Latinos See Strong Presence in 2012 Oscar Nominees List

Latinos See Strong Presence in 2012 Oscar Nominees List

Latinos, the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, are seeing themselves in several Oscar categories including best actor and best cinematographer.

A big surprise in today’s nominations was Mexican actor Demián Bichir getting a Best Actor in a Leading Role nod for his role in “A Better Life.” Bichir plays an undocumented gardener living in East L.A. who struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

Bichir is the second Mexican-born actor in history to be nominated in the Leading actor category. Anthony Quinn is the only other Mexican-born actor to be nominated in the Leading and supporting role categories.

“Hopefully more and more people will jump into iTunes and Netflix to see our film,” Bichir told US Weekly this morning. “That will be the biggest reward we could get. I dedicate this nomination to those 11 million human beings who make our lives easier and better in the U.S.”

Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is in the Best Cinematography category for his work in “The Tree of Life.”

Also recognized in the Animated Feature Film category is “Chico & Rita, by Spanish filmmakers Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal.

“Real in Rio,” a song by Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes (with lyrics by Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” co-songwriter Siedah Garrett) is a nominee for Best Song.

Bérénice Bejo, got a nod in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in “The Artist” was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias is also in the Original Score competition for the music of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

The Oscar awards ceremony will air on Sunday February 26 on ABC.

TAGS: Latino Oscars

Meryl Streep’s 17th Oscar Nomination for Her Role in a Movie Some Say We Didn’t Need

Meryl Streep's 17th Oscar Nomination for Her Role in a Movie Some Say We Didn't Need

Meryl Streep continues her streak as the most nominated performer in academy history. Monday’s nomination for her role as Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom’s first female British prime minister, in “The Iron Lady” was her 17th nomination. She’s widely considered to be the greatest living actress. And from speech patterns to mannerism to posture, Streep’s impersonation of Thatcher was flawless.

But some critics argue that the filmmakers presented Thatcher more as a “grocer’s daughter from Grantham” and less as a prime minister who left thousands hungry when she decided decided nuclear power was a better energy source than unionized coalfields. The film also ignored the families in Toxteth (inner city Liverpool) and Brixton (a largely black neighborhood in London) whom Thatcher agreed were living in a “concentration of hopelessness” that was “very largely self-inflicted” and not worth government repair, explains British-American journalist Laura Flanders in “The Nation.”

“The Iron Lady” is “the last thing we need, ever, and especially at this point,” Flanders, who hosts GRITtv, went on to say.

In an opinion piece for the The Nation, Flander’s explains why she believes “The Iron Lady” is the “Margaret Thatcher movie we don’t need.”

Think of Thatcher and I think of the hungry people who started showing up in villages in Yorkshire and Scotland and Wales where work was scarce because Thatcher’s experts decided nuclear power was a better energy source than unionized coalfields. Miners went on strike — for a year. Their wives and children collected soup-kitchen money from their churches and their neighbors and when they ran out, they went down to London where they tried to tell their story of helmeted horsemen charging the ranks of union strikers and police bashing men’s heads in. But Londoners didn’t believe them. They’d heard the miners were greedy and dangerous and a threat to their jobs. After all, “trade union power is the true cause of unemployment,” said Thatcher. The 1984 strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) gets a couple of seconds on screen in Lloyd’s film, but there’s no explanation, no follow-up and no consideration: does anyone wish now that they’d listened to the miners then?

“There is no such thing as society. Only individuals.” Thatcher also said. With more spending by successive Thatcher governments on police (so-called “law and order”) and less on just about everything else, “no society” became true soon enough. The Iron Lady shows Prime Minister Thatcher overruling her “wet” male colleagues over waging war with Argentina. A few hundred far-off Falkland Islanders were worth fighting for, she famously decided. A take-control feminist? The film ignores the families in Toxteth (inner city Liverpool) and Brixton (a largely black neighborhood in London) whom Thatcher found it quite acceptable to sacrifice. Cabinet papers released by the National Archives just now under a 30-year rule reveal Thatcher’s closest advisers told her that the “concentration of hopelessness” on Merseyside was “very largely self-inflicted” and not worth government repair.

Flanders goes on to say depiction of draconian cuts as feminist guts in the “The Iron Lady” is “chilling.”

“What Thatcher called “harsh medicine” meant one thing for the poor and another for the very powerful then, and it still does. In both instances, there is hell to pay in social fabric.”

Ringing in the Year of the Dragon, With Love


A Chinese performer dressed in dragon costumes prepares to perform at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year of Dragon on January 22, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

New Jersey Gov. Christie Nominates Openly Gay African-American Man to Supreme Court

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie nominated an openly gay African-American Republican mayor and a Korean-American assistant attorney general to the state’s highest court.

Kwon would be the first Asian-American to sit on the state Supreme Court, and Harris would be the first openly gay justice.

Last year he also appointed Muslim-American lawyer Sohail Mohammed to the state’s superior court.

Christie, who’s a Republican, has been known to spread a conservative agenda across the state. In 2010 he sparked outrage when he refused to reappoint a key Democrat-affiliated justice that would have maintained a partisan balance on the bench.

President Obama Wishes Everyone a Happy Lunar New Year! [Video]

President Obama Wishes Everyone a Happy Lunar New Year! [Video]
TAGS: celebrations

Aretha Franklin Calls off Her Wedding

aretha-franklin-2012.jpgOn January 2nd Aretha Franklin announced she and her long time partner William ‘Willie’ Wilkerson were engaged to be married but on Monday the Queen of Soul announced the engagement is off.

“Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly. There will be no wedding at this time,” Franklin said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We will not comment on it any further because of the very personal and sensitive nature of it. We appreciate all of the many well wishes from friends.”

“We’re very compatible, and he supports me and I support him a lot, and he has given me specialized attention that I don’t think I’ve received from anyone else,” she went on to say.

It’s unclear if the Franklin and Wilkerson are still together. 

(Photo: Aretha Franklin and “longtime friend” Willie Wilkerson arrive at Aretha Franklin’s Birthday Dinner at Park Lane Hotel on March 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Morgan/WireImage)

Alabama Students Prep Week Long Actions Against HB56 [Video]

Alabama Students Prep Week Long Actions Against HB56 [Video]

A group of college students in Birmingham, Alabama are organizing “A Week of Direct Action Against HB 56” that will run from Jan. 30 through Feb. 3.

The actions will include students from University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham Southern College, Samford University, the University of Montevallo and Jefferson State Community College.

“The fact we’re a multi-campus group shows we’re starting to unify and ready to show how against this bill we are,” A.T. Helix, a UAB student and one of co-organizers of the event, told WBRC.

Caller Confuses Sherri Shepherd and Yvette Nicole Brown for Octavia Spencer On Live TV [Video]

Caller Confuses Sherri Shepherd and Yvette Nicole Brown for Octavia Spencer On Live TV [Video]

Yvette Nicole Brown who stars in “Community” and Sherri Shepherd of the “The View” were guests on “Watch What Happens Live” last night and according to the two African-American actresses they get mixed up for stars of “The Help” all the time. And there’s proof…because it happened on live tv.

‘Mosquita y Mari’ World Premiere at Sundance a ‘Smashing Sucess’

'Mosquita y Mari' World Premiere at Sundance a 'Smashing Sucess'

“Mosquita y Mari” had its world premiere Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival to a packed house. The show was sold out online days before the premiere and it was a “smashing success,” according to one of the film’s representatives.

The film “Mosquita y Mari” explores the complexities of a blossoming friendship between two Chicana high schoolers in Los Angeles’ Huntington Park as they navigate through life when they realize they see each other as more than just friends.

Director Aurora Guerrero says she’s been inspired queer, women of color feminist writers, in particular Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa.

‘Red Tails’ Comes in Second, Scores $19 Mil. at Weekend Box Office

'Red Tails' Comes in Second, Scores $19 Mil. at Weekend Box Office

It took 23 years to make and George Lucas had to fund production, advertising and distribution himself but ‘Red Tails’ had a strong opening this weekend.

Lucas’ film that chronicles WWII’s African-American Tuskegee airmen was rejected by all seven major film studios because they said they didn’t know how to advertise a film with an entire cast of all black leads and that it wouldn’t make money abroad. But so far box office numbers are proving there is an audience for a film in which all the protagonists are black.

“The strong debut came out of 2,512 theaters, which gave Red Tails a hefty $7,604 per theater average, the second-best in the Top 20,” reports Entertainment Weekly.

For the Record: George W. Bush is the Real ‘Food Stamp President’

For the Record: George W. Bush is the Real 'Food Stamp President'

At a Republican debate last Monday, former speaker Newt Gingrich claimed that “more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.” The Gingrich campaign quickly released a commercial the next day touting the same claim but it turns out that’s not true, according to research by the Annernberg Public Policy Center’s

“Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high,” according to the most recent figures looked at by More details below:

But Gingrich goes too far to say Obama has put more on the rolls than other presidents. We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.

And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama’s time in office than during Bush’s.

Other GOP candidates have made claims that African-Americans (or “blah” people) are the majority on public assistance in the United States. That’s also not true.

36 percent of those receiving food stamps are white, 22 percent were African American and 10 percent were Latino, according to the most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “food stamp” program.

Why Black Gay and Transgender Americans Need More than Marriage Equality [Report]

On Thursday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) launched the Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE) Initiative in conjunction with the release of the report, “Jumping Beyond the Broom: Why Black Gay and Transgender Americans Need More than Marriage Equality,” which makes policy recommendations that could eliminate the social, health, and economic disparities faced by gay and transgender people of color.

“Despite significant gains in securing basic rights for LGBT Americans over the past decade, the quality of life for black gay and transgender Americans has remained virtually unchanged,”  Aisha Moodie-Mills, CAP Advisor on LGBT Policy and Racial Justice said in a statement.

“Marriage equality is vital to overall progress, but marriage alone is not a silver bullet to reduce the disparities black gay and transgender populations face.”

According to the report families headed by black same-sex couples are more likely to raise their children in poverty, black lesbians are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, and black gay and transgender youth are more likely to end up homeless and living on the streets.

The report lays out policy recommendations for addressing economic insecurity, low education attainment and wellness disparities that could improve the lives of gay and transgender people of color.

On Thursday evening’s very own news editor Jamilah King moderated a panel at the launch of CAP’s FIRE Initiative to discuss the new report. Watch the video of the panel below and visit the Center for American Progress to download the full report.

Just One in Six Deportations Cancelled in Obama’s Pilot Review

A review ordered by the Obama administration of almost 7,900 deportation cases before the immigration court in Colorado found 1,300 immigrants — 16 percent — posed no security risk and will be allowed to remain in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security plans to extend the reviews in the coming months to all of about 300,000 deportation cases before the courts nationwide.

The New York TImes provides more background:

The court review is part of a broad effort by the administration, as President Obama heads into his re-election campaign, to ease the impact of enforcement on immigrant and Latino communities by stopping some deportations while also reducing huge backlogs swamping the immigration courts. Based on an early projection of results from pilot projects here and in Baltimore, as many as 39,000 immigrants across the country could see their deportation cases closed.’s immigration reporter Julianne Hing said many immigrant rights groups are disappointed that more deportation cases were not canceled under the review, but “the Obama administration chose to be very conservative here.”

Hing also said it’s worth paying attention to the fact that “the Obama administration’s definition of who presents no security threat to the U.S. and therefore should be allowed to stay in the country, is very controversial.” According to the NY Times, even those with no criminal record were denied. The Obama administration’s definition of who, then, constitutes a high priority for removal, is a very wide swath of the undocumented immigrant population.

“The Obama administration announced the deportation review last year, frankly, as a way to appease Latino voters,” Hing added.

“It’s one of a handful of small administrative things they’re doing here and there to help immigrants, but the fact is the Obama administration is still also committed to an aggressive deportation agenda,” Hing went on to say.

Strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Could Protect Latino and Black Borrowers

From 2004 to 2008, only 6.2 percent of white borrowers with credit scores of 660 and above ended up with higher-rate mortgages. Latinos and blacks with good credit scores, however, were three times as likely to end up with higher-rate mortgages, according to an analysis published Thursday by Algernon Austin, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program.

epi.pngThe Fair Isaac Corporation—the company that created the FICO score—classifies scores of 660 and above as “good,” but  Austin explains that black and Latino borrowers with a credit score of 660+ still received higher interest rate loans that resulted in higher foreclosure rates. “Higher foreclosure rates of these groups help explain why Latinos and blacks have seen such dramatic declines in wealth,” Austin wrote in his analysis available on EPI’s site.

“Discriminatory housing practices are one reason why our country needs a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Austin went on to explain. “A powerful CFPB helps make sure that everyone is treated equally and fairly by the financial services industry.”’s editor Kai Wright points out that been a recurring claim since the beginning of the housing crisis that people who didn’t deserve loans got them. “The not-so-subtext of that has been an attack on government programs that encouraged lending to black and Latino borrowers. The claim has been demonstrably false from the start, though it still gets repeated without challenge in mainstream media.”

“This study is but the latest to make the point clear: We’re in this crisis because the financial sector deliberately preyed upon borrowers of color, who were left vulnerable after being locked out of the legitimate credit market for generations,” Wright went on to say. 

Congress Postpones SOPA and PIPA Until ‘Wider Agreement’

Congress Postpones SOPA and PIPA Until 'Wider Agreement'

Two days after massive internet protests, lawmakers on Friday indefinitely postponed anti-piracy legislation SOPA and PIPA.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he has delayed a vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) scheduled for Tuesday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith then said his panel would not consider the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) until a compromise was reached.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s statement, in it’s entirety:

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.

“I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill. I encourage him to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans’ intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. We made good progress through the discussions we’ve held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.”

More analysis coming soon.


Rick Perry’s Real Legacy? His 2011 Executions (A Dance Video)

Rick Perry's Real Legacy? His 2011 Executions (A Dance Video)

In honor of Texas Governor Rick Perry executing his presidential campaign, Adriel Luis, a contributor and artist based in Brooklyn, NY, made this video to remind all of us what Perry’s real legacy is.

In 2011, the United States carried out 43 executions. Texas was responsible for 1/3 of them.

There are currently 321 prisoners on death row in Texas: 126 of them are black, 97 white and 94 Latino, according to the NAACP’s quarterly report “Death Row USA”

Singing Legend Etta James Dies at 73

Singing Legend Etta James Dies at 73

Etta James, an icon of mid-century soul and R&B, has passed away in Riverside, California, after a long battle with leukemia. She was 73.

“This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon told CNN. “She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category.

She would have turned 74 Wednesday.

TAGS: Etta James

Hollywood Unions Blast Google After More Than 7 Million Sign SOPA Petition

Hollywood Unions Blast Google After More Than 7 Million Sign SOPA Petition

Update 1/20/2012 2:19pm EST: Congress Postpones SOPA and PIPA Until ‘Wider Agreement’

On Wednesday more than 7 million people in the U.S. signed Google’s petition urging Congress to stop #SOPA and #PIPA, the two bills that would censor the web. The petition and other actions worked: On January 18th SOPA only had 31 opponents in congress as of today there’s 122 opponents.

But the unions and guilds representing Hollywood crews that support the bills and donate millions to political causes are just beginning their fight.

The LA Times describes a letter sent by Hollywood Unions to members of the Senate urging to maintain their support SOPA and PIPA:

“We know the pressure that you are getting to renege on your commitment,” the guilds wrote in a letter to Democratic senators from New York, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, co-sponsors of the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which will be taken up by the Senate next week. “We are the voice of thousands of individuals who thank you for your standing steadfast against this barrage and in support of the jobs of our members.”

The letter, signed by unions representing more than 400,000 actors, directors, performers and crafts people, defended the bill, which has been blasted by major tech companies as an impediment to free speech that could force some legitimate companies to shut down. But the unions accused Google and other critics of distorting facts about what the bill would actually do.

“The Protect IP Act does nothing more than make it possible for the U.S. government to handle illegal foreign websites in the same manner it can already do — and has been doing — with illegal sites. It has no impact at all on the legal U.S. sites that people are being told will disappear…. We are greatly offended that our advocacy of this bill has turned into an implication that we promote censorship. Our commitment to the First Amendment is decades old and long established — it is a matter of public record from long before the word “Internet” was part of our vocabulary.”

The letter was signed by the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the American Federation of Musicians.

Currently there are more democrats than republicans that still support SOPA and PIPA, according to ProPublica.

Among Democrats that support SOPA are Nevada Senator Harry Reid and CA. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. CA. Congresswoman Karen Bass and Rep. Joe Baca still among the SOPA co-sponsor as well.

For the latest numbers of who’s opposing and supporting SOPA and PIPA visit ProPublica’s interactive database.

Here’s the Video of Obama Singing Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ Last Night

President Obama has officially turned the being charming to get re-elected button on.

While speaking Thursday night at a fundraiser held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Obama sang a bit of Al Green’s classic hit “Let’s Stay Together.” Watch the video above.

P.S.: Pre-2009, when Obama was still a US Senator, he belted out a Diane Warwick tune too.

The Miraculous Story of Amit Gupta’s Bone Marrow Match

The Miraculous Story of Amit Gupta's Bone Marrow Match

As Amit Gupta learned after being diagnosed with acute leukemia in September, finding a suitable bone-marrow donor is extremely difficult but finding one who is South Asian like Gupta, who is originally from India is close to impossible because there aren’t many South Asian donors in the bone-marrow database.

“South Asians are severely under-represented in the bone marrow pool, and I need help,” Gupta wrote on, a website he started to help find a bone marrow match. For someone of South Asian descent, the odds of finding a matching bone marrow donor are currently only 1 in 20,000.

On Wednesday, Gupta announced that a donor who matched his profile had been found.

“After over 100 drives organized by friends, family, and strangers, celebrity call-outs, a bazillion reblogs (7000+!), tweets, and Facebook posts, press, fundraising and international drives organized by tireless friends, and a couple painful false starts, I’ve got a 10/10 matched donor! You all literally helped save my life. (And the lives of many others.)”

Gupta started his treatment today. Today’s love goes to him.

Send him lots of love, strength and courage so his spirits remain high. And show him some love by visiting and register to be a donor—you’ll get a kit in the mail, you’ll rub a cotton swab on your cheek and mail it back. That’s it.

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

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