Sally Beauty Holdings Supports Female Entrepreneurs Through Cultivate Program
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Tara Darnley, founder of Peculiar Roots, posing in front of yellow background in a yellow dress

By Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc., CISION PR Newswire

Today, Sally Beauty Holdings announced all four brands selected for the 2020 Cultivate Cohort have been granted distribution. Customers will be able to purchase Peculiar Roots, UniQurl, and Pattie Yankee Products at select Sally Beauty stores, and online at SallyBeauty.com and CosmoProfBeauty.com In addition, True + Pure Texture will continue to be available online at SallyBeauty.com and CosmoProfBeauty.com. The Sally Beauty Holdings Cultivate program is designed to empower female-founded beauty brands and help bring their visions and business plans to life.

In addition, True + Pure Texture will continue to be available online at SallyBeauty.com and CosmoProfBeauty.com. The Sally Beauty Holdings Cultivate program is designed to empower female-founded beauty brands and help bring their visions and business plans to life.

Sally Beauty has a long history of supporting and launching female-founded businesses. It was the first national beauty retailer to distribute popular women-owned hair care brands like Made Beautiful and Mielle Organics. Providing widespread distribution of these brands from their earliest days helped accelerate their businesses into becoming some of the most well-known and loved hair care brands sold today. Continuing this legacy, Sally Beauty Holdings launched Cultivate – For Women by Women in 2018 as a business accelerator program to help female beauty entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

“We have always recognized a need for female entrepreneurs to have a platform to effectively expand their businesses,” said JC Johnson, Group Vice President, Digital Strategy and Innovation, Sally Beauty Holdings. “We are proud of the four incredible brands and are excited to be part of their journey. We look forward to partnering with many more emerging brands and female entrepreneurs in the future!”

This year’s finalists consisted of an inspiring and accomplished group of female founders. As part of the retailer’s commitment to invest in emerging brands, Sally Beauty Holdings chose to support all four deserving female founders because their products are unique and each fills a current gap in the market. Sally Beauty Holdings rewarded the Cultivate Cohort brands with business grants worth a combined total of $60,000 and exclusive access to a virtual 4-week retail readiness boot camp that culminated with a pitch presentation. During the virtual presentation, each brand received valuable feedback from key leaders such as Chief Executive Officer Chris Brickman, Chief Merchandising Officer Pam Kohn, Sally Beauty President John Goss, and Cosmo Prof President Mark Spinks. In addition to distribution, Sally Beauty will be putting Marketing support against all of the brands through its social, digital, e-commerce, and in-store channels, where applicable.

  • UniQurl – Formulated for kinky curls, Registered Nurse Alexis Stanley developed UniQurl’s hair care line to serve a hair type that has traditionally lacked options. Each product is designed to maintain and nourish naturally kinky hair to reveal its unique curl patterns with gentle cleansers, powerful moisturizers, and silkening conditioning agents like Aloe Vera, Mint, Coconut, and Almond. Infused with natural and organic ingredients, UniQurl products melt away stubborn tangles with minimal effort while improving elasticity and shine.
  • Peculiar Roots — Driven by their passion to see consumers with locs and natural hair receive the pampering and care they deserve, Carl and Tara Darnley set out to create Peculiar Roots. The buildup-free hair care collection conditions, cleanses, and moisturizes the hair and scalp with a flake-free formula.
  • Pattie Yankee Products — Celebrity nail artist Pattie Yankee, one of the most sought-after nail experts in the industry, is taking DIY nails to the next level with her line of quick nail extension solutions. Inspire Nails are easy to apply and just as easy to remove without damaging the natural nail. The clear and natural nail extensions serve as a blank canvas suitable for any nail polish, gel polish, or nail art. Featuring a super-hold adhesive that requires no glue.
  • True + Pure Texture – Celebrity stylist, natural hair expert, and salon owner, Pekela Riley, was inspired to create a line of products made for women of color from diverse backgrounds. She created a luxury collection of natural-looking hair extensions specifically designed to blend in with multicultural hair. True + Pure Texture ponytail and clip-ins are meticulously crafted to develop beautiful, natural hair textures that blend kinks, coils, curls, and waves.

 

Click here to read the full article on CISION PR Newswire

U.S. Women’s Team Clears Hurdle to Reviving Equal Pay Fight
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Megan Rapinoe at the U.S. versus Sweden match with teammates on the field

By Andrew Das, New York Times

A federal judge on Monday approved a partial settlement in the long-running dispute over equal pay between U.S. Soccer and its World Cup-winning women’s national team, but the players’ fight with the federation is far from over.

The ruling by Judge R. Gary Klausner, of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, rubber-stamped an agreement on working conditions that the sides had reached last year. When he rejected the players’ core arguments about equal pay last May, Klausner let them continue their claims about unequal working conditions in areas like team flights, hotels, venue selection and staffing support.

Before they could pursue an appeal of their equal pay defeat, the players needed to resolve those issues. With that agreement now in place, the players said, they will return to the core of their legal fight: an appeal of Klausner’s ruling that dismissed their demands for pay equal to what the men’s team earns.

“Now that this is behind us, we intend to appeal the court’s equal pay decision, which does not account for the fact that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job,” said the players’ spokeswoman, Molly Levinson.

The women’s players sued U.S. Soccer in March 2019, contending they had been subjected to years of unequal treatment and compensation. Twenty-eight members of the team filed the initial lawsuit, which later grew to include anyone in a larger class of players who had been part of the women’s team since 2015.

The players pressed their equal pay argument for years — through on-field protests, interviews and social media campaigns — as they piled up victories and two World Cup championships on the field. Then Klausner rejected them in a single devastating paragraph last May.

In that decision, Klausner ruled that not only had U.S. Soccer not paid the women’s players less than their men’s counterparts, but also that he had been convinced that “the WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT” over the years covered in the case.

It is unclear how long an appeal of his decision could take, or even whether it will be decided in a courtroom or at the negotiating table.

Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.

Universal child care could boost women’s lifetime earnings by $130 billion—and ensure more stable retirement options
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Woman working from home at her kitchen counter while her three kids surround her

By Megan Leonhardt, CNBC

Since last February, over 2.3 million women have dropped out of the workforce, compared to just 1.8 million men who left the labor force between February 2020 and 2021, according to data compiled by the National Women’s Law Center. And many of those women are still unemployed because they are caring for children who are not in school or daycare.

New research from Columbia University and the National Women’s Law Center finds that a universal child-care system — one that provides affordable, reliable child care from birth to age 13 — would not only help many of those out-of-work employees get back into the workforce, but would also dramatically increase the lifetime earnings and security of women across the country.

An average woman with two children could see a $97,000 increase in her lifetime earnings under universal child care, according to the report. Collectively, about 1.3 million women in the U.S. could experience about a $130 billion boost in income over their lifetimes.

Overall, the number of women working full-time would increase by 17% if the U.S. expanded access to stable and consistent child care. The number of women working without a college degree would jump by about 31%.

“When there’s an increased investment in child care, there’s a measured increase in women’s labor force participation,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of income security and child care/early learning at the National Women’s Law Center. The highest gains can be seen for women in their 30s and 40s, since those are the decades when women are most likely to raise children, she adds.

This increase in workforce participation and lifetime earnings could also lead to a significant impact on women’s retirement situations, the report finds. Women would have an additional $20,000 in private savings on average and about $10,000 more in Social Security benefits. That adds up to about $160 per month in additional funding in retirement, the report finds.

Those extra earnings could especially help improve the financial situations of older women, who are more likely to experience poverty later in life than men. “Senior women have significantly higher poverty rates than senior men because of all the discrimination and all of the financial challenges that compound over their lives [and] stick with them in retirement,” Boteach adds.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

‘Kung Fu’ star Olivia Liang: ‘Our show is necessary right now’
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Olivia Liang as Nicky in “Kung Fu” holding a fist up ready to fight kung fu

By Lauren Sarner, NY Post

Olivia Liang said that she barely needed to act for her starring role in the CW’s new rendition of “Kung Fu.”

Olivia Liang said that she barely needed to act for her starring role in the CW’s new rendition of “Kung Fu.”

“After reading the pilot I was like, ‘Oh, OK, so Nicky is just me!’” Liang, 27, told The Post. “Our incredible showrunner and creator Christina Kim infused so much heart and nuance and specific experience into the script — it was the first time I had read something and I was like, ‘Yes, I get it.’”

Premiering Wednesday (April 7) at 8 p.m., “Kung Fu” follows Nicky Shen, a Chinese-American woman who drops out of college and goes on an adventure to China, learning martial arts skills at a monastery. After her mentor is murdered, she returns home to San Francisco — only to find it overrun with crime and corruption that requires her newfound abilities.

Meanwhile, she also reconnects with her family — including dad Jin (Tzi Ma), mom Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan), sister Althea (Shannon Dang), brother Ryan (Jon Prasida), Althea’s fiance Dennis (Tony Chug) and Nicky’s estranged ex-boyfriend, Evan (Gavin Stenhouse).

“My life experience gave me what I needed to play Nicky, because it was just so spot on and so specific,” said Liang, who has also appeared on The CW’s “Legacies.”

“Nicky’s mom is kind of a tiger mom who is easing up a bit, and that’s exactly what I had growing up. I’m also an older sister and Nicky has a younger brother in the show. The things that she goes through were just so relatable to me.”

However, there were a few aspects of Nicky’s life that were new to Liang.

“My experience with martial arts before this was simply driving my sister to her Taekwondo classes,” she said. “So I did have to learn it for the show, but it’s been really fun and rewarding and hard. It’s a really beautiful sport and art. If you add up everything, I’m probably doing about 65 to 70 percent of the stunts. Anything super-cool is my amazing stunt double, Megan Hui. I’m trying to do as many of the stunts as I can because it’s really important to me that I’m able to do the martial arts of it all.”

“Kung Fu” originated as a 1972 series starring David Carradine as a monk and martial arts expert traveling through the American West. (It also spawned a syndicated sequel series, “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues,” which aired from 1993-1997 with Carradine again starring.)

“That show was a little before my time, but my uncle and my mom growing up would watch it,” said Liang. “So it was very surreal to them when I got this part. I’m just really happy that we get to re-imagine it — and maybe do it the way that it should have been done, with Asian people at the forefront.”

Click here to read the full article on NY Post.

Jazz Jennings recalls being ‘devastated’ by transgender soccer ban at age 8
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Jazz Jennings smiling while wearing a hot pink tank top dress

By Elise Solé, Yahoo Life

Jazz Jennings was banned from playing girls’ soccer as a child, and she doesn’t want other transgender children to suffer the same fate.

“When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls’ soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family,” the 20-year-old activist captioned a post on Instagram Monday. “Today, many states, including Florida, are trying to take away sports from many transgender youth. Go to the link in my bio to take action and combat these bills before they pass.”

The post showed emotional footage of Jennings’s parents, Greg and Jeanette, reacting to the ban by Florida league officials, who argued that their daughter’s biological sex gave her an unfair advantage in the sport, a common argument that’s been challenged by medical researchers. A 2017 review of eight research articles and 31 athletic policies published in the journal Sports Medicine found the majority were written without evidence-based guidance and that “there is no direct or consistent research” to suggest that transgender females have an athletic advantage “at any stage of their transition.”
Jazz Jennings was banned from playing girls’ soccer as a child, and she doesn’t want other transgender children to suffer the same fate.

“When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls’ soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family,” the 20-year-old activist captioned a post on Instagram Monday. “Today, many states, including Florida, are trying to take away sports from many transgender youth. Go to the link in my bio to take action and combat these bills before they pass.”

The post showed emotional footage of Jennings’s parents, Greg and Jeanette, reacting to the ban by Florida league officials, who argued that their daughter’s biological sex gave her an unfair advantage in the sport, a common argument that’s been challenged by medical researchers. A 2017 review of eight research articles and 31 athletic policies published in the journal Sports Medicine found the majority were written without evidence-based guidance and that “there is no direct or consistent research” to suggest that transgender females have an athletic advantage “at any stage of their transition.”

At age 5, Jennings openly identified as a girl, with the support of her parents, who felt their daughter had gender dysphoria — “the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics,” per the Mayo Clinic.

“It was horrible. I was told I could compete in games with the boys’ team, or practice with the girls and sit on the bench for the girls’ games,” Jennings told the online newspaper MinnPost in 2014. “These were very difficult times. I tried playing with the boys, but it was a disaster. It made me feel depressed, and I couldn’t enjoy the game I love. I didn’t want to quit soccer, so for the next year, I decided to practice with the girls and face the injustice of being forced to sit out the games. I felt like I was being bullied. It was terrible and painful.”

Backed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Jennings and her family challenged the soccer ban and, three years later, the U.S. Soccer Federation created policies inclusive of transgender players.

Shannon Minter, the legal director of the NCLR, tells Yahoo Life that he helped Jennings and her family draft letters to the federation, which did not have anti-transgender policies at the time but subsequently adopted those that banned discrimination based on gender identity. “It took a long time, but it was definitely because of Jazz,” he says. “I give her parents credit as they stood by her and without many resources available for them at the time.”

The federation was “very happy” to work with Jennings to put the policy together, a spokesperson tells Yahoo Life.

Jennings’s win was just a small portion of a larger and ongoing battle — according to the Human Rights Campaign, 22 bills in 17 different states, including Montana, South Dakota and Kansas, call for the restriction of transgender youth from playing on athletic teams. In fact, the LGBTQ advocacy group noted 82 anti-transgender bills have been introduced in 2021 state legislative sessions as of March 13, “surpassing the 2020 total of 79 and marking the highest number of anti-transgender bills in history.”

For example, this week alone, three states passed anti-transgender athletic policies. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that states “a student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.” Lee explained in a tweet that it will “preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended a similar state law, telling ABC News, “This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition. … This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events.” Meanwhile, the “Mississippi Fairness Act,” tweeted Gov. Tate Reeves, will “protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.”

However, this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, when asked about state legislation that limits transgender youth in sports participation and health care, that President Biden “believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex.”

In October, Jennings spoke to Yahoo Life about her 2014 autobiographical children’s picture book, I Am Jazz, landing on the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s 100 most banned or challenged books of the decade, which she called “both disappointing and honorable.” (The title of the book also inspired her TLC reality show.)

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Life.

Dolly Parton Gets Her Own Comic Book for Women’s History Month
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Dolly Parton's Comic book character with big blonde hair and a big smile.

By  , TV Over Mind

The ideal thing to do would be to congratulate Dolly Parton for reaching another pinnacle in pop culture since her own comic book in a series that’s being run for Women’s History Month will cap off the month of March as it arrives on the 31st. That’s the expected thing to say, and it’s well-deserved since the country star has been around for so long and done so many great things that saying anything openly disparaging about her is bound to be met with a tirade of defensive statements and ridicule that would send quite a few naysayers running for the hills with their tails between their legs like scalded dogs.

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad, but considering that Dolly has led a pretty impressive life and had such a stellar career it’s easy to think that anyone daring to badmouth Parton would be on the receiving end of a nonstop litany of insults that would make them think twice about saying another word against the woman.

Seriously, Dolly is loved by just about everyone that’s ever heard of her, and respected at the very least by those that aren’t huge fans. If anyone’s going to bother wondering how a person could not be a fan of Parton’s, all that needs to be said is that a person doesn’t enjoy country music, or that they don’t even know that much about Parton.

It’s all well and good to give respect to someone with a career that’s spanned so long and accomplishments that aren’t easy to count, but undying and obedient respect such as many of her fans have given for so long isn’t something that every individual is going to give without pause.

For those that aren’t big fans but know enough to be polite and offer congratulations, it’s enough to think that she continues to be a driving force in the music industry and that her works are continuing to be recognized. It’s one thing to recognize her though, and another to have her and any other celebrity shoved into the spotlight so that people absolutely have to acknowledge her.

The best part about this is that Dolly doesn’t exactly do this as she does what she does best and encourages others while inspiring them without being pushy. That’s what PR people are for after all, and it’s the efforts of those that want so badly for everyone worldwide to know how great of a person Dolly Parton is that tends to annoy people just a bit. One of the best parts of this is that if a person doesn’t want to acknowledge it they can look away and call it a day, just as anyone can with anything.

That’s a freedom we all have and it’s one that a lot of people exercise on a regular basis since it’s so much easier to turn away from something we’re not into or don’t approve of than to start up an argument or campaign to say why what we don’t like or don’t follow shouldn’t be getting this press. Besides, with Dolly it wouldn’t be accurate anyway, considering that this is a woman that said no to a statue in her image.

It does feel likely that whenever the day comes that she passes away that those Tennessee will see fit to commemorate her life with a statue, but for now she’s decided that her presence within the industry is all that’s really needed, as the issues that have been going on with statues over the years might not make this the best time to think about putting up another one.

Click here to read the full article on TV Over Mind

Equal Pay For Women May Take 257 Years – How Venus Williams Is Fighting to Get There Faster
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Venus Williams holding her fist up in victory while holding a tennis racket

By Jenny Sugar, Yahoo Life

Seven-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Venus Williams wrote a powerful letter in British Vogue about the inequality she’s faced in her sport. “I always dreamed of winning tournaments like Wimbledon,” she shared. “Then, when I finally got there, I was struck by the inequality.” In 2000, she won Wimbledon for the first time, the men’s singles champion received £477,500 – the women’s singles champion earned less, £430,000. This drove Venus in her fight against inequality.

“I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport,” she said. There are obstacles and inequality in women’s tennis because that’s what women face in the world. And it was this shocking statistic – in the US, women made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019 – that inspired Venus to start the #PrivilegeTax campaign, to “fill the gap,” using her own lifestyle and activewear company, EleVen by Venus Williams.

Through the month of March, inspired by Equal Pay Day on March 24, customers can choose to donate 19 cents at checkout when they shop with participating brands – Nordstrom, Tracy Anderson, Tom Brady’s TB12, Carbon38, Credo Beauty, and her plant-based protein company, Happy Viking. One hundred percent of customers’ donations will go to Girls Inc. in Los Angeles, an organization that provides girls with support through its enriching program that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.

Venus mentioned that a 2019 World Economic Forum study found that it’d take approximately 257 years to close this gap, but that the pandemic is at risk of slowing down our progress further. “We owe it to our daughters and granddaughters to ensure closing the gap doesn’t take that long,” she said.

This isn’t just a women’s issue, and progress toward inequality isn’t possible without men being part of the solution. “Sexism isn’t a women’s issue any more than racism is a Black issue,” Venus said. And this gender pay gap affects women of color the hardest. “As an African-American woman, to know how hard we have to fight to show we’re human beings with a heart that beats just like everybody else; to know what it’s like to face biases based on gender and race is why I’m so passionate about campaigning for equality across the board,” Venus said.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo News.

Ashley Graham’s Favorite $10 Moisturizer Is Amazing for Aging and Ashy Skin, According to Shoppers
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Ashley Graham pictures wearing a nude turtle neck top and holding her hair away from her face on the left side

As one of the first models to shatter glass ceilings for plus-size women, Ashley Graham is responsible for an endless well of my gratitude. She looks damn fine, and more importantly, advocates for people of all sizes to feel good about themselves, as hard as traditional beauty standards (and jeans) can make it.

Graham walks the unfiltered walk in all things, so when she posted a shot of her skincare favorites to Instagram this week, I screenshotted that baby for future reference.

The spread of six items reveals some expected inclusions, like St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist, since Graham just partnered with the brand. Also present was a hyaluronic acid serum from Mario Badescu, Avya’s non-foaming cleanser, extremely pricey eye masks, and the star of today’s show: A $10 body moisturizer with reviews that rival those for the $115 eye treatment.

Graham’s “favorite” sticker-endorsed Flamingo Deep Nourishing Cream grabs over 400 five-star reviews on the brand’s website, where the shaving-focused brand has created a handful of moisturizing essentials. The brand’s background means that it’s no ordinary moisturizer, but an all-over cream that gently speeds cell turnover for your closest shave (and softest skin, even if you haven’t picked up a razor in many months. Ahem).

Shoppers compare the consistency to , given the matching decadent, lusciously whipped texture. “I have dry and aging skin, and this makes my skin soft and supple,” one person says, as another writes that they’re giving it to several of their friends, since “we’re all senior citizens who refuse to give up.” Love it.

Those with naturally dry, flaky skin write that post-Nourishing Cream they feel as if they’ve gotten a facial, their ashy skin “breathing a sign of relief” with every use. It maintains that buttery softness for 48 hours, even through Wyoming’s dry air — and multiple people write that it’s even more moisturizing than Gold Bond, their previous go-to.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Life.

Sephora Beauty Director Melinda Solares Drops Her Skin-Care Routine
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A selfie, or self taken photo, ofMelinda Solares wearing a white turtle neck with little to no make up on in natural bright lighting

As far as dream jobs go, Melinda Solares has a pretty sweet gig. As Sephora’s new beauty director, she gets to try out just about every product that hits the store’s shelves and give unbiased recommendations to the millions of people who shop there every day.

But as fun as it is to drown in lipsticks and moisturizers, it’s also a responsibility she takes seriously. Because if anyone knows the transformative power of great skincare—and more importantly, listening to what your particular skin needs—it’s Solares. “When I was younger, I really struggled with hormonal, cystic acne. I still have some scarring,” she says. Solares tried everything: diet changes, doxycycline, spironolactone, exercise, facials, laser treatments, Botox, and the least helpful advice of all when you have chronic acne, drinking more water.

“It’s been a long journey, but overall my skin is my dream now,” she says, crediting the years of trial and error it took working with a dermatologist and an esthetician to get her skin in a healthier place. It’s also why she approaches her work with no judgments: “I consider myself a realist. So whenever someone asks me, ‘What should I use in my skin-care routine?’ I ask them about their lifestyle. If they’re busy or don’t have a ton of interest in beauty, then I’m like, let’s just nail down the basics and make sure you have a routine you can keep consistent.”

Whether it’s simple or involved, Solares says sticking with a routine is key. For her personally, that means—at minimum—starting the day with a light rinse, a hyaluronic acid serum, and an SPF moisturizer. “I cater my skin-care routine based on what my skin needs and how busy or anxious I’m feeling,” she says. “At most, I’ll go up to nine steps in my routine—usually on Sundays when I want to take some time for self-care.”

So what makes the cut when you have all of Sephora’s top sellers at your disposal? We asked Solares to drop her routine—and, of course, spill what’s worth grabbing the next time you find yourself aimlessly wandering through Sephora.

Read the full article on Glamour.

Grammy awards 2021: women rule as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé break records
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Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion accepting their grammy award on stage

By , The Guardian

It was a historic, triumphant night for women in music at the 2021 Grammys, as a range of female artists took home the top awards.

HER took home song of the year for the Black Lives Matter anthem I Can’t Breathe, Taylor Swift became the first woman to win album of the year three times, and the rapper Megan Thee Stallion won both best new artist and best rap performance for her Savage remix with Beyoncé, now the most awarded singer (male or female) and female artist of all time.

The first Grammys from executive producer Ben Winston, 39, best known for turning James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke series into a viral staple and the first new producer since Ken Ehrlich took over the show in 1980, stuck mostly to live or pre-recorded performances spliced with videos highlighting new, streaming-bolstered stars. The production’s Covid precautions – 6ft-compliant tables and chairs beneath a garlanded outdoor terrace, five separate stages at the Los Angeles Convention Center, widespread testing – added millions to the show’s budget but helped the show avoid some of the tech glitches and Zoom awkwardness that plagued last month’s Golden Globes.

The cascade of performances and success for black female artists glossed over a growing wave of criticism over the Grammys’ opaque nomination process, alleged conflicts of interest and years of appearing to snub black artistry. The Canadian artist known as The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, led an anti-Grammys chorus which included such artists as Zayn and Drake, after his album After Hours, a critical and commercial smash containing the year’s biggest song, Blinding Lights, was surprisingly shut out of nominations. In a statement to the New York Times last week, the Weeknd said he would boycott the awards from now on and direct his record label not to submit his music for future contention, citing the anonymous committees with final say on nominations.

But the controversy mostly stayed outside the frame on Sunday, save a statement in the final 10 minutes from the interim Grammys president, Harvey Mason Jr, promising a renewed diversity effort and calling on artists to “work with us, not against us”. Instead, the 3.5-hour mega-concert was about “bringing us together like only music can”, said the night’s ebullient host, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and “never forgetting what happened in 2020, but hope for what is to come”.

Click here to read the full article in The Guardian.

A Tale Old and New as Another Royal Wife Breaks Free
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A photo of Princess Diana holding her infant son side by side to a photo of Meghan Markle holding her infant son.

, New York Times

A quarter-century after Princess Diana broke her silence about life among the British royals, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, did the same. Their stories were remarkably similar.

Anyone who remembers the funeral of Diana, the Princess of Wales, in 1997 can’t help being haunted by the wrenching sight of her two young sons, Princes William and Harry, walking slowly behind her coffin as it made its way to Westminster Abbey. Their hands were clasped in front; their heads were bowed. Harry looked so small in his suit.

That image has reverberated down the years, a ghostly reminder of the princes’ traumatic childhood, and it hovered again in the background as Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, spoke to Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night.

While the British tabloids like to cast Meghan in the villainous role of the Duchess of Windsor — the American divorcée who lured away their king in 1936 and lived with him in bitter exile, causing an irreparable family rift — Harry and Meghan seem determined to position her instead as a latter-day Diana, a woman mistreated by her in-laws, more sinned against than sinning.

Harry has often spoken with anguish and bitterness about what happened to Diana all those years ago when she was cast out of the royal family after her divorce from Prince Charles and later died in a car wreck in a Parisian underpass, the paparazzi in hot pursuit. He raised the subject again on Sunday, drawing parallels between the experiences of his mother and his wife and saying, of Diana, that he has “felt her presence through this whole process.”

It felt Shakespearean, the sense of history repeating itself through the immutable structure of a royal lineage and an ancient institution — while a prince spoke of breaking free from the old patterns and finding a new way forward.

Harry made the comparison explicit on Sunday when he referred to the “constant barrage” of criticism and racist attacks on his wife.

“What I was seeing was history repeating itself,” he said, though he described the treatment of Meghan as “far more dangerous” because of the ubiquity of social media and the corrosive element of racism.

Meghan’s discussion in the interview of her mental health struggles as a royal wife, of loneliness and desolation and thoughts of suicide, was reminiscent of Diana’s account of the bulimia and depression that consumed her during her own marriage. Both women said they had desperately sought help from the family, only to be ignored and rebuffed.

“When I’m talking about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my mother,” Harry said. “When you can see something happening in the same kind of way, anybody would ask for help.”

But just as with his mother, when Meghan pleaded for help, he said, none was forthcoming. Instead, the family dismissed her concerns and told her, essentially, to keep her head down.

The couple was repeatedly told: “This is how it is. This is just how it is,” Harry said.

There are many parallels between Meghan and Diana.

Like Diana, Meghan married into a family that did not understand her and believed she would conform, without complaint, to royal customs and protocol. As with Diana, when Meghan proved unable or unwilling to toe the family line, she said, the palace did nothing to dispel the emerging public narrative that she was demanding, petulant, entitled. And like Diana, Meghan found herself hounded by the tabloids, which accused her of constantly seeking attention while happily filling their pages with stories about her.

But there are differences, too, beyond the fact that Diana was white and Meghan is biracial, and the fact that Diana’s marriage fell apart, while Meghan has a strong marriage and a fierce champion in Harry.

Diana was just 20, and very sheltered and naïve, when she and Charles married; Meghan was 36 and worldly, having made her own living for years when she married Harry. She was also divorced, with a high-profile job as an actress.

And Meghan is American, with an American sensibility.

Diana came from a culture of reticence in which tradition is venerated; Meghan comes from one where it is normal to ask for help, to discuss your feelings, and to suggest that there might be better, newer ways of doing things.

Click here to read the full article in the New York Times.

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