiming that her contract was breached when the film was made available on Disney+’s Premium Access tier the same day it hit theaters. The actress earns bonuses when Black Widow reaches certain box office performance figures, and, in the lawsuit, Johansson’s team claims Disney sacrificed the movie’s box office potential to grow its streaming service.
Click here to read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.