‘Selma’ Wins Golden Globe for Song ‘Glory’

'Selma' Wins Golden Globe for Song 'Glory' Play

Common and John Legend’s song “Glory” won last night’s Golden Globe award for best original song in a motion picture. The award, presented by Prince, was the film’s first, but probably won’t be its last.

“The first day I stepped on the set of ‘Selma’ I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie,” Common said during his acceptance speech. “As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. ‘Selma’ has awakened my humanity.”

Aziz Ansari Trolls Rupert Murdoch Over Anti-Muslim Tweets

Aziz Ansari Trolls Rupert Murdoch Over Anti-Muslim Tweets

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Rupert Murdoch thinks that all Muslims should be held responsible for what he calls the “growing jihadist cancer.”

Comedian Aziz Ansari thinks that’s ridiculous, and tweeted as much:

Then Ansari started the hashtag #RupertsFault:

(h/t BuzzFeed)

Watch Gina Rodriguez’s Tearful Golden Globe Speech

Watch Gina Rodriguez's Tearful Golden Globe Speech Play

“Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez won the award for best actress in a comedy. In her acceptance speech, she said that the award meant the world to her Latino community. “This award is so much bigger than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes,” Rodriguez said through tears while accepting her award. “My dad used to tell me, ‘Today’s a great day, you can and you will,’” she said. “Well, dad, today’s a great day, and I can and I did!”

Black Business Leaders Offer NYC Students Free Tickets to ‘Selma’

Black Business Leaders Offer NYC Students Free Tickets to 'Selma'

Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” opens in theaters nationwide today, and thanks to some enterprising black business leaders, students in New York City will be able to get free admission to see the film. Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter:

Paramount Pictures has partnered with 27 African-American business leaders in New York to offer free admission to its awards contender Selma, centering on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students in New York will be admitted to screenings of the film for free at participating theaters if they provide a student ID or report card. The initiative kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday and runs through Jan. 19, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or while tickets last.

In total, 27,000 students will benefit from the partnership. Read more.

San Francisco Muralists Sue Realtor For Using Art to Sell Luxury Condos

San Francisco Muralists Sue Realtor For Using Art to Sell Luxury Condos

The fact that San Francisco artists Francisco Aquino, Mona Caron, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Jetro Martinez, Sirron Norris, Henry Sultan, Jennifer Badger Sultan and Martin Travers had images of their artwork yanked from, a website that displays local public art online, was bad enough. But then they found out that their art was being used by Zephyr Real Estate to sell luxury condos in the city. So they sued.

From San Francisco Weekly:

Eight muralists on Tuesday submitted a federal complaint in San Francisco against Zephyr Real Estate, the city’s largest independent real estate firm, for allegedly using unauthorized reproductions of copyrighted works of art in a 2013 calendar to advertise properties.

“We tried before filing a lawsuit to resolve matters with Zephyr and that was frustrating,” said attorney Brooke Oliver, who represents the plaintiffs. “The artists regret having to file a lawsuit but are determined to protect their rights to not have their artwork taken without their permission to promote a real estate company that is so deeply involved in gentrifying the San Francisco neighborhoods where these murals live.”

A representative for the company told the SF Weekly the accusation that company used the calendars for profit was “completely wrong.”

Read more at San Francisco Weekly


Margaret Cho to Talk Polyamory, BDSM, Sex Toys on New TLC Show

Margaret Cho has made a career for herself as a queer comedian who’s not afraid to talk about sex. In fact, she’s built such a reputation for it that TLC’s given her a new show devoted exclusively to what she describes as “alternative sexualities” called “All About Sex.” The show premieres Saturday on TLC at 11pm, and Cho talked with Momo Chang at the Center for Asian American Media to give readers a preview.

It’s an advice show and it’s a talk show. And we’ll take questions from social media about sexuality. It kind of covers all different kinds of sexuality. My area is alternative sexuality—BDSM, queer questions, questions about sex toys. I have been in the alternative sexual community for my entire adult life and I served on the board of Good Vibrations, which is a really important sex toy company for women. And I have a lot of experience in the area of polyamory and alternative sexuality in general. So I’m there to field questions about that.

I’m really thrilled about the show. We have myself on the panel, a doctor who’s really knowledgeable about everything— Dr. Tiffanie [Davis Henry]—and Heather [McDonald] and Marissa [Jaret Winokur] are there to keep it really funny. We’re ready to rock. (See all the hosts’ bios below).

Read more over at the Center for Asian American Media

Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo Compares ‘Selma’ to Ferguson

Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo Compares 'Selma' to Ferguson

It’s awards season in Hollywood and “Selma” is rightfully on a lot of people’s radar. At this year’s Golden Globes the film stands to win big, with nominations in four categories including Best Motion Picture—Drama. David Oyelowo, who stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,is nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture. 

Along with director Ava DuVernay, Britian-born Oyelowo is one of several black actors who belong to Blackout for Human Rights, the loosely knit network of high-profile and ordinary people who campaign against police killings of unarmed black people.

On this past Thanksgiving, Blackout called for a nationwide boycott of America’s busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, to show the might of the African-American dollar. It’s nearly impossible to measure how much of the group’s efforts contributed to the 11 percent drop in the day’s sales, but they clearly demonstrated how some of today’s leading black filmmakers and actors refuse separate their art from their politics.

When asked if he had any hesitation in joining Blackout, Oyelowo called “Selma” incredibly “evocative of Ferguson.” Here’s more:

“It’s not exactly the same situation, but the parallels are very stark and real. Jimmie Lee Jackson was one of the motivating elements within the Selma campaign that really galvanized that campaign. He [was] shot by law enforcement unjustly, unarmed, brutally, in a public setting. And there was no recompense for those who did this. There’s that, but also what you see in “Selma” is the use of strategy, the use of coming together and forcing people to act out in front of cameras, forcing them to show their true colors when the press aren’t present. That’s what brought attention to Selma and ended up in a very efficacious way, bringing about change.”

The actor continued by saying that the film presented “non-violence and [love] as means of shaming people who are hell-bent on injustice to take a look in the mirror.” Hopefully, said Oweyelo, “Selma” will encourage people to “use love as a force and use strategy as opposed to bitterness.”

In a recent interview with Variety’s chief film critic Justin Chang, DuVernay, Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey, who plays activist Amelia Boynton, praised the film’s “divine timing.” When it came to playing one of history’s most compelling characters, Oyelowo said in another interview that he “felt this bizarre feeling of death around me.”

He continued: “[MLK] had consistently been told not to make that speech as there was a real fear of possible assassination. At the end of the day I felt almost surprised that I would be alive. I know that sounds strange, but I feel like I had so deeply entrenched myself that I could feel some of the fears he must have felt.”

‘Selma’ Earns Its First Big Magazine Cover

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay, actors David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey are on the cover of the latest issue of Variety. It’s the film’s first big magazine cover, but with the project earning tons of critical praise, it won’t be the last. The film will be released in theaters nationwide starting tomorrow.

Don Lemon to Muslim Human Rights Attorney: ‘Do You Support ISIS?’

Don Lemon to Muslim Human Rights Attorney: 'Do You Support ISIS?'

It’s a new year, but Don Lemon is up to his old, ignorant ways. The CNN anchor asked human rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar, who’s Muslim, if he supported ISIS, apparently because Lemon thinks all Muslims support religious extremism. 

Iftikhar was on to discuss this week’s deadly shooting rampage at the Paris-based office of the satirical (and deeply problematic) paper Charlie Hebdo. He had just finished making a point about the difference between supporting a religious ideology versus sanctioning the mass executions of innocent people. 

Lemon doubled down on his line of questioning. “I just want to get more specific,” he said. “Do you support ISIS?”

“Wait, did you just ask me if I supported ISIS?” Iftikhar replied. “I just answered your question. I said that obviously these 16 percent of people support the ideology, but I don’t think that would necessarily extrapolate to supporting of killing of innocent people. You can have sympathy for an ideology and not support the mass murdering of people.”

Watch a clip of the interaction below:

Viola Davis’ Awards Speech Responds to NYT ‘Classic Beauty’ Diss

Viola Davis' Awards Speech Responds to NYT 'Classic Beauty' Diss

After Viola Davis, star of ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” accepted the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actress in a New TV Series last night, she made a speech that took aim at Alessandra Stanley’s screed in the New York Times against so-called “angry black women.” Stanley infamously described Davis as “less classically beautiful than Kerry Washington,” to which the actress responded last night: “Thank you Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Peter Nowalk for thinking of a leading lady who looks like my classic beauty.”

Watch the speech below (skip ahead to 1:20)

‘The Search for General Tso’ and the Chinese-American Immigrant Experience

'The Search for General Tso' and the Chinese-American Immigrant Experience

“The Search for General Tso” is a new documentary produced by Jennifer 8 Lee and Amanda Murray and directed by Ian Cheney that’s opening nationwide and on demand this month. In a recent interview with NBC Asian America, the producers talk about what they think the film says about the Chinese-American and immigrant experiences in the United States. About the film:

In America, the filmmakers visit both big city Chinese restaurants and tiny, rural eateries all serving the iconic dish. They feature Americans who love the dish and Chinese people who are baffled by it. They go to General Tso’s hometown in Hunan Province and find a celebrated war hero, revered for his role in the Qing Dynasty Taiping Rebellion, but no chicken. They talk to a retired chef in Taiwan who did create a Hunan-style chicken dish once, but is embarrassed by the “crazy nonsense” the dish has become. Along the way, they craft a delightful story about immigrant ingenuity, cultural confusion, and Asian-American adaptation.

“The film uses the ubiquitous spicy sweet chicken dish as a window into the Chinese-American immigrant experience,” said Lee. “In a way, it reflects my own experience growing up Chinese American. Looks exotic on the outside, but in reality, completely native to here.”

Read more and watch the trailer below.

Lauryn Hill Gave Kendrick Lamar Some Great Advice

Lauryn Hill Gave Kendrick Lamar Some Great Advice

Kendrick Lamar is on the cover of this month’s XXL magazine and an accompanying essay from the rapper that describes his struggles with success and fame. The piece is filled with interesting tidbits, including his feelings about being snubbed at the Grammys. But he also opens up about some sage advice he got from Lauryn Hill:

I had a talk with Lauryn Hill and she said, “Try to completely throw away your ego.” How many times can you throw away an ego, you know? It’s tough. It’s something we all battle with. I battle with it all the time and the idea of being in all these places—the big spots, all the events, the lights—it’s all for your ego. It’s all for your own confirmation to be like, okay, I’m somebody. But truthfully, you’ve always been somebody. You don’t need the lights.

Read the rest over at XXL.

Lamar’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” is due out sometime early this year.

Here’s What Zora Neale Hurston Wrote in 1928 About Being ‘Colored’

Here's What Zora Neale Hurston Wrote in 1928 About Being 'Colored'

Today is what would have been Zora Neale Hurston’s 124th birthday. That would be a ridiculously long time for anyone to live, but luckily we’ve still got her words. The famed Harlem Renaissance writer was born in Florida in 1891 and died in relative obscurity in 1960 after a career that’s most notable for her 1937 novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Nearly 10 years before that publication, in 1928, Hurston published an essay in “The World Tomorrow” called “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.” It’s equal parts hilarious and profound, and it seems a fitting way to remember what she added to America’s dialogue on race. Here it is, republished by the Fellowship for Reconciliation (FOR):

I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother’s side was not an Indian chief.

I remember the very day that I became colored. Up to my thirteenth year I lived in the little Negro town of Eatonville, Florida. It is exclusively a colored town. The only white people I knew passed through the town going to or coming from Orlando. The native whites rode dusty horses, the Northern tourists chugged down the sandy village road in automobiles. The town knew the Southerners and never stopped cane chewing when they passed. But the Northerners were something else again. They were peered at cautiously from behind curtains by the timid. The more venturesome would come out on the porch to watch them go past and got just as much pleasure out of the tourists as the tourists got out of the village.

The front porch might seem a daring place for the rest of the town, but it was a gallery seat to me. My favorite place was atop the gate-post.  Proscenium box for a born first-nighter. Not only did I enjoy the show, but I didn’t mind the actors knowing that I liked it. I usually spoke to them in passing. I’d wave at them and when they returned my salute, I would say something like this: “Howdy-do-well-I-thank-you-where-you-goin’?” Usually the automobile or the horse paused at this, and after a queer exchange of compliments, I would probably “go a piece of the way” with them, as we say in farthest Florida. If one of my family happened to come to the front in time to see me, of course negotiations would be rudely broken off. But even so, it is clear that I was the first “welcome-to-our-state” Floridian, and I hope the Miami Chamber of Commerce will please take notice.

(Read the rest after the jump)

Phylicia Rashad Defends Bill Cosby: ‘Forget These Women’

Phylicia Rashad Defends Bill Cosby: 'Forget These Women'

After decades of rape allegations against Bill Cosby picked up steam in the past several months, his longtime co-star on “The Cosby Show,” Phylicia Rashad, has come to his defense. The 66-year-old Tony Award-winning actress told Showbiz 411 that she didn’t “want to become part of the public debate,” but then went on to talk about what she believes is a vast conspiracy targeted at his legacy.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

“Forget these women,” Rashad said of the many women who have made claims in the media. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”

…”Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV,” Rashad continued, referring to people other than the accusers. “And it’s worked. All his contracts have been canceled.” She lamented that the legacy of the Cosby Show, a family-friendly comedy once beloved by millions of viewers, is now “being destroyed.”

When asked why Cosby has chosen to largely remain silent in light of the claims, relying instead on his legal team to deny them, his longtime TV wife said: “If he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it?”

To date, more than two dozen women have accussed Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them over the course of several decades. Here’s a timeline of the abuse allegations from Vulture. Cosby has declined to comment on the record.

Essence Magazine Devotes Entire Issue to ‘Black Lives Matter’

Essence, one of the nation’s leading black women’s magazines, has just unveiled an entire issue dedicated to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The issue focuses heavily on black women of the movement with pieces by Angela Davis, Susan L. Taylor, Melissa Harris-Perry, Isabel* Wilkerson, Michelle Alexander, Chirlane McCray and more. 

It’s an especially important move by the magazine given that the #blacklivesmatter hashtag and movement was founded by three black women: organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. 

Vanessa K. De Luca, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, wrote that the issue marks the first time in the magazine’s 45-year history that it hasn’t featured a cover image. 

Pictures are powerful, but so are words. That’s why we’ve invited some of our greatest thought leaders—you included—to help us answer the question on our minds at the moment: Where do we go from here? Beginning this month, inspired by you, we are launching Civil Rights Watch, a new series across our platforms in which we will be chronicling—and calling out—significant gains, losses and solutions in this evolving movement as we all try to find a constructive path forward.

The protests, die-ins, marches and social media campaigns that have been born out of our collective grief have given you an opportunity to express your outrage, show your support for the victims and their families whose lives have been forever changed, and forge alliances with like-minded individuals who also believe that it is time for a change. It gives me hope that so many young people are leading the way, people like Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, the brave and beautiful women behind the BlackLivesMatter movement. When we asked Patrisse for their permission to use their poignant battle cry as the centerpiece for our story, she graciously agreed.

Read more here and check out the issue, which is on newsstands now. 

* Post has been updated since publication to correct, Isabelle.

Laverne Cox to Return as Co-Host of ABC’s ‘The View’

Laverne Cox to Return as Co-Host of ABC's 'The View'

Laverne Cox is starting off the New Year with plenty of momentum. The actress will return as a guest co-host of ABC’s “The View” this Thursday after a successful first appearance last November. She made the announcement this morning on Instagram:

I am returning to co-host @abctheview on Thursday. It’s going to be #Amazing. You have to tune in.

A photo posted by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

Ava DuVernay on ‘Selma’ Criticism: ‘I Wasn’t Interested in Making a White Savior Movie’

Ava DuVernay on 'Selma' Criticism: 'I Wasn't Interested in Making a White Savior Movie'

Ava DuVernay’s latest film “Selma” has earned plenty of praise for its portrayal of a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement, but it’s also earned its share of criticism. That criticism has mostly centered on the film’s depiction of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who former cabinet member Joseph A. Califano, Jr. wrote in the Washington Post was falsely protrayed in the film “as being at odds with Martin Luther King Jr. and even using the FBI to discredit him, as only reluctantly behind the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and as opposed to the Selma march itself.”

In fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea,” Califano, Jr. continued. “He considered the Voting Rights Act his greatest legislative achievement, [and] he viewed King as an essential partner in getting it enacted.

DuVernay responded to the criticism this week in an interview with Rolling Stone:

Every filmmaker imbues a movie with their own point of view. The script was the LBJ/King thing, but originally, it was much more slanted to Johnson. I wasn’t interested in making a white-savior movie; I was interested in making a movie centered on the people of Selma. You have to bring in some context for what it was like to live in the racial terrorism that was going on in the deep south at that time. The four little girls have to be there, and then you have to bring in the women. So I started adding women.

This is a dramatization of the events. But what’s important for me as a student of this time in history is to not deify what the president did. Johnson has been hailed as a hero of that time, and he was, but we’re talking about a reluctant hero. He was cajoled and pushed, he was protective of a legacy — he was not doing things out of the goodness of his heart. Does it make it any worse or any better? I don’t think so. History is history and he did do it eventually. But there was some process to it that was important to show.

Read more at Rolling Stone. 

Spike Lee Testifies About D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’

As part of the Afropunk-led rollout of D’Angelo’s surprise album “Black Messiah,”* folks are testifying on Instagram about what the project means to them. Using the hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH, notables like longtime D’Angelo collaborator Questlove and writer Michaela Angela Davis have added their voices to the chorus praising the album’s execution and message.

Here’s Spike Lee, who said the 14 year wait was well-worth it for fans:

TESTIFY! @sheltonjlee Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on

Music critic Nelson George, who did a live onstage interview with the singer earlier this year in Brooklyn, said:

TESTIFY! @315nelsongeorge Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on

And Questlove, who worked with the singer through some of his toughest private moments and produced parts of the new album:

TESTIFY! @questlove Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on

Watch Lauryn Hill Perform ‘Ready or Not’ Live in Ghana

Lauryn Hill performed for the first time in Accra, Ghana, recently. Okayafrica stumbled across this six-minute clip from that show, which was shot by the Sierra Leone-based magazine Swit Salone. The show looks pretty incredible. Watch below.

(h/t Okayafrica)

The Queer Women of Color Video Streaming Service That’s Cheaper Than Netflix

The Queer Women of Color Video Streaming Service That's Cheaper Than Netflix

Tired of searching and searching for more queer women of color representation on Neflix? Well, stop looking there. There’s a new indie effort called Sistah Sinema underway that will offer a wide selection of films by and about queer women of color.

From Elixher:

Sistah Sinema decided to team up with IndieFlix after exploring other platforms. IndieFlix - like Sistah Sinema - focused on indie filmmakers and creating a conversation about cinema. According to Scilla Andreen - IndieFlix’s CEO and one of the few women CEOs in tech - niche marketing and community-brand marketing is key to IndieFlix’s future growth. Partnering with Sistah Sinema is part of a larger effort to showcase cinema that highlights global diversity.

The films include selections like Cheryl Dunye’s important 1997 film “The Watermelon Woman” and Kourtney Ryan Ziegler’s look at black transmen, “Still Black.” Take a look at the films and learn more here. Memberships are only $5 a month.

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