Connect with us

Entertainment

Michael B. Jordan Launches Initiative to Increase Diversity in Hollywood

Published

on

  • Actor Michael B. Jordan partnered with nonprofit Color of Change to create an initiative called #ChangeHollywood, which aims to promote anti-racist and Black storytelling in the industry.
  • The initiative sets out a roadmap for leaders to follow, including hiring more Black creators, divesting from police, changing the way the criminal justice system is represented, and supporting the Black community throughout production.
  • Hollywood’s history of racism and poor representation is no secret. According to UCLA’s 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report, less than one-third of lead acting roles go to people of color, while less than 1.5 out of 10 directors are people of color.
  • This initiative comes as many actors are calling for change in the industry, and as other facets of Hollywood are pledging to increase diversity on set.

#ChangeHollywood Initiative

As many facets of Hollywood are reckoning with the systemic racism that has permeated the industry for years, actor Michael B. Jordan has created an initiative to promote diversity and anti-racist storytelling in film.

The “Creed” and “Black Panther” star partnered with the nonprofit Color of Change to start the effort, which is called #ChangeHollywood. One of the main initiatives of #ChangeHollywood is to create a roadmap that leaders in the industry can turn to when working towards increasing representation on their sets. They hope that their concrete suggestions will lead to real actions that Hollywood can take in the fight for racial justice. 

“The history of racism in Hollywood is long and unforgivable,” Jordan and Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change wrote in a statement.

“We can break the pattern, and change that trajectory,” the two added. “The understanding of Hollywood’s impact on society has never been more widespread, and the demand for addressing systemic racism in Hollywood has never been greater. We must answer the call to action.”

The roadmap breaks down into four recommendations. The first encourages the entertainment industry to divest from police and instead use that economic power to advocate for Black communities. In order to do this, #ChangeHollywood recommends that studios hire independent security instead of police officers, turn to authorities other than the police when it comes to shaping content about the criminal justice system, and put pressure on local governments to move funding to Black communities. 

When it comes to storytelling, #ChangeHollywood recommends that the industry invest in anti-racist and authentic Black content and voices. This could involve hiring cultural consultants and Black executives, as well as changing the way the criminal justice system is represented on screen. 

The roadmap further suggests that Hollywood invest in Black talent both in front of and behind the camera. One of the biggest suggestions is that filmmakers adopt inclusion riders in their contracts, which are clauses that mandate a certain level of diversity in productions. #ChangeHollywood also recommends anti-racism training, transparency about staff diversity, and proactive recruitment of Black industry workers. 

The last suggestion encourages studios to work with Black-owned businesses and other companies that value social justice. 

“Hollywood should use its economic power to support Black communities in all the cities in which it operates,” #ChangeHollywood’s website explains. 

“This roadmap is just the beginning of the journey to racial justice. We are all accomplices in the fight to transform Hollywood, and we invite content creators and industry leaders to join us in working together to #ChangeHollywood,” Jordan told the Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the news about this initiative. “We look forward to including a variety of voices in doing what we do best: telling authentic stories, bringing people together, partnering with influential artists, and changing the rules of the game.” 

Hollywood’s History of Racism

Representation has long been an issue in Hollywood. UCLA’s 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report found that people of color are underrepresented in every level of the industry. Roughly three out of every ten lead actors are people of color, while only 1.5 out of ten directors are people of color. 

When it comes to film executives, diversity lacks even more. Around 91% of chairs or CEOS are white and 82% are male. Senior executives are similarly white and male. 

When it comes to the Academy Awards, the absence of representation follows. In the last 50 years, only 10% of acting nominees have been actors of color. Only six Black directors have ever been nominated for Best Director.

In recent months, calls for change have increased. More stars like Kerry Washington, Anthony Mackie, and Viola Davis have spoken candidly about racism in the industry as well as the need for Black voices to be centered. 

There have also been calls for more representation in hair and makeup departments, which some studios have vowed to listen to. ViacomCBS in the U.K. set new standards for diversity in front of and behind the camera across the pond, and in the U.S., CBS announced plans to diversify their writers’ rooms. 

In other cases, Hollywood has done a cleanse of white people taking up space that they should not be. White actors like Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell opted to step away from projects where they were providing voices for Black and biracial animated characters. In reality television, several stars have been dropped from shows for past racist behavior.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (USA Today)

Entertainment

Britney Spears’ Attorney Files Petition To Oust Father as Conservator

Published

on

Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said there are “serious questions” regarding “potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest [and] conservatorship abuse.”


Mathew Rosengart Petitions Court To Remove Jamie Spears

Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition Monday to remove the singer’s father, Jamie Spears, as her financial conservator. 

Jamie Spears has served as his daughter’s financial conservator for 13 years. In the filing, Rosengart said the elder Spears “profited handsomely” from the position. He asked that Jamie be replaced with a Certified Public Accountant named Jason Rubin, who Rosengart described as “objectively intelligent” and “highly qualified” for the job. 

The petition is 120 pages long and contained scathing remarks about Jamie. Britney has made it clear she wants him removed from the conservatorship, which she wants to be terminated entirely. During a statement in June, she called the situation “abusive” and specifically condemned her father. 

“He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it,” she said.

Rosengart has promised to be a stronger advocate for Britney than her previous lawyer, Samuel Ingham, was. He seems to be following through on his word by challenging Jamie’s status as a conservator just weeks after being appointed Britney’s attorney. 

“Serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears’s potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears’s fortune,” he wrote. 

The petition claims that Jamie made at least $2.1 million from Britney’s residency in Las Vegas, snagging a 1.5% cut of gross revenues and merchandise. It also claims that he paid himself $16,000 a month from Britney’s estate, which is $2,000 more than he gave Britney. On top of that, Jamie reportedly took another $2,000 for business purposes. 

Rosengart wrote that while it might be common for a manager or agent to make this kind of money, someone in Jamie’s position should not be. 

“He is a conservator, and, as a conservator, his role is to be burdened by, rather than benefit from, the conservatorship.”

Britney’s Mother Speaks Out

Both Britney’s personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, and her mother, Lynne Spears, gave statements in the filings echoing the need for Jamie to be removed from his role. Montgomery emphasized that his departure was necessary for the singer’s welfare.

“It would be best for Ms. Spears’ well-being and mental health that her father stop acting as her conservator,’ she wrote. 

Lynne did not hold back on criticizing Jamie, saying Britney’s relationship with her father has “dwindled to nothing but fear and hatred” because of the control he exerts over her. She also claimed that he relied on Britney’s house staff, medical aides, and security team to “inform on and report back to him each and every detail of every action” in his daughter’s life.

“Such scrutiny is exhausting and terrifying, like living in custody,” she said. 

This petition does not terminate the conservatorship fully, but Rosengart said that could be something the court has to examine one day further down the line. 

“There might well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the conservatorship should be terminated in its entirety and whether — in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy and certain fundamental liberties — Mr. Spears is also guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages or other legal action against him,” Rosengart wrote.

See what others are saying: (NPR) (NBC News) (New York Times)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Simone Biles Withdraws, Naomi Osaka Ousted in Rough Day at Olympics. Both Cite Heavy Pressure To Perform

Published

on

Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final due to a medical issue while Osaka lost in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.


Team USA Takes Silver in Women’s Gymnastics

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shocked the world Tuesday after pulling out of the women’s gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Games due to a medical issue.

She left the competition area with a medical examiner after faltering during her vault performance, which was pretty out of character for Biles, who is the most decorated gymnast of all time. However, she later told NBC’s Today that her withdrawal was not due to a physical injury.

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she explained. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

Biles said she isn’t sure whether she will compete Thursday in the individual all-around competition and is just going to “take it day by day.”

The gymnastics star later talked about not wanting to cost her team a medal or injure herself by performing her dangerous stunts in the wrong headspace.

“It’s just it’s not worth it, especially when you have three amazing athletes that can step up to the plate and do it,” she said, according to The New York Times.


Biles has previously been pretty open about all the pressure she’s been feeling amid the Games, writing in an Instagram post on Sunday, “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me, but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke.”


Russia went on to take gold at the competition while the U.S. took silver, ending more than a decade of American domination in the event. Still, it’s worth noting that Russia’s margin of victory proved no single mistake by the U.S. was to blame for their second-place finish.

According to The Times, it wasn’t just Jordan Chiles’ fall on floor or Biles’ weak vault. “It was a combination of those two mistakes plus Biles’s absence on the other apparatuses plus truly standout performances from Russia on three out of four events.”

Holding that same sentiment, many fans are defending Biles against anyone suggesting she was solely responsible for the team’s missed shot at first place, noting that the country’s strategy to win can’t just be based on expecting her to generate huge margins for them.

Tennis Star Speaks Out After Olympic Loss

Day four of the Games proved to be similarly rough on tennis star Naomi Osaka, who will leave Tokyo without a medal after losing to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.

Osaka, who represented Japan at the Games, faced high expectations to do well as she is the highest-paid female athlete in the world and the host country’s face of the Games.

“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” she said.

“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.”

She later added, “I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure, so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”

Osaka has been open about her mental health struggles before, with her citing, among other things, the way speaking with reporters after matches create self-doubt, so one can only imagine what she was feeling with all of the eyes on her at such a huge international event. 

Despite the surprising performances from Biles and Osaka, people all over the world are continuing to praise them for being trailblazers in their sports and for being so candid when it comes to topics like mental health. 

See what others are saying: (ESPN)(Axios)(CNN)

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”

Published

on

The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.


Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund

Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country. 

The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States. 

“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”

The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S.  It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.

“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”

The Fight to End Cash Bail

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”

Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.

“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”

A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning. 

The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (NBC News) (A.V. Club)

Continue Reading