Straight Outta Compton’s Oscars snub was one of the factors bringing attention to the Academy Awards’ lack of diversity and stirred up a lot of controversy; but after word spread that the film’s cast members were not invited to this year’s ceremony, it added even more fuel to the #OscarsSoWhite fire. After receiving backlash, an Academy spokesman released a statement, saying, “The Academy invites the nominees only, and each studio gets a limited ticket allotment, based on the number of nominated films, to use at their discretion. It has been this way for decades.” This year marks the second in a row that African-Americans were excluded from nominations in top categories. “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs in a statement. “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.” Straight Outta Compton‘s White writers nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. Read more.
Film about President Obama and FLOTUS’ First Date Premieres at Sundance
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama‘s marriage is often referred to as #RelationshipGoals. Now, a new film, titled Southside with You, will delve into their romance. The movie, which stars actress Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama, premiered on Sunday. It is set in 1989, when a young Barack was a Harvard Law summer associate at a law firm where Michelle, who was a lawyer at the time, served as his advisor. The film chronicles their first date. “I was worried that the CIA would come shut us down!” said Sumpter. “It is [about] the leader of the free world, after all.” Sumpter played an integral role behind the scenes as one of the producers. President Obama and the First Lady haven’t seen the film yet. “I’d honestly be honored for him to see anything I’ve done, let alone me playing him,” Sawyers said. Read more.
Nicki Minaj’s Mom Spreads Awareness About Domestic Violence During New York City Visit
Nicki Minaj’s mom, Carol Maraj, is using her personal experience and platform to spread awareness about domestic violence. Maraj, who emigrated from Trinidad to Queens, New York, returned to the borough recently to call on local residents to take a stand against domestic violence. Jamaica, Queens has the highest rate of domestic violence cases in the borough. “I always tell people when I go to the shelters that if I’m standing before you that tells you that there is hope. I’m like a living testimony, so never give up, always keep pushing, keep fighting, that’s what I do,” she said. “Your children are your hope, keep going … and once you keep going for your children, your children in turn will grow up to be strong. Nicki didn’t see me give up, that’s why she is so strong right now.” Four years ago, Maraj founded the Carol Maraj Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Against Women. Through her organization, she goes to shelters and schools to speak about her personal experience and give hope to those in abusive relationships. Read more.
Report: Black Drivers in Florida Twice As Likely to Be Ticketed for Seatbelt Violations
According to a new report released by the American Civil Liberties Union, police officers in Florida are issuing tickets to Blacks for seatbelt violations at twice the rate of White people. The data shows that in 2014, African-American drivers were three times more likely to be ticketed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. During the same year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office distributed tickets to Black drivers at 2.8 times the rate of Whites. “In 2013 and 2014, media disclosed shocking reports that the Miami Gardens Police Department conducted thousands of illegal stops, frisks, searches, and arrests between 2008 and 2013 under a racially motivated quota system that directed officers to target Black men between the ages of fifteen and thirty,” the report says. “Those reports led to a civil rights lawsuit in federal court and disclosed that Miami Gardens police officers had even subjected Black children to police civilian encounters.” Read more.
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