Cynthia Erivo could become the youngest EGOT winner

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Cynthia Erivo on the red carpet at the premiere Of HBO's "The Outsider"

Cynthia Erivo is one step closer to EGOT status with an Oscar nomination for her turn as the iconic freedom fighter and suffragist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ ‘Harriet.’

British actress Cynthia Erivo was nominated for her first Oscar on Monday morning for her performance as the iconic freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet.”

The stage and screen actress (along with powerhouse singer — she is also nominated in the original song category) also earned Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations for the role.

And while BAFTA controversially snubbed acting nominees of color entirely, the ceremony still asked her to perform (she declined).

Erivo was the only person of color nominated for an acting Oscar this year.

“Harriet,” distributed by Focus Features, exceeded box office forecasts when it opened in November, debuting to $12 million on its way to $43 million to date in global ticket sales. It marks the first feature leading role for Erivo, who stole scenes in 2018’s “Widows” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

She was first approached about “Harriet” while in the midst of a Tony-winning turn in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” The production is also responsible for her subsequent Grammy (for the cast recording) and Daytime Emmy (for a cast performance on NBC’s “Today”) wins. (For those who don’t want to count Daytime Emmys in EGOT status, Erivo will also headline the upcoming limited series “Genius: Aretha” for National Geographic. And playing music singer Aretha Franklin could put her in Primetime Emmy contention as well.)

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Demi Lovato Will Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV

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Demi Lovato on stage singing

Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem before kickoff at Super Bowl LIV, taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2nd.

The news comes shortly after she was announced as a performer for the 62nd Grammy Awards on January 26th.

The singer confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, “Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV 🏈 🏈 🏈 See you in Miami 🌴 @NFL.”

The National Anthem will be broadcast around the world as part of the Super Bowl’s pregame show. Past National Anthem performers include Whitney Houston, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Pink, Alicia Keys and Idina Menzel.

Christine Sun Kim will sing the National Anthem in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The NFL and Fox previously announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be the halftime performers for Super Bowl LIV.

Continue on to MSN to read the complete article.

Tiffany Haddish Stars in ‘Like a Boss,’ in Theaters Today

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Like a Boss premiere photo of the cast, including Tiffany Hassish, pose on the pink carpet

Tiffany Haddish is her usual hilarious self in the new film Like a Boss, which recently opened across the nation. In it, Mia (Haddish) and her best friend, Mel (Rose Byrne), are living their best lives running the own cosmetics company they’ve built from the ground up.

Unfortunately, however, they’re in over their heads financially and the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the cosmetics industry, Claire Luna (Salma Hayek), proves too tempting to pass up, which puts Mel and Mia’s lifelong friendship in jeopardy. The beauty business is about to get ugly.

The Paramount Pictures film, directed by Miguel Arteta and executive produced by Haddish and Nicolas Stern, also stars Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair and Karan Soni.

Watch the Trailer!

Continue on to Ebony to read the complete article.

Awkwafina makes Globes’ history with ‘Farewell’ acting win

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Awkwafina holds up her Golden Globe smiling at this year's event in Beverly Hills

Awkwafina said she had a “mind-blowing” experience after learning backstage she made history at the Golden Globes. The rapper and actress on Sunday became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy film for her starring role in “The Farewell.” She’s best known for her comic role in “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Awkwafina believes she has more to prove.

“It’s pretty mind-blowing,” she said. “It feels incredible. There’s also another feeling that you are going to do more. I hope this is just the beginning.”

Awkwafina shifted course to play a young woman in a Chinese family that is keeping their matriarch’s cancer a secret from her in director Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell.” She said she particularly related to the film.

“Immigrants in this country who were raised to feel very American … and when we go back where, you know, we’re told that you don’t belong here and you go back to where you belong,” she said. “You feel like a stranger there and this constant feeling of being lost in translation. And I think that’s what really resonated with me in ‘The Farewell.’”
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The win is part of a breakout two-year run for the 31-year-old actress, who had a breakthrough year in 2018 after appearances in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8.”

Continue on to the Washington Post to read the complete article.

The Recording Academy Moves Forward With Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

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Collage of women recording artists

The Recording Academy®, the leading society of music professionals and the organization behind the GRAMMY Awards®, will implement recommendations set forth by the Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, including restructuring its Board of Trustees to ensure that music creators from the broadest range of ages, backgrounds, genders, genres, crafts and regions are fully represented within the organization’s leadership.

At the Academy’s invitation, the Task Force convened in March 2018 to examine issues of diversity and inclusion within the Recording Academy and the broader music community. On Dec. 12, 2019, the Task Force issued an official report, which sets forth specific reforms and recommendations for the Recording Academy and outlines issues that continue to affect underrepresented people within the broader music community. Veteran attorney, former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, and TIME’S UP CEO Tina Tchen chaired the Task Force.

“The mission of the Recording Academy is to serve and advocate for music creators from all genres and of all genders and generations,” said Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan. “We have recently made tremendous progress and I’m proud to report that our leadership team is currently 50 percent female and that the 2019 Academy membership class is the most diverse in our history. However, there is still work to be done. We are deeply committed to continuing to implement the Task Force’s recommendations and building a community that is truly representative of our diverse and dynamic creators.”

“Over the course of the last year and a half, the Task Force dedicated hundreds of hours of their time to conduct a thorough analysis of how the Recording Academy could do better to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all workers and music creators. We owe a debt of gratitude to the impressive lineup of leaders from throughout the music industry who served on the Task Force for their tireless commitment to changing the Academy, and the industry, for the better,” said Tchen. “We are also so grateful for the full cooperation and participation of the Recording Academy at every step, and are encouraged by the commitment to change they announced today.”

The Task Force report outlines a range of recommendations that touch virtually every part of the Academy’s operations, from internal policies and organizational structure to the GRAMMY® nominations process. The Recording Academy has already made significant progress toward implementing 17 of the 18 reforms set forth by the Task Force, including ensuring gender parity on Awards and Governance committees, publicly reporting on the demographic composition of its workforce across different levels of seniority, and increasing outreach to diverse communities, which include key initiatives for female producers and engineers.

Additionally, in 2020, the Recording Academy will formulate formal diversity and inclusion goals for the Academy’s Board of Trustees and adopt a new Board structure that will prioritize identifying and elevating a diverse range of music creators to positions of leadership on the Board.

The Academy will continue to research the report’s recommendation to change portions of the GRAMMY Award voting process to a ranked-choice system.

The full Recording Academy Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Report can be found here.

An overview of the Recording Academy’s progress implementing the recommendations of the Task Force can be found here.

ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards—music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

For more information about the Academy, please visit grammy.com.

Jennifer Lopez Scores Golden Globe Nomination For Best Supporting Actress

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NEW YORK, NY: Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez and Lili Reinhart are seen on the film set of ‘Hustlers’ in New York City

No one hustled harder than Jennifer Lopez, and it paid off recently when the entertainer scored a Golden Globes nomination for her role as veteran stripper Ramona Vega in “Hustlers.”

The singer and actor was last nominated for the Golden Globes in 1998, when she was up for Best Actress in a Motion Picture ― Musical or Comedy for her performance in “Selena.”

The movie, based on a real-life group of strippers that worked together to scam Wall Street clients, garnered Lopez some of the best reviews of her career and major awards season buzz.

In addition to her Golden Globes nomination for Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture this year, Lopez nabbed a Critics Choice Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and she’s up for Best Supporting Female in the Spirit Awards.

On Sunday, she won Best Supporting Actress from the LA Film Critics Association.

In a recent interview with GQ, Lopez talked about what she found compelling about the Lorene Scafaria-directed film.

“The movies that I look for now, I’m looking for not just interesting and multilayered characters, which Ramona really was, but something that tells you about what’s going on in the culture,” Lopez said, revealing that she didn’t get paid for her role upfront.

The singer and actor added: “What it says about that world, and men and women, and gender roles, all of that made me feel that this could be an interesting movie, as opposed to just a character piece.”

Lopez, being Lopez, isn’t about to stop hustling. Pictured l to r; Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez and Lili Reinhart are seen on the film set of ‘Hustlers’ in New York City. (Photo by Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

The Punniest Female on Instagram

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military spouse dubbed punniest on Instagram is pictured with the Puns in the background

Military spouse Angelica Hanley is behind the pun-based stationery brand ACouplePuns.

Angelica Hanley is a self-professed entrePUNeur, so when she found herself making up puns to describe the things she saw throughout the day, she decided to turn her love of puns into a shareable art form.

Thus, ACouplePuns was born and is now a rapidly growing online and wholesale greeting card shop connecting people through punny sentiments.

A card for every occasion imaginable, ACouplePuns delivers sweet messages accompanied by disarmingly darling drawings on superb card stock that is scored, folded and packaged by hand.

Her designs are inspired by travel, pop culture, and current trending topics.

She’s a military spouse who used a lifestyle of frequent moves to create a business she could take with her wherever she and her husband end up.

Angelica hold up some of her punniest cards
Via Instagram @ACouplePuns

Seeking a means to connect with people after a cross country move a couple years ago, Angelica launched ACouplePuns on Etsy with ten greeting card designs.

After just two years she has over 100 cards, which have landed on store shelves all over the country.

She has created custom cards for many popular female-founded brands such as Kendra Scott and also coordinated giveaways on Instagram.

Angelica enjoys sharing laughter through her cards and is building a community of fellow pun lovers she refers to on Instagram as “Punny People.”

She encourages you to share the puns you see with her at ACouplePuns to help inspire her latest creations!

Source: ACouplePuns, Instagram @ACouplePuns

Gabrielle Union: A Journey to Fulfillment

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Gabrielle Union seen at ULTA event wearing a long red dress

By Jovane Marie

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

Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design
Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design

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.”

Kaavi James Collection; Caption: Kaavia James Union Wade and Gabrielle Union visit New York & Company Store in Burbank, CA, to launch Kaavi James Collection on May 09, 2019. PHOTO BY JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR NEW YORK & COMPANY
Kaavi James Collection; Caption: Kaavia James Union Wade and Gabrielle Union visit New York & Company Store in Burbank, CA, to launch Kaavi James Collection on May 09, 2019. PHOTO BY JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR NEW YORK & COMPANY

“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.

Family First

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?

Gabrielle Union interacts with fans during America’s Got Talent auditions. TRAE PATTON/NBC
Gabrielle Union interacts with fans during America’s Got Talent auditions. TRAE PATTON/NBC

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

Union discusses television series on The Talk on the CBS Television Network. MONTY BRINTON/CBS ©2017 CBS BROADCASTING, INC.
Union discusses television series on The Talk on the CBS Television Network. MONTY BRINTON/CBS ©2017 CBS BROADCASTING, INC.

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.

‘Go Kill It,Girl’:’She’s Gotta Have It’ Star DeWanda Wise Scores Lead Role in ‘Jurassic World 3’

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DeWanda Wise pictured at movie screeing with hair pinned up and wearing shiny black dress

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!”

Continue on the Atlanta Black Star to read the complete article.

Why the ‘Office Ladies’ podcast is worth your time

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Angela and Pam from The Office series in an ad for their new podcast

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.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

These 3 Latina actresses are helping make Broadway more inclusive

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Actresses Lindsay Mendez, Mandy Gonzalez and Bianca Marroquín are pictured together

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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