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Selena Gomez Receives Praise and Backlash for Netflix Docuseries “Living Undocumented”

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  • Netflix released a trailer for its new docuseries executive produced by Selena Gomez titled “Living Undocumented,” which follows eight families as they work to gain legal status amid fears of deportation.
  • Some are praising the project for shining a light on immigration issues, while others fear the show will exploit the pain and trauma immigrants in the U.S. experience.
  • Others also criticized Gomez for only now stepping into the immigration conversation; however, Gomez has been vocal about some immigration issues in the past. 

Living Undocumented” Announced

Netflix released a trailer on Tuesday for its new docuseries Living Undocumented, which was met with both praise and criticism largely directed at its star executive producer Selena Gomez.

The docuseries, which is scheduled for an Oct. 2 release, follows eight different families who are struggling to gain legal status amid fears of deportation. 

“I knew I wasn’t born here,” a young girl says in the trailer. “I just didn’t know that not being born here was something that was dangerous. And I always have to do everything scared.” 

“That’s the dream, isn’t it?” a man says in Spanish. “To be able to say: we belong in this society.” 

In a statement about the project Gomez said, “I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented, because over the past few years, the word immigrant has seemingly become a negative word.”

In a separate Instagram post, she added that the show will star real people facing issues that are more complex than one administration or law.

@SelenaGomez

Mixed Response Online

After watching the trailer and learning of Gomez’s involvement, many people online began praising the series.

“Just watched the previews for #livingundocumented and it brought tears to my eyes,” one Twitter user wrote. “My parents came to the us undocumented and I remembered what it felt like living in that fear. can’t wait to watch @selenagomez”

On the opposite side of the spectrum, others worried the show might exploit undocumented immigrants. Some also criticized Gomez, claiming she hasn’t done enough for the undocumented community.

“People want to claim their communities issues when those issues become monetary gain,” one person said. “Selena Gomez gets to make this one documentary and pretend to do any work for the undocumented community. She gets to make these people relive trauma and walk away with a Netflix check.”

Several concerns stemmed from the fact that Gomez herself was born in Texas, making her a legal citizen.

“The undocumented community has emphasized so much that we don’t like when people try to be the voice of the voiceless,” one person said. “She’s not undocumented and doesn’t fully understand that experience so when people try to speak for us it can come off inaccurately”

Other people who also said they are undocumented, however, supported Gomez and the show for shedding light on the issue by bringing the narrative to undocumented families.

“Why is it a problem when Selena helps?” one person tweeted. “It’s almost like you guys wait for her to breath to tell her she’s doing it wrong. I’m an undocumented [immigrant] and I am very happy she did this. Why aren’t you? She’s literally bringing more attention to it which we need. Be grateful sheeeeessh”

Others noted that she is using her platform to bring attention to undocumented families, who are the ones voicing their own stories in the show.

Gomez’s Previous Support for Immigrants

In June, Gomez criticized housing conditions for children at migrant detention facilities, a story which attracted widespread scrutiny.

“Kids in cages!” the singer said in an Instagram post. “Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening??? It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. We need to get this to finally stop! Don’t stay silent on this human rights issue.”

Gomez then urged her fans to call their state representatives in D.C. 

In 2018, Gomez wrote a piece for Cristina Jiminez, who was being honored as one of Time’s Most Influential People that year. Jiminez came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant and later co-founding the immigration activist organization United We Dream.

As a nation of immigrants,” Gomez wrote, “the country is filled with those who believe in the American Dream: the ideal that everyone should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. Cristina Jiménez is the American Dream.”

Other Executive Producers

Gomez will join five other executive producers, including her mother, Mandy Teefey, and the show’s co-directors. 

One of those directors, Aaron Saidman, reiterated that the show is about the immigrants featured in it. 

“Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time,” he said. “But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Elle) (Entertainment Weekly)

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Fans Defend Dua Lipa After Backlash Over Strip Club Visit With Lizzo, Lil Nas X, and Rosalía

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  • #DuaLipaIsOverParty was trending on Twitter, but the majority of the posts were from fans who defended the singer against backlash she faced for visiting a strip club. 
  • Critics accused her of claiming to be feminist while participating in the objectification of women, meanwhile, fans argued that supporting women and sex workers is what a feminist would do. 
  • Others said the criticism highlights a double standard since men in the industry often visit strip clubs without facing the same negative reactions. 

Stars Visit Strip Club 

Fans of singer Dua Lipa are rushing to her defense on Twitter after she was slammed for visiting a strip club Sunday night for a post Grammys celebration.

After her three Grammy wins, fellow singer Lizzo rented out the entire Crazy Girl Strip Club in Los Angeles for an after-party, inviting stars like Lil Nas X, Rosalía, Dua Lipa, and others to join. 

In one clip posted to Lizzo’s Instagram story, Lipa can be seen throwing cash on the performers dancing before her.

Backlash 

However, a handful of people seemed to be outraged by the after-party. One of the few tweets condemning the stars reads, “What a good example dua lipa, lizzo, rosalia sexualizing women but afterward they go out and say they are feminists.”

Another upset Twitter user wrote, “Going to a strip club, objectifying women and throwing your money at them as if they were an object is extremely fucked up. Everyone at that Grammy after party can do better #dualipaisoverparty #lilnasxisoverparty #rosaliaisoverparty”

Fans Step In 

When the outrage picked up attention, #DuaLipaIsOverParty began trending on Twitter, but most of the posts using the hashtag actually came from Dua Lipa fans. 

Many called the criticism a double standard since tons of men in the industry often visit strip clubs and rarely ever face backlash for it. Some were also frustrated by the claim that Lipa is not a feminist, arguing that supporting sex workers is feminist behavior. 

See what others are saying: (EOnline) (The Daily Dot) (Business Insider)

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Media Slammed for Poor Judgement and Misreporting in Coverage of Kobe Bryant’s Death

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  • NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died at the age of 41 Sunday morning, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in a Calabasas, California helicopter crash.
  • L.A. authorities specifically condemned TMZ for breaking the story before the victims’ families had been notified.
  • Other outlets faced public criticism for their errors, like ABC News which incorrectly said all four of Bryant’s children had died, ESPN which reported that one of the victims was retired NBA player Rick Fox, and the BBC which mistakenly used footage of Lebron James instead of Bryant.
  • An MSNBC reporter also faced backlash for appearing to say the n-word when covering the story, though she later apologized and explained that she stuttered on-air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say “Nakers.”

TMZ Reports Kobe Bryant’s Death

Minutes after Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash, TMZ was already reporting the death of Kobe Bryant.

TMZ’s coverage—along with coverage by various other outlets—sparked a national debate over how to handle celebrity deaths, especially as they break. 

Bryant’s death was first reported by TMZ before authorities were able to fully contact the victims’ next of kin. From there, the story propagated on other major media outlets like ABC, the BBC, and ESPN.

At a press conference Sunday, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized TMZ directly for leaking the information so soon. 

“There is wide speculation of who the identities are,” he said, “however, it would be entirely inappropriate to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberative process, and they’ve made notifications to next-of-kin. And it would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one was perished and that you learned about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate, so we’re not going to be going there.”

Later, Los Angeles Undersheriff Tim Murakami issued a similar statement on Twitter, though he stopped short of naming TMZ directly.

“I am saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported the Kobe had passed,” Murakami said. “I understand getting the scoop but please allow us time to make personal notifications to their loved ones. It’s very cold to hear of the loss via media. Breaks my heart.”

Bryant is not the first celebrity death TMZ has broken, a trait the celebrity gossip site is known for. In 2009, it first reported that Michael Jackson had died. In 2012, it broke the story that Whitney Houston had died and in 2016, it also broke the news of Prince’s death.

On social media, the hashtag #BoycottTMZ trended, with many users saying the site exploited his death to break the story.

ABC, ESPN, and BBC Slammed

TMZ isn’t the only news organization being criticized for its coverage of Kobe’s death. In the first few hours following Bryant’s death, reports were highly varied.

During early coverage, ABC News reporter Matt Gutman reported that it was believed all four of Kobe’s daughters were aboard the helicopter and had been killed. That then led to a number of ABC affiliates reporting the same information. In reality, neither Bryant’s wife Vanessa nor his other three daughters were on the helicopter.

At the same time, you had ESPN reported that one of the victims was Rick Fox, a former player for the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers. Fox, however, was not on the flight and was later confirmed alive by an NBA reporter on Sunday. 

The BBC also caught major criticism during its airing of an obituary segment for Bryant where it mistakenly used footage of Lebron James, who is still very much alive. That footage included direct shots of James’ “23” jersey with his name on the back. 

MSNBC Anchor and Buttigieg Criticized

MSNBC’s Alison Morris—while not criticized for misreporting—was accused of dropping the n-word when talking about Bryant’s death. 

Morris later took to Twitter to clarify her comment, which said she was a stutter between trying to say “Knicks” and “Lakers.”

“Earlier today, while reporting on the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, I unfortunately stuttered on air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say “Nakers.” Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused.”

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also came under fire for insinuating Bryant was a football player while on Fox News.

“Our lives are often touched by people we never even meet, and there are millions of people, not just in Los Angeles but around the world,” Buttigieg said. “Right now, mourning because they were inspired by what he did he did on the field, what he meant off the field.”

However, in an earlier interview, Buttigieg used the term “court.” On Twitter, he also used the term “court.”

What Do We Know So Far?

While a preliminary report likely won’t be published for another month and a full report likely won’t come until next year, many details surrounding the crash are still being learned. 

During their initial reports Sunday morning, many media outlets said five people—including Bryant and his daughter—had been killed; however, Sheriff Villaneuva later revealed that nine people had been aboard the aircraft when it went down. 

“There were no survivors,” he said. “We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people onboard the aircraft. The pilot plus eight individuals.”

Victims include Bryant, his daughter, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, elementary school basketball coach Christina Mauser, a parent named Sarah Chester and her daughter Peyton, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

The helicopter reportedly took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County just after 9 a.m. It passed over Boyle Heights and near Dodger stadium. It then circled Glendale, and it was on its way to Kobe’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game. Just before 10 a.m., the craft then crashed onto a hillside in Calabasas.

The helicopter itself was a Sikorsky S-76B model, which has been manufactured since the 1970s. Bryant specific helicopter had been in operation since 1991. It was outfitted with twin turboshaft engines and contained room for 12 passengers and two crew members. 

Bryant reportedly began using the helicopter as a way to beat L.A. traffic and spend more time with his children. Since his death, a clip of Bryant explaining his decision on The Corp has circulated on social media. 

Bryant was also known for offering his helicopter to help his teammates make doctors’ appointments.

What Will the Investigation Look Into?

As for the investigation, many Angelenos took notice of a thick fog encompassing the region Sunday morning; however, it is wholly unknown if this caused or even played into the helicopter’s crash. 

Despite that, on Sunday prior to the crash, L.A. police and the sheriff’s departments did deem the fog hazardous enough to ground their helicopters. Reports Monday morning indicated that Bryant’s pilot had given special permission to fly in the fog. 

Fog by itself does not mean that a pilot cannot fly a helicopter. Instead, helicopters need to be equipped with specialized instruments that help pilots fly in those conditions. If not using those instruments, a pilot would only be able to use what’s known as VFR — right, visual flight rules. Pilots can request special clearance in inclement conditions to use VFR if a pilot is rated high enough to not fly only by instruments.

According to the LATimes, an audio recording between the pilot and air traffic controllers suggests that indicates the helicopter was using VFR because the pilot told a controller he was “in VFR at 1,500″ feet. The newspaper, however, also noted that none of this has been confirmed yet. 

Regardless of whether or not fog was the culprit, it is expected to play a factor in the official investigation.

That investigation will also look into if there were mechanical problems aboard the helicopter, though it’s extremely rare for Sikorsky S-76B’s to experience twin-engine failure. From 2006-2016, the model saw the lowest number of fatal crashes among all of the major civilian helicopters in the country.

It is likely possible that both the weather and some form of mechanical failure took place, causing the chopper to plummet, but any official cause will likely not be known for some time. 

Fans and Friends Remember Kobe

Following news of Bryant’s death, many fans and friends mourned the loss of the NBA superstar, with many in L.A. saying he perfectly represented the spirit of the city. 

Perhaps one of the most memorable responses came from footage showing the Lakers returning to the city, where Lebron James can be visibly seen tearing up. The team reportedly learned about the crash on their flight back to LA. 

Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan also lamented the loss of Bryant. 

“Words can’t describe the pain I am feeling,” Jordan said. “I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.”

Major politicians such as President Donald Trump and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also issued statements via Twitter. 

Throughout Sunday, many fans gathered around the Staples Center where the Lakers play. Bryant also saw more tributes at the Staples Center later that night when stars like Alicia Keys, Aerosmith, Lizzo, and Lil Nas X all honored him at the Grammys.

In Philadelphia, people have set up a memorial in front of the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium at Bryant’s high school.

At the same time, there have been multiple reports of fans rushing to the crash site to set up a memorial. The traffic became so heavy that authorities shut down roads leading to the hillside where the helicopter crashed after that traffic made it harder for emergency personnel to perform their jobs.

That disturbance also risked contaminating the crash site as investigators work to both preserve and examine the scene to determine what caused the helicopter to go down.

Bryant’s 2003 Rape Allegation

While millions mourn Bryant’s death, others have used this as an opportunity to reminded people of Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault allegation, when a then-19-year-old hotel employee accused him of raping her. That case was later dropped because the accuser refused to testify in court. The accuser then settled privately with Bryant.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” Bryant admitted in 2004, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

People like Evan Rachel Wood noted the tragedy of the situation but also refused to shy away from addressing the accusation.

“What has happened is tragic,” she said on Twitter. “I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.”

Additionally, Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted a Daily Beast link to a 2016 article titled: “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case.” Sonmez later tweeted that she had received over 10,000 abuse and death threats after posting the link.

Source: @feliciasonmez

As of Monday, her tweets on Bryant have all been deleted and she has reportedly been suspended by the Post.

However, many were frustrated by those bringing up the rape case at such a sensitive time, including Comedian Corrine Fisher, who offered her take on the matter. 

“MY REPLY WHEN YOU TELL ME KOBE IS A RAPIST: ‘I know. We all fucking know. You think I don’t know? I fucking know. Go away,’” she said on Twitter. “Welp, he’s dead at 41 AND his 13 yr old daughter is dead. They crashed in a helicopter & burst into flames. Is that the justice you wanted you monsters?”

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Los Angeles Times) (NBC News)

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2020 Grammys: Billie Eilish Wins Big, Tyler the Creators Slams “Urban” Categories, and Other Major Moments

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  • The 2020 Grammy Awards took place last night, with Billie Eilish breaking records after sweeping in all four major categories.
  • Guests and viewers also mourned the loss of recently deceased LA legends Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant with special tributes during the show.
  • While dealing with backlash over corruption accusations from its former president, the Recording Academy also faced criticism from Tyler the Creator and Diddy who slammed its treatment and categorization of black artists. 

Billie Eilish Wins Big

The biggest names in music gathered for 62nd annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, which proved to be a tough and emotional event mixed with celebration and mourning.  

The stand out winner of this year’s show was Billie Eilish, who took home awards in all four major categories: Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. 

Thanks to the success of her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and her smash hit “Bad Guy,” the 18-year-old has made history as the second artist to sweep in the top four categories, after Christopher Cross in 1981. She is also the youngest person and first woman to ever do so. 

On top of that, Eilish is now the youngest person to ever win in the Album of the Year category, beating out Taylor Swift, and the youngest to take home Record of the Year, a spot previously held by Sam Smith and Kimbra. 

Aside from the four major wins, the singer also won a 5th award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Mourning Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant

The Grammys also took a moment to celebrate the later rapper Nipsey Hussle with a star-studded tribute performance just hours after honoring him with his first Grammy posthumously. 

The performance, which included the likes of John Legend, YG, DJ Khaled, and others, concluded with an image of Hussle alongside Kobe Bryant, the 41-year-old basketball legend who passed away just hours before the show.

Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning– news that stunned family, friends, and fans across the country.

The two were on their way to a youth basketball game with Orange Coast College baseball coaching legend John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyssa, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, assistant coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan, who all died in the tragic accident.

Bryant’s shocking death was also addressed at the show’s opening by host Alicia Keys who said, “We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now.”

“Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

After her opening remarks, Keys began a line from the Boys II Men song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” and was joined by the ban itself moments later. 

Recording Academy Scandal and Tyler the Creator on Diversity Issues

Though grief seemed to overshadow much of the night, the award show also had to deal with ongoing scandals and criticisms.

Ahead of the ceremony, the Recording Academy was also already facing controversy surrounding its back and forth with its former president Deborah Dugan. 

Dugan was ousted earlier this month, and since then, accusations of harassment, corruption, and conflict of interests have been thrown each way. Dugan recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the Academy of retaliation, sexual misconduct, improper voting practices, and more. Meanwhile, the Academy accused Dugan of creating a “toxic and intolerable” work environment and engaged in “abusive and bullying conduct.”

But concern over insider Recording Academy practices also made headlines when Tyler the Creator seemed conflicted after earning his first-ever Grammy for Best Rap Album. Following a gracious acceptance speech, Tyler spoke to reporters backstage about the Recording Academy’s voting process.

While he said he was “very grateful” to have his work acknowledged, he called the categorization of his music as rap a “backhanded compliment.” 

“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said.

Sean “Diddy” Combs showed similar concerns at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala on Saturday, saying the Recording Academy has never respected black artists. 

“Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be. So, right now, in this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on and it’s not just going on in music. It’s going on in film. It’s going on in sports, It’s going on around the world,” he said.

He went to say that it was silly to allow “institutions that have never had our best interest at heart, to judge us.”

“We need transparency. We need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make the change. It needs to be made. They have to make the changes for us,” he continued. 

Tyler’s comments come just as the Recording Academy announced new diversity initiatives to “ensure that the Academy — and the music business — is truly representative of artists and their audiences.”

Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer Harvey Mason Jr. said in his message to Academy members Sunday morning: “The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole.”

“Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists — in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion,” he added.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (Fox News) (Variety)

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