Marvel Hired Gabby Rivera, A Queer Latina Writer, For Its Queer Latina Superhero


Gabby Rivera never thought superhero comics would become a part of her writing career, but when the call came, she answered with geeky enthusiasm.

Marvel Comics reached out to Rivera, perhaps best-known for her novel “Juliet Takes a Breath,” and asked whether she’d be interested in being the writing voice behind America Chavez, a Latina, queer, superpowered and super-popular character who made a name for herself in the pages of super-team titles “Young Avengers” and “The Ultimates.”

Rivera says the chance to write such a character is like the dream she never knew she had coming true.

“Superhero comics seemed so out of my league that I never even imagined it as something I could do. But the second the opportunity came my way, it felt so right,” Rivera told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “I’ve always dreamt up wild, powerful and carefree superheroes that look like me and my family: thick, brown, goofy, beautiful. And now I get to see them come to life. ‘America’ is going to be all those things and it’s [going to] be wild.”

Before beginning to write “America,” the new solo series (illustrated by Joe Quinones) that debuted in print and digitally last week, Rivera dived into stacks of comic books featuring the superstrong heroine who can fly and punch star-shaped dimension-hopping holes into the air. Rivera called it her “crash course” on all things America.

The biggest difference for Rivera between writing novels and superhero comic books? Time.

“I take my sweet old time writing my stuff. But working on ‘America’ has been like riding a jet or a Jet Ski or something fast and fun,” Rivera said. “I’m churning out 20-page scripts while working full time at a national LGBTQ nonprofit. It’s intense and challenging and I love it.”

Rivera says it is “dope as hell” to be the first queer Latina writing for Marvel Comics. She is aware that her presence at Marvel represents efforts by the publisher to make sure their diverse heroes have diverse creative talent on the production side as well. Especially in the current comic-book-reading era that includes social media, where diversity decisions are praised or critiqued.

“I mean, folks have been wanting intersectional representation in literature and the creative arts since forever,” Rivera said. “Social media just heightens the scrutiny and gives people a space to connect. [Online] groups like Black Girl Nerds, Latinx Geeks, and Geeks of Color are doing their thing.”

Just where exactly America descends from is something that hasn’t been publicized yet. Is she Puerto Rican? Dominican? Cuban? Mexican? None of the above?

Rivera, who grew up in the Bronx, infuses some of her Puerto Rican culture into the first issue of “America,” adding some “wepas” and having America study (in another dimension) at Sotomayor University (named after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor). But she won’t say where America descends from just yet.

The series “is definitely going to tackle America’s ancestry and ethnicity. But it won’t be as neat as some folks might want it to be. For me, being Latina is really damn complicated, especially when it comes to tracing my roots,” Rivera said. “America’s going to wonder where she really came from and who her people are. She’s going to explore what it means to be brown across the dimensions. And like many people who’ve had to leave home at a young age, she’s dealing with that feeling of disconnect, the you’re a foreigner here and out of place when you go ‘home’ type of feeling.”

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete articles.

Priyanka Chopra: Standing Up for Girls

Priyanka Chopra

By Mackenna Cummings
Priyanka Chopra, the current star of the ABC series Quantico, has risen well beyond her title as the lead actress of a television series. Success is important to her, but so is changing the world, which why she is making great strides not only in the entertainment industry but also as a humanitarian.

When she was young, Chopra dreamed of being an aeronautical engineer, but it was her success in pageants that gave her confidence. She struggled with insecurities and bullying due to her darker skin and ethnicity, but much of that changed in 2000 when she was crowned Miss World. This title helped her career path as well as showed her how instrumental her voice and presence in entertainment could be. She quickly became an empowering figure to women of color, and she continues to use her success as an advocate for equality, diversity, and positive change.

Priyanka Chopra on “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts. (ABC/Lou Rocco)

At 17 years old, Chopra found herself with multiple opportunities ahead, having just won Miss World. She turned to film and music. One of her earliest roles was in a commercial for a skin lightening product. It was shortly after this that she realized she had just become an advocate for something that caused her insecurities when she was young. Chopra knew she could use her voice and celebrity status for much more positive impacts around the world. She had a heart and drive to make a difference.

“I couldn’t change the world, but I could contribute toward change,” she says. “One person cannot eradicate poverty, but I realized that [with] the platform that I had, whatever I said would be spoken about, would be written about.” It was through this that she has found a multitude of ways to champion for others. As one person doing something she can inspire countless more to also change the world. Now, when girls and women approach her in appreciation for the representation she brings to television and the strength she gives them through her success, she says she feels that insecure girl she was quake inside.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra in Johannesburg Photo/Unicef/Karel Prinsloo

Chopra credits her parents for much of her success, saying she comes from a family of overachievers. Both of her parents were doctors in the army. While she was raised in a small town in India where most girls were not given the opportunity of an education in favor of marriage, her parents encouraged her to study and strive for success. This support was crucial for her drove her to start The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education, which allows 70 children in India to have access to medical coverage and education. A personal experience inspired her to support such a cause. When it came to her attention that, due to expenses, the daughter of her family’s housekeeper was not being sent to school while the son was, she immediately paid for the young girl’s tuition. But Chopra did not stop there. She knew she could do more. “Education has always been very important to me. It means you don’t have to depend on anyone else,” she says. These children now have mobility and options because of her passion and awareness.

Priyanka Chopra UNICEF
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra comforts youth living with HIV. UNICEF/KAREL PRINSLOO

Her humanitarian efforts extend beyond her own foundation. In 2016, she was appointed UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador but had been involved with UNICEF for nearly ten years prior. “My wish for children is freedom. The freedom to think, the freedom to live,” she said when she was appointed. Chopra has spent many years working to help others, particularly girls who have not been given many opportunities. She says she has “experienced firsthand the transformative power of empowering young girls with opportunities that are rightfully theirs.”

With the knowledge that changing the world can be achieved through giving these young girls a voice and access to education, Chopra has met with children victims of abuse in Zimbabwe, and Syrian refugees in Jordan, and supported the programs in place to help the youth recover from trauma and be empowered. She even utilized social media for her recent UNICEF trip, and these posts ranked her number one for a period of time among other celebrities, guaranteeing that her hope to contribute to change by getting others to also contribute is working. She is raising awareness not only of problems for youth globally but also about the programs already in place to help, programs that can change the world with the support a voice like Chopra’s.

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador-PHOTO: KAREL PRINSLOO

Chopra also serves as a Girl Up Champion for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign. She raises awareness and funds for UN programs that provide girls around the world with life-changing opportunities, like the chance to go to school, see a doctor, and stay safe from violence.

“As a Champion for Girl Up, I am lending my voice to a cause that is very close to me. I come from a country where girls are not treated fairly—many girls are kept out of school, get married at a young age, and don’t have access to health services,” she says.  “I joined Girl Up because I firmly believe in the campaign’s mission, that every girl, no matter where she is born, should grow up safe, healthy and empowered. Every girl should have the opportunity to reach her full potential.”

When she is not traveling to help children and young women, she continues to break barriers in her own field. Chopra is relentless, to her, “success is a journey, you have to be consistently successful to be called successful.”

Late Late Show Priyanka Chopra
The Late Late Show with James Corden. TERENCE PATRICK/CBS ©2017 CBS BROADCASTING, INC.

Choosing the role of Alex Parrish in Quantico was a very particular choice for her in fighting for equal representation and diversity. “I did not want to be the stereotype of either Bollywood or what Indian actors are [usually offered]. The exotic, beautiful girl, or the academically inclined nerd. And I wanted to play a lead…. And I’m playing an FBI agent on Quantico. I didn’t settle for less,” she said of her starring role.

She hopes to make diversity normal as opposed to a novelty,knowing that once it is, then equality can truly gain traction. So long as it is a novelty, people of diverse backgrounds are limited by the stereotypes and associations of society rather than their skills. “Celebrating our differences doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to be different,” Chopra says. “Celebrating our differences is being proud of where you come from but engulfing other people who are different than you into your world.”

Chopra is an outspoken feminist and champion for diversity, with a goal to educate rather than be angry when someone is misinformed. Through everything Chopra does, these priorities are clear: As a humanitarian, she is giving opportunities of education and independence to many, and as a celebrity, she is using her voice to advocate and encourage others to do the same.

16 Girls Who Changed The World

young ruby bridges

Women’s History Month is a great time to look back on the achievements of women who have made waves over the years.

Just in the last few weeks, we’ve witnessed impressive teen activism following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ― an important reminder that you’re never too young to make a difference.

Below is a list of women who changed the world when they were young girls and teens. From promoting girls’ education to raising money for meaningful causes to marching for civil rights, their accomplishments are impressive and inspiring.

1. Ruby Bridges

In 1960 at the age of 6, Ruby Bridges became the first black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. The first-grader faced protests and riots and had to walk to school accompanied by federal marshals. She became an icon and inspiration in the Civil Rights Movement.

2. Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights advocate known for her activism in promoting education for girls. In 2012, when she was just 15 years old, a Taliban gunman shot her in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her work. At the age of 17, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate.

3. Anne Frank

A German-born Jewish girl who moved to the Netherlands during the Nazi regime, Anne Frank rose to fame following the publication of the diary she kept while hiding from the Gestapo. After her family was discovered and arrested, Frank died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15. Her father Otto — the only surviving family member — was moved reading her diary after the war and published it posthumously. It has been translated into more than 60 languages.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read more about these courageous girls.

Frida Kahlo And Other Historic Women Are Being Made Into Barbies


Mattel is also honoring a few living legends, including Olympian Chloe Kim, this International Women’s Day.

Kids around the world will soon be able to own a Barbie doll bearing the likeness of Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart or Katherine Johnson.

All three women made herstory in different industries: Earhart was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; Mexican artist Kahlo was known for her unique painting style and feminist activism; and Johnson, who was highlighted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” broke boundaries for black women in mathematics and calculated dozens of trajectories for NASA, including the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

The dolls, which are part of Mattel’s new series called “Inspiring Women,” will be mass produced and sold in stores. The toy company does not have an exact date for when they will hit shelves, but said each will come with educational information about the woman who inspired it.

“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, said Tuesday in a press release. “Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Tiffany Haddish Will Be The First Black Woman To Host MTV Movie & TV Awards


Tiffany Haddish is making history left and right.

The “Girls Trip” actress announced on Thursday that she will be hosting the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles on Monday, June 18. Haddish, who made history last November by becoming the first black female stand-up comedian to host “Saturday Night Live,” is making history again as the first black woman to host the award show. The last female host was Amy Schumer in 2015.

Haddish announced the news in a video on Instagram. “It’s gonna be off the chain! Because you know why? I’m hosting!” Haddish says in the video. “And you know what that means ― it’s gonna be hilarious.”

MTV released a statement shortly after Haddish’s announcement, writing that the actress, comedian and author is “quickly establishing herself as one of the most sought-after actresses and comedic talents in television and film.”

Haddish, who many believe should have been an Oscar contender, has been on fire as of late.

After her hilarious acting in “Girls Trip,” she released a New York Times best-seller titled The Last Black Unicorn. She recently made waves as the face of Groupon, appearing in the brand’s 2018 Super Bowl ad. The actress is also starring in the upcoming TBS sitcom “The Last O.G.” alongside Tracy Morgan.

Continue onto the HuffingtonPost to read the complete article.

2018 iHeartRadio Nominees Have Been Announced!


The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards is set to air live on Sunday, March 11th at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. For the fifth straight year, the ceremony will celebrate the most talked about artists and songs heard throughout the last year across radio stations and the iHeartRadio app. Throughout the year, these artists have released hits that have impacted radio stations across the nation.

For the first time, iHeartRadio will be including fans in this year’s show. Fans will be able to vote for “Best Fan Army”, “Best Cover Song”,  “Best Solo Breakout”, and even “Best Musician Pet”.  Voting for these categories are now open at the iHeartRadio awards page. Don’t forget to vote! In the mean time, Check out the ladies who are holding it down in the music industry.

1. Rihanna

Making her debut in 2003, Rihanna has not stopped pushing the barrier in her musical career. The singer has continuously challenged the media and has showcased the balance of being a humanitarian and one of the most notable pop icons of the decade. Her nomination for the 2018 iHearRadio female artist of the year and Best R&B Artist is no surprise, as her release of her 8th studio album, ANTI, brought on a new sound for the singer.

2. Camila Cabello

Cabello first made her debut in the all girl band, Fifth Harmony. Making her own spotlight in the band, she departed in 2016 to start her solo career. The  young star made waves with her Latin influenced Havana, a homage to her birth country, Cuba. Her unique voice and smooth Latin influence has landed her as a Best New Pop Artist Nominee.

3. Shakira

Her pop hit Whenever made Shakira a superstar. Her collaborations with Latin and American artists solidified her as a versatile musician, and being a guest judge on NBC’s The Voice made Shakira even more adored by American fans. Her nominations as Latin Artist of the Year. Her hips definitely don’t lie.

4. Cardi B

Debuting with her smash hit, Bodak Yellow and being featured on Migos’ ever popular Motor Sport, Cardi B continues to release strong hits such as Bartier Cardi. It comes as no surprise as to why this artist has been nominated as a Best New Hip-Hop Artist.

5. SZA

Although SZA has been in the music industry since 2013, it wasn’t until she dropped her 2017 album Ctrl, where she earned critical acclaim, that she received popular success. Recently, she has been featured on the Black Panther soundtrack with Kendrick Lamar.

6. Alessia Cara

After releasing hits like Scars to Your Beautiful and Stay, Cara collaborated with Logic and Khalid on 1-800-273-8255 and earned a Grammy on the way. Earning a nomination for Female Artist of the Year is just another stop on her way to pop stardom.

7. Halsey

Starting her career on YouTube, Halsey has emerged as a popstar to watch out for as she releases her second album. Her hit sing Bad at Love has been a fan with radio listeners and iHeartRadio takes note with a nomination for as Female Artist of the Year.

8. P!ink

Bursting onto the music scene in 1999, P!nk has not stopped creating hits or albums. With a recent collaboration with Kenny Chesney, P!nk has dazzeled audiences and critics with her pop R&B tunes. With her nomination as  Female Artist of the Year, P!nk does not plan on slowing down anytime soon.

9. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been the pop princess for over 10 years. The world has seen her transition seamlessly from country star to a powerhouse pop star. With the success from her 1989 album, Swift has released numerous pop hits that continue to be played on radio stations across the nation. As Female Artist of the Year nominee, Swift continues to make pop hits and collaborate with fellow iHeartRadio nominees,  such as Ed Sheeran and Future.

Check out iHeartRadio for more information on these talented artists

Chloe Kim: US teenager makes history at Winter Olympics

olympic snowboarder chloe kim

Hers is a life changed.

From 17-year-old standout to Olympic champion.

Standing at 5ft 3in, it is not always easy to spot Chloe Kim in a crowd, but on a cloudless Tuesday in South Korea it was obvious where America’s new golden girl was.

Kim had already done enough to win the women’s halfpipe gold before she started her final attempt, only to knock it out of the park with a near-perfect score of 98.25.

At the bottom, she was engulfed in a crowd of reporters and photographers, all competing for her attention over the relentless clicking of camera shutters, with yells of “Chloe! Chloe! Chloe!,” the shuffling throng following her every move like ducklings.

Journalists from all around the world wanted to speak to the new Olympic champion. She ran the gauntlet of TV interviews and negotiated the maze of reporters with equanimity.

Fans wanted a piece of the action too, craning necks, standing on tip-toe, sticking their smartphones in the air. Any sort of picture would do.

Such was the madness, minutes before Kim — the youngest female Olympic gold medalist on snow — stood tearfully atop the podium, her mother Boran was pleading to be let through a security check point.

It was a circus. That is what happens when a teenage sensation fulfills her destiny.

Champion performance

The first female snowboarder in history to land back-to-back 1080 degree spins in competition aged just 15, the four-time X-Games gold medalist is not an unknown. She is used to being in the spotlight.

But on a day when the sun’s glare dazzled off the pristine snow, Kim’s star shone as brightly as any of sport’s biggest names. She has entered a whole new world.

The girl who would climb onto a trampoline each morning before elementary school to practice jumps and flips later admitted she felt like crying before embarking on her thrilling grand finale.

She performed three spins on the left side, becoming the first female to land consecutive 1080s in the halfpipe at the Olympics.

Members of Kim’s family whooped and hollered. Overcome with emotion, Kim’s sister could not speak. American flags were raised towards the azure sky. It was spellbinding.

Her final score of 98.25 was eight-and-a-half points clear of Chinese silver medalist Liu Jiayu.

An hour after her first Olympic gold had been won, the Californian cheerfully sauntered to the press conference, arm around her beaming father. Sharp elbows were needed to capture the moment.

“There’s not enough of her to go around,” said one journalist. “So aggressive,” muttered another, dismayed at her fellow reporters.

Red mist nearly descended as a wayward tripod brushed a member of Team USA. Some needed reminding that these were the “Peace” Games.

Mirai Nagasu first American woman to land triple axel at an Olympics


Mirai Nagasu has become the first American woman — and third overall — to land a triple axel in the Olympics, accomplishing the rare feat in the women’s free skate at the team competition in Pyeongchang.

The 24-year-old from Arcadia, California, skated first of the five women and led her routine with the triple axel 21 seconds in. The feat drew huge cheers from the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Nagasu completed a flawless routine, pumped both fists as she finished and got a standing ovation from the excited crowd.

Although Canada won team skate gold, Nagasu was the star of the night, and the Americans took bronze behind the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Not only did her teammates rise in applause, but so did skaters from other nations, and not simply because she landed the triple axel so few women even attempt.

Nagasu’s career hit several roadblocks since she finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, including when she was bumped from the U.S. team for Sochi in favor of Ashley Wagner by a federation committee.

Like Nagasu, Adam Rippon was left off the U.S. roster in 2010. And like Nagasu, he turned in a stellar performance Monday, landing both triple axels in his program.

“I just remember four years ago, Mirai and I were in a dark place. Honestly, we were depressed that we weren’t at the [Olympics],” said Rippon, who choreographed Nagasu’s gala program at the 2014 nationals, which she performed hours after learning she hadn’t made the team. “I told her as we were going through that, Mirai, I’m so lucky to have you by my side. We’re going to get through this together.”

In the wake of that rejection, Nagasu turned to Colorado Springs-based coach Tom Zakrajsek, who challenged her to become an even better competitor. They set out in their first session together four years ago to learn the jump, which took Nagasu about two years to master. She practices it about 30 times a day, according to Zakrajsek.

Nagasu has struggled with inconsistency throughout her career, but Zakrajsek wasn’t worried about his student on Monday.

“Today was different,” he said. “Today I knew Mirai didn’t need a lot of help. I could tell she was in a good place backstage in the off-ice warm-up. She just seemed very present.”

“I don’t know if you could tell — it was more something I could feel — but to nail it the way I did, even out of the corner of my eye, I could see my teammates standing out of excitement,” Nagasu said. “And at that moment I wanted to stop the music and get off, but I still had my whole program ahead of me, and to complete the performance to the best of my ability is really exciting.”

Continue onto ESPN to read the complete article.

Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real-Life Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96

Rosie the Riveter

Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration for the iconic female World War II factory worker Rosie the Riveter, has died. She was 96.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native, who was born on August 26, 1921, died on Saturday in Longview, Washington, according to the New York Times. The California waitress-turned-factory worker began her job at the Naval Air Station in Alameda and was among the first women to be assigned to the machine shop after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941.

Then in 1942, 20-year-old Fraley posed for a photograph wearing her signature red-and-white-polka-dot bandana and working on a turret lathe, for a photographer touring the Naval Air Station, where she and younger sister Ada drilled and patched airplane wings as well as operated rivet machines.

The picture was quickly featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide before it caught the eye of artist J. Howard Miller, whose 1943 Rosie the Riveter poster bears a striking resemblance to Fraley’s photo, even down to the exact bandana.

However, Fraley was not identified as the muse for Rosie because another woman, named Geraldine Hoff Doyle, who worked in a factory in Michigan, was labeled “the real-life Rosie the Riveter” since she believed she saw herself in an uncaptioned reprint of Fraley’s photo in the 1980s.

Continue onto PEOPLE to read the complete article.

Google Celebrates Virginia Woolf’s 136th Birthday With Iconic Illustration


Thursday’s Google Doodle celebrates British literary luminary Virginia Woolf, with a portrait to mark what would have been her 136th birthday.

The author of Mrs DallowayTo The Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s life and work remains highly influential on the world of literature and beyond. Born on Jan. 25, 1882, Woolf’s early life was infused with creative connections, as both her parents were prominent figures in London’s literary and artistic circuits. Woolf, her husband Leonard and her sister, artist Vanessa Bell, would become core protagonists themselves in an intellectual circle known as the Bloomsbury Group; a collective of writers, artists, and thinkers who enjoyed their heyday during the first half of the 20th century.

Virginia Woolf is regarded as one of the greatest authors of her time due to her exploration of modernism and feminist narratives, inspiring authors such as Margaret Atwood and Gabriel García Márquez. While Woolf’s pioneering, stream-of-consciousness novels received critical acclaim during her lifetime, she was affected by recurring bouts of mental illness, and died by suicide in 1941. As TIME’s obituary of Woolf noted of her novels:

To some readers they didn’t always make sense, but they made her name and parts of them almost made music. Like a musician, she liked to strike the mood of her books with a borrowed lyric on which she improvised infinite variations.

Continue onto TIME to read this complete article.

Gal Gadot Surprises College Student With First Wonder Woman Scholarship


Gal Gadot stepped out of her Wonder Woman costume on Wednesday to surprise a young woman with a truly wonderful award: a college scholarship.

The actress appeared at the Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 Women in Entertainment breakfast to present that lucky individual with a four-year, full-ride Wonder Woman Scholarship to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

The scholarship was donated by Warner Brothers, the company behind Gadot’s breakthrough film, “Wonder Woman.”

Gadot said she was proud to bestow the award.

“I’ve had the privilege of portraying a superhero onscreen, but the young women here today are the real superheroes,” Gadot said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “They’ve overcome so many challenges in their lives, and they’re driven to do more. They’re the true leaders of tomorrow.”

The woman who received the scholarship, whom the Hollywood Reporter identified only as Carla, started at the university a few weeks ago.

Continue onto Huffington Post to read the complete article.