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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    Caitlyn Jenner took a note from Kim Kardashian's playbook and posted her very first selfie. 


    The 65-year-old reality star and former Olympian shared the snap with her followers on Twitter and Instagram Thursday afternoon with the caption, "No #SocialMediaQueen can be crowned without posting a selfie, so here's my first!" 


    In the shot, Jenner is sporting a pair of aviator sunglasses and her brunette locks are left down and wavy. She looks great.





    Kim better watch her back, because our guess is Jenner is well on her way to selfie stardom. 


     


    Also on HuffPost:



    For a constant stream of entertainment news and discussion, follow HuffPost Entertainment on Viber.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    Lagos, 1968. The room is thick. Thick with humidity and densely packed bodies who have come to listen. Thick with the sound of brass and percussion blending big-band bravado with traditional Nigerian yoruba, highlife, jazz and funk. Thick with the wild call of a saxophone wielded by a half-naked muscled black man with a message. The crowd is thick with anger made tangible in the electric air. Mostly, it's a room thick in the middle of a movement. A nightclub turned birthplace. The man is Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His movement is Afrobeat and the room is Africa Shrine, which, on any given night during the next decade, is thick with purpose.

    Somewhere between being a broke musician in Los Angeles and falling into the arms of a woman named Sandra Smith, Kuti came upon this purpose. In Fela: This Bitch of a Life, Kuti's authorised biography, he credits Smith, who in making him read the biography of Malcolm X helped awaken both his political consciousness and his Afrobeat sound. Returning to Nigeria, he formed the Kalakuta Republic -- his, somewhat autonomous dominion, free of the oppressive rule of the local authorities. There he established his movement committed to exposing the corruption of the Nigerian government, where those willing to listen could gather in solidarity at the Africa Shrine.

    The Africa Shrine is still around today. Technically it's not the very same one; the original was burnt to the ground by soldiers in 1977 and was resurrected by Kuti's son Femi following his father's death in 1997. It's now called the New Afrika Shrine and still packs out, but not every night, and not the way it used to; its close quarters have been replaced with high ceilings and better ventilation to accommodate tourists. The message is still loud, though fewer local ears are listening. Somewhere along the way, it seems, the Africa Shrine lost its thickness.



    Lagos, Accra, London -- 2014. A different room is now in the thick of it. It's a room equally caught up in a sound and a movement, although far more amorphous. No longer is this a single room or single band, but rather a diaspora spread across continents, its crowds consumed by happiness over anger. The sound, too, is less distinct. There's Ghanaian "hiplife" and Nigerian "Naija" beats -- both rooted in the pervasive influence of hip-hop -- schizophrenically layered upon grimey British house and generously dipped in autotune. There's even an almost imperceptible hint of Afrobeat, which, in genealogical homage or convenient branding (depending on whom you ask), lends this movement its name: Afrobeats.

    Afrobeat and Afrobeats -- the difference a letter can make. Afrobeats is both the evolution and in many ways antithesis of its prefixed forebear. Having slowly emerged over the past several years, it exists in diametrical opposition to all Kuti and his movement stood for, a mutated spawn in flat cap and British accent. As such, its existence is polarising. For those, fists raised in solidarity, whose ears are attuned to the organic instrumental grooves and consciousness in music, usually in the minority, it invokes a stubborn ignorance. Conversely, for those more prone to pop sensibilities -- the millions increasingly latching on to the Afrobeats sound -- it provides a dull awareness of the music that lends their new favourite genre its name.

    If you will, imagine for a moment we were to somehow drag these two groups into the same room. Why interrupt this unspoken intergenerational pact? Perhaps, in contextualising Afrobeats' fractured existence and its ties to Afrobeat, there's something to be learnt about both and their relation to the shifting landscape and position of "Africa" within global culture, a kind of Freudian attempt at psychoanalysis: "In order to understand the son, first we must understand the father."




    The first challenge lies in contextualising their respective evolutions. Unlike Kuti's easy-to-package (and make into a Broadway musical) narrative, many can rightfully stake their claim to Afrobeats' creation. Any attempt to credit an individual becomes fraught, as The Guardian discovered in a 2012 article titled "The Rise of Afrobeats." In the story, DJ Abrantee -- host of a popular Afrobeats radio show on the U.K.'s ChoiceFM -- was heralded as the movement's founder. Queue angry backlash, then clarified response: "I cannot say I invented Afrobeats. Afrobeats was invented before I was born. It was invented by Fela Kuti. But what you've got to remember is the genre of music artists themselves are now producing -- the likes of WizKid, Ice Prince, P-Squared, Castro, May7ven -- are calling their music Afrobeats. So that's what I call it when I put them on my mix tapes."

    Although many could be credited as pioneers of the sound, one artist has emerged who offers a convenient anchoring point. This prodigal Afrobeats figure, who goes by the name Fuse ODG, has in the past year: broken into the Top 10 U.K. singles charts several times; become the first Ghanaian to top the iTunes World Chart; toured Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Liberia; and received the Best African Act at the 2013 Mobo Awards, a British ceremony celebrating "music of black origin." Fittingly, he also has a story analogous to Kuti's.

    Fuse ODG, real name Nana Richard Abiona, was born in 1990 in south London to Ghanaian parents. He spent much of his early childhood in Ghana, returning to London for his secondary and university education. In 2009 he began making music he describe in a recent Guardian interview as "hip-hop with an African vibe." Not quite cracking the sound he wanted, unable to survive off "vibe" alone, Abiona returned to Ghana in 2011.

    In a similar vein to Kuti's 1967 trip to the U.S. -- where James Brown's funk and Malcolm X's politics proved instrumental in the formation of the sound and message of Afrobeat -- Abiona's trip helped solidify his musical mission.

    "We went into this club and everyone was doing these crazy moves. That was when I first saw the locals do the Azonto dance, and I loved it, man! It had so much energy. I came back to England and was like, "Do you know Azonto?" But no one had heard of it," Abiona recalls in the interview. Exposed to the growing popularity in West Africa of hip-hop-influenced Afropop and Naija beats, Abiona returned to London, confident he'd found his sound, one he would describe as "Afrobeats, but with my U.K. thing added to it."



    In 2012, Abiona experienced his first major success with the single Antenna, which peaked at number 7 on the U.K. singles charts, He followed it with the release of another single, somewhat unoriginally titled Azonto. "See I just came back from Ghana / and I wanna share this thing they are all doing over there," he sings. What follows is the time-honoured practice of a catchy, easy-to-learn dance move contained within lyrics:

    First step is the step-step /
    First step is the step-step /
    You can move to the right /
    To the left-left /
    You can even freestyle /
    When you step-step /
    Put your hands in the air /
    Then you rep-rep /
    So go go go


    It was a guaranteed viral hit, notching up 50,000 views on YouTube in its first day. A video contest, whereby fans could submit their own versions of the dance, would also help Azonto's global spread. YouTube hits aside, a true marker of its influence would come in the form of the ever-awkward British Prime Minister David Cameron's locked-knees, arms-flayed attempt to join in the craze. For the first time, Afrobeats was being played on daytime radio in the U.K. -- a sure sign of mainstream success for the genre and Fuse ODG as the face.

    After travelling to the U.S. and soaking up African American culture, Kuti returned to Nigeria and established the Afrobeat movement. Abiona, in reconnecting with his own heritage in Ghana, managed to define his own mainstream success and greatly contributed toward Afrobeats' current cross-continental appeal.

    Back to the room. In comparing the frenetic howl of Kuti's saxophone with the equally high-energy autotuned wail of Fuse ODG's vocals, the high cultured among us might consider this comparison pure sacrilege. But this phenomenon of musical genres influencing each other across continents is not new, just another example of a 1950s musicology theory known as "acculturation."

    For those ready at this point to exit the room, dismissing Abiona as another savvy pop star cashing in on the increasingly homogenising globalised sound of autotuned hip-pop, at least first take note of his slogan.

    Tina, an acronym for "This Is New Africa," frequently appears emblazoned across Abiona's cap and sometimes his shirt. More than a marketing strategy, it's a manifesto that seeks to elevate Afrobeats from a club fad to a movement with a message. Abiona explains on his website:

    "For me, everything is about getting the message across. This movement will shed light on Africa in a positive way and focus on how we can improve Africa. It's not about just plying your talents in the Western world; it's about going back home and helping Africa. The same way I believe you can't forget your roots in music, you can't forget your roots in life -- where you're from. It's our duty to make noise about the positive things that are happening in Africa. It's on us to make noise about the good things that happen and spread the word."

    Adding to its use as an artist statement, clothing brand and hashtag, later this year, Tina will be the title of Fuse ODG's debut album. Coincidentally, there's another album, recently released, that also has a few things to say about Africa. It's titled A Long Way to the Beginning, and is the product of the official heir and genetic son of Afrobeat, Seun Kuti.

    The youngest Kuti son, Seun was eight years old the first time he performed with his father at the Shrine. Years later he would inherit Fela's band, the Egypt 80, and with it his father's fierce ideals. "I think music and arts in general should be a mirror image of society," he explained in a recent interview with France24.com. "Whatever the majority is experiencing is what our art should represent."

    On A Long Way to the Beginning, the political critiques that define Afrobeat are continued with an updated message. On the album's first single, IMF, Seun attacks multinationals and the poisoning effect of their neoliberal austerity measures in Africa:

    You bring pain /
    You bring tears /
    You bring suffering /
    To my people [...]

    So much cheating from the IMF /
    So much lying from the IMF /
    So much stealing from the IMF /
    Manipulations from the IMF /
    Intimidation from the IMF


    It's not all corrupt politics, though. Another song on the album, Black Woman, is dedicated to the strength of women, with shout-outs to Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and Nina Simone:

    I write this song, and I see everything you go through /
    I see your tears, and your joy and your pain and your fears /
    And your strength to endure all the beatings and the war /
    That's why I respect you and I believe in you and see your struggle /
    I never fear your strength



    In the above interview for Okayplayer, Seun explains his artistic vision as entailing a "sacrifice [of] your art for the people." He continues: "This is the only way history can judge us as the forbearers of the Africa renaissance and not just as people who betrayed their people with irrelevant things."

    This is big talk from Seun. "African renaissance" is a notion typified by the global groundswell of interest in both Afrobeat and Afrobeats within the past several years. But he appends to this, in the same sentence, a threat of betrayal. What exactly are these "irrelevant things"? Presumably, anything in opposition to what Afrobeat stands for, which Seun describes in the interview as simply "the truth." But truth itself is a subjective term. For Seun, it's intrinsically tied to a noble vision of artistic "sacrifice" and representation of "whatever the majority is experiencing."

    Through all this "truth" and "mirroring of society," what is it that Seun hopes to achieve through his music?

    "Right now," he contends in the same Okayplayer interview, "African art has a big role to play in inspiring the people of Africa. If we think Africa is going to be saved by the West, we have a big problem. Trying to create our own identity should be our own goal; our art has to speak for us."

    Though he may seem less overtly concerned with the whole sacrifice business, it would appear Abiona, responding to a similar question in an interview with Vibeghana.com, has a vision much aligned to Kuti's. For him, Tina is all about answering this call for true representation:

    "My mission is to change the perception of Africa. The media constantly shows Africa in such a negative way. When I was growing up it wasn't cool to be African; the image was always this sick kid with flies round their mouth. I want to change that perception. It's actually an amazing place: it's peaceful, it's happy ... I want my music to make people see that Africa is an amazing place."

    Two artists and movements with a similar end goal: to accurately represent "African" society to an international audience and create music to motivate and inspire their own peoples -- Seun's conveyed through a firm social consciousness and Abiona's through one devoid of politics, in favour of a more uplifting and positive message that shines light on the continent.

    Apart from being painfully broad in their Pan-Africanist ideals, surely these two movements are not mutually exclusive? Surely there is room for both artistic visions to coexist? Then again, a movement's only as powerful as the people listening. And here, once again, the Afrobeat(s) are at odds.

    ***


    Although the spiritual home of Afrobeat remains the Shrine, its physical one may be a lot closer to downtown Brooklyn. Originally formed as an offshoot of the Knitting Factory club, Knitting Factory Records (KFR) has built itself around the Kuti family over the past several years. In 2009, KFR acquired and released Fela Kuti's entire catalog and since then has gone on to produce -- along with other notables like Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith -- the Broadway musical Fela! and the recent documentary Finding Fela!. KFR also represents both Femi's band, The Positive Force, and Seun's, Egypt 80.

    Undoubtedly, this represents a good business move for the label. Globally, Afrobeat's never been more popular. If it's not crowds flocking to Broadway, it's Seun's busy schedule that'll see his A Long Way to the Beginning tour moving through Europe, the U.S. and Australia this summer. It's safe to say that Fela's Afrobeat legacy is, for the moment, guaranteed.

    Yet we've reached an impasse. Although it's most pleasing to picture Seun's nightly rendition of IMF -- revealed through impassioned chorus to stand for "International Mother Fucker" -- serenaded to grooving white folk across the U.S. this summer, it's unavoidable that we confront the large African elephant in the room.

    "Fela is played on the radio in Nigeria maybe five or six times a month," admitted Seun during an interview with NPR. "Being anti-establishment is being anti-everything, because everything is part of the establishment, so it's hard. But Afrobeat music is not local any more, it's global."

    Seun's explanation, albeit circular, contains a telling admission. Partially through its anti-establishment tendencies, Afrobeat has alienated itself from the African society it seeks to represent. All the years of police intimidation and government pressure against the Kuti family finally paid off.

    But, Seun assures us, this no longer matters as the message now belongs to an international audience. "Afrobeat is not just about being Fela's son any more," he said in the NPR interview. "There are hundreds of bands playing Afrobeat around the world -- from Australia, to Israel and the U.S. What began with my father has become a global movement."

    Doesn't that defeat the point, though? What happened to "inspiring the people of Africa"? Whom -- or, more importantly, what purpose -- does today's Afrobeat message really serve?

    "They're both [Afrobeat and Afrobeats] influential in their different ways," explains Cecil Hammond, a Nigerian music promoter, in an interview with CNN for a report titled, "Afrobeats: The New Sound of West Africa that's Going Global." "The popular music is Afrobeats, which is what everybody is listening to nowadays. When you go to the clubs, the big parties and the big concerts, it's Afrobeats that you listen to. To listen to Afrobeat, most of the time you have to go to the Shrine."

    Hammond's Afrobeats endorsement is qualified with a telling explanation that, if anything, confirms Tina's ideals: "Africa can be very stressful, so you need things to make you loosen up and make you happy -- and music makes Nigerians happy."

    This is good news for Abiona and his Afrobeats, which specialise in "happy." "Nobody wanna see you rising, and when they do it, they don't like it," sings Abiona in Azonto. The message Abiona seems to be practically screaming through his songs is: Why protest politicians when instead you can do this fun dance?

    Where once Fela inspired fear in the authorities and held the attention of a captive audience, today Seun's continuation of the Afrobeat message appears, in the face of dancing the Azonto, ornamental. This is precisely what Fela fought against. Abiona's "New Africa" is a myth, Fela would shout, arms thrust upward in protest, is a facade upheld by the masses no longer willing to deal with the hard truths Afrobeat confronts. So what changed, and when did Afrobeat become artifice?

    The answer likely lies in the sound.

    As opposed to the 1970s, where music evolved separately and an audience in Nigeria was transfixed by the funk-infused sounds of Afrobeat, today, as part of a globally connected community, cultural isolation is a thing of the past.

    Today, a Ghanaian immigrant living in London can travel back to Ghana, pick up a sound and a dance move, and soon dictate a global pop trend. To hear Afrobeats is to hear the result of this: the sound of globalisation and by extension the internet. To hear Abiona is to hear the music that dominates West Africa -- which should be something worth celebrating.

    Afrobeats might be a trend void of political commentary, lacking in hard truth, but as for, in Seun's words, "inspiring the people of Africa," it's incomparable. This is not to use Seun's words against him. If the masses are measuring their aspirations by what's presented through the media, then what could be more inspirational than having a popular local dance spread across the internet? Surely this is what Seun himself describes in his prescriptive vision for African artists as the creators of Africa's "own identity." But at what cost does this identity come, though, if it means forsaking the consciousness present in Afrobeat?

    * * *


    Let's return one last time to the room where our two Afrobeat heirs stand, claiming "Africa" to global audiences in both their music and message. With Seun's Egypt 80, this comes through in his descriptive lyrics and prescriptive message; with Abiona's Fuse ODG, through a descriptive sound and descriptive message.

    Somewhere between these two, a happy medium exists where prescriptive messages meet descriptive sounds.

    Far from suggesting an unlikely collaboration, perhaps there's something to be gained from mutual recognition. If Seun is really interested in providing a "representation of whatever the majority is experiencing" or Abiona is truly concerned with getting his "message across" and "chang[ing] the perception of Africa," the two could have a lot to talk about.

    When Fela was alive, he inspired all who came to the Shrine to the point where he was considered a threat by the very system he sought to undermine. Decades later, his message is carried wide by his proud ambassador and heir, Seun Kuti. Only now, the majority of the audience it's supposedly directed at isn't listening. Instead they're listening to someone else with a message that seems on the surface to be paying mere lip-service.

    Currently Afrobeats has the attention of the room, and with that the potential to provide the necessary platform for an artist to emerge with the power to inspire both a local and global audience with an infectious sound as well as a conscious message. Whether this is an idealistic a sentiment as Abiona's Tina vision remains to be seen.

    "We're a new generation, and I'm so excited to be representing that," says Abiona at the end of his Guardian interview. "Trust me, I'm only just getting started."

    This piece first appeared on The Con.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    "Scream Queens" is shaping up to be a hilarious, over-the-top campfest, but some aspects may be more grounded in reality than others. 


    At the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour on Wednesday, show creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Emma Roberts' character Chanel was inspired by the work of perhaps the most famous sorority sister of them all.  


    If you recall, Rebecca Martinson, whom the Internet nicknamed "Deranged Sorority Girl," resigned from the Delta Gamma chapter of the University of Maryland after her homophobic, racist and expletive-laden email to her fellow sisters went viral in 2013. Also recall that Martinson used the phrase "cunt punt" in her email, so we're curious to see what Murphy comes up with for Roberts' character this season. 


    "We were interested in mirroring that idea,” Murphy told reporters. “Unlike that girl, who apologized and resigned, we wanted to bring our queen bee character to some sort of awareness about her behavior.”


    If you're wondering what happened to Martinson, Cosmopolitan caught up with her back in January and she has no regrets




    “Scream Queens” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. 


     Also on HuffPost: 



    For a constant stream of entertainment news and discussion, follow HuffPost Entertainment on Viber.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    Salma Hayek joined host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on HuffPost Live Thursday afternoon to discuss her recent project “The Prophet,” an animated film adaptation of Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 book of the same name. But when a viewer asked the 48-year-old actress if she had been discriminated against for her accent or background before she became famous, the star revealed that fame was not a deterrent to discrimination.


    “Of course, I’ve been discriminated [against],” Hayek told the host. “I think America has a very severe problem with discrimination that we try to overlook. It’s there.”


    When Modarresy-Tehrani asked for a specific moment she experienced discrimination, the Mexican-born actress said there are “just so many” but she specifically recalled an incident in a Los Angeles movie theater when the actress and a friend tried to sit in the center of the theater near another patron.


    The patron in question told the duo that they couldn't sit there, adding, the actress recalls, "I don’t want to feel your presence there." The conversation quickly turned aggressive, Hayek said, with the man screaming that she and her friend should "Go back to [their] country!" to which Hayek says she responded, "Not only do I have my citizenship but even before it was America, this was already my country and if you don’t like it you can move."


    Earlier in the interview, Hayek, who is of Lebanese-descent, also stated that she believes discrimination is particularly bad for women.


    “Now imagine [I’m a] woman, Latin and Arab -- and you’re asking me, ‘have I ever been discriminated?” she said with a laugh.


    “I have a whole book that I could write about these moments, that are very memorable,” Hayek added. “But I have to say they never really quite hurt me. I was like ‘Woah, you’re dumb, my goodness you are so ignorant.’ I sort of felt sorry for this person for just being so out of touch with the world, with his own humanity.”


    Watch Salma Hayek discuss theses incidences of above and check out her entire HuffPost Live interview below. 


    Also On HuffPost: 




    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    Shut up, put the record on, drop the needle and crank up the volume. The first teaser for Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger's HBO series, "Vinyl," has arrived, and it's pretty awesome. There's guitar-smashing, coke-snorting, guns, fighting and '70s wardrobes and all to a rock 'n' roll soundtrack we can't wait to hear more of. 


    The series, which also comes from Terence Winter ("Boardwalk Empire"), stars Bobby Cannavale as Richie Finestra, president of a New York record label during in 1972. The teaser also stars Olivia Wilde as Richie's wife and former actress Devon Finestra, Juno Temple as assistant Jamie Vine, Ray Romano as one of Richie's partners Zak Yankovich, as well as Max Casella and Jack Quaid. On Tuesday, HBO debuted an even shorter teaser on the series' Instagram account, but we already can't wait for this show.


    "Vinyl" premieres in 2016 on HBO.


    Also on HuffPost:



    For a constant stream of entertainment news and discussion, follow HuffPost Entertainment on Viber.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    If you were a kid in the '90s, you can likely remember that brief, shining period when The Spice Girls reigned supreme. They were everywhere -- on the television, the radio, and in magazines -- not just in their native UK but across the globe. Their core message was "Girl Power," delivered with ridiculously catchy songs and lots of charisma. To little girls and boys across the globe, including myself, they were queens. 


    On Aug 6., Geri Halliwell celebrated her 43rd birthday, and while over the last decade she's been an actress, a writer, and a performer, she will now always be best known as the member of one of if not the biggest girl groups in history. During the five years of their whirlwind ride to world domination between 1994 and 1998, the Spice Girls sold 80 million records worldwide, became the first British band since 1975 to have two albums in the U.S. Top 10 at the same time, and made approximately $800 million through major endorsements with brands like Pepsi, Chupa Chups, Polaroid and Playstation. Their infectious first single, 'Wannabe,' is the highest selling single by a girl group of all time.  




    And yet, in spite of their success and popularity, The Spice Girls were never really taken that seriously. During their peak fame, most music and pop culture critics declared that they were a talentless novelty -- in 1997, Slate described them as representative of the demise of music, the "Jurassic Parkification of pop." But even the Spice Girls didn't even take themselves seriously, as evident in their "A Hard Day's Night"-inspired movie "Spice World."


    Today, there's been a resurgence of love for the group thanks to the nostalgia of their once young fans, most of whom are now in their late-20s and 30s, strengthened by their 2007 reunion tour and surprise performance at the 2012 London Olympics




    The collective attitude towards the Spice Girls hasn't been as bad as, say, the backlash against "Sex and the City" -- a show that (largely thanks to the awful movies) is primarily viewed as vapid, despite being pretty subversive for its time. But the Spice Girls still deserve far more credit than they're given. The concept of "Girl Power" may seem hokey, a Disney-fied oversimplification of the feminist movement, but with it the Spice Girls were equally subversive, making music that focused on female friendship, solidarity, and self-expression that was accessible and catchy.


    A November 2011 Rookie article, "In Defense of The Spice Girls," points to songs like "2 Become 1," which unapologetically expressed female sexuality (and preached safe sex!), as an example of how empowering the band was for young women. But the essay also says that the Spice Girls were "sold to us as a group of friends," even though they were actually "a carefully selected group of strangers chosen after hundreds of auditions."




    Well, contrary to popular belief, The Spice Girls were not a manufactured band; the creation of men in suits who told them how to think, look and act.


    Yes, the girls did audition to be part of a group, originally called Touch, which entertainment managers Chris and Bob Herbert envisioned as a sexy pop ensemble in slinky dresses. 


    But when Halliwell, Mel B, Mel C, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham (née Adams) realized that the Herberts wanted to totally control their images, they protested. And when in 1994 they realized the Herberts were trying to sign them into a shady management contract, they left. Living in a three-bedroom flat in Sheffield at the time, they stole the master recordings of songs they had been working  on and shopped their demos around to different management companies for six months until they finally signed with Simon Fuller in March 1995. Fuller would be the manager who eventually got them the record deal that led to their superstardom. 


    The pop caricatures each of the Spice Girls embodied were their own ideas and creations. Geri Halliwell's "vamp" persona was largely influenced by Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie (note the red and blonde hair, sequin platforms). Yes, Top of The Pops magazine would later give them their iconic nicknames of Ginger, Scary, Baby, Sporty and Posh, but the visual direction and sound of the Spice Girls was always firmly in control of the women who made up the group.




     The Spice Girls' first chat show appearance on 1997's "The Girlie Show"


    What was so brilliant about the Spice Girls formula was that it not only promoted female empowerment and friendship, but also the concept that women could exist in all forms and still thrive. What female pop group today would have a member like Sporty Spice, who was allowed to make the choice to express her femininity in a different way than her bandmates?


    The idea was that the way you looked was not more important than your personality. Go back and watch old Spice Girls interviews. All of the girls with their very different personas were allowed to shine, never competing with each other or giving canned answers. 


    There will always be criticisms to be made about The Spice Girls, many of them valid. But ultimately, the band's push for "Girl Power" phenomenon was the first, small, step towards a pop culture landscape where feminism is discussed openly and frequently, where Beyonce can show up at the VMAs and perform in front of a "FEMINIST" banner. The Spice Girls were just a pop group, yes, but they were also a group of five incredibly ambitious, savvy young women who not only found success but made a huge cultural impact. If that's not girl power, then what is?





    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.












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    Enraged is an understatement.

    Watching the trailer for Roland Emmerich's upcoming film Stonewall made me feel levels of betrayal.

    Basically, this film is going to be about a fictional cis-white male who ends up being the leading voice and face of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The character Danny Winters (played by Jeremy Irvine) gets rejected from his lily white small town and runs to New York City where he finally meets poor queer people of color and gets introduced to The Stonewall Inn. There, he is culture shocked by the rudeness and harassment of cis-white police which leads him to be the main rebel that throws the initial brick that sets off the major LGBT revolution.

    Except, that's nowhere near the truth and Hollywood has decided to make a diverse movement one where a white man with sex appeal is at the center of it. And of course he rejects a transwoman of color who he has to tell "I can't love you" -- because clearly the director and screenwriter didn't love people of color enough to accurately include them in this drama.

    The trailer quotes President Obama's inaugural speech on American equality and hints at "where PRIDE began." That will be the majority of the voice you will get from people of color in the trailer.

    Go to the IMDB page for this movie and such legends as Marsha P. Johnson, a black transwoman who performed as a drag queen who celebrated her 25th birthday at Stonewall the night of the riot, is placed at the lower tier of the credits. You will not find Silvia Rivera, the bold Puerto Rican transwoman who actually threw the first bottle, anywhere in the credits at all. These two transwomen of color were the most notable in our history for igniting the riots that launched the modern-day LGBT civil rights movement.

    But Hollywood has set its sights yet again on putting a dreamy white heartthrob as the hero of the day.

    And I am here to tell them that they have chosen the wrong community and time to attempt such buffoonery.

    As intersectionality becomes a more discussed realm within our current LGBT movement, we have no time to fantasize a reality in which white cis-dominance erases queer representation of color. Neither do we have the luxury to insert a deliberate distortion of our history for the rest of the world to see at a time when they're more open embracing it.

    What disappoints me most about this film is not that it simply omits people of color in it -- but purposely goes out of its way to replace them with white fictional ones. And to add insult to injury, it capitalizes off of the current landmark LGBT victories that these transwomen of color helped pave the way for without giving them proper respects. This has yet again led me to question the racism within our LGBT community.

    If the late Harvey Milk gets a deserving Oscar winning biopic on his legacy, why not Bayard Rustin who is just as worthy? What do the media and this movement often likes to chastise the queer communities of color's straight siblings and churches for being overtly homophobic -- and yet never celebrate the LGBT ones who have helped heal some of those wombs?

    I'm waiting on a James Baldwin biopic and perhaps we can finally talk about queer people of color outside of the erotic white fetishism with ballroom culture. It would be nice to see a leading queer face of color more at the center of our film and cultural recollection. Because they were present, they did lead and they do matter.

    If you appreciate historical accuracy and fair inclusion, don't go see this film. If you don't want to fuel the economy at another Hollywood attempt of whitewashing American history, don't give any aspect of this film a single dime or promotion. And if you want to properly pay homage and respect to the real heroes of Stonewall and their legacy, you will not pass along the film's narrative that perpetuates a damaging erasure of critical LGBT voices in this movement.

    In other words, don't support it if you have a moral conscious. We have come too far to let such a poorly executed film divide us. Boycott the film Stonewall.

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    What’s cookin’, good lookin’? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared a hilarious — and touching — Throwback Thursday post on Instagram on Thursday, Aug. 6, proving to fans that he’s come a long way since his days as an awkward teen.

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    Maybe it's the August heat, but something was definitely in the air this week that caused celebrities to go out in some pretty sexy looks. 


    Emily Osment managed to make a midi-length dress sultry, Gwyneth Paltrow sizzled in a floral maxi and Gigi Hadid proved that a body-skimming black dress will always be a winner. 


    Check out best-dressed stars of the week and let us know if you agree with our picks. 



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    Luke Bryan's new album, "Kill the Lights," debuts on Friday, almost two years after his smash record, "Crash My Party," hit shelves. And the country star is beyond ready to share his new music with fans. 


    "This album is even more well-rounded than 'Crash My Party,'" Bryan says in a behind-the-scenes video released exclusively to The Huffington Post by Walmart's AXE Stage Pass campaign. "There's edgier, country-sounding stuff on it, there's some love songs, there's sexy songs and then there's the big ol' fun dance up-tempo thing." 


     




    Bryan has been on his "Kick the Dust Up" tour since May and heads back out later this month. He'll be traveling the U.S. through October promoting and performing his new music. But for all you lucky readers, enjoy an acoustic performance of "Kick the Dust Up" below:




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    It's been a big year for Charlize Theron.


    The South African actress, who has long been outspoken on issues of women's empowerment, turns 40 on August 7th. She's been widely lauded for her kickass, gender role-defying turn as Imperator Furiosa in 2015's "Mad Max: Fury Road," for which she shaved her head, underwent intense physical training, and spent months living in a remote part of Namibia. And in recent interviews, she's been dropping some serious truth bombs about feminism, representation of women in Hollywood and equal pay.  


    Here are six of her most awesome feminist moments from the past year: 



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    And you thought you had it bad in high school.


    On Thursday, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson took a walk down memory lane and shared a photo almost as amazing as his fanny pack throwback.  And you are going to believe us when we say, you aren't going to believe what he looked like at 16.  



    A photo posted by therock (@therock) on



    Today, the 43-year-old actor has certainly grown into his looks, but back in high school, he claims his classmates thought he was an undercover cop:



    therock#TBT By the time I was 16 yrs old, I had already enrolled in four high schools across the country due to being evicted and lil' trouble with the law.. McKinley HS (Honolulu, HI), Glencliff HS (Nashville, TN), McGavock HS (Nashville, TN), Freedom HS (Bethlehem, PA). I was also 6'4 225lbs, rockin' a dead caterpillar on my lip (aka the porn 'stache) and all the kids in every high school thought I was an undercover cop cause I looked like a mutated, yet handsome SOB of a man child. Plus in Nashville I was already hangin' out in honey tonk dive bars on Music Row and hustlin' cars from crackheads. Yup, one of the many reasons why I'm a grateful man for the life I have today and also grateful I straight up kicked puberty's ass early in life.


    #GodBlessSamoanAndBlackGenetics


    #AndGodBlessOurTeenageYears


    #AndWTFWasIThinkingWithThisMustache 



    All teenagers should take note of that last hashtag, by the way. 


     


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    If navigating Hollywood as a woman wasn't already frustrating enough, with the industry's lack of diverse roles and profound pay gap, Salma Hayek has brought another unfortunate reality to our attention.


    In a conversation with HuffPost Live on Thursday, the actress touched upon her recent comment that studios "don't want" her, explaining that she was just too outspoken.


    "They don't like somebody who has an opinion on the script," she told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "They want a girl to come in and be quiet and look pretty and do as the say, and it's just not in my nature."


    The actress has also found casting to be a challenge, a result of her multi-ethnic background.


    "It's hard. They go by stereotypes," Hayek said. "Sometimes it's hard to put me in a box. I am so many things -- specifically and proudly -- [but] in their head, I'm not quite the typical Latin woman, in many ways, or the typical Arab woman, or the typical American woman, so it's hard for them to pin me."


    Hayek's new film, an animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet," hits theaters Friday, Aug. 7. 


    Watch more from Salma Hayek's conversation with HuffPost Live here.


    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!


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    Six years before his tragic death from pneumonia complications on August 9, 2008, comedian Bernie Mac appeared on "The Oprah Show" to talk about his latest venture, a sitcom called "The Bernie Mac Show" that would go on to crack up audiences for five successful seasons. Already known for his "The Original Kings of Comedy" stand-up routine and film roles like "Ocean's Eleven," Mac was at the height of his career. But in this exclusive after-the-show moment, he gets candid about his success and reveals his true feelings on money and fame.

    Growing up poor on Chicago's South Side, Mac says he never cared about being on television. "I never watched what somebody else does," he said.  "It does not matter. Bernie Mac gotta do his thang."

    He said he simply challenged himself to keep getting better, never motivated by stardom. "To be the best within myself," Mac said of his ultimate goal. "I'm not in competition with anybody... I don't care what people say."

    Mac added that the only opinions that mattered were those of his family members, especially his daughter. No matter how dark or edgy he was onstage, Mac always made sure his little girl knew that it was a performance, a persona. "That was more important to me than jokes," he said. "There's a time and place for everything."

    From the beginning of his career to the height of his success, Mac didn't doubt his ability to go far in the industry, but he still wanted to be better and better. The money and fame were always secondary.

    "I think if you focus on being the best in yourself, all that stuff will come," he said. "I hear people saying, 'Get ya money on, get ya money on.' I hate that. I mean, that's you're motivation? If you do well, the money will come."

    "That's what I know," Oprah agreed.

    "And quit focusing on the money, because it's not about the money," Mac added. "My love for comedy is just unbelievable."

    Related: The story that brought comedian D.L. Hughley to tears.


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    It is within the realm of possibility that Jennifer Aniston is married. At the very least, she had a party at her house this weekend that maybe a pastor attended with the Bible. Before we find out for certain, it is important for us to gather as a society to figure out what this -- Jennifer Aniston maybe but not definitely being married -- means for us.


    Over the years, the way the likes of InTouch and Life & Style have rallied around Aniston becoming a wife and mother resembles the efforts of a rabid dog trying to make soufflé for a competition on "Iron Chef." Once she reached the marrying-and-baby-carrying age of her late 20s, Jennifer Aniston's happiness was an automatic addition to supermarket checkout lines. By her mid 30s it had entered the zeitgeist. 


    "How often do you get to reunite soul mates? What if I told you that you could reunite Romeo and Juliet? Or Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?," Leslie Knope says toward the end of a 2009 episode of "Parks and Recreation." "Oh, Jen, I really want you to be happy. Stay away from John Mayer."


    Aniston's life choices have become the automatic filler cover for slow weeks in celebrity news, a go-to that has become so obvious and enduring, it is almost impressive in its longevity. The tabloids are generally hot garbage, but why did they become so fixated on cramming Aniston into the conformist narrative of female happiness? 



    The rise of tabloid culture in the early aughts meant that the realm of celebrity was no longer relegated to an actor's work, but the minutiae of her daily life. What emerged was a culture of pulpy surveillance, a Hollywood ruled by Big Brother (except if Big Brother was mostly only interested in gossip and women not wearing undergarments).


    Anyway, you know that story -- Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and the year 2007, etc. The coverage became a mix of "news" and rumors provided by unnamed sources, who either didn't exist or were just some random old ladies doing acid under a bridge. Either way, Internet journalism and the 24-hour news cycle have only made things worse. Our conceptions of celebrities are now based, in large part, on a warped perception of their private life peddled by entertainment media. 


    Usually, the stories that manage to break out of the tabloid pocket of hell into the mainstream range from the sadistic and scandalous to fluffier tales of two celebrities in the early stages of dating and/or being deliberately photographed holding hands on their way out of 1 Oak.


    But it seems like none of the fan fiction has been as consistently fixated on marital and maternal status than the Jennifer Aniston narrative. (Consider the fact that a search for "Jennifer Aniston pregnant" yields 4.5 million Google results, a little less than double the return for "Zooey Deschanel pregnant," despite the fact that Zooey Deschanel is actually pregnant right now).



    Several factors have merged into the perfect storm behind our specific obsession with Aniston.


    It was bad enough one of America's sweethearts was refusing to validate the belief that a woman's main purpose in life is to be a wife and mother. (How could her decades-long career, multi-million dollar net worth and various mansions ever be enough?!) But that combined with the perceived failed marriage with Brad Pitt and the legend of Brangelina it spawned, allowed Aniston's singledom to transcend the common tabloid fare of nanny infidelity scandals and homophobic sexuality speculation. It became a wrong to be righted, if not in real life then by endless guesswork on the covers of trashy magazines.


    The aspect of Aniston's success seemed to only further tragedize her singleness. As she transitioned from sit-com to rom-coms to acting so serious she was considered an Oscars snub, the faux concern was only heightened. The sinister message underlying the frenzied theorizing about her private life seemed to infer something was wrong with Jen. The lingering question, rhetorically and misogynistically asking, "She can't really be that great, if she can't find a man, right?"



    In recent years, Aniston had become almost defiant, unwilling to play into the hands of the tabloids. As she moved into her 40s, there became something subversive about her interviews, even after she got engaged. She became a powerful symbol for modern womanhood, refuting the idea that happiness required some pre-fab, pre-feminism checklist.


    So, now that she's (possibly) married, what if everything is actually worse? What if, as Jen Uffalussy wrote for The Guardian, "the masses [are] reluctant to let go of their desire to see a successful and independent woman like Aniston as anything but suffering in silence"? Will all successful and independent women be forced to get married or risk being put into the eternal washer-dryer cycle of getting engaged or pregnant then dumped? (Who will marry Kristen Stewart?)


    What if -- and this is purely hypothetical, as hypothetical as, say, Jen engaging in polygamy and marrying Brad and Angelina in addition to Justin and then offering to adopt you -- we just valued women for their work?


    What if we celebrated Jen for her success and her talent, instead of endlessly poking at the satisfaction of her private life with the determination of your little brother trying to annoy you in the backseat of a 17-hour road trip? What if we didn't need her to get married (and have a child literally tomorrow, because, let's be real the clock is ticking) to prove that she's great?


    Alas, these are all pointless questions. By next week, the tabloids will find a series of Sad Singles to mourn in Jen's place. It won't be with the intensity or complexity of the decade-long Anistonian epic, but it will continue to convince us that women need to be wives and mothers to be great.


    For now, at least, we know for certain that Jennifer Aniston is great. A man who played at least one of Carrie's boyfriends on "Sex and the City" has proven that. Now, if she can just give birth, we will all finally be able to get some rest.

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    Abigail Breslin looked gorgeous at the 2015 Summer TCA Fox All-Star Party at Soho House in West Hollywood Thursday. 


    The 19-year-old star wore a plunging black dress and a black blazer for the event, with her platinum blond hair in a curled half-up style.



    She posted a personal snapshot from the TCAs to her Instagram Thursday night, taken in a photo booth.



    Fun times today at the fox TCA! Plus I always love a good excuse to use a photobooth. #ScreamQueens @screamqueensfox

    A photo posted by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on



    The teen actress is getting ready for the September premiere of Fox's "Scream Queens," which also stars Emma Roberts and Lea Michele. Breslin plays Chanel #5, a member of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority.  







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    Kourtney Kardashian's latest Instagram post could've been a page out of Kim Kardashian's Selfish


    The 36-year-old mother of three posed for a selfie while lounging in a black bikini and oversized sunglasses Thursday afternoon. Apparently, Kylie Jenner was the one who posted the snapshot to Instagram for her big sis.


    "@kyliejenner taking over my Instagram feed," she wrote. 



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    NEW YORK (AP) -- Dr. Dre says he will donate royalties from his new album to the city of Compton for a new performing arts facility.


    In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio, Dre said he spoke to Compton Mayor Aja Brown about ways to give back to the city with the release of his first album in 16 years.


    The rapper, whose real name is Andre Young, said Thursday he "decided to donate all of my artist royalties from the sale of this album to help fund a new performing arts and entertainment facility for the kids in Compton."


    "Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre," inspired by the N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton" which opens Aug. 14, will be released Friday. Dre said he hopes "everybody appreciates all the hard work I put into this album."


    "I'm honored that Mr. Young has decided to make a significant investment in his community," Brown said in a statement. "He clearly has a heart for Compton, especially our youth. I believe this performing arts center will provide a pathway for creative expression, exposure and training to the myriad of industries that support arts, entertainment and technology - while providing a much-needed safe haven for our youth."


    Brown added that the center would be a therapeutic outlet for youth suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


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    In 1999, Bill Cosby released a book for recent college graduates called, Congratulations! Now What? Though the book has been out in the world for 16 years, some disturbing aspects take on second meaning in light of recent allegations.


    In the book, the comedian tells readers how lucky they are to have graduated, since they no longer have to deal with "campus sex police." In a chapter titled, "No More Pre-Caressing Agreements," Cosby describes how silly it is that men need to get permissions to have sexual relations with women they find attractive.


    In the chapter, Cosby makes fun of how affirmative consent --a standard that replaces "no means no" with "only yes means yes" -- is unrealistic to how sex works. Cosby goes on about "manuals" (italicization his) that "tell the men the permissions they need" before they can start making moves.


    Per Cosby, "campus sex police" are always "ready to charge you with sexual harassment if you put your hand on any woman besides one who had asked you for help in crossing the street."



    At the time of Cosby's book, campus sexual assault did not receive nearly as much attention as it does today. Some colleges at the time did not adjudicate sexual assault cases. Among those that did, some schools were mocked for embracing affirmative consent. Antioch College, which became the inspiration for a "Saturday Night Live" skit called "Is It Date Rape," was one of those schools. It wasn't until 2011 that the U.S. Department of Education clarified that all colleges and universities receiving federal funds needed to respond to and investigate reports of sexual assault among students.  


    Cosby's thinking certainly seems to be in line with contemporary critics of affirmative consent. Even today, 16 years after the release of the book, conservative columnists insist that "yes means yes" is too difficult, confusing or that it would kill the mood to ask for consent in sexual encounters.  


    In the chapter, Cosby paints a hypothetical situation, four pages long, between a college male and female. The obviously ludicrous depiction is supposed to prove how awful and comical it is when sexual permissions are required. The Huffington Post has obtained a copy of Congratulations! Now What? and has recapped the scenario below.


    The scene is set in "a leafy college lane" ...



    Two students attempt to go on a date. They stroll along three feet apart, on a "typical" college date. The first line of dialogue comes from the male, "calling" to the female, "I'm really glad you agreed to go out with me, Louise." The female calls back, "Well, I heard violins when you filled out the pre-foreplay form."


    The female student then derides the male student for saying she looks lovely in the moonlight:



    FEMALE: Max, I don't want you to have a record, so I'll pretend you didn't say that without permission. Do I have to quote the Supreme Court on Ruddy v. Weinstock and Kansas State?


    MALE: Sorry. Okay, Simon says: May I look at your face?



     
    The female student warns her male counterpart not to "wonder if [she's] ovulating." She then claims that she's trying to stop her ovulation cycle, and suggests the male student try and lose his testosterone as well.


    As the male student in Cosby's depiction sneaks a glance at the moon and the female student "snuggles up to her copy of The Illinois Criminal Code," the two negotiate whether hand-holding would be all right. She initially says that she's saving hand-holding for her husband, but eventually offers a "couple of knuckles."


    The two can't do much more because the harassment office was out of the right forms. The male student says an oral contract could work, but the female responds, "Do you really think I would be involved in anything oral? That's for Sodom and Gomorrah."


    The above scene ends the "No More Pre-Caressing Agreements" chapter, and Cosby switches back to writing financial and career advice.


    Earlier this week, a judge ordered Cosby to give a sworn deposition in a lawsuit, where he is accused of sexually abusing a woman at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.  


    H/T Justin Shanes


    Tyler Kingkade contributed to this piece.


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    When Sony and Marvel announced that their new untitled "Spider-Man" film would be directed by Jon Watts, you probably thought, "Wait, who?" So did we. It was a surprise that a director with only a couple of feature films under his belt -- the second of which had yet to hit theaters at the time -- would helm a major superhero-franchise installment. 


    So what was it about Watts that made the studios entrust him with the third film version of Peter Parker's story, which will star Tom Holland? "I'm not sure," Watts told The Huffington Post over the phone. But after seeing his latest film, we have a bit of an idea. Co-written and directed by Watts, "Cop Car" follows two 10-year-old boys, Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford), who stumble upon a corrupt sheriff's (Kevin Bacon) abandoned police car and take it for a joyride.


    Much of what makes the slow-burning thriller so refreshing is that it portrays how most kids would naturally behave when given the chance to exercise good-cop, bad-cop fantasies -- daring one another to touch the car, then to drive it, then drive a little faster, then fire guns, until things escalate into real peril. That's just what creates the rising tension in "Cop Car." It placed the boys' naiveté and thirst for rebellion and adventure side-by-side with violence and malicious adult characters. Beyond its strong performances, "Cop Car" reveals that Watts has an eye for capturing the spirit of youth and boyhood, which would make him a favorable choice to direct a young Peter Parker juggling high school with crime-fighting.


    "To me, what's exciting is writing a 10-year-old character the way that a 10-year-old probably thinks," Watts hold HuffPost. "Because I remember what I was thinking when I was 10. You’re not that smart yet, you’re not experienced, you don’t know how the world works yet, but you believe that your ideas are good ideas still." That perspective is evident in both Travis and Harrison in "Cop Car," as the two boys attempt to take on the roles of adults only to be are faced with danger and forced to make life-threatening decisions.


    "Sometimes people make the mistake of projecting an adult personality onto a little kid, or making a little kid just be a dumb little kid," Watts said. "For me, what’s fun is to remember what you’re actually thinking when you were 10 and trying to capture that." The director connected this to his "Spider-Man" film, which will follow Peter Parker as a sophomore. "The same applies to high school," Watts said of the way he approaches writing young characters. "What was your 16-year-old brain like?" he asked. "What was important?" 


    Watts couldn't reveal much about his new version of the web-slinger, adding that he's in the early stages of writing the script. But with a promising film like "Cop Car," Watts may have a great deal to bring to the Spidey franchise after all.


    "Cop Car" is now in theaters. 


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