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Secrets Straight from Spiderman’s Stuntman: Spiderman is Asian

Secrets Straight from Spiderman's Stuntman: Spiderman is Asian

Ilram Choi, a stuntman on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” talks to “The Yo Show” about filling in for Andrew Garfield during some crucial and dangerous stunts. He also spills on which stunts Garfield did on his own, and exactly how long it takes to get into that spider suit.

“Me being Asian I never thought I’d ever be Spiderman because Spiderman is a white dude but he [the stunt coordinator] said you’ll be in the suit, they won’t see your face and you’ll be flying around,” Choi told “The Yo Show” host Michael Yo.

Beyoncé’s Letter to Frank Ocean: ‘Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave’

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Beyoncé showed her support for Frank Ocean this weekend by posting an online letter on her website dedicated to the R&B artist. The letter was posted just days after the singer opened up about his sexuality.

With handwritten words over a picture of Ocean, Beyoncé writes, “Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave. Be poetic. Be open. Be free. Be yourself. Be in love. Be happy. Be inspiration.”

(image via Beyonce.com)

Holly Robinson Peete Rips 50 Cent Apart on Autism, Gets Him to Apologize

Holly Robinson Peete Rips 50 Cent Apart on Autism, Gets Him to Apologize

Last week rapper 50 Cent responded bitterly to an overeager fan on Twitter by saying “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” Actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose oldest son is autistic said her heart sunk when she read the tweets and she penned an open letter to 50 Cent that ultimately got him to do just what the letter requested: delete the insensitive tweets and apologize.

It all started out when a fan asked 50 Cent why his latest album took longer than expected to be released. The tweets upset the rapper he made the comments mentioned above and with a follow up that read “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else.”

Peete posted an open letter to 50 Cent on her website that blasts his “hurtful, immature and misinformed” comments. Peete’s letter is below:

Dear 50 Cent,

Since last night my twitter timeline is flooded with tweets and retweets about a response you posted to someone who insulted you. When I read it my heart sank. I thought maybe your account had been hacked. No such luck. Granted, his comment was completely out of line but your retort: “i just saw your picture fool you look autistic”- was so so disappointing. I mean, that’s your comeback?? And you didn’t stop there. You went on to joke about not wanting “special ed kids” on your timeline. Seriously, THIS is how you use your platform of 8 million plus followers??

I’ve met you in passing over the years and I know you are a bright, astute businessman and legitimate philanthropist so it is with a bit of sincere confusion that I ask you… Do you even know what autism is? And what exactly does “autistic” look like? Do you know how wildly prevalent autism is? 1 in 88 have it. That’s 1 in 54 boys. Families suffer a social stigma you will never know. It is a financial and emotional drain for millions, so our non-profit- HollyRod Foundation works hard to raise funds to help these families cope…

hollyrp_43_austims.jpg> I hope you can see how what you might see as a benign insult-or not- was so randomly hurtful, immature and misinformed. Maybe you are naive or indifferent as to how many of your fans might be deeply and personally offended by your insult. At the very least-can you please delete it? If you’ve read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.

Finally, this is my son Rodney Peete. He has autism. So I guess this is what autistic looks like? He is in special ed. He loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of yours. He’s a tremendous kid. He has to deal with so much trying to fit in. This isn’t helping.

The rapper subsequently deleted the offending tweets on his timeline, and on Sunday, he took the extra step to issue an apology for his comments. “I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize,” 50 Cent wrote.

American Indian Synchronized Swimmer Takes Spot at Olympics

American Indian Synchronized Swimmer Takes Spot at Olympics

Synchronized swimming fans will have their eyes focused on Mary Killman and her partner Mariya Koroleva at the Olympics games in London this summer because they are the only two U.S. synchronized swimmers to qualify. Killman, 21, is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and she’s known to occasionally place the letters CPN on her swimsuits to honor her heritage.

Killman and Koroleva will be competing in the duets category and will be the only two U.S. representatives in the sport at the London Games. Team USA did not qualify for the team portion of synchronized swimming.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Killman told Sports Illustrated earlier this year.. “Synchro is a theatrical sport, like figure skating, where we have the pretty makeup and the big smiles. But under all that—under water—it’s chaos. We’re kicking each other like crazy and trying to hold each other up.”

Killman says she’s dreamed of the day she would compete at the Olympics since the age of 10. She started out swimming competitively but ended up switching to synchronized swimming a few years later.

“I kind of was like I want to go to the Olympics. It’s just what I wanted to do and it’s just kind of been the path I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made, I’ve ended up in a different sport but still at the same goal.” Killman told Doublegsports.com.

The Olympic duet competition is scheduled for Aug. 5-7.

90 College Presidents Cite Patents in Call for Immigration Reform

Three quarters of the patents at top patent-producing universities in the U.S. had at least one foreign-born inventor, according to a new report by the Partnership for a New American Economy - a group made up of more than 450 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform.

The Partnership organized more than 90 presidents to call on the nation’s leaders to support immigration reform that would allow many of these students to stay in the U.S. after they graduate.

The letter addressed to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Democratic Leader Pelosi is published in it’s entirety below.

The letter signed by the Presidents of Harvard, Cornell and UCLA, only addresses the “best and the brightest” and does not include unskilled immigrants (who are just as critical to our economy) in their call to leaders.

Janet Mock and Isis King Discuss Media’s Portrayal of Transgender Women

Janet Mock and Isis King Discuss Media's Portrayal of Transgender Women

America’s Next Top Model’s first transgender contestant, Isis King, sits down with People.com staff editor and transgender advocate, Janet Mock, for a conversation about representations of transgender people in media.

Mock will be joining the “Race, Gender and the 21st Century” plenary at the Applied Research Center’s (ARC) Facing Race Conference taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore. ARC publishes Colorlines.com.

George Zimmerman Released from Jail on $1 Million Bail

George Zimmerman walked out of jail once again Friday, according to reports from Florida’s Bay News 9.

According to reports Zimmerman had to go through a bail bondsman, and pay 10 percent of the bond amount, which is $100,000. The news comes just one day after a Florida judge said it was entirely reasonable to believe Zimmerman could be making plans to flee:

“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee,” Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester in the 8-page order. “It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”

Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara also told the Orlando Sentinel today that his team had secured a temporary safe house for Zimmerman.

Zimmerman Raises 20K in a Day After Judge Says He Was Ready to Jump Bail

Zimmerman Raises 20K in a Day After Judge Says He Was Ready to Jump Bail

The judge overseeing George Zimmerman’s murder trial set bail at $1 million on Thursday. And according to Zimmerman’s defense team, they’ve raised more than $20,000 in individual donations to help pay for bail.

The funds came after Zimmerman’s lawyers placed a call to action on Gzlegalcase.com:

For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman’s shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights — now is the time to show your support.

The donations come after a Florida judge said it was entirely reasonable to believe Zimmerman could be making plans to flee:

“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee,” Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester in the 8-page order. “It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”

Frances Robles at The Miami Herald also points out the judge rejected the defense argument that Zimmerman, 28, was young and confused when he instructed his wife to transfer funds he raised online out of his name and allowed her to lie about it under oath at his initial bond hearing.

“Trayvon Martin is the only male whose youth is relevant to this case,” Lester wrote in the case.

Film: Black Olympians Dominate Because They’re Descendants of Slaves

Film: Black Olympians Dominate Because They're Descendants of Slaves

It’s been over thirty years since the last white male won the Olympic 100-meter sprint so the UK’s Channel 4 decided to make a documentary that argues black Americans and Caribbeans do well at the Olympics because they are descendants of slaves who were bred well.

The documentary titled “Michael Johnson: Survival of the Fastest,” follows four-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Michael Johnson who says it is a fact that slavery has benefited descendants like himself. The documentary premiered in the UK Thursday night and the pitch to viewers takes cues from the Henry Louis Gates, Jr’s. PBS series “Finding Your Roots” that explores race, culture, and identity through genealogy.

Below is Channel 4’s description of the documentary:

Why is it that all the athletes that lined up for the men’s 100m final at the Beijing Olympics could trace their ancestry back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

In this landmark documentary, Olympian Michael Johnson embarks on a personal genealogical and scientific journey in a bid to understand if he and other world-class African American and Caribbean athletes are successful as a result of slavery.

Michael Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and the finest sprint athlete of his generation. In this remarkable authored film he discovers some disturbing truths about the lives of his enslaved ancestors.

From the mass murder of those on the slave ships to the nightmarish breeding programmes of the plantation owners, Johnson confronts this appalling history.

He speaks to leading voices in the world of sport and science to examine the link between the trans-Atlantic slave trade and genetic selection.

He investigates the role slavery may have played in altering the genomes of their descendants. He speaks to experts whose research has led them to conclude this has contributed to the success of African American and Caribbean sprinters.

“All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations,” Johnson told British newspaper the Daily Mail after he learned a DNA test confirmed he is of West African descent. “Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me — I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.”

‘It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?’ Johnson is quoted saying in the Daily Mail.

The real fact is discussions and the study of the “black superior athletic gene” are nothing new.

Jeremy Lin’s on His Way to Being Highest Paid Asian-American in NBA History

Jeremy Lin's on His Way to Being Highest Paid Asian-American in NBA History

Linsanity is worth approximately $28.9 million million dollars, according to dozens of sources who say that’s what the Houston Rockets have offered the Taiwanese-American to sign a four-year deal. If the reports are true Lin could become the highest paid Asian-American player in the NBA.

New York Daily News is reporting Lin has already agreed to the deal:

Lin agreed on Thursday to sign a four-year, $28.9 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, hours after Jason Kidd, 39, turned down a deal with the Dallas Mavericks and agreed to spend the twilight years of his Hall of Fame career as a Knick.

Sports Illustrated has more details on the deal:

Sources confirmed that Lin, the 23-year-old undrafted player who was waived by the Rockets and Golden State last season before becoming a Madison Square Garden star and later having his season cut short by knee surgery on April 2, plans to sign Houston’s offer sheet for four years and $28.8 million when the free agency moratorium ends on July 11. The deal, which has a team option in the fourth season, is expected to be matched by the Knicks. They will have until July 14 to do so.

We’ll end this post with a public service announcement: Lin is not the first Asian American to play in the NBA. Asian American Journalists Association with the accurate history below:

Raymond Townsend, who’s of Filipino descent, was a first-round choice of the Golden State Warriors in the 1970s. Rex Walters, who is of Japanese descent, was a first-round draft pick by the New Jersey Nets out of the University of Kansas in 1993 and played seven seasons in the NBA; Walters is now the coach at University of San Francisco. Wat Misaka is believed to have been the first Asian American to play professional basketball in the United States. Misaka, who’s of Japanese descent, appeared in three games for the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season when the Knicks were part of the Basketball Association of America, which merged with the NBA after the 1948-49 season.

Of Course, none of this is official yet. The Knicks are expected to match the Houston Rockets’ deal so Lin could be staying put after all.

*This article has been edited since publication.

Justice Kennedy Never Used the Term ‘Illegal Immigrants’ in SB1070 Ruling

The Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 written by Justice Anthony Kennedy last month never used the terms “illegal immigrants” and “illegal aliens,” except in cases when quoting other sources. Charles Garcia, a businessman who has served in the administrations of four presidents has written an opinion piece for CNN that explains why the court’s decision to Drop the I-Word “established a humanistic approach to our current restructuring of immigration policy”

Below is an excerpt from Garcia’s opinion piece on CNN:

When you label someone an “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or just plain “illegal,” you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal.

In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. If you don’t pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You’re still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren’t labeled illegals.

By becoming judge, jury and executioner, you dehumanize the individual and generate animosity toward them. New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes says “illegal” is often “a code word for racial and ethnic hatred.”

Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator for the Drop the I-Word campaign, a public education campaign working to eradicate the term “illegals” from everyday use and public discourse, supports Garcia’s statement and issued the following statement. 

“Illegal alien” appears in the Arizona v. United States (SB 1070) court syllabus and in the dissenting opinion by Justice Scalia. But in the final court decision by Justice Kennedy, he only uses the term from quoted material and uses other descriptions like “unauthorized alien” “undocumented alien” and “unauthorized worker.” While archaic and clearly dehumanizing “alien” language is deeply embedded in our country’s immigration code and the SCOTUS narrative about immigration, the move away from using the i-word in the court’s opinion is a significant change because Judge Kennedy is choosing not to conflate criminality with undocumented status.

We’ve explained before why practicing attorneys do not use the i-word. This is the most recent and prominent SCOTUS opinion not to include the i-word. Recent opinions by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor have not used it either. This is tremendous for our efforts to get the media to Drop the I-Word. Now that SCOTUS opinions are not using the i-word and making it clear that being undocumented is not equal to criminality, journalists will have a harder time claiming that the i-word is neutral or precise.

The Drop the I-Word campaign is a project of the Applied Research Center and Colorlines.com.

Border Patrol Detains 96-Year-Old Former Arizona Gov. in 100-degree Heat

Border Patrol Detains 96-Year-Old Former Arizona Gov. in 100-degree Heat

Former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro was traveling from his home in Nogales, Ariz., to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson when his vehicle triggered a radiation sensor at a Border Patrol checkpoint just north of Tubac. The former governor was detained in 100-degree heat for more close to 45-minutes.

Castro explained that he had undergone hospital testing on his pacemaker the previous day, likely triggering the sensor, but border patrol agents still made him wait outside of his car in the 100-degree weather while they conducted their investigation, AZ Central reports.

Anne Doan, a family friend from Nogales who was driving Castro to the birthday luncheon in Tucson, wrote a letter to the Nogales International newspaper recounting the incident:

Last week I was honored to accompany former governor and ambassador to Bolivia, El Salvador and Argentina under two U.S. presidents, Raul Castro, to his 96th birthday celebration in Tucson. Gov. Castro and his wife Patricia could live anywhere in the world and they decided to live in Nogales, and the community is flattered. When we went through the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 north of Tubac, we were detained after an agent said we had appeared as a nuclear threat. The agent asked if anyone had had a medical treatment lately and Gov. Castro said he had one the previous day. She said the solution he was given might have triggered their alarm system.

We were sent to secondary inspection and were asked to step out of the car. When they asked the governor to stand under the tent, I asked if he could remain seated in the air-conditioned car because it might be too hot for him. The agents said he could not and that they had a fan under the tent.

I explained to the agent he had undergone a medical treatment the previous day and it must be the solution that set off their system. They said he had to stay under the tent, in 100-degree hear, while dressed in a suit. They offered him a chair. I felt totally frustrated and I was worried about the governor. […] At that point I was begging them to leave him alone. They brought out a document for him to fill out and sign. They had a machine they ran up and down his body front and back. Finally they released us and as we were walking back to the car they stopped him and said they had to see his identification. We were standing out in the sun, by this time, and Gov. Castro reached for his identification and showed it to the agent, they registered the information they needed from his identification and they released us, again.

I was helpless and overwhelmed by the incident. I felt the agents had no regard for the governor’s background or age or physical condition. I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat, especially because they knew he had just had a treatment at Tucson Heart Hospital the day before. I felt he was being disrespected as a senior citizen, much less the amazing statesman that he is.

Biracial Athlete Hoped to be First Out American Gymnast at Olympics

Biracial Athlete Hoped to be First Out American Gymnast at Olympics

Openly gay gymnast Josh Dixon was not named to the men’s gymnastics team after the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials in San Jose this past weekend. Dixon finished 13th out of 15 competitors and was not named as one of three alternates either.

The 22-year-old gymnast—who is Black and Japanese—publicly came out last month and hoped to become the very “first out American gymnast at the Olympics”.

Below is an excerpt from an interview in which Dixon discusses homophobia in his field of sports with Outsports.com:

In fact, Dixon said he has not had a single negative response “in any way, shape or form.” If anything, the only homophobia he has encountered has been from within himself. He acknowledges he once felt internal pressure about being a gay man in what some label the “gay sport” of gymnastics. He didn’t want to fall into a stereotype. But he’s come to embrace it, and he says his sexual orientation now makes him stand out more at the elite level. While he stands out, he isn’t the only one. Dixon knows of at least three more gay gymnasts still competing in college, and he says he is not the only elite-level American gymnast who is gay.

One concern that remains is the judges. Gymnastics is one of only a handful of Olympic sports hand out medals based on the scores of judges. While some claimed figure skater Johnny Weir’s perceived sexual orientation hurt him with the judges in the 2010 Winter Olympics, it certainly did not play a factor when Matthew Mitcham posted the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history in 2008.

When asked about the timing of this article and how it may affect his performance in the eyes of the judges or Olympic selection committee, Dixon had no fear.

George Zimmerman’s Second Bond Set at $1 Million, Could Walk Free

George Zimmerman's Second Bond Set at $1 Million, Could Walk Free

This morning, a Florida judge set George Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million. It’s unclear how long it will take for Zimmerman to be released from the jail in which he’s been held since his previous bond was revoked amid allegations that he had lied to the court about his finances.

Here’s more from Loop21:

Zimmerman will be free for the duration of his pending trial on a second-degree murder charge for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, which he claims happened in self-defense, is he pays the bond.

After more than two hours of testimony last Friday, [Florida judge Kenneth] Lester adjourned a bond hearing to weigh several pieces of evidence presented by the defense during the proceedings.

Zimmerman, who appeared in court unshackled and dressed in a suit, did not take the stand to explain why he and his wife misled the court about their personal finances, presumably to get a lower bond amount, prosecutors argued.

Frank Ocean’s Mom Calls Son ‘Incredible Human Being’ After Coming Out

Frank Ocean's Mom Calls Son 'Incredible Human Being' After Coming Out

Frank Ocean’s Def Jam debut, “Channel Orange,” won’t be released for another two weeks but the album is already making headlines everywhere. Everyone from the LA Times and the New York Times to hundreds of blogs are discussing the new album because in it Ocean uses pronouns like “him” in lyrics that include references to love.

Rumors that Ocean was bisexual began to circulate this week after a BBC1 writer who listened to an album preview took to her personal blog to point out “you can hear him [Ocean] sing about being in love and there are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.”

In a matter of hours the post went viral and Ocean responded through his blog on Tumblr.

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide,” Ocean wrote in part of the letter. “Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless…”

One of the first to back Ocean was fellow Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator, who’s own lyrics include some of those most violently homophobic rhymes in the industry. “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That,” tweeted Tyler on Wednesday. “Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. I’m A Toilet.”

The Civil Rights Act Celebrates 48th Anniversary

The Civil Rights Act Celebrates 48th Anniversary

Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, the landmark Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination and segregation regardless of race or color. It was originally introduced in congress by President John F. Kennedy before he was assassinated in 1963.

mlk-civilrightsact.jpg Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King, Jr.

President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, with Martin Luther King, Jr., looking on. (Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, courtesy of National Archives and Record Administration, LBJ Library #276-10-64)

Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez? Play ‘Pick Out The Immigrant’ Game Online

Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez? Play 'Pick Out The Immigrant' Game Online

Last week Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) presented a short quiz he called “Pick Out The Immigrant” on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

Now Rep. Gutierrez has taken his game online to his Facebook page asking everyone: Who is Sheriff Joe Arpaio more likely to stop: Drake or Pitbull?

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U.S. Citizen Wrongly Imprisoned Due to Secure Communuties Sues FBI and DHS

U.S. Citizen Wrongly Imprisoned Due to Secure Communuties Sues FBI and DHS

A lawsuit filed by James Makowski on Tuesday claims he was wrongly imprisoned for two months as a result of the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program. The Plaintiff, a U.S. citizen, argues the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated his rights under the Privacy Act.

Insiders say the lawsuit fundamentally messes with the fed’s assertion that Secure Communities is a controlled, systematized program that DHS operates with proper discretion.

“ICE claims that S-COMM avoids racial profiling or other rights abuses—ie. the unlawful detention of US-citizens—because it does not function out on the streets, but rather through mechanized and equal opportunity immigration checks processed through a computer. In fact, as we’ve often reported and as this case demonstrates, Secure Communities is a reckless system that feeds off the (in)discretion of local street cops,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter.

“The Privacy Act forbids the government from sharing data regarding U.S. citizens, unless it has some indication that a law is being violated. Since the launch of Secure Communities in 2008, the FBI has indiscriminately distributed the fingerprints of millions of U.S. citizens to DHS, which also stores the fingerprints in its database,” said Mark Fleming, a litigation coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center and co-counsel in the case. “Worse, as DHS has aggressively deployed Secure Communities, it has taken woefully inadequate steps to ensure the accuracy of its records or to implement simple measures to prevent U.S. citizens from being caught up in the net of immigration enforcement.”

Watch 8-Year-Old Actress Tell Jay Leno He’s Asking the Wrong Questions

Watch 8-Year-Old Actress Tell Jay Leno He's Asking the Wrong Questions

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” took the top prizes at both Sundance and the Cannes Film Festivals earlier this year. The film’s brilliance is in large part due to director and co-writer of the screenplay Benh Zeitlin but it’s the 6-year-old heroine of the film that made it a cinematic experience.

The film’s star Quvenzhané Wallis was a regular five-year-old school girl in Houma, Louisiana when she auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy in the film. She was six during production and now that she’s out promoting the film she’s eight. (And as you’ll see in the clip above from the “Tonight Show” Wallis isn’t afraid to tell a man seven times older than her how to do his job.)

In the final review in the New York Times, A. O. Scott described Wallis as the “inheritor of a proud literary and artistic tradition, following along a crooked path traveled by Huckleberry Finn, Scout Finch, Eloise (of the Plaza), Elliott (from “E.T.”) and other brave, wild, imaginary children.”

Those are big shoes to fill and Wallis goes above and beyond. There’s a moving long shot in the film in which you see Wallis’ eyes begin to water up and then the tears stream down her cheek. Those were real tears and a pretty incredible scene if you recall Wallis was only six when she shot the film. Not to mention she describes herself as someone who never cries.

At a screening in Hollywood Friday, Wallis explained the director had “a line of people” sit down and tell her sad stories about losing loved ones to help her prepare for the scene.

“Beast of the Southern Wild” is currently playing in Los Angeles and New York. Fox Searchlight plans to open “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in New Orleans on Wednesday, then Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Chicago, and Dallas on Friday.

One of NYC’s Last Black-Owned Bookstores is Closing

One of NYC's Last Black-Owned Bookstores is Closing

One of New York City’s last black-owned bookstores, Hue-Man Bookstore and Café, is closing at the end of the month. CEO Marva Allen told Publishers Weekly “we’re going to be around somewhere, somehow,” but the brick-and-mortar store will close July 31st.

In an open letter to the Harlem community, Allen laid out those plans as she explained her decision to close the bricks-and-mortar store. “We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of ‘traditional book’ selling has come to a close,” wrote Allen. “Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved, we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board.” With her lease ending, Allen noted that “there is no way to re-imagine the bookstore of the future in our current space.”

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