Lucy Liu in WashPost Opinions: My success has helped move the needle. But it’ll take more to end 200 years of Asian stereotypes.
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Lucy Liu in white dress smiling with a purple background drop

Lucy Liu, award-winning actress, director and visual artist, writes in Washington Post Opinions: When I was growing up, no one on television, in movies, or on magazine covers looked like me or my family. The closest I got was Jack Soo from “Barney Miller,” George Takei of “Star Trek” fame, and most especially the actress Anne Miyamoto from the Calgon fabric softener commercial.

Here was a woman who had a sense of humor, seemed strong and real, and had no discernible accent. She was my kid hero, even if she only popped up on TV for 30 seconds at random times.

As a child, my playground consisted of an alleyway and a demolition site, but even still, my friends and I jumped rope, played handball and, of course, reenacted our own version of “Charlie’s Angels”; never dreaming that some day I would actually become one of those Angels.

I feel fortunate to have “moved the needle” a little with some mainstream success, but it is circumscribed, and there is still much further to go. Progress in advancing perceptions on race in this country is not linear; it’s not easy to shake off nearly 200 years of reductive images and condescension.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

Excerpts:

  • Recently, a Teen Vogue op-ed examining how Hollywood cinema perpetuates Asian stereotypes highlighted O-Ren Ishii, a character I portrayed in “Kill Bill,” as an example of a dragon lady: an Asian woman who is “cunning and deceitful … [who] uses her sexuality as a powerful tool of manipulation, but often is emotionally and sexually cold and threatens masculinity.” “Kill Bill” features three other female professional killers in addition to Ishii. Why not call Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox or Daryl Hannah a dragon lady? I can only conclude that it’s because they are not Asian. I could have been wearing a tuxedo and a blond wig, but I still would have been labeled a dragon lady because of my ethnicity. If I can’t play certain roles because mainstream Americans still see me as Other, and I don’t want to be cast only in “typically Asian” roles because they reinforce stereotypes, I start to feel the walls of the metaphorical box we AAPI women stand in.
  • Hollywood frequently imagines a more progressive world than our reality; it’s one of the reasons “Charlie’s Angels” was so important to me. As part of something so iconic, my character Alex Munday normalized Asian identity for a mainstream audience and made a piece of Americana a little more inclusive. Asians in America have made incredible contributions, yet we’re still thought of as Other. We are still categorized and viewed as dragon ladies or new iterations of delicate, domestic geishas — modern toile. These stereotypes can be not only constricting but also deadly.
  • The man who killed eight spa workers in Atlanta, six of them Asian, claimed he is not racist. Yet he targeted venues staffed predominantly by Asian workers and said he wanted to eliminate a source of sexual temptation he felt he could not control. This warped justification both relies on and perpetuates tropes of Asian women as sexual objects. This doesn’t speak well for AAPIs’ chances to break through the filters of preconceived stereotypes, much less the possibility of overcoming the insidious and systemic racism we face daily. How can we grow as a society unless we take a brutal and honest look at our collective history of discrimination in America? It’s time to Exit the Dragon.
Brits 2021: Taylor Swift to become first female winner of global icon award
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Taylor Swift pictured wearing red lips while looking at the camera with her hair up

By Mark Savage, BBC

Pop star Taylor Swift is to become the first female winner of the Global Icon award at the Brits on Tuesday. She will also be the first non-British recipient of the prize, which the Brits characterise as their highest honour.

Only three other artists have been named Brits Icons – Sir Elton John, David Bowie and Robbie Williams. Swift is not expected to perform at the ceremony, which will take place with an audience as part of the government’s pilot scheme for live events.

About 4,000 people will attend the show at London’s O2 arena – about one fifth of the venue’s capacity. More than half of the tickets have been given to key workers from greater London.

Hosted for a fourth time by Jack Whitehall, the show will open with a performance from Coldplay.

Other performers on the night include Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Olivia Rodgrigo and Headie One.

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man will also play his latest single Anywhere Away From Here, accompanied by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir.

Swift could walk away with two prizes on the night. She is also nominated for international female solo artist, an award she previously won in 2015.

Her competition in that category comes from Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Cardi B and Miley Cyrus.

Announcing her Global Icon prize, the Brits said: “Taylor’s career is unparalleled and her music and influence has resonated with millions of people all over the world.

“She’s used her platform to highlight many issues globally and recently has been applauded for her work promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”

Click here to read the full article on BBC New.

Asia-Latinos, More Than Allies – Breaking Intersectionality by Activating the Word Inclusion
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Woman in black jacket and pants smiling sitting on stairs

Has anyone ever given you “the look,” laughed at your accent, or criticized you for the way you mix your adjectives and adverbs?

If so, welcome to the club! Have you been asked if your father catches flies with chopsticks, if you know karate, or to lay low and wait for your turn—also known as “The Asian Ricepaper-ceiling” (referring to the term “Glass-ceiling”)? If so, then welcome to the other club! These examples are just is a small sample of the intersectionality some of us live daily.

The labels we typically use—background, age, gender, religion, interests, and preferences—are helpful when viewed as assets or positive differentiators. However, some people use them as discrimination flags, another excuse to show bias, intolerance, and sometimes even hatred. We can control part of this usage, and there is a part out of our control. To stop the negative impact, we must change our mindset and direct our actions towards real inclusion.

Inclusion is a verb. And the opposite of inclusion is disadvantage.

We’ve all heard in the news and social media that our Asian communities across the country continue to be attacked by intolerant and disrespectful individuals (to name them respectfully). As we know, this is not new! This has been happening for years. We hear about it now because the aggression has become harsher and the lack of action from authorities is more evident. The most recent case I watched was a woman attacked outside a hotel, and the most devastating part was not the action itself but the fact that two guards watched and didn’t do anything. It’s outrageous.

Any attack—verbal or worse—happening to anyone in front of us, regardless of who they are, becomes our issue. When a crime occurs in front of you, and you do nothing, you are an accomplice. The only way to change the current situation is to stand strong, side by side, with our Asian brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances. Let’s activate the word inclusion through these three actions:

• Educate – Research, read, ask, learn about history. Study topics from immigration to culture and traditions to understand who Asian Americans are, which countries they represent, and their contributions to our amazing country. As St. Augustin said in the year 399, “You can only defend what you love, and only love what you know.”

• Unite – Become an ally of other communities, introduce them to others, embrace their cultures, and defend their right to their traditions and beliefs. You can’t achieve this goal from afar; it has to be from within. Participate, hold hands, wear their T-shirt (Note: I am still looking for some Asia-Latinos to help me create a MeetUp or Club in ClubHouse).

• Represent – Get involved in the conversation. Defend someone when you witness injustice. Help develop future leaders and participate in Asian-rights marches. Invite them to your meetings. Be heard by writing articles, speaking on podcasts, raising your hand. In short, activate your good intentions.

I am a proud Asia-Latina! I’m proud of my roots! I’m proud of my ancestry! I resolutely refuse to walk the streets in fear. We need you, Latina, Latino, Hispanic, LatinX, Latin@, to help our Asian communities fight for their rights, their rights for freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not the time to be just an observer or a cheerleader. We need you to step up and lend a hand, speak up and protect each other, take action.

We have done it under the motto, “Si se puede.” We know how to do it. Now it’s our turn to become true allies of the Asian community, and together, stand up, get on, and stay strong.

About Minué Yoshida

Minué Yoshida is a multicultural speaking coach. She is a half Mexican- half Japanese multilingual entrepreneur and author, whose mission is to help people discover who they are, what they are capable of, embrace their powers with bravery, and leave an impact in the world. Through her coaching and consulting services, both in Fortune 100 Companies and her International Consulting Business, she enables those who are ready to get to the next level, whether this is breaking the glass ceiling at the top or launching their own businesses. Minué is the Co-Founder of Yoshida Academy for Leadership Skills, Excellence and Personal Transformation, expanding their services to a wide audience in the USA and Worldwide. www.yoshidaconsulting.com

Stacey Abrams is Re-Releasing Three of Her Romance Novels
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Stacey Abrams standing in front of a microphone stand while smiling away from the camera.

By , Vulture

Get ready to swoon. Berkley, a Penguin Random House imprint, is rereleasing three Stacey Abrams romantic suspense novels that have been out of print for many years. Originally published under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion will be out in hardcover and audio in 2022. According to a release, each of these novels, which were her first published books, features “international espionage, page-turning action, a core love story, Black heroines, and a diverse cast of characters.”

While the Democratic political leader and Team Spike fan has since written bestsellers on topics from voter suppression to leadership, she has never shied away from her romance-novelist roots. “As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I’d wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting. As Selena and as Stacey, I am proud to be a part of the romance-writing community and excited that Berkley is reintroducing these stories for new readers and faithful fans.”

Click here to read the full article on Vulture.

Billie Eilish to make history at the 2021 Met Gala as youngest-ever co-host
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Billie Eilish strikes a pose at the 2020 Oscars in an all Chanel outfit

By Hannah Southwick, Page Six

Billie Eilish is continuing to set records everywhere she goes.

The “Everything I Wanted” hitmaker, 19, will co-host the 2021 Met Gala, making history as the youngest co-chair in the history of the hallowed event.

Vogue gushed about the trendsetting teen in their announcement on Monday, writing, “Eilish’s willingness to embrace an aesthetic as innovative as her music has pushed emerging brands into the limelight and challenged old rules about how a pop star should dress.”

The Grammy winner will share her hosting duties with tennis star Naomi Osaka and, as Page Six exclusively reported, both Timothée Chalamet and poet Amanda Gorman.

“Each of the Met’s four co-hosts embodies the defining factor of American style: individualism,” Vogue shared, adding that the group has “developed a distinct visual language for their public personas, one that is informed by the legacy of iconic fashion made in the USA.”

Sources previously told us that CFDA chairman Tom Ford had been approached for a hosting role. Alongside Anna Wintour and Instagram head Adam Mosseri, Ford is set to serve as an honorary chair.

As we first revealed last month, this year’s glamorous gala will follow an “American Independence” theme.

After last year’s Met Gala was cancelled due to the pandemic, Vogue postponed the 2021 ball to September 13 in lieu of its typical timing on the first Monday of May.

And since Labor Day falls on the first Monday of September, Vogue is breaking with the first-of-the-month tradition entirely.

“Even Anna Wintour can’t change a federal holiday,” an insider previously told us.

The accompanying Met exhibit, featuring clothing from the 18th century to today, will open in two parts. “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” is set to start on September 18, 2021, while part two, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” opens on May 5, 2022.

Click here to read the full article on Page Six.

Vanessa Bryant launches clothing line in honor of late daughter Gianna
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Vanessa Bryant and her eldest daughter wearing the tie dye sweat suit set for MAMBACITA clothing while standing in front of an all black background

By Alexander Kacala, Today

Today would have been Gianna Bryant’s 15th birthday. Last January, the daughter of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, died alongside her father and seven others in a helicopter crash.

Now, just over fifteen months since the crash, Vanessa Bryant, is working to further her husband and daughter’s legacies with her sports foundation, Mamba and Mambacita, that aims to empower young girls who are athletes.

A new Mamba and Mambacita apparel line in honor of Gianna and Kobe Bryant is being launched Saturday, and the 38-year-old philanthropist shared some sweet family photos with the announcement.

In one photo, the mother poses with her oldest daughter Natalia, 18, with both looking strong and resilient in matching black-and-white tie-dyed sweatsuits. Mambacita is written across the front of the outfits in bold red lettering, and a no. 2, in honor of Gianna’s basketball jersey number, is printed inside a red heart drawing on the front of each suit’s left pant leg as well.

In another photo also shared on Instagram, 4-year-old Bianka Bryant is captured mid-jump. She’s also sporting an adorable smile reminiscent of her late dad’s big grin. Her sweatsuit is white with a lavender tie-dye print and pink Mambacita lettering.

All the proceeds from sales of the Mambacita apparel will be donated to Mamba and Mambacita.

Bryant credits her late husband and daughter for giving her the strength to do all the work she is doing nowadays. “I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going,” she told People magazine back in March. “They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways.”

Click here to read the full article on Today.

The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Maki Mae Headline Multi-City Stop Asian Hate Concerts
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Maki Mae and Robby Krieger in promo poster smiling and all the information is listed for the concerts

Iconic guitarist Robby Krieger of The Doors and 13-language soprano Maki Mae join forces to accelerate mental health and medical care for hate crime survivors, and expand social justice programming to end anti-Asian violence. The free livestream on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. PST is hosted on the Asian Hall of Fame website.

Guests may purchase event merchandise and participate in the Asian Hall of Fame GoFundMe. Donations are matched up to $250,000 by the Robert Chinn Foundation. Limited supply of VIP tickets include autographed gifts and signed event memorabilia.

“Seasonal Songbook: Tokyo Mother’s Day Concert” is part of a multi-city virtual tour presented by the Asian Hall of Fame 2021 Season. Its Stop Asian Hate Campaign supports hate crime survivors and educates the public through exhibits, forums, concerts, and other equity initiatives. Events are virtual, free and offer a VIP tier on the Asian Hall of Fame website.

Established in 2004, Asian Hall of Fame is the world’s leading organization of Asian recognition. It advocates for more than 4 billion Asians, Asian American Pacific Islanders, and indigenous tribes. Asian Hall of Fame fosters year-round support to advance digital equity, gender equality, and Asian inclusion in national narratives. Inductees include martial arts icon Bruce Lee, Olympic skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, and many other significant leaders.

2021 Founders Season Details:

Sunday, May 9 @ 2pm PST

Seasonal Songbook: Tokyo Mother’s Day Concert

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP packages

America’s Got Talent 13-language soprano Maki Mae and Robby Krieger of The Doors feature selections from Seasonal Songbook with a sneak peak from their second album including a bossa nova take on “Sakura”. VIP package includes signed limited edition concert artwork, signed Iron Chef Morimoto cookbook, and signed event memorabilia.

Tuesday, May 18 @ 11am PST

Hate Crimes Policy Forum

Free livestream

Policy experts will delve into issues surrounding hate crime laws with the aim to put forth recommendations that help deter hate crimes. Panelists including Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary I. Yu, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office David Bannick, Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), CEO Connie Chung Joe of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and more. Moderated by Chris Anderson of KBTC-TV (affiliate of PBS) with Q&A from media and guests.

Saturday, May 22 @ 11am PST

Asian Veterans Roundtable

Free livestream

Asian Hall of Fame inductee and former Major General Antonio Mario Taguba will lead a roundtable with leaders from the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy. Taguba is known for the groundbreaking “Taguba Report” on the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Wednesday, May 26 @ 11am PST

Hate Crimes Legislative Forum

Free livestream

Legislative leaders across state lines will explore solutions and challenges that exist when navigating hate crimes with the aim to put forth recommendations that help reduce anti-Asian violence

Thursday, June 3 @ 5pm PST

Kevin Kwan Happy Hour

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP

Asian Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Kwan is joined by Nancy Kwan and Julia Nickson. Kevin Kwan is the best-selling author of Crazy Rich Asians and new book Sex & Vanity. VIP package includes signed Sex & Vanity paperback and signed event memorabilia.

Saturday, July 17 @ 6pm PST

Seasonal Songbook: Seattle Summer Concert

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP

Make Mae and Robby Krieger of The Doors showcase selections from Seasonal Songbook with a sneak peak of their second album including a take of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. VIP includes signed limited edition artwork, signed Tom Douglas cookbook, and signed event memorabilia.

Saturday, August 21 @ 2pm PST

GRAYSE Charity Fashion Show

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP

St. John founder Marie Gray and her designer daughter Kelly Gray are GRAYSE. Their runway show is a benefit to support hate crime survivors. VIP includes special gifts and signed event memorabilia.

Saturday, Sept. 18 @ 6pm PST

Seasonal Songbook: LA Concert

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP

Make Mae and Robby Krieger of The Doors headline a charity concert for survivors with highlights from Seasonal Songbook, a sneak peak of their second album and Krieger’s new album. VIP includes signed LA Concert limited edition artwork, signed Jet Tila cookbook, and more.

Saturday, Oct. 2 @ 5pm PST

Dragon Zoom Launch Party

Free livestream | Limited $100 VIP

Asian Hall of Fame launches their Dragon Zoom mobile game at a Monster Mansion launch party hosted by Founder/CEO Monster Noel Lee. VIP includes special gifts and event swag.

Saturday, Nov.13

17th Asian Hall of Fame Ceremony

VIP Zoom Room 5pm PST | Livestream 6pm PST

Free livestream | Limited $250 VIP with wine & dinner

Class of 2021 is inducted virtually with musical performances by Danny Seraphine of Chicago, Robby Krieger, and Maki Mae. VIP includes signed event memorabilia, dinner and wine hosted by culinary partners. Zoom party rooms open at 5pm and livestream begins at 6pm.

ABOUT ASIAN HALL OF FAME

Asian Hall of Fame is the world’s leading organization of Asian recognition. It advocates for more than 4 billion Asians, Asian American Pacific Islanders, native and indigenous tribes. Asian Hall of Fame corrects the undervaluation of Asian contributions to the world and has inducted martial arts icon Bruce Lee, Olympic skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, and many other leaders. It fosters year-round support to advance digital equity, gender equality, and Asian inclusion in national narratives.

Established in 2004 by the Robert Chinn Foundation, Asian Hall of Fame is grounded in the legacy of Seattle financial pioneer Robert Chinn who founded United Savings and Loan in 1960, the first Asian-owned bank in the United States, to fight economic racism against Asian families denied mortgages and small business loans.

Contact (206) 624-1195, emanuela@asianhalloffame.org or www.asianhalloffame.org.

Here’s why Chloé Zhao’s win matters for Asian women in Hollywood
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Chloe Zhao pictured in a blue long sleeve t shirt in front of a gray background

By Nancy Wang Yuen, CNN

It took 93 years for the Academy to name an Asian woman as Best Director. And until this year, only five women, all White, had ever been nominated and only one had won — Kathryn Bigelow, in 2010, for “The Hurt Locker.”

But all of this changed Sunday evening, with Chloé Zhao taking home the Academy Award for the critically-acclaimed “Nomadland,” which depicts a woman in her 60s (played by Frances McDormand) traveling through the American West as a van-dwelling nomad. (In an Oscars first, another woman director, Emerald Fennell, was also nominated in the category in the same year).

The Chinese director’s win acknowledges the impact Asian women can exert on the entertainment industry — one that has historically objectified them.

In Hollywood, Asian women have long existed as fantasy, fetish and exotica — objects of desire filtered through a Western male gaze.

Particularly egregious examples of this include scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 movie “Full Metal Jacket,” in which a Vietnamese prostitute approaches two White American GIs, saying, “Me so horny … me love you long time.” Another disturbing portrayal takes place at a massage parlor in 2001’s “Rush Hour 2,” where a harem of Asian women sex workers appear from behind a set of sliding doors but are given no personalities and no backstories. Instead, they entice Chris Tucker’s character, with one woman seductively cupping her breasts while others smile submissively.

Asian American women are often limited to playing caricatures, especially in the beginning of their careers. Speaking to The Guardian in 2017, Camille Chen, a Taiwanese American television actor, said she felt she had no choice but to go for masseuse and prostitute roles when she was starting out. Another Asian American woman I interviewed for my book, “Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism,” described feeling “like a whore” after playing stereotyped roles with heavy Asian accents.
But as the stature of Asian women slowly grows behind the scenes, so does the richness of Asian female characters on screen.

After she was brought on as a screenwriter for 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” Adele Lim helped to strengthen the Asian women characters. Specifically, she gave Constance Wu’s character, Rachel Chu, more agency and made Michelle Yeoh’s character, Eleanor Young, more sympathetic than in the book the movie was based on, she told online magazine Bustle.

Following on from this success, director Lulu Wang’s 2019 film, “The Farewell,” depicted a Chinese American woman (played by Awkwafina, who also starred in “Crazy Rich Asians”) navigating her family’s decision to keep a cancer diagnosis hidden from her beloved grandmother in China. Partly based on Wang’s own life, this was a family drama in which all the Asian and Asian American women were complex, humanized characters. There was no objectification, simplification or fetishization in sight.

In 2020, director Cathy Yan’s “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” became one of the most racially diverse and female-orientated movies in the DC universe. Based on a screenplay by Christina Hodson, who is of Taiwanese and English descent, the film features many women characters including Cassandra Cain, a witty young Asian American superhero.

Defying stereotypes

As part of this group of rising Asian women directors, Zhao has already been making history. Zhao is the most awarded filmmaker ever in a single awards season, having taken home BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion, among dozens of other prizes from critics associations. She was also the first Asian woman or woman of color to win Best Director at the Golden Globes and the first woman of color to win the Directors Guild of America’s Award for Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film.

Born in Beijing, she left China aged 15 and was educated in Britain and then the United States, where she studied filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Zhao has since made a name for herself through her unique vision and voice, which blends documentary and narrative filmmaking.

She has become known for imbuing her movies with the humanity of the actors — many of whom are untrained — starring in them. Through “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015), “The Rider” (2017) and “Nomadland” (2020), Zhao presents a uniquely poetic vision of the American West. As a director, Zhao is able to capture what she called, in an interview with Deadline, “emotional truth that these people feel,” adding: “I start with more of a reverence for understanding a person in that world, rather than imposing myself on what a character should be.”
This isn’t to say that Zhao didn’t see these tales of Americana through her own cultural lens — but with complexity and nuance, she demonstrates that these narratives aren’t owned by US-born directors, let alone White ones.

What ties her perspective to her films’ subjects is that she centers on marginalized groups, whether that is Native Americans or nomads. “I’ve always been an outsider myself, and I’m naturally drawn to them,” Zhao told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year.

Defying stereotypes and categorization once again, her next project will be altogether different: Zhao will become the first Asian woman to direct a Marvel superhero film. Set for November 2021, “The Eternals” features a multiracial and multinational cast, including several actors of Asian descent: Gemma Chan, Don Lee and Kumail Nanjiani. Zhao is reportedly bringing the same humanizing approach of her independent dramas to the big-budget set of “The Eternals,” even using the same camera rig she used for “Nomadland.”

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Oscars 2021: two female directors and nine actors of colour nominated in historic year
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Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell (centre) with Carey Mulligan, left, and Laverne Cox, right, on the set of Promising Young Woman.

By , The Guardian

Two female directors – Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell – are in the running for the best director prize at this year’s Oscars; the first time more than one woman has been in contention for the award.

Only five women have ever been in the running for the award; only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 – has won.

British film-maker Fennell – perhaps best known for her acting work, playing Camilla Parker Bowles on Netflix’s The Crown – is nominated for her first ever feature, the rape revenge comedy Promising Young Woman. It is also up for best film, best original screenplay and best leading actress, for Carey Mulligan.

Zhao, meanwhile, goes into the race for both director and picture as the frontrunner, with Nomadland – an elegiac drama about the lives on the road of disenfranchised older Americans starring Frances McDormand – victorious in a sweep of preceding awards ceremonies.

Also up for best director are Thomas Vinterberg (for Another Round), David Fincher (for Mank) and Lee Isaac Chung (for Minari).

Mank, a black-and-white look at the backstage dramas around the writing of Citizen Kane, starring Gary Oldman as the screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz, leads the scoreboard of nominations this year by some distance.

It is nominated for best film, best director, original screenplay, leading actor and supporting actress (for Amanda Seyfried), costume design, production design, score, cinematography and makeup.

Yet the film – one of a substantial number of nominees distributed by Netflix – is also one of the few significant players that have not advanced the Academy’s efforts to further inclusivity over the past year.

Nine of the acting nominees are people of colour, compared with one (Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo) in 2020. Riz Ahmed (for Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari) and Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) join Oldman and Anthony Hopkins (for The Father) in the best actor race. This is the first year two actors of Asian heritage have featured in the leading man category.

Boseman, who died from cancer aged 43 last August, is one of only seven actors who have earned Academy Award nominations after their deaths. Heath Ledger and Peter Finch are the only actors to have won posthumous Oscars.

Boseman’s Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis, and Andra Day (for The United States vs Billie Holiday) will compete against Vanessa Kirby (for Pieces of a Woman), Mulligan and McDormand for best actress. But there was no space for Rosamund Pike, who took the best actress in a comedy or musical prize at the Golden Globes.

Newcomer Maria Bakalova is in the running for best supporting actress for her role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, while the script is up for best adapted screenplay.

Sacha Baron Cohen missed out on a leading actor nod for that film, but did pick up a supporting actor nomination for his role as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Aaron Sorkin’s courtroom thriller about countercultural protests at the 1968 Democratic national convention took six nominations on Monday, as did The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland and Sound of Metal.

Collective, Another Round and Quo Vadis, Aida? lead the field in the best international film category; the former – about astonishing medical corruption in Romania – is also up for best documentary, along with Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher and Time.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon was a surprise nominee in the best animated film category; it competes against frontrunner Soul.

The Guardian short film Colette, about a 90-year-old veteran of the French resistance, is up for best short documentary.

Notable snubs include The Mauritanian, Kevin Macdonald’s legal drama about Mohamedou Ould Salahi, imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay without charge, which won best supporting actress for Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes. That film was not nominated in any category.

Some have also highlighted a curious discrepancy in the lack of recognition afforded to black directors, despite their films being up for best film and multiple acting awards.

Neither Shaka King (for Judas and the Black Messiah), Regina King (One Night in Miami), George C Wolfe (Ma Rainey) or Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) were nominated. The omission of Delroy Lindo in the leading actor category for the latter film was also perceived to be an oversight.

Last year’s Oscars saw Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite take home best picture, as well as best director, original screenplay and international feature film. Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for Joker and Renée Zellweger best actress for Judy, while Laura Dern and Brad Pitt took supporting acting prizes for Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in June that it was delaying all Oscar events in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligibility for the prizes has been radically relaxed this year.

David Rubin, the current Academy president, revealed that this year’s ceremony will take place on 25 April in Los Angeles’s Union Station, as well as in the Dolby Theatre. As with last year’s Oscars, there will be no single host but a rota of presenters.

This announcement follows Sunday night’s well-received Grammy awards, which unfolded in a relatively traditional fashion with a socially distanced ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Click here to read the full article on The Guardian.

Meet Ayesha McGowan, the first Black American woman in pro cycling: ‘The thing that we’re working for isn’t just existing in a space, it’s thriving’
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Ayesha McGowan wearing a purple helmet and purple glasses for cycling in front of a purple graphic of cyclists

By Sana Noor Haq, CNN

A bike can take you a long way quickly. As well taking you to new places and spaces. It’s a journey cyclist Ayesha McGowan is experiencing both professionally — and emotionally.When McGowan chats to CNN Sport she’s on a high from finishing the first leg of an intense training season in Tuscany for the Liv Racing WorldTeam, with her membership as a satellite rider for the 11-person roster announced in February 2021.

“It didn’t feel real until I was on my way to training camp,” says the 34-year-old athlete, who will prepare for the next few months with the goal of racing and becoming a pro road cyclist after August 1.

“I feel very accomplished, but I feel a lot of pressure from myself to push even harder,” she tells CNN.

Finding her feet
McGowan says it’s her stubbornness that has pushed her to become the first Black American woman in pro cycling.

She comes from a long line of matriarchs, inheriting tenacity and grit from her grandmother, mother and older sister.

“I set my sights on something and wasn’t willing to stop until I got it,” she says as she remembers cycling on her grandparents’ expansive land in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, following her grandmother as she rode on a Red Cruiser.

But it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she started seeing cycling as a competitive sport.

In 2010 McGowan graduated from Berklee College of Music, where her principal instrument was the violin. She became a music teacher, working at a daycare center in Brooklyn for five years and then teaching private music lessons.

McGowan had been commuting for about seven years before racing in 2014, making her debut at the Red Hook Crit Women’s Field in Brooklyn.

That year she had her first win in the Category 4 race at the New York State Criterium Championships in White Plains.

“It was just a form of transportation, freedom and fun until that point. It still is, but now there’s also that competitive aspect,” she says.

Pushing for gender advocacy
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) — the sport’s governing body — told CNN Sport it does not have a breakdown of the ethnicities of cyclists currently competing.

However, the UCI said in 2019 it allocated a global amount of six million Swiss francs ($6.5 million) to push for diversity in cycling worldwide.

The UCI also highlighted that Teniel Campbell will ride for the UCI Women’s outfit Team BikeExchange from Australia, as she follows in the footsteps of Daniel Teklehaimanot, Stefany Hernandez and Guo Shuang among others.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that McGowan is riding for the Liv team. Bonnie Tu, who is the founder of the women’s cycling brand at Liv Cycling and Giant Group chairperson, has spoken of her dream “to encourage more women in the cycling industry and to encourage more women to cycle.”
Despite industry-led efforts to encourage greater global participation in the sport, McGowan quickly became aware of bike racing’s gender disparities when she started cycling. She explains that her interest and push for gender advocacy is because it aligns with her values.

In 2015, McGowan started A Quick Brown Fox, an online blog where she encourages more women and ethnic minority people to engage with the sport. Three years later she made the decision to fully commit to supporting herself via advocacy work and training.

Since then she has garnered nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined, facilitating conversations about race, racism and sexism in the world of cycling and beyond.
As she recently wrote in an essay for the US-based cycling firm SRAM, “You can’t fight for women and not fight for Black women, trans women, disabled women, or any of the other intersections where any one who identifies as a woman resides.”

McGowan has used her platform to create a space where people from marginalized backgrounds can exist in their fullest capacity, without minimizing parts of their identity.

“Growing up people of color are taught to diminish ourselves to make other people feel comfortable, and that feels very unnecessary to me,” she tells CNN.

“I don’t think I was ever in a place where I didn’t see myself as a Black person. It was ingrained in my family, we have very strong roots and a lot of pride in who we are,” she adds.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

A Black woman is hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards for the first time
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Mickey Guyton wearing a long sleeve black gown smiling at the camera and holding up her country music award

By Alexis Benveniste, CNN

Country music singer Mickey Guyton will make history Sunday when she hosts the Academy of Country Music Awards with Keith Urban.

The 37-year-old singer from Arlington, Texas, will be the first Black woman to host the awards ceremony.
And this isn’t Guyton’s first time making history in the country music world. In September 2020, she became the first Black female solo artist to sing her own song at the ACMAs. And in March, she became the first Black solo female artist to earn a Grammy nomination in a country music category. At the ceremony, she performed “Black Like Me,” her song that address the discrimination she has experienced as a Black woman. The song was released just eight days after George Floyd was killed.
The door to country music has long been closed to many Black artists, with just a handful of exceptions. Starting in the 1920s, record labels deliberately marketed what was once called “hillbilly music” as the music of the rural White South, historians say.
But the thumbprints of African American culture are stamped on virtually every facet of country music, including its vocal harmonies, instrumentations, and some of its most popular songs. Black artists helped build country music.

Click here to read the full article on CNN Business.

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  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  4. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021