As a young girl, Meghan Markle knew that there was no age requirement for activism. While many may recognize her as the Duchess of Sussex, a title she earned in May 2018 after marrying Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the truth is she has been using her voice and passion to change the world for most of her life—which is why she’s the Professional WOMAN’s Magazine Wonder Woman of the year.
Long before she charmed her now-husband through her philanthropy and heart, Markle was witnessing a world around her with inequality—one that needed help—and sought out to change it. At 11 years old, when she saw a commercial for a Procter & Gamble product implying that only women are expected to do housework, she was hurt by the messaging and its implications. She decided to put her disappointment into words, in a letter directed to not only the president of Procter & Gamble but also influential women like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Allred. Her determination paid off, and soon the commercial was edited to reflect a more inclusive message. She was later interviewed on the children’s television channel Nickelodeon, where she encouraged other kids to take a stand whenever they believed something wasn’t right. The experience helped her realize the impact she could have on the world by simply speaking out about causes she cared about.
Throughout her career, Markle has made activism a top priority. She volunteered in soup kitchens in her teens and continued that service in the various cities her acting led her to. She earned bachelor’s degrees in both theater and international relations at Northwestern University, where she completed an internship with the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was interested in politics from an early age, and while she did not pursue a career in that field, she has positively affected lives and changed minds throughout her acting career.
Markle championed for equality and gender rights as her popularity was growing for her role as Rachel Zane on the hit television show Suits. She became involved with One Young World, a charity organization that allows young leaders around the world to come together to brainstorm solutions for world problems. She learned by experience how powerful any individual can be if they choose to use their voice, and she continues to encourage young people to speak up for their beliefs, just as she did when she saw that television commercial. Markle also served the United Nations (UN) as the Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership, visiting refugee camps and meeting with women around the world who are also making positive changes in their communities.
“I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she said at the UN on International Women’s Day in 2015, speaking on gender equality. Through her work, she calls for women to “see their value as leaders” and encourages men to be like her father, who encouraged her at age 11 to write a letter and take a stand. She refutes the idea that women need to “find their voices.” Instead, she reminds women that they have their voices—they only need to use them. Markle believes strongly in building the self-esteem of young women, encouraging them speak up and take on leadership roles wherever they can. Had she not had family members and others who assured her of her value and helped her fight her own insecurities, she might not have become the woman she is today. She makes it a point to do the same for other young girls, in the hopes that one day, they, too can make a difference.
In 2016, Markle became a Global Ambassador for World Vision. The campaigns she has promoted help provide clean water to those in need and bring greater awareness to the lack of education that young girls around the globe can access. She visited India and saw firsthand how the stigmas associated with menstrual cycles prevent many girls from continuing their education and even working. While in India, Markle was introduced to the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization that empowers women by encouraging the discussion of taboo subjects, such as menstruation, and by setting up workshops to produce low-cost sanitary protection to enable girls to stay in school. In 2017, Markle wrote an article for TIME Magazine, “How Periods Affect Potential,” and she continues to support the effort. For their wedding, Prince Harry and Markle asked for donations to a handful of charities instead of presents, and the Mumbai-based Myna Mahila Foundation was the only foreign organization on the list.
With her acting career coming to an end, she has transitioned smoothly into her role as Duchess of Sussex, even taking over responsibilities dear to the Queen’s heart. Alongside her husband, Markle will take over Queen Elizabeth II’s role for the Queen’s Young Leaders Program. This program is for young leaders who are positively impacting their communities within the Commonwealth, and through it she will continue to support and encourage kids to believe in their ability to change the world. Philanthropy plays a large role in the duties of the Royal Family, and Markle’s background and experiences will certainly only add to the work being done.
According to friends, her passion for helping others and her determination to visit places and make an impact played a big role in bonding with her new husband. As a couple, they both continue to make their charity work top priority, like visiting fairs for World Aids Day, speaking out against inequality, and continuing Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, a competition for wounded servicemen and women. While Markle has left acting behind, her activism and passion for equality, it seems, is only just beginning. She plans to continue to use her voice to change the world and encourage other minorities and women to also take a stand and make a difference.
Gabrielle Union found her way into the mainstream and straight to our hearts at the start of the new millennium with her breakout performance as the leader of the East Compton Clovers in Bring It On.
In the nearly two decades since then, the actress’ life has evolved to encompass a multitude of additional roles across a personal and professional spectrum—outspoken activist, best-selling author, fashion-forward designer, dedicated wife and, most importantly, doting mother.
Actress to Activist
Union’s influence emanates far beyond her on-screen portrayals. Proudly raised by her parents to have a world perspective, she supports a multitude of causes, from racial justice to ending violence against women, voting rights to eradicating poverty, and diversity to health initiatives.
Her tenacity in standing up and speaking her mind was cultivated through education and life experiences, both positive and negative. As a young black girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, Union admits she wanted nothing more than to completely assimilate, letting racially tinged jokes and perspectives roll off her shoulders to avoid being seen as “other.”
Exposure to African-American studies while attending UCLA had a huge influence on Union’s mindset, highlighting the importance of calling out injustice and oppression and opening her perspective to a treasure trove of change-makers.
“Learning about those brilliant Black activists and authors encouraged me to have pride in myself and in my voice,” she said. “I realized that assimilation can be a path to becoming invisible and complacent. I’d rather be ‘other.’”
With the strength of those lessons at her back, and following a sexual assault that threatened to marginalize her even further, she began speaking her mind fearlessly and unapologetically, raising awareness about the issues that mattered to her—a characteristic that has endured in her day-to-day life.
“My goal is to use my platform to provide a sense of connectedness
for those who suffer in silence,” said the activist, who was appointed to former President Obama’s National Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women in 2010. “It’s been a journey and an evolving consciousness—not an easy process, but definitely worthwhile.”
She’s a Boss
As she’s solidified her place in the film and television industry, the America’s Got Talent judge has lent her efforts to establishing and growing her commercial empire, calling upon her down-to-earth persona and relatable personal brand to connect with fans and consumers.
In 2004, she became a brand ambassador for Neutrogena, a successful partnership that lasted for more than a decade.
In 2012, she partnered with Napa Valley-based winery JaM Cellars to develop a full-bodied Chardonnay cheekily named Vanilla Puddin.
In 2014, she became the first celebrity ambassador—and creative advisor—for nail beauty company SensatioNail.
And in 2017, her entrepreneurial spirit erupted with both the launch of Flawless by Gabrielle Union—a hair care line created specifically with black women in mind—and the announcement of her partnership with major consumer fashion brand New York & Company, where she serves as the face of the brand’s 7th Avenue Design Studio and launched an acclaimed namesake collection.
The Flawless brand was born through Union’s experiences with trying to care for her natural hair while working in the industry. More often than not, she lamented, the stylists on set would have no idea how to manage her textured mane, leading to damage and dismay.
When the opportunity came along to create a line of products that catered specifically to her hair care needs, she jumped at the chance, working with a team, including former Macadamia Beauty CEO Vince Davis, to produce a range of catered shampoos, conditioners, repair masks, oil treatments, edge control, and more. A common thread throughout the brand’s offering is the use of a group of key ingredients proven to promote healthy hair, including argan, marula, macadamia, coconut, and avocado oils, as well as pea protein.
“My goal with our Flawless products is to help women with textured hair create ever-changing looks without compromising the health of their favorite accessory—their hair,” Union said of the collection, which is sold online, in JCPenney Salons and at ULTA. “I just want them to have great hair days. Period.”
Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design Studio materialized to the star’s admitted surprise—she never expected to be courted by the popular retail chain to serve as a brand ambassador. Operating as a sub-brand and inspired by her character on series Being Mary Jane, the line features chic dresses, modern suiting, and versatile separates that “embody the career woman who needs easy, effortless, styles that are polished and on trend.”
“Mary Jane’s style reflects power, leadership, and risk taking,” she explained. “She wears classic styles, but with a twist, which is why I think she’d definitely shop at New York & Company.”
Beyond her ambassadorship, which features Union modeling fashions on the company’s website, in print and digital advertisements, and on social media, the actress has ventured into a “whole new game” with the launch of her namesake collection, featuring a wide range of fashionable choices, all reminiscent of the style icon’s eclectic taste.
“I wanted to offer on-trend fashions at affordable prices that flatter all body types—that’s the bottom line,” said Union, who was given free rein to design whatever she chooses and prides herself on being fully hands-on with the creative process.
Two years into her venture, the designer recently pulled from a new source of inspiration to drive her latest launch—five-month-old daughter Kaavia James Union Wade. The adorable all-inclusive capsule collection, entitled Kaavi James by Gabrielle Union, features an array of stylish dresses, T-shirts, jumpers, and onesies (many of them unisex!) in sizes 0–24 months, all within a $15–$45 range. In addition to serving as fashion muse, Kaavia (whose parents recently trademarked her name for future projects) serves major face in the campaign’s advertisements, posing alongside her mom with her hilarious signature “Shady Baby” expression.
When it comes to priorities, the multi-hyphenate talent makes it clear—nothing is more important than her family. Just check her social media (which is plastered with their faces). She married NBA star Dwayne Wade in 2014, in the process becoming stepmother to his three boys, Zaire, Zion, and Xavier.
After struggling with infertility due to a form of endometriosis, the couple turned to surrogacy, welcoming Kaavia in November 2018.
The new mother has been open and honest about her fertility struggles, believing there is healing in the knowledge that many couples face similar challenges as they try to conceive.
Union’s life today may seem like a fairytale, but it has required blood, sweat, tears, self-love, introspection, and a dogged determination to succeed to transform her life from then to now.
A Pre-Destined Path
Union embarked on her acting journey in the mid-90s, performing in a guest role capacity or as a supporting character for a number of popular sitcoms, including Family Matters, Moesha, 7th Heaven, and Sister, Sister.
Interestingly enough, she hadn’t grown up with stars in her eyes, dreaming Hollywood dreams. The driving force behind her foray into the acting world, she admits, was money to help pay for college.
“You want to know when I became serious about being an actress?
When I made money! It really wasn’t for the love of it, in the beginning,” said the star, who graduated from UCLA with a BA in Sociology. “My plan back then was to eventually go to law school, but pretty quickly, I realized I could make a living doing this. So, I recalibrated—and never looked back.”
She hit a double whammy in 2000, appearing in Love & Basketball (as superficial high school mean girl Shawnee Easton) and co-starring with Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On (as captain of the East Compton Clovers, Isis), both of which were extremely popular and have since become cult classics.
Her role in Bring It On held a great significance for Union—she credits it as one of the biggest boosts of her career—as it not only addressed the real issue of appropriation but also served as a catalyst for her to be conscious of the roles and narratives she agreed to portray on screen.
“It’s interesting, because I had wanted a part in another cheerleading movie that came out around the same time, but they didn’t pursue Black women for any of the roles. I couldn’t even get an audition,” she revealed. “In this movie, the very premise was about cultural appropriation and how the hard work of African Americans has been repackaged with blond hair and blue eyes. The social justice of it appealed to me.”
The role directly led to her casting in the ground-breaking medical drama City of Angels, which held the distinction as network television’s first medical drama with a predominantly African-American cast. The show, which ran for two seasons on CBS, featured a who’s who of eventual Black Hollywood royalty, including Blair Underwood, Viola Davis, Maya Rudolph, and Vivica A. Fox.
It was her portrayal of successful TV news anchor Mary Jane Paul on
BET network’s Being Mary Jane, however, that truly solidified Union’s superstar status and staying power. The award-winning series, which ran from 2013 to spring 2019 over the course of four seasons, followed the personal and professional life happenings of the broadcast journalist as she searches for “the puzzle pieces that she, and society, insist are missing from her life as a single Black woman.”
The show was an absolute homerun for BET (debuting as its highest-rated show and quickly becoming the network’s signature series) and was praised across the board for its complex characters, captivating storylines, and willingness to tackle powerful issues. African-American women across the world hailed the series as they saw themselves and their families reflected on a weekly basis.
For Union, participation in the project was a labor of love and her greatest creative decision, offering an opportunity for her to take a role she cared about, while playing an imperfect, complicated, messy character.
“I didn’t want to play a perfect character that was a fully wholesome role model who had all the right answers,” she said. “I’d never been challenged like this—I could be required to show a bunch of different colors within one scene. In many ways, we shared similar struggles and triumphs, loves and losses, and especially the penchant for epic reads. This role was one of the most gratifying of my life.”
Producing for the Future
Building on years of experience in front of the camera, in 2014 Union added to her repertoire by stepping behind the camera to produce, starting with the Lifetime original film With This Ring. In the years since, she has served as an executive producer on a number of projects, including last year’s Breaking In (for which she was awarded Breakthrough Producer of the Year at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards) and Spectrum Originals first major original series LA’s Finest (a Bad Boys spin-off co-starring Jessica Alba).
She also launched her own production company, I’ll Have Another (named as a nod to her best-selling book, We’re Going to Need More Wine), signing a first look deal with Sony Pictures TV last year to develop broadcast, cable, and digital projects.
It is a responsibility Union doesn’t take lightly, as she realizes that she is one of but a handful of Black women who head their own production companies.
“As I’ve taken on new projects, I’ve become more aware of the lack of diversity behind the camera,” she noted. “It’s been proven that real inclusion actually makes dollars and cents, and Hollywood is starting to change, but we still need to increase the diversity of directors, executive producers and studio heads.”
The Road Ahead
With her family by her side, her career expanding, her businesses and partnerships blossoming, and her voice for social justice reverberating, Union is living life unapologetically and striving daily to reach her full potential.
“I’m just trying to think limitlessly and not put a cap on my dreams,” she said. “When you’re open like that, the world will take you all sorts of places you could have never imagined.”
It’s obvious that for this multi-tasking mama, the best is yet to come.
When the film “Jurassic World 3” hits theaters on June 11, 2021, moviegoers will see DeWanda Wise front and center as the lead.
The Maryland born actress just joined the cast, according to Deadline, which includes Laura Dern and Jeffrey Goldblum, who starred in the original 1993 film “Jurassic Park.”
If you recognize Wise, it’s because she starred as Nola Darling in the now-defunct Spike Lee Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It.” She also played in TV shows such as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Good Wife” and the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
Wise celebrated the news of the role Friday on Instagram, where she also thanked the people encouraged her along the way. According to the actress, the constant motivation she received is what helped her land the “Jurassic World 3” role.
Wise celebrated the news of the role Friday on Instagram, where she also thanked the people encouraged her along the way. According to the actress, the constant motivation she received is what helped her land the “Jurassic World 3” role.
“If you believe in the power of words, in the strength of positive energy, as I undoubtedly do, you know that every ‘Can’t wait 2CU in more movies! You should play _____! Go Awf! You inspire ✊🏾 Queen
Shine 🌟Please play ______ Yaaassss 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 And of course… I love you ♥️’ Went into this,” she wrote. “#ThankYou beyond🙏🏾See you in #JurassicWorld 🦖🦖.”
And Wise’s followers continued to provide encouragement under her post.
“GO KILL IT, GIRL!!!💛👏🏻,” someone wrote. “🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾! So so excited for you @dewandawise !! Love seeing you on our screens! It’s where you belong! Congratulations!!! 💕👑.”
“You truly deserve this!” a second person commented. “So happy and excited for you, really can’t wait to see it either you’re are the PERFECT addition to this franchise!! ✨✨✨🙌🏾✨✨✨.”
Back in July it was announced that “She’s Gotta Have It” would be cancelled after its second season. But one of Wise’s fans told her the new role made up for that and then some.
“One door closes and an even bigger one opens!” that person wrote. “So excited your talent is coming to the big screen in a blockbuster no doubt!”
In the wise words of Dunder Mifflin’s expert prankster, Jim Halpert, “sometimes goodbyes are a bitch.”
When Michael Scott bid his emotional farewell to the Scranton branch in Season 7 of The Office, he and Jim never officially said goodbye to each other. The sentiment was mutually understood, but the goodbye itself was too painful, so they simply ignored it. Years later, that’s exactly how fans and cast members parted ways with the show itself.
The NBC comedy ended in 2013, but fans have ultimately refused to let it go. The Office is one of the most popular shows on Netflix, acts as fodder for endless memes, and has even inspired an Off-Broadway musical. Though a reboot currently remains off the table, former co-stars and IRL best friends Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey wanted to give people another way to celebrate the off-air series, so they decided to host a podcast called Office Ladies.
Each week, the two ladies of The Office will re-watch an episode and share memories, a few fast facts, and behind-the-scenes stories from filming. The first episode, “Pilot,” aired Wednesday on Stitcher’s podcast network, Earwolf, and fans should definitely give it a listen.
In Episode 1, Fischer and Kinsey recall the early days of shooting, back when no one had any idea if the U.S. version of the UK show with the same name would take off. They take listeners back to the “Pilot” episode, which aired on March 24, 2005, and reminisce on which hilarious moments were improvised, Jim and Pam’s first flirts, how Sprinkles the cat came to exist, and more.
If you tune into the podcast, here are some of the enlightening tidbits that you can expect to hear.
Steve Carell is as nice as he is funny
You may have heard rumors that Steve Carell is a super agreeable guy, and Fischer is here to confirm. “He’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” she says, noting that while he’s not constantly cracking jokes he is personally responsible for some of the funniest moments on the show.
In the pilot, for instance, Carell improvised the line where Michael’s talking about his heroes. Showrunner Greg Daniels apparently asked Carell who he thought Michael Scott’s heroes would be, and that’s how they created the line, “Bob Hope. Umm, Abraham Lincoln definitely. Bono… and probably God would be the fourth one.” Iconic.
Jenna unpacks Pam and Jim’s undeniable spark
One of the fan-favorite relationships on the show is, of course, the slow-burn romance that develops between Jim and Pam. Jenna Fischer is just as obsessed with the two work pals turned spouses as you are, and is excited to lend some commentary to the couple. She talks about the flirtation between the two characters in the pilot, the heartbreaking talking head where Jim wonders if he’ll be invited to Pam’s wedding, and her favorite moment between the two: Their cat party conversation.
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Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez, Bianca Marroquín and Lindsay Mendez are committed to the “sisterhood” of Latinas in the arts, and they are all working hard to encourage young people to pursue creative work. Pictured from left to right: Actresses Lindsay Mendez, Mandy Gonzalez and Bianca Marroquín.
Mandy Gonzalez was a teenager when she sat in her bedroom in Saugus, Calif. and watched the cast of “Rent” perform at the Tony Awards. Watching actress Daphne Rubin-Vega sing “Seasons of Love” made a lasting impression because she was “someone who looked like me… I thought ‘I can do this,’” recounted Gonzalez.
Flash forward to today, and there’s no doubt Gonzalez, who is Mexican and Jewish, has made it in the acting world. She currently plays Angelica in Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton.”
Gonzalez is one of a small group of Hispanic professional theater actors working on Broadway today. Even though Hispanics make up 18.3 percent of the nation’s total population, the first-ever Actors’ Equity Association study of diversity noted that less than 3 percent of its members identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Broadway audiences don’t reflect our country’s diversity, either. A January 2018 report from the Broadway League discovered that Latinos account for only 7.1 percent of theatergoers.
However, Broadway has indeed been inching toward progress in terms of diversity over the years. For example, the original 1979 Broadway production of “Evita” was picketed by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors for not hiring Latino actors to tell a story about Argentinians. But when “Evita” was revived in 2012, it had actors of Latin descent in the two lead roles, among others.
And today, a quick glance at the headshots of performers in “Hamilton” paint an inclusive picture. Aspiring Hispanic performers can also look to multiple Broadway shows for inspiration—there’s Karen Olivo in “Moulin Rouge,” Eva Noblezada in “Hadestown,” and Shireen Pimentel in the upcoming “West Side Story,” to name a few.
Still, many are quick to note there is still a long way to go.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy/Ted Ely/Courtesy of Bianca Marroquín
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Bahara’s road to acting was not your ordinary. She was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and soon after she and her family were forced to flee the country and become refugees in Moscow. Eventually Bahara and her family were sponsored by the UN and were helped to settle-in the U.S.. Even though she faced many struggles while growing up, she never lost the passion and faith of one day becoming an actor.
After making a splash in multiple headlines with her announcement on Deadline, Variety and TheWrap, beguiling and multi-faceted actor Bahara Golestani is the new fresh face to watch on the new season of NBC’s smash hit series “This Is Us,” which returned for its 4th season in September.
A graduate of the world-renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre, Golestani is best known for her roles in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and is also a voiceover actor. Her upcoming projects also include the Jason Koch-directed indie film BENEATH THE BLACK VEIL and the highly-anticipated Michael Bay blockbuster film 6 UNDERGROUND premiering on Netflix in December 2019.
Having been both nominated and winning multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, People’s Choice, and NAACP Image Awards, NBC’s “This is Us” returned to television this fall to continue the captivating and unique story of the Pearson family. The newest season will dive deeper into the family’s history including stories from their pasts that have shaped their present day lives.
Having been announced recently in the industry trades and spreading like wildfire to the rest of the world, Bahara portrays a mysterious and important character that will drastically affect the lives of the Pearson family. “This is Us” Season 4 Trailer
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Golestani walked an untraditional path to achieve Hollywood success. She grew up in a creative household; her father was an artist and her mother was an actress, so she always had a natural passion to perform and to pursue the arts. She grew up playing the violin and loved performing in school plays. At the young age of four, she and her family were forced to flee the country and became war refugees in Moscow.
Their lives were completely transformed as they had to leave their home abruptly with nothing and led a refugee life with no stability. They ultimately were sponsored by the UN in Moscow helping her and her family move to America eventually residing in Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life. Golestani had a difficult childhood adapting in America as she didn’t speak a word of English. With the help of the hit television series “Friends,” she was able to learn the language and at the same time, became enthralled with acting. After high school, she pursued modeling, successfully landing several magazine covers, but always knew her true passion was to act.
From the moment she stepped foot into the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood during a campus tour visit, she knew this was exactly where she belonged. In order to make money for the costly tuition, she worked diligently for two years on multiple jobs and finally saved enough money to move and enroll herself in the Academy. Upon graduating from Stella Adler, she persistently went out on auditions and worked as a professional fitness model, even successfully placing first in female bodybuilding competitions.
After landing roles in various short films, Golestani has since appeared in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” CBS’ “Madam Secretary” ID TV’s “Betrayed,” and film AN AMERICAN FUNERAL, before landing her breakout role on the newest season of NBC’s “This is Us.”
When Golestani isn’t busy acting and continuously honing her craft, she can be found working on her fitness continuously bettering herself both physically and mentally. As a speaker of five different languages (Farsi, Russian, Dari, Pashto and English), she has worked as a translator/consultant on film and TV sets and has also completed voiceover work in films like 6 UNDERGROUND. Golestani has a huge compassion for refugees of war and is very proud of her Afghan roots. Ultimately, she would love to become a role model to those in similar positions to her when she was a child and plans to become even more active through various charities and organizations.
A homeless woman, whose video showcasing her singing ability at a Los Angeles Metro station recently went viral, performed for a live audience Saturday, hoping to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis.
Russian-born singer Emily Zamourka appeared onstage during the “Little Italy” celebration in San Pedro, singing the same Italian opera piece that garnered her international attention.
“I’m not a professional singer, but I’m very critical to how I’m going to sound or how I’m going to perform,” she said. “It has to be delivered right. It’s not easy, so that’s why today I will apologize in front of everybody, because they probably thought I’m going to bring a [bigger] repertoire or something. It’s going to be the same song that they know me from the subway [for].”
Zamourka, who has been homeless for the past few years, said that she has been overwhelmed by the worldwide acclaim she has received since the Los Angeles Police Department posted a video of her singing at a Metro Purple Line station on its social media.
The video, which has been retweeted over 6,000 times on Twitter since being posted on Sept. 26, prompted many to applaud her operatic voice. Zamourka didn’t know that her singing had been heard by people around the world until friends called to tell her.
She later thanked the officer who took the video, as shown by another clip posted by the LAPD.
Zamourka previously said that she has no formal training, but would not decline to sing on stage. The opportunity to do so came on Saturday.
After performing at the event and giving interviews to local and international reporters, Zamourka left to rest. LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, which hosted the “Little Italy” event, said it is working to find housing for the singer.
But though she thanks everyone who has supported her, Zamourka believes a person’s skills shouldn’t determine whether they receive help.
In October, variety stores fill with a wide assortment of fantastic get-ups, both for kids and for adults. But throughout the year, comics events feature a vast array of costumes on display, worn by both kids and adults.
That year-round pop culture feature is relatively recent, mind you. Though science fiction conventions included costume competitions over the decades, “hall costumes” were not the norm. Might it have been comics and similar pop culture conventions that introduced the tradition of cosplay throughout a show’s duration? (The portmanteau word “cosplay” has become the accepted term for “costume play.”)
In any case, as Batman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman outfits hang on store racks before Halloween, their presence sparks thoughts of comics character garb in general—including whys and hows.
Simple to Complex
In the Golden Age, crime-fighting characters didn’t have to get super-fancy. Even Denny Colt didn’t need to wear a domino mask and live in a cemetery (though that certainly set him apart); he could have just worn a business suit and snap-brim fedora most of the time.
But he was part of the whole “identity” aspect of comics adventures—a feature shared by good guys and bad—that caught the eye. It was a tradition that had existed long before comics: the idea that ordinary folks could interact with fantastic characters who were often in disguise. Such pop-culture figures as the Count of Monte Cristo (1844, Alexandre Dumas), Scarlet Pimpernel (1903, Baroness Orczy), and Zorro (1919, Johnston McCulley) expanded on the tradition, some in costume, some not.
But the whole hanging-around-in-costume gambit to beat the baddies, solve the mysteries, help the helpless, and/or save the endangered? In fact, today, we have many protectors whose clothing identifies such roles to the public: police, soldiers, and firefighters among them. What they wear lets us know the ways in which they help us.
But in some fiction (see Pimpernel and Zorro), there’s an added aspect of hiding identity: High-schooler Peter Parker can fit in; crime-fighting Spider-Man stands (and swings) out.
But Also …
In addition to hiding identity, the costume can be an identity in itself.
Whether in the Golden Age, the Silver Age, or these days, when a bunch of characters are shown together (whether chatting or fighting), readers can tell, for example, Hulk from Thing and Superman from Batman.
When a story is told in pictures, costumes clarify that sort of identification. The Lone Ranger was created in 1933 for audio storytelling; when artists began to picture him, he soon donned a domino mask, but exactly what he wore varied. In the 1938 Republic serial, his mask wasn’t the simple domino known to later fans, but—what with pulps, comic strips, and comic books—his familiar mask and costume soon evolved. And then we knew who he was, whether or not he was calling his horse Silver.
Readers can spot such characters in whatever comics panels they inhabit. Heck, readers can even identify the same character as he or she exists in different eras. You know the heroes’ time period from what they wear. I have a set of three “Unemployed Philosophers Guild” licensed cups from 2015 decorated with costume evolution through the years: one each for Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman.
Those cups reveal another aspect of costumes: Whatever the necessities of storytelling may be, costumes—and changes thereof—can also bring in licensing cash.
Again, look around stores in October. And look at the kids at your front door, as they celebrate Halloween by wearing what they’ve bought in those stores. You validate the success of their choices when you identify their super-identities because they’re wearing licensed outfits.
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She also landed an historic Tony Award, plus an Oscar nomination for her performance in ‘Claudine.’
Diahann Carroll, the captivating singer and actress who came from the Bronx to win a Tony Award, receive an Oscar nomination and make television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty, died Friday. She was 84.
Carroll died at her home in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer, her daughter, producer-journalist Suzanne Kay, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Carroll was known as a Las Vegas and nightclub performer and for her performances on Broadway and in the Hollywood musicals Carmen Jones and Porgy & Bess when she was approached by an NBC executive to star as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse raising a young son, on the comedy Julia.
She didn’t want to do it. “I really didn’t believe that this was a show that was going to work,” she said in a 1998 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. “I thought it was something that was going to leave someone’s consciousness in a very short period of time. I thought, ‘Let them go elsewhere.’ ”
However, when Carroll learned that Hal Kanter, the veteran screenwriter who created the show, thought she was too glamorous for the part, she was determined to change his mind. She altered her hairstyle and mastered the pilot script, quickly convincing him that she was the right woman.
Carroll thus became the first African American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series. (Several actresses portrayed a maid on ABC’s Beulah in the early 1950s.)
Her character Baker, whose husband had died in Vietnam, worked for a doctor (Lloyd Nolan) at an aerospace company; she was educated and outspoken, and she dated men (including characters played by Fred Williamson, Paul Winfield and Don Marshall) who were successful, too.
“We were saying to the country, ‘We’re going to present a very upper middle-class black woman raising her child, and her major concentration is not going to be about suffering in the ghetto,'” Carroll noted.
“Many people were incensed about that. They felt that [African Americans] didn’t have that many opportunities on television or in film to present our plight as the underdog … they felt the [real-world] suffering was much too acute to be so trivial as to present a middle-class woman who is dealing with the business of being a nurse.
“But we were of the opinion that what we were doing was important, and we never left that point of view … even though some of that criticism of course was valid. We were of a mind that this was a different show. We were allowed to have this show.”
Julia, which premiered in September 1968, finished No. 7 in the ratings in the first of its three seasons, and Carroll received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for her work.
While recuperating after starring on Broadway in Agnes of God, Carroll had found herself digging Dynasty — “Isn’t this the biggest hoot?” she said — and lobbied producer Aaron Spelling for a role on his series.
“They’ve done everything [on the show]. They’ve done incest, homosexuality, murder. I think they’re slowly inching their way toward interracial,” she recalled in a 1984 piece for People magazine. “I want to be wealthy and ruthless … I want to be the first black bitch on television.”
One of the most revered books out there, comic or otherwise, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the inspirational touchstone for HBO’s newest TV drama from The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof.
The Watchmen TV show is a current-day sequel to the original tale, though taking place in a different location and centering on mostly different characters. Regardless of the differences, a plethora of comic-friendly references and easter eggs were infused throughout Watchmen’s premiere as plot-setting connective tissue.
Below is a list of all the big Watchmen comic references that showed up in the TV show’s premiere episode, titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.” From follow-up weirdness to the main story’s shock ending to the appearance of a certain blue superhero, Watchmen was a smorgasbord of “Wait, did you catch that?” moments that deserve quick rewinds. And without further ado, here’s a mostly sequential order of the biggest comic-inspired highlights. (Check here if you need a new copy).
The Blood On The Boy’s Face
Once the orphaned boy wakes up in the field, following that harrowing opening, he has a splotch of blood on his head that definitely feels like a reference to the blood on The Comedian’s button that kicks off Watchmen and serves as one of its most identifiable symbols. This particular reference comes up very obviously at the end of the episode, but it’s worth pointing out that Damon Lindelof also found a way to work a bloodied face into the start of his story. Metaphors abound.
The millionth reason Watchmen remains a celebrated and respected work is because Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were so meticulous about filling the comics with reflected and repeated art, dialogue and situations; examples include Chapter 5’s palindromic nature, Doctor Manhattan’s photograph obsession, the somewhat prescient Black Freighter text and much more.
Beyond all of the Rorschach masks that don’t move, HBO’s Watchmen already made some use of this narrative style in its opening episode. The biggest example, of course, would be the episode starting off with a celebratory film strip of a heroic black man roping up a foul white dude, and then ending with a potentially wicked black man looking very much like he hung a white lawman from a tree. To top it off, the guy in the wheelchair was holding the same note as the kid from the beginning, indicating that this is either a near-impossibly old version of that kid, or perhaps his son. Who’s the hero here?
Within the alternate world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, it would appear that all vehicles are powered electrically, with zero reliance on gasoline for fuel. Though the TV premiere doesn’t take viewers into an assortment of planes, trains and automobiles, it looks like the world help steady with electric car power since the main narrative’s timeline, without the need to revert back to cruder forms.
Rorschach Mask And Journal
Yes, this is one of the most obvious entries on this list, and it won’t be the last one. It’s still worth mentioning that the Seventh Cavalry was founded on the basis of Rorschach’s worldview, and the white supremacist cult uses his signature mask as a unifying symbol (and disguise). Is his journal their Bible, or more of a manifesto?
Masks As “Faces”
Throughout Watchmen’s comic story, Rorschach refers to his mask only as his “face,” particularly whenever he gets arrested and has it taken from him. On the Watchmen TV series, Don Johnson’s Judd tells Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass, “Pull your face down,” in reference to the latter slipping his reflective mask back on. It’s interesting that Damon Lindelof has the authorities using that wording, as opposed to only the Seventh Cavalry adopting it.
Doctor Manhattan Appears
Watchmen’s mystery-laden build-up kept fans in the dark on how many original characters would appear on the HBO show, and thankfully, the pilot doesn’t get too far before dropping some concrete proof that Doctor Manhattan is still on Mars, and has been for the past 30+ years.
Doctor Manhattan showed up on a news program via satellite footage, in which he could be seen destroying a large and elaborate castle he’d created. (Find out more about that from my interview with director and EP Nicole Kassell.) In general, the situation echoed the blue being’s Mars structure in the comic, although in the TV show, Manhattan’s castle appeared to be a mock-up of the dwelling that Jeremy Irons’ character (almost definitely Adrian Veidt) lives in. Very interesting.
Vietnam, Robert Redford And More
It would have been strange had HBO’s Watchmen changed things up here, but it was confirmed early on that Vietnam is still the 51st state in the U.S., and the American flag represents that with an alternate look. Regina King’s Angela was born outside of Saigon, which is a somewhat deeper connection to the country than the brutal scene in the source material with The Comedian and Doctor Manhattan.
Robert Redford (currently sorta retired in our world) is still the President of the U.S. in Watchmen’s universe after a slew of successive terms, and his predecessor Richard Nixon is part of Mouth Rushmore’s quartet. Redford has his detractors for sure, earning him the name “Sundance-in-Chief.”
As mentioned already, The smiley face button is an iconic symbol within Watchmen’s pages, with The Comedian’s yellow button echoed in a variety of ways. The same goes for HBO’s Watchmen, of course. Beyond a few arguable examples, the most overt visual smiley reference occurred when Regina King’s Angela showed her class how to make moon cakes. With the camera below a glass mixing bowl, Angela cracked a bunch of eggs, and after the yolks initially resembled a yellow Rorschach design, they quickly settled into the smiley face layout. Notice that “bloodied eye,” too.
The Doomsday Clock is another one of Watchmen’s central visual anchors, and the TV show picks up where the comic book left off. Nine times out of ten, if a clock appears on the screen, it’s going to be set between 11:00 and 12:00, in reference to the atomic age catastrophe monitor. In the school, for instance, It looked as if the clock was somewhere around 11:25 a.m. Everyone should be probably be worried when we start seeing times much closer to 12:00.
It’s also no coincidence that the Seventh Cavalry uses adopted a clock’s sounds as its troubling chant: “Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.” (Though I do wonder why maybe-Veidt’s pocketwatch didn’t follow suit.)
Squids Are Everywhere
Watchmen’s comic book conclusion remains bizarrely surreal all these years later, and Damon Lindelof addresses the Veidt’s squid catastrophe in a big and mysterious way. Though it was one gigantic squid creature that Veidt transported to New York, the TV show’s characters dealt with a temporary rain storm, only with tiny living squids serving as the raindrops.
A squid storms seems like one of the most hilariously disturbing events that could happen in any given day, but Watchmen’s characters are clearly used to it. Angela is quick to get out and wipe the windshield, and there are city cleaning vehicles that were created specifically for removing squids from the streets. But how did things get to this point?
Within the Watchmen mythos, the first team of vigilante heroes was called the Minutemen, which is with whom The Comedian made a name for himself, both as a hero and as a rapist. (The first versions of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre were also involved.) Much controversy swirled around the various Minutemen members, and within HBO’s Watchmen, those more sordid stories are being showcased through the dramatized TV anthology American Hero Story, a distinctly different AHS than the one airing on FX.
One of the more curiously unexplained details within Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the pronounced use of skybound dirigibles, often with ads emblazoned. The transportation method made an appearance in HBO’s Watchmen, too, promoting the American Hero Story series.
Rosario Dawson stars as Wonder Woman in the new Warner Bros. Animation film, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.
This is Dawson’s sixth time portraying the Amazon superhero in a film and that is not even counting her role as Artemis in the 2009 Wonder Woman animated movie. Dawson’s success in the role is an important one coming from a Latina actress, but the star made a point to tell reporters at New York Comic-Con that she is not the first Latina to play Wonder Woman.
Instead, Dawson wanted to pay tribute to an earlier Latina actress who took on the iconic role and the impact that it had on Dawson and her family.
One of the things that Dawson made clear for reporters was how much she respected the history of the iconic superhero that she gets to play. She acknowledged that every version of these characters in film today are based on a number of earlier versions of those character that were developed by many different creators over a number of decades.
One particular earlier iteration of Wonder Woman has a special place in Dawson’s heart because it starred the actual first Latina to play the Princess of the Amazons. Dawson explained, I…feel that Wonder Woman has been pushed in a lot of different spaces that I will never put down. I remember when I began voicing Wonder Woman and people were like, ‘Finally, we’re getting a Latina Wonder Woman.’ And I was like, Lynda Carter was Latina. I grew up with her and I thought that that was super awesome. It was a different iteration of her, but it was very inspiring and it meant a lot to my grandmother, my mother and me.”
On her official website, Carter explains her family history, “I grew up in a house filled with music. My mother, who is of Mexican and Spanish descent, used to sing to my English-Irish father, and between the two of them I was introduced to a diverse array of music, ranging from country to blues to classical.”
It is impressive to see Carter’s legacy live on in Dawson’s Wonder Woman portrayal.
The film arrives on Digital HD Oct. 5 and Blu-ray and 4k Ultra HD Oct. 22.
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