Golden Globe

Golden Globes Organizers Under Fire For Lack Of Diversity And ‘Ethical Lapses’ 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is the group that organizes and votes on all Golden Globe awards every year. After an investigation performed by the Los Angeles Times, the HFPA has been accused of “ethical lapses and of failing to maintain a sufficiently diverse membership.”

The LA Times claims that the nonprofit body of individuals paid certain members large sums of money for serving on committees and watching films meanwhile these members for the most part have only had careers in journalism, not television. The investigation showed these individuals were paid up to $2 million for their services. 

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The HFPA recently responded to the LA Times accusations, claiming that their “compensation decisions are based on an evaluation of compensation practices by similar nonprofit organizations and market rates for such services.” 

The suggestion that many of our members are not serious journalists is outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and our members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world,” said a representative for the HFPA.

The HFPA has been under fire in the past for similar reasons as well. Their award making process has often been criticised as erratic with constant insider claims that voters on the awards are rewarded with “hospitality in the form of gifts and in-person events with industry stars.” 

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This year’s Golden Globe awards have been riddled with controversy after Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed series ‘I May Destroy You’ received no nominations but the famously terrible Netflix original ‘Emily In Paris’ did. Additionally, Sia’s controversial feature film ‘Music’ was nominated despite the fact that it’s received a slew of criticism regarding its misrepresentation and “caricature-like” adaptation of individuals with autism. 

According to the LA Times, “while the 87-strong HFPA’s ranks include a number of people of color, there are no black members. A representative of the group said the HFPA is aware of the issue and is ‘committed to addressing’ it. The representative also said that the perception that many members are not serious journalists is ‘outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and that its members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world.’”

The lack of Black members in the HFPA may be an issue that’s “being addressed” internally, however, for many it’s a “too little too late” situation. The fact that it’s 2021 and some of the nation’s largest corporations, agencies, organizations, etc. still don’t have a substantial amount of Black members, and people of color in general, is seen as unacceptable for most, especially considering a majority of these large bodies are only now hiring people of color and Black people after receiving backlash from the general public and Black Lives Matter movement, not because they’re actually committed to promoting diversity.

Remembering Salsa Icon Johnny Pacheco, Who Passed Away At 85 This Week

Johnny Pacheco was the co-founder of Fania Records, a trailblazing salsa music label that was one of the first of its kind. Unfortunately, this week Pacheco passed away at the age of 85 due to complications caused by pneumonia. Representatives from Fania announced his passing this week with a heartfelt tribute posted online: 

“Pacheco was the man most responsible for the genre of salsa music. He was a visionary and his music will live on eternally.” 

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Pacheco himself was a flutist who once found himself frustrated by the low income he was making from his talents/recording. So in 1964, him and Jerry Masucci founded Fania as a means of promoting the music of Latin Americans in New York. The label became quickly known as the Motown of salsa, with icons like Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe and Bobby Valentín recording there. 

In 1968 Pacheco founded Fania All-Stars, a supergroup of some of the finest salsa musicians who would record multiple tracks and even go on to perform live. The group starred in the 1972 documentary “Out Latin Thing” and went on to perform in front of 45,000 people at Yankee Stadium one year later; in 2003 a live recording of that concert was entered into the National Recording Registry. 

Pacheco’s full name is Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping, he was born on March 25th 1935 in the Dominical Republic. When he was 11-years-old his family moved to New York City where he would go on to study percussion at Juilluard. In the 1950’s he spent his time forming and joining bands and discovering his sound; he played percussion in Tito Puente’s orchestras and played with pianist Charlie Palmieri for two years as well. 

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Initially Pacheco was signed to Alegre Records with his group Pacheco y Su Charanga, where he would go on to sell more than 100,000 copies of their debut album. That album spawned a nationwide dance craze that led to Pacheco’s real rise in fame internationally. During his career he recorded and composed more than 150 songs. 

Eventually Al Santiago, the owner of Alegre Records, revealed that he was suffering from a slew of financial problems that would make it difficult for him to keep the label going, so Pacheco would go on to start his own lavel with Masucci; who at the time was working as a lawyer. 

The two started by selling records out of the back of their cars and marketed themselves as salsa mucisianss. Pacheco worked extra hard to get the salsa sound more mainstreamed, and always had a goal of evolution when it came to music. 

Pacheco formed a long-lasting relationship with performer Celia Cruz, in fact, their 1974 album, Celia & Johnny went on to earn gold and Cruz with the title of “Queen of Salsa.” 

Fania eventually collapsed due to a lack of financial stability and Masucci’s unfortunate death in 1997, but Pacheco went on to work on film music. In 2005 he received a lifetime achievement award at the Latin Grammys, solidifying his legacy as one of the biggest pioneers for Latin American performers.

Music Recording

Taylor Swift Says She’s Going To Start Releasing New Versions Of Her First Six Albums

The re-recordings have been in the works for some time now after Swift has been battling over the ownership of her master recordings.

HBO Announces Four-Part Docuseries On Woody Allen Allegations 

The story of Woody Allen and the multitude of allegations made against him throughout the past few decades has been one of the largest scandals in the entertainment industry. Now, one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood will have his life, and all of the allegations made throughout his career, explored in a four-part HBO docuseries called ‘Allen v Farrow.’

The series will use home movies, police evidence, court documents, and never-before-heard audio tapes that will expose and explore the 1992 allegation of sexual abuse against his seven-year-old daughter Dylan Farrow who he had with his then wife, Mia Farrow. The series will also discuss Allen’s marriage to Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, the years of controversy after and how Allen was able to remain so relevant after all of it. 

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The four-part series was directed by Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering, and Amy Herdy; the filmmakers behind the documentary film ‘The Hunting Ground,” which explored on campus sexual assault cover ups throughout America, as well as ‘On The Record,’ which discussed the longstanding allegations of sexual assault against hip-hop mogul Russel Simmons. 

‘Allen v Farrow’ will also feature exclusive interviews with Dylan and Mia Farrow, as well as Ronan Farrow; Mia’s son. Other interviews in the series include the New Yorker journalist, family friend Carly Simon, prosecutor Frank Maco, relatives, investigators, experts, and eyewitnesses. The series will also act to explore Allen’s film’s, and how public allegations of sex crimes effect a notable mans image in Hollywood. 

Back in 2017 Dylan Farrow famously wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times which begged the question “Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen?” After the article was published several prominent Hollywood figures publicly vowed to never work with Allen, including Greta Gerwig, Colin Firth, and Mira Sorvino. 

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Back in 2019, Allen sued Amazon after the company terminated a film deal worth $68 million following controversial statements made about Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement in general. Allen claimed that the movement was “very sad for everyone involved, and you don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.” 

Allen has continued to direct films and deny any and all allegations made against him. Back in May 2020 he discussed his memoir and lack of acknowledgement over all of his past allegations: “It doesn’t pay to sue. Do I really want to be a tabloid fodder for two years and go to court? And do I really care?” 

‘Allen v Farrow’ is set to premiere on HBO Max on February 21st. 

Actor Chair on Set

Remembering Pioneer Hollywood Icon Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson is best known for being one of the biggest pioneers for Black actors in America thanks to her powerful performances throughout the past few decades. She gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecroppers wife in “Sounder” and went on to win a Tony Award in 2013 at the age of 88. Unfortunately, it was announced by Tyson’s family this morning that the Hollywood legend passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. 

“With a heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time please allow the family their privacy,” according to a statement issued through her manager Larry Thompson. 

Tyson began her on-screen career back in the early 70s when Black women were first starting to receive starring roles in feature films or TV shows. Tyson was always very adamant about how she would never take a role simply for the money.

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“I’m very selective as I’ve been my whole career about what I do. Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person who works only for money.It has to have some real substance for me to do it.” 

“She took pride in knowing that whenever her face was on camera, she would be playing a character who was a human being — flawed but resilient; perfect not despite but because of their imperfections,” wrote former President Barack Obama in a tribute post to Tyson; Obama also awarded Tyson the Medal of Freedom back in 2016.

Tyson won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” The younger generation was introduced to Tyson’s legendary acting skills in the 2011 hit movie “The Help.” In 2018 she was given an honorary Oscar statuette at the annual Governors Awards.

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One of the most famous roles that Tyson is known for is her performance as the Depression-era loving wife of a sharecropper in the movie “Sounder,” based on the William Hunter novel. Her performance in the film evoked amazing reviews. The New York Times wrote that Tyson “passes all of her easy beauty by to give us, at long last, some sense of the profound beauty of millions of Black women.” 

In 2013 when she was 88, Tyson won the Tony for best leading actress in a play for the revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful.” That performance was Tysons first time back on Broadway in thirty years. In her acceptance speech she famously refused to finish up her acceptance speech when the teleprompter told her to.”

“‘Please wrap it up,; it says. Well, that’s exactly what you did with me: You wrapped me up in your arms after 30 years.”

Tyson’s legendary impact in Hollywood helped pave the way for countless other Black actors to speak up for themselves and only take roles that they felt emotionally fulfilling, not just to make some money and be seen as a background character.

National Anthem on American Flag

Lady Gaga Delivers Inspiring National Anthem Performance At Inauguration 

Lady Gaga wowed America with her beautifully inspiring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” back at Super Bowl 50, so fans were eager to see her performance of the national anthem at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration ceremony that took place this Wednesday morning. 

Gaga’s rendition of the national anthem is already being regarded as one of the most “exuberant renditions of the national anthem in pop music history,” drawing comparisons to Whitney Houston’s iconic performance of the anthem at Super Bowl XXV. 

After her triumphant finish she remained at the podium for a moment, positively beaming as she let the significance of that moment sink in. She took to social media later to explain that she was truly feeling how special of a moment that was, to be performing the national anthem and marking the transition into a new era of unity in politics in America. 

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“Singing our National Anthem for the American People is my honor. I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46. For me, this has great meaning,” she tweeted prior to her performance. 

Gaga was rocking a billowing scarlet red ball gown skirt and navy blue turtleneck that was embellished with a huge brooch shaped like a golden dove carrying an olive branch. Fashion blogs immediately took to social media to praise how radiant and distinguished Gaga looked as she sang the anthem for the next administration entering the White House. 

“My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land.”

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Gaga and Biden have been working together for quite some time now campaigning within the past year. The same year Gaga sang at the Super Bowl, Biden introduced her for her powerful performance of “Til It Happens To You,” her nominated theme from the campus sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground.  

One year later at the Academy Awards, Biden and Gaga teamed up yet again for a PSA for It’s On Us, a sexual assault awareness campaing that was founded by Biden and former president Barack Obama. 

Most recently Gaga sang a selection of her greatest hits at Biden’s final presidential campaign rally in Pittsburgh on November 2nd. She changed the lyrics of her hit song “You and I” to “There’s something about Joe, you and I,” later on expressing at the event that Pennsylvania residents need to make their voices heard. 

“This is a big one, Pennsylvania. So if you’re here, you probably already believe in Joe Biden. I know I believe in Joe Biden. You probably already believe he’s the right choice over Donald Trump. You don’t need me to tell you why. Because, like me, you’ve experienced the last four years and have all the evidence you need to look at this choice and know in your heart, without any doubt, that Joe Biden is the right choice.”

The two finalized their year of collaboration with the beautifully cathartic rendition of the anthem from Lady Gaga, officially welcoming Joe Biden as 46th President of the United States.

TV Host

Late-Night Hosts Discuss House Impeachment Proceedings And Trump’s Final Week In Office

This week late-night commentators and television hosts have spent their evenings discussing Donald Trump’s final week in office.

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Netflix Reveals 2021 Film Slate, Will Deliver At Least One New Movie A Week 

Many movie lovers were skeptical when Netflix announced last October that they would be delivering new movies every week in 2021. This week, Netflix made good on its promise with the announcement of their 2021 film slate, which guarantees at least one new feature film every week. The platform went on to state that in total it would be delivering 71 new titles across a multitude of genres this year.

Netflix currently is one of the most popular streaming services with over 193 million subscribers, and that number is likely to grow this year with the announcement of all of these original films. Most of the films that will be released are completely original productions. 

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Within the epic trailer reel that Netflix uploaded to their social media this week, notable actors like Dwayne Johnson, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa, Halle Berry, Chris Hemsworth, Amy Adams, and so many others were featured as stars for the new titles. All projects will be rolled out throughout the next 12 months. 

Of all the titles announced the ones being discussed the most heavily online currently include “Red Notice,” starring Gal Gadot, Johnson, and Reynolds; the Western “The Harder They Fall” with Regina King, Idris Elba and “Lovecraft County” breakout Jonathan Majors; Adams’ “The Woman in The Window”; Zach Snyder’s “Army of the Dead”; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!”; and the impossibly starry “Don’t Look Up” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ariana Grande, Timothee Chalamet, Kid Cudi and Meryl Streep.

The trailer also revealed that Netflix will be releasing the highly anticipated third installments of the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “The Kissing Booth” movie series. The release of these films is being seen as an extremely smart move from the streaming giant. 

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Netflix is currently the global leader in streaming, which makes sense considering it was one of the original streaming services to hit the market. Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros. are currently struggling to cope with fallouts over movie deals and theater closures. Many of these studios are turning to streaming services as a means of making up for the revenue lost due to the pandemic; Warner Bros. collaborated with HBO Max in terms of releasing their 2021 movie slate. 

With the Covid-19 vaccine taking much longer than originally anticipated to be distributed throughout America, and the pandemic being the worst it’s ever been for the nation, Netflix is in an incredible position to cater to the millions of Americans who have been and will continue to stay home in order to do their part in curbing the spread of the virus. 

The slate also includes a few possible franchise starters for new Netflix original movie series, including “Wish Dragon” a film from Sony Pictures Animation that comes from the same studio that created “Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse.” 

To watch the Netflix 2021 original movie slate trailer and to see all the titles that will be coming to the platform this year, click here.

Female Singing

Sia Claims ‘Nepotism’ Is Why She Cast Maddie Ziegler Over Autistic Actor In New Film

Sia has recently received a lot of backlash from the public after announcing her new movie “Music,” which stars Maddie Ziegler, Sia’s longtime muse, as a teenager on the autism spectrum who can’t speak and uses music to communicate and understand the world. 

The decision to cast Ziegler, an individual who’s not on the autism spectrum at all, over an actor who actually is on the spectrum has caused Sia to receive a multitude of complaints and online backlash from individuals who claim the choice was ableist. Initially Sia defended the decision by claiming the character Ziegler is portraying is non-verbal, and typically individuals on the spectrum who are non-verbal would need to be specially accommodated on something as intimidating as a Hollywood set. 

However, these comments seemed to have caused an even bigger uproar online, especially for individuals who actually have autism. Alaina Leary is a journalist who’s on the spectrum herself and recently wrote an op-ed piece on this controversy

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“The implication is that a non-speaking autistic actor who might require accommodations on set is, in essence, incapable—thus reinforcing ableist ideas that already lock out such performers.”

The biggest issue people took with Sia’s casting decision is that she was further shutting the door on a pool of actors who are already denied opportunities simply because they’re autistic. This also speaks on a much larger issue in Hollywood of hiring already established actors to play roles that they don’t relate to at all in real life in order to seem more “palatable” to a general audience. 

We see it most often with the hiring of heterosexual actors to portray LGBT+ roles, however, the hiring of able-bodied or neurotypical actors to portray individuals with physical or mental disabilities has been a longstanding issue in Hollywood that clearly continues to shine bright; one of the biggest examples being Tom Hanks in the movie “Forrest Gump.” 

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During an interview with “The Sunday Project,” and Australian TV show, Sia defended the decision to cast Ziegler in the film by claiming nepotism as her reasoning. 

“I realized it wasn’t ableism. I mean, it is ableism I guess as well, but it’s actually nepotism because I can’t do a project without Ziegler. I don’t want to. I wouldn’t make art if it didn’t include her.”

Ziegler, 18, first became famous after appearing on reality TV show “Dance Moms” where Sia initially discovered her, and the two have been working on projects together ever since. Sia even claimed that Ziegler herself expressed multiple concerns on set over her role, telling Sia she was worried people would think she was “making fun” of people with autism, to which Sia replied that she “wouldn’t let that happen.” 

“Music” follows a young girl with autism who is raised by her drug-dealing older sister, played by Kate Hudson. Quickly after the trailer was released it became the center of a massive debate regarding the trend of hiring non-disabled actors in leading roles where a central aspect of the main characters journey is their disability. 

Sia did claim initially that she had tried to work with a young girl who was on the autism spectrum for the role, however, the girl found the experience to be “unpleasant and stressful” which led to Ziegler’s casting in the role.

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Team Up With World Central Kitchen

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have partnered with Chef Jose Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen to fund four new relief service centers that would work to deliver food and resources to individuals living in disaster zones around the world.

The couple is making the donation through their Archewell Foundation, and the first center is set to be opened in Dominicana, where Hurricanes Irma and Maria greatly impacted the area back in 2017; the area is still recovering. The second center is set to be opened in Puerto Rico for the same reasoning, and the two additional centers have yet to be announced, but are currently in the works behind the scenes.

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Markle and Prince Harry sent a statement to the TODAY show this week regarding the collaboration between themselves and Chef Jose Andrés: “When we think about Chef Andrés and his incredible team at World Central Kitchen, we’re reminded that even during a year of unimaginable hardship, there are so many amazing people willing — and working tirelessly — to support each other. World Central Kitchen inspires us through compassion in action.”

“The health of our communities depends on our ability to connect to our shared humanity.”

Megan and Harry both plan to work with the organization to “engage additional partners” internationally who can help build more relief centers around the world. Chef Andrés also sent a statement to the media in which he claimed that him and the couple strongly believe in the “healing power of food, and we like to say whenever there’s a fight so hungry people may eat, we will be there.”

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“We are more energized than ever to continue this vital work, and we’re proud that it will be hand in hand with Archewell Foundation and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I have come to know both of them well, and believe that their values are directly aligned with what we stand for at World Central Kitchen,” Chef Andrés continued.

World Central Kitchen was initially founded by Andrés in 2010. According to the website the purpose of the organization is now to continue the “fight to feed hungry people,” which thanks to the pandemic has taken Andrés and World Central Kitchen to “more places than [they] ever expected.”

“In 2020, the world changed profoundly, and our daily lives were overturned in a way none of us could have ever imagined. We activated in communities around the United States and the world to meet the daily needs of families in need of a warm plate of food – and supported thousands of local restaurants in the process. We also responded to natural and manmade disasters in countries on five continents, from massive bushfires in Australia to a deadly explosion in Lebanon to devastating hurricanes in Central America,” Andrés wrote.

This is also obviously not the first time Markle has embarked on philanthropic endeavours that have taken her around the world. In fact, back in 2017 she launched a cookbook to raise money for the Grenfell Tower Community Kitchen that had been impacted by a fire that killed 72 individuals.