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Grammy Awards Renew Discussion About Transparency and Diversity

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  • Women made history at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, with Beyonce breaking the record for most Grammys won by any woman or singer ever and Taylor Swift becoming the first woman to win Album of the Year three times.
  • Still, the night was clouded by renewed calls for the Recording Academy to address its lack of transparency and inclusion.
  • Singers Zayn Malik and The Weeknd recently joined the list of stars who have called out the Academy’s “secret committees,” who vote for the show’s most prestigious awards.
  • The Weeknd took it a step further by promising to boycott the show indefinitely after he was snubbed with zero nominations despite breaking chart records with music from his critically acclaimed and top-selling R&B album, “After Hours.”

Beyonce’s Record Breaking Win Prompts Discussion

Beyonce and Taylor Swift’s record breaking wins stole the spotlight at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, but criticism from major stars and fans still poured in ahead of and during the telecast. 

Swift’s quarantine-recorded album “folklore” took home Album of the Year, making her the first woman to win the award three times. Beyonce went into the night with 24 Grammys to her name and left with 28, making her the woman and singer with the most wins in the award show’s history. She is now tied with producer Quincy Jones for having the second-most Grammy statues, behind only conductor Georg Solti.

However, her win prompted discussion about how the Recording Academy awards even its most celebrated artists. Of Beyonce’s 28 trophies, just one comes from a major category, her Song of the Year win for “Single Ladies” in 2010. Most of her wins come from genre categories like R&B. 

Compare that to the career of Allison Krauss, who Beyonce overtook as the woman with the most Grammy Awards. Of Krauss’s 27 Grammys, three came from top categories. Even Swift, who has 11 wins to her name, has three awards from major categories.

The gap highlights one of the Grammy’s largest issues: diversity and inclusion. The show has a history of awarding Black artists in scattered below-the-line categories, but it often looks them over when it comes to top prizes. In recent years, Beyonce has been snubbed by artists like Beck and Adele, the latter of whom devoted a portion of her speech to the matter. A similar moment occurred last night when Billie Eilish devoted her Record of the Year win to Megan Thee Stallion, who was a favorite to win for her song “Savage,” which featured Beyonce. 

“You deserve it, honestly. Genuinely this goes to her,” the “Everything I Ever Wanted” singer said while accepting the award. “Can we just cheer for Megan thee Stallion?” 

BTS Fans Slam Show

This familiar pattern of white artists acknowledging the successes of their Black peers on the stage of the show that snubbed them was not the only reason the show faced backlash. BTS fans in particular felt the Recording Academy used the band for its popularity while neglecting to reward them for their massive achievements.

The in-demand K-pop boy band was nominated for just one award last night: Best Pop Duo or Group Performance for their song “Dynamite.” Before the telecast even began, they lost to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me,” which marked the first time a duet by female artists won the category.

Still, for the more than three hours that the show ran, the Grammys repeatedly teased BTS’s performance, which it saved for the end of the program. Fans argue that if BTS is important enough to the show that it was designated such a coveted performance spot, the band also deserves recognition in major categories like Record and Song of the Year. The hashtag #SCAMMYS trended on Twitter as fans vented their frustrations.

Grammys Called Out for Secret Committees

Anger at the show started well before it even began airing. The Recording Academy has long been accused of being an unprincipled organization. Last week, The Weeknd even promised to boycott the show indefinitely because of its alleged deception.

The Weeknd was expected to be among the most nominated artists for the 2021 Grammys. His album “After Hours” and single “Blinding Lights” received critical acclaim and even broke Billboard records. Reports say he and the show engaged in heated talks with ultimatums regarding his Super Bowl performance before he wound up with a whopping zero nods. 

After nominations came out, he tweeted that the show was corrupt. On Thursday, he told The New York Times he would no longer allow his label to submit his work to the show because of the “secret committees” in the academy. 

Hours before the show aired, singer Zayn Malik joined critics in slamming the Grammys for not making enough progress on transparency and inclusion. Last week, he also called the show out for allegedly making their nominations based on gifts they receive from artists and producers.

The Recording Academy appears to be aware of these issues. During the show, the organization’s president, Harvey Mason Jr, took to the stage pledging to listen to marginalized voices. It also aired a statement condemning racism, sexism, and all forms of hate and vowed to work towards unity.

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Esquire) (Associated Press)

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Netflix Strikes Deal for Rights To Sony Movies Following Theatrical Releases. Yes, That Includes Spider-Man.

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  • Netflix has secured the exclusive rights to stream Sony films following their theatrical releases, per a reported $1 billion deal between the streaming giant and movie studio. 
  • While the full details of the deal have not yet been officially published, it will begin with Sony’s 2022 slate of films and reportedly last for the following five years.
  • The agreement means Netflix will eventually be granted streaming rights to popular Marvel characters such as Morbius, as well as Venom and Spider-Man once future installments are released. 

Netflix Reach Massive Deal With Sony

Netflix has struck a multi-year licensing deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will grant it exclusive streaming rights to the studio’s theatrical titles.

The terms of the agreement have yet to be officially disclosed, but according to multiple media outlets, Netflix will pay Sony over $1 billion over the course of the next four years. The deal itself is set to begin with Sony’s 2022 slate and will reportedly last five years, with Netflix holding streaming rights to individual films for 18 months. 

Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear whether some films will continue to have their release dates pushed back. It’s also unclear how long their theatrical windows will last; however, once released, Netflix will acquire streaming rights to films such as “Uncharted,” “Where the Crawdads Sing,” and “Bullet Train.”

Netflix Will Have Marvel Movies Once More

The deal will also grant Netflix access to a number of Marvel characters still owned by Sony. That includes the film “Morbius,” which is currently set to be released in January of next year.

It will also include future installments of the “Venom” and “Spider-Man” franchises, the latter of which is notable as it’s part of the Dinsey-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe. Outside of 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man” films are the only other films set in the MCU that are not on Disney+. 

Prior to Disney+’s launch, Netflix held streaming rights to several MCU films, including “Black Panther,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” The shift of those massive blockbusters to another platform was a striking loss for Netflix, and the streaming service is no doubt itching to once again beef up its selection of superhero content.

It’s unclear whether or not the Sony deal will immediately allow Netflix to stream the upcoming films “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” once they leave theaters. That’s because both are currently expected to be released later this year. 

That said, if sequels for these films are announced and can be expected to find their way to Netflix, the streaming giant will be able to acquire the rights to the films’ full library of installments, according to Deadline. Such a deal also exists for Jumanji’s library of movies. 

Sony’s Direct-to-Streaming Titles

Netflix will retain first-look rights to any of Sony’s potential direct-to-streaming titles, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it will acquire those films. Under that part of the deal, Sony still has the right to sell to other streaming platforms. 

While Sony has said it’s considering “a number” of direct-to-streaming releases, as Deadline projected, “in reality [that’s] likely just a couple a year and a minority of the studio’s overall slate.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, however, “Netflix has committed to ordering an undisclosed number of those films.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Wall Street Journal) (IGN)

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Regé-Jean Page Seemingly Reacts To Reports That He Was Not Cast as Superman’s Grandfather Because He Is Black

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  • A recent piece from The Hollywood Reporter claimed that actor Regé-Jean Page auditioned to play Superman’s grandfather in a DC series but was turned down after a DC executive said the superhero could not have a Black grandfather. 
  • Page seemingly responded to the article Wednesday, tweeting, “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”
  • A representative for the DC executive claimed the report was false and added that they went down a different path because “the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”

Regé-Jean Page Loses DC Role

“Bridgerton” breakout star Regé-Jean Page seemingly responded Wednesday to reports that he lost out on the role of Superman’s grandfather because he is Black.

This week, The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive piece about issues with executives, toxic behavior, and diversity at DC Films. One project discussed was “Krypton,” a series that follows Superman’s grandfather. Multiple sources told the outlet that “the show’s creators were passionate about doing some nontraditional casting.” Before the popular period drama shot him to stardom, Page auditioned for the role. However, those sources claimed that DC Films co-founder Geoff Johns said that “Superman could not have a Black grandfather.”

Johns also allegedly vetoed a proposal to make one of the superhero characters in the show gay.

The news caught the attention of many online, as Page has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors following the success of the Netflix hit “Bridgerton.” In the past several months alone, Page has hosted “Saturday Night Live,” been cast in upcoming blockbusters, and is even rumored to be a contender for the next James Bond.

Many were quick to slam DC for dismissing Page since nothing about superhero shows and films are realistic in the first place.

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Page Addresses News

On Wednesday, Page seemed to address the controversy himself.

“Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then,” he wrote. “The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. 

“Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”

He got support from actors like Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the “Justice League” films and has been open about his criticisms of executives at DC. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter‘s piece about the studio largely focused on Fisher and his experiences.

“I feel for you @regejean. If ever you need I’m around,” he tweeted. “Keep flying.”

DC Executive Denies Claims

A representative for Johns denied the allegations in The Hollywood Reporter report with a statement to E! News

“Geoff never said Superman can’t have a Black ancestor or be Black—there have been diverse versions of Superman throughout the comics for decades so he does and can be diverse,” the representative said. 

“However, the expectation for KRYPTON was that it would initially be perceived as a possible prequel to Man of Steel by the fans and the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”

The representative also said that the accusation that Johns did not let creators make a major character part of the LGBTQ community is “categorically false.”

See what others are saying: (E! News) (Los Angeles Times) (Entertainment Weekly)

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Khloe Kardashian Sparks Conversation About Beauty Standards After Unapproved Bikini Photo Circulates Online

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  • Representatives for the Kardashian family are allegedly scrambling to scrub a bikini photo of Khloe from the internet after it quickly spread online over the past several days.
  • Many social media users expressed confusion regarding Khloe’s alleged issue with the image, arguing that there is nothing wrong with how she looks in the photo, which is not nearly as excessively edited as most of the content she posts.
  • A marketing officer for KKW Brands told Page Six the picture was taken “during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” adding that while Khloe looks “beautiful” in it, it is within her right to want it removed.
  • The photo takedowns prompted many to accuse the Kardashian-Jenner family of perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, though others defended them and said brutal body-shaming likely pressures them into highly editing their images.

Kardashian Team Works To Remove Unapproved Photo 

Khloe Kardashian is reportedly pushing her team to remove a photo of her from the internet that was shared without her approval.

The photo shows Kardashian in a cheetah print bikini standing casually in front of a pool. After seeing it, many social media users argued that the image does not appear to be nearly as photoshopped or airbrushed as most of the other content she shares of herself.

Still, the reality star allegedly does not want the photo up. Tracy Romulus, the chief marketing officer for KKW Brands told Page Six that the picture was not authorized to be published. 

“The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” Romulus said in a statement. 

“Khloé looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.”

According to Page Six, copies of the photo have been taken “under legal threats” from the Kardashian team. A source told the outlet that the photo had been lightly edited, but not to the degree most of Kardashian’s pictures are. 

Fans Discuss Unrealistic Beauty Standards Promoted by The Kardashians

Kardashian was a trending topic on Twitter early Wednesday as many discussed the photo and the way the Kardashian-Jenner family has promoted unattainable beauty standards by posting heavily edited photos. Khloe, in particular, has been at the center of some of these conversations within the last year, as fans regularly say the photos she posts of herself always look different. 

“This is the best she’s looked IMO!!!!” one person wrote in reference to the leaked photo. “Stop with the unrealistic beauty standards we know are fake!!!!! We’re sick of seeing them!!!!”

“The Kardashians have body shamed and endorsed diet products for years and I’m supposed to feel sorry for Khloe because a perfectly beautiful unedited pic got dropped on the internet?” one Twitter user said. 

Another person said the photo served as a “stark reminder that social media is a complete lie.” 

Some also went back to a photo Kardashian posted in January on Instagram. The image shows the side of her waist and upper legs covered in sand. While it does look as if the image was likely photoshopped, slight stretch marks can be seen on part of her body. She captioned the picture “I love my stripes.”

Now, people are calling her out in the comments of this post. 

“Where’s the love for your real body that you’re trying to have scrubbed from the internet just because you look normal,” someone wrote. “Sad message to send when you’re claiming all this self love.”

Khloe’s History of Being Body Shamed

Others were more sympathetic and brought up the fact that Kardashian has been brutally body shamed by the public in the past, which is likely why she feels the need to airbrush her photos.

“It would be amazing if Khloe K could embrace that unedited image. But she was literally bullied her entire life for her body and looks,” one person wrote. “Held against the beauty standards of her sisters. You made her not be comfortable with her own body and face. YOU did this to her.

“People have called her the ugly one her entire life and now they’re shocked when she panics over an unedited photo? It’s so sad,” another person said. 

“Any imperfection is a sincere threat to her well-being in her limbic brain and it’s not [her] fault cuz that threat is stemming from a very real place,” another Twitter user added. 

Kardashian has not commented on the controversy yet herself.

See what others are saying: (Page Six) (The Independent) (Cosmopolitan)

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