GABRIELLE UNION RESPONDS TO NATE PARKER CONTROVERSY
Birth of A Nation star Gabrielle Union has released an Op-Ed to the LA Times sharing her perspective on the Nate Parker sexual assault allegations. Union stars as a woman who has been raped, and had an initial interest in the role because she too is a survivor.
“I took this part in this film to talk about sexual violence. To talk about this stain that lives on in our psyches. I know these conversations are uncomfortable and difficult and painful. But they are necessary,” she says in the article. Addressing misogyny, toxic masculinity, and rape culture is necessary. Addressing what should and should not be deemed consent is necessary.”
Union states that she has read Nate Parker's trial transcript “over 700 times”, and while she will never know what exactly happened that night, she cannot take the accusations against him lightly, and is a prime example of an overarching issue-- consent, respect, and sexual violence does not receive the visibility and attention it deserves, and that the lack of education for adolescents is alarming.
“As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said “no,” silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a “no” as a “yes” is problematic at least, criminal at worst. That’s why education on this issue is so vital.”
Union is clear that the core and significance of the film for her has not strayed: she wants to open up the conversation around sexual violence. We hope that as the Birth of A Nation press continues, there will be lots more opportunities for Union and her co stars to speak about the issues at hand, and how others can get involved.
CHRISSY TEIGEN WANTS TO CLARIFY WHAT A POLITICAL “OUTSIDER” IS
Let’s be honest-- no one rolls out more quality content than Chrissy Teigen. While her Snapchat is dedicated to photos of her baby, bulldogs, and beautiful home cooked meals (5 stars/highly recommend), her Twitter is often used to give doses of honesty and sass by the spoonful. This week, Teigan had a large, cereal-sized spoon at the ready for the son of presidential nominee Donald Trump, mainly over the deeply questionable use of the word “outsiders.”
Donald Trump Jr. (oy) posted a photo of himself with his siblings with the Tweet "This election is not about Republican vs Democrat it's about insider vs outsider. It's time for a change in DC!" Oh Donald, what a regular joe!
Teigan called BS on the Tweet and responded “@DonaldJTrumpJr yes I want a super outsider like someone who knows nothing about politics at all. My neighbor, Carl. He's super outside.”
She continued, with “I want a president who is a super outsider. Someone who sings to sand and bats at branches and slaps at pavement. So outside and different.”
Read the rest of Teigen's Tweet-monologue below. The initial question still remains--will Carl be added to the ballet now that he’s been nominated by Teigan??? We’ll keep you updated on this story as it develops.
KATE MARA IS NOT AFRAID OF AGING IN HOLLYWOOD
Ahhhhh Hollywood-- also known as the land where 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal is “too old” for a 55-year-old love interest, and you can go from playing Tom Hanks' love interest to Tom Hanks' MOTHER just 6 years later (a fact imbedded in the brilliant Inside Amy Schumer sketch “Last F*ckable Day”). But you already knew that women are generally not allowed to age in tinsel town, right? Despite the traditionally ageist industry, actress Kate Mara doesn’t fear aging. In fact, she’s looking forward to it.
"I wasn't brought up to be concerned with that. Like my mom never made a big deal about getting older. She still doesn't, and my grandma never did,” she said. “So even though I'm in this industry where that is a huge part of the discussion, and aging is seen as a negative, aging, to me, so far, hasn't been a scary thing. I do find it interesting that people never lie about their age in the opposite way. They never say they're older than they are. It's always the opposite.”
Mara continued to unpack the process of age as a fear, and she tries to keep the fearful energy out of her life so she can focus on her wellness and career, especially in an industry that has been dismissive towards women aging.
"I get excited about getting older because the women that I look up to typically are much older than me and doing much more interesting things than I'm doing. And yeah, I know younger women that are amazing as well.” she said. “I also just try not to focus on it, because it's just fear. And I don't know when fear really helps anybody succeed. So I'm trying to keep a check on that because I know that it is a big deal in our industry."
We like Mara’s plan-- let’s not fear what we can’t control! And more movies of women in all stages of life would be ideal. Get to it, Hollywood, we’ve been waiting for too long.
LAVERNE COX CELEBRATES HER ICONS, AND WE SHALL CELEBRATE HER
Laverne Cox may be our icon, but what strong, talented women have influenced her? Out questions were answered by Cosmopolitan this week, which had Cox paying tribute to 3 of her most beloved icon. Which 3 women took the coveted slots? None other than Tina Turner, Beyonce, and Tracey Africa.
"The pain, pleasure, and agony of all she's been through is in her voice. Her story is the story of so many black women who've endured abuse and come out the other side in such a brilliant, beautiful way”, Cox said of musician Tina Turner. Not only does Cox look like the mirror image of turner, she really channels the signature dance moves.
For Beyonce, Cox paid homage to her Single Ladies aesthetic. "Beyoncé represents excellence. Her work ethic is like nobody else I've ever seen. There were so many moments when I was shooting Rocky Horror, and I'd be exhausted,” she said. “ My body would be hurting, and I'd be like, 'Beyoncé. Beyoncé does this.' You have to just put in the work." Best workout tip ever.
For her final idol, Tracey Africa, Cox posed for a close-up portrait. "She was a black trans woman who modeled in the '70s, and had cosmetics deals and a hair contract with Clairol — it was a big deal. People think, 'Oh, this trans revolution is just starting,' but we've been around for a very long time. It's important to know that there's been a path blazed for me." Another beautiful example of why representation matters.
Who are your icons? Let us know below!
LENA DUNHAM APOLOGIZES TO ODELL BECKHAM JR.
Lena Dunham interviewed comedian Amy Schumer for Lenny Letter this week, but it was her personal comments regarding her Met Gala experience that had everyone scratching their heads. Dunham sat next to New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, and wasn't pleased by their lack of interaction.
Dunham wrote: "You [Schumer] and I were literally sitting across from each other at the Met Ball, and it was so surreal to get to do that.
I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, "That's a marshmallow. That's a child. That's a dog." It wasn't mean — he just seemed confused.
The vibe was very much like, "Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it's wearing a tuxedo. I'm going to go back to my cell phone." It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, "This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.""
Readers went to Facebook and Twitter to point out how Dunham had created this scenario in her head, as she never actually spoke to Beckham Jr, and was perhaps projecting her insecurities onto him. On September 3rd, Dunham took to Twitter and claimed the comments made came from a place of humor and insecurity, but did not apologize for the statements. However, later in the day she issued a more formal apology to Beckham Jr. on her Instagram and Twitter, and ended by addressing the problematic and damaging history of a white woman making false accusations about a black man.
"But most importantly, I would never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men. I'm so sorry, particularly to OBJ, who has every right to be on his cell phone. The fact is I don't know about his state of mind (I don't know a lot of things) and I shouldn't have acted like I did."
Beckham Jr. has yet to respond to any part of this story, including Dunham's initial comments. What do you think of Dunham's explanation of insecurity? Let us know below!