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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    BY PRESTON MITCHUM

    In a recent interview with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Caitlyn Jenner revealed a surprising fact: The former Olympian and transgender icon did not always approve of same-sex marriage. In fact, she didn't come around on the issue until this June's Supreme Court decision,Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave same-sex couples the legal right to marry in the United States. Even then, as she claimed in the Ellen segment, Jenner wasn't particularly excited:



    Jenner received even more backlash when, in her interview with the Today show's Matt Lauer, she proclaimed that a Halloween costume replicating her Vanity Fair cover would not be considered offensive. Jenner admitted that she recognized many people in the trans community disapproved of the idea -- likely because it makes a caricature out of the lived experiences of an already marginalized community -- but she said: "I think it's great."

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    Many trans advocates weren't too thrilled with that idea. Vincent Villano, formerly of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), explained to The Huffington Post, "There's no tasteful way to 'celebrate' Caitlyn Jenner or respect transgender people this way on the one night of the year when people use their most twisted imaginations to pretend to be villains and monsters."



    These two comments by Jenner -- her lukewarm feelings about marriage equality on one day, followed by apathetic feelings about of her being a costume the next day -- have sparked obvious backlash on the Internet, with many bewildered that a trans woman viewed as a mouthpiece for LGBT issues could hold views detrimental to her own community.

    But in being a wealthy, white celebrity whose every move is news, Jenner has incredible privileges that many trans people never will. For example, black trans women experience violence at disproportionately high rates. And while they continue to scream #BlackTransLivesMatter, Jenner receives accolades like the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year's ESPYs and her own television show.

    However, that public platform doesn't mean that Caitlyn Jenner is a perfect advocate for all LGBT people, or even for all trans people. Just because she's a trans woman doesn't mean that Jenner should understand why same-sex marriage is so important to cisgender lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals--as sexual orientation and gender identity are two different things -- and she's earned her own learning curve on the issue. What people are expecting from Jenner is perfection solely based on her trans identity being made public -- and that's a problem.

    The idea that Caitlyn Jenner must be a perfect advocate runs the risk of assuming that trans people cannot think differently, or if they do, their transness is diminished. The sad truth is that many individuals still have lukewarm support of marriage equality. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 93 percent supported same-sex marriage, and while 74 percent agreed with that statement "strongly," another 18 percent were less adamant, saying merely that they favored gay marriage.

    But even if all of those people supported same-sex marriage, it does not make them perfect advocates for equal rights. And that's what gets lost in this conversation.

    Being frustrated at every single one of Jenner's mistakes assumes that her perfect answers will lead to the eradication of trans discrimination. It won't. While Jenner is an easy target to show our frustrations of her not being fully supportive of marriage equality, fighting her isn't leading to anyone's liberation anytime soon.

    The National Transgender Discrimination Survey highlights that 26 percent of trans people lost a job due to bias, 50 percent were harassed while at work, and 78 percent of trans students were harassed or assaulted. The transphobia that drives the discrimination is exacerbated when the trans person is a person of color and also faces compounding racism because of the multiplicities of their experiences.

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    So, of course, this is not to suggest anyone should feel bad for Jenner -- she'll be just fine. But it appears that the frustration surrounding Jenner is wrapped up in understanding that because she is a trans woman that this should immediately translate into recognizing the rights of cisgender LGB individuals, including marriage. Assuming that Caitlyn Jenner and other trans people should be vocally supportive of marriage equality, if at all, also runs the risk of allowing cisgender LGB people to assume that we have been perfect advocates for trans people when we have not.

    In 2015, 17 trans women of color have been murdered but rarely will you hear a cisgender LGB person discuss this fact or show outrage. It's one of the many reasons #TransLiberationTuesday began this year -- to honor the lives of trans people and to call out the cisgender LGB community for remaining silent while wanting others to stand in solidarity. Because of this, a group of 22 trans women of color activists penned an open letter urging cisgender people to stand up for trans women. 

    The letter read:

    We also have to hold LGBT, or "Gay, Inc." organizations accountable for their complicity in promoting ideals that benefited White gay maleness at the cost of silencing and excluding the presence of transgender women of color. ... Instead of fighting for liberation along side of transgender women of color, these organizations used their position of White and cisgender privilege to oppress us inside of their organizations while appropriating our struggles to create the illusion of diversity for those outside the LGBT communities.


    And this is why disappointment from cisgender LGB people is so frustrating: We often expect trans people to speak up for us when we rarely offer a word of support for them. As the murder rate of trans women of color increase, so does our silence.

    It's easy to be outraged with a person receiving public attention, but that anger also needs to turn inward. What's frightening is that when we reach our social justice journeys, we often expect others to immediately be on the ride, despite the fact that it takes most of us a lifetime to get where we are. This is what cisgender LGB folks are doing to Jenner. Caitlyn Jenner is not a bastion for civil rights -- and neither are many cisgender LGB people who want everyone on our side of justice and equality.

    Preston Mitchum is a Washington, DC-based essayist, activist and liberator. He has written for the Atlantic, Ebony.com, The Huffington Post, Think Progress and theGrio. Follow him on Twitter.

    This article was originally published on the Daily Dot.

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    First reported by TMZ, Fordham University in New York City has revoked the honorary doctorate that was awarded to the actor in 2001. 


    On Thursday, members of the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to pull the 78-year-old's degree, marking the first time the school has done so in its 174-year history. 


    A rep for Fordham confirmed to The Huffington Post that the comedian's degree was rescinded, explaining in a statement that the school "has taken this extraordinary step in light of Mr. Cosby’s now-public court depositions that confirm many of the allegations made against him by numerous women." 


    The statement continued: "A recipient's actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact. By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions." 


    The school went on to say the fact that Cosby was "willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women's reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale."


    The school's decision comes after more than 40 women came forward in recent months with claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct against "The Cosby Show" star.  


    Fordham's actions follow Spelman University's decision in July to discontinue its endowed professorship with Cosby. Though Cosby has yet to face criminal charges stemming from the allegations, the public fall-out includes a the removal of a bronze bust of the actor from Disneyland, NYU's decision to remove Cosby's name from its Future Filmmakers Workshop, and the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art stating that she would never have moved forward with an exhibit featuring the artworks owned by the comedian, had she been aware of the allegations against him.


     Read Fordham's full statement:  



    In 2001, Fordham University presented comedian and actor Bill Cosby with an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, not least because of the significant role he played in breaking the color barrier in American television and popular culture, and his position as an inspirational figure for millions of African Americans. At the time, there was no public awareness of the allegations of rape against him.


    Today Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, put before the University Board of Trustees a motion to rescind Mr. Cosby’s honorary degree. The trustees voted unanimouslyto do so, officially rescinding Mr. Cosby’s Fordham degree. The University has taken this extraordinary step in light of Mr. Cosby’s now-public court depositions that confirm many of the allegations made against him by numerous women.


    Fordham has never before rescinded an honorary degree. A recipient's actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact. By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions.


    That Mr. Cosby was willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women's reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale.


    As a Jesuit university, Fordham could no longer stand behind the degree it had bestowed upon Mr. Cosby, hence this unprecedented action.



     


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    Everyone get ready because this is even better than orange soda.


    Coming off a "fun" and "emotional" reunion with Kenan Thompson on "The Tonight Show," Kel Mitchell now says the comedy duo are getting back together.


     The actor tells The Huffington Post, "From this, working together and talking about it and seeing reaction from the fans and how they were screaming, and seeing that the magic is still there, we’re just like, 'Yeah, we gotta do some more stuff,' so you’ll definitely see some more stuff. You'll definitely see something coming up."


    Ladies and gentlemen, you may now feel free to freak out.




    Thompson and Mitchell had their much anticipated reunion on Wednesday's "Tonight Show," reprising their "Good Burger" sketch. The video went viral almost immediately. On how it came together, Mitchell said, "Jimmy and his crew and his writers are amazing. They got together with ["All That" creator] Dan Schneider and wrote this amazing 'Good Burger' Kenan and Kel reunion. They told us about it. I was all for it. Kenan was all for it. And definitely that was the best platform to do it on."  


    Mitchell adds that doing the sketch was like they "never left."


    "I remember Kenan and I both walked to the hair and makeup room, and I saw [Ed's 'Good Burger'] hair on the mannequin head. And it was just this moment that was like, 'Ahhhhh!' I put it on, and it was amazing," says Mitchell.




    Image: YouTube


    It's not clear exactly when the new Kenan-and-Kel project is happening, especially with Kel starring in a new Nickelodeon show, "Game Shakers." But never fear, '90s kids. On Oct. 5, Nickelodeon officially launches "The Splat," a new multiscreen way to enjoy '90s Nick shows, including, "All That," "Are You Afraid of the Dark," "Hey Arnold!," "Legends of the Hidden Temple" and, of course, "Kenan & Kel." 


    "The Splat" premieres Oct. 5  at 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. ET on TeenNick.


    "Game Shakers" airs Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon.


    Also on HuffPost:


     



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    After receiving a $320,000 Ferrari from her boyfriend for her 18th birthday, Kylie Jenner has apparently paid it forward and bought one of her besties a $70,000 Mercedes-Benz convertible when she turned 18 on Wednesday. 


    Both Jenner and pal Jordyn Woods posted a photo of the car on Instagram on Thursday, where the birthday girl thanked her very generous friend. 


     "There's no words to describe how I feel ... I just don't know what I did to deserve this. I can never thank @kyliejenner for motivating me to always do my best and always opening up new opportunities," she wrote. "Do good and good things will happen. Blessed and grateful always. Love you and thank you again to everyone who made me feel special on this 18th year. Finally "



    happy birthday jordyn. Thank you for being you. Most down to earth selfless human being! I hope you enjoy it

    A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on



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    By now, you know that Hugh Jackman is leaving his post as Wolverine, but that doesn't mean the character is going anywhere soon. 


    In an interview with MTV, the Australian actor revealed who he thinks might be able to step into the mutant's sometimes-hairy skin, but not before reminding us all that he's still got one more film in the franchise to go.


    “I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I’ve been asked that question a lot, and I’m always like, ‘I don’t wanna make it too easy on the studio to replace me, you know! I’ve still got one more to do!'" he said. 


    But after thinking about a little more, Jackman suggested, "He's younger than me for sure -- I think Tom Hardy would be a great Wolverine." 


    We can definitely see that! 


    Hardy, who starred as the title character in this year's "Mad Max: Fury Road," is also strongly suggested to be in the running to replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond. He may have a busy few years ahead of him if any of these early rumors become truths. 


    But as Jackman said, he's still got one more "Wolverine" film that we can look forward to. 


    Also on HuffPost: 



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    mid

    There are more than a few famous men who have (allegedly) beaten or raped women and have just kept on being famous. They try to bury their reportedly dark pasts, stomaching the times they may have used physical force to assert power over another human life. Glass half empty, they have (allegedly) beaten or raped women. Glass half full, they are still famous, so, it's fine, not a big deal. 



    Except, that is, when pot-stirrers like Lee Daniels bring up the fact that the past still exists. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Daniels defended "Empire" actor Terrence Howard, who has previously been accused of violence against women, saying, "that poor boy ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some fuckin’ demon."


    Marlon Brando is dead (RIP), but Penn is alive and his feelings were hurt. So hurt, in fact, that he is suing Daniels. "Can you really put a price on feelings?" you may be wondering. And the answer is, yes, feelings cost $10 million. Or anyway, that is how much Penn's lawsuit against Daniels is seeking.


    The whole thing is online and makes some really good points about how great Penn is. According to the aforementioned lawsuit, he is:



    • An "American icon"

    • An "internationally-known film actor recognized for his humanitarian work, journalism, and advocacy for peace and human rights"

    • And "one of this generation’s most highly-acclaimed and greatest artists and humanitarians, Sean Penn." 


    It also states that "Daniels has falsely asserted and/or implied that Penn is guilty of ongoing, continuous violence against women." (Which, what does "ongoing" and "continuous" even mean in the context of violence against women? Is it just punching every member of a Girl Scout troupe, going to sleep, waking up and punching every member of a different Girl Scout troupe?)



    Daniels was attempting to highlight the racial discrepancies between Howard and his white counterparts, but -- cue "Ebony & Ivory" -- it's actually not OK to hit women whether you're black or white. Daniels is basically encountering the issue by saying, "Whatever, guys! Sean Penn did that, too!" And Penn is basically responding by saying, "Actually, I'm a humanitarian and now you owe me $10 million."


    Penn's attempt to censor Daniels is only further publicizing the quote, though not because we're suddenly rightfully enraged by the Madonna incidents, both of which are recapped by the New York Post in a piece titled "Why Would Anyone Want To Date Sean Penn?": 



    In 1987, Penn reportedly struck his then-wife, Madonna, across the head with a baseball bat....


    In December 1988, Penn allegedly tied Madonna to a chair in their Malibu home and attacked her. The nine-hour ordeal only ended when the singer was untied to use the bathroom and she fled to a police station.



    Madonna did not press charges in either case, so in a sense, Penn's suit saying he was never convicted of domestic abuse is accurate. Still, a case against Daniels will only work to draw more attention to his past. And after being famous for more than three decades, Penn has to understand that, right? Maybe he just wants to remind us he's an "American icon." Maybe he needs $10 million dollars so he can buy this diamond chandelier.


    What's clear is the impact of both Penn and Daniels. Here is yet another dialogue about violence against women driven ... by men. Men who, in an attempt to protect their professional interests and reputations, are using their privileged male voices to dominate media conversations. 


    Whether it's an accused man making statements to the public, or another man making jabs at the accused, men's accounts of abuse speak volumes. (Remember, women were accusing Cosby of rape for decades before Hannibal Buress got our attention with a joke.) This dynamic not only perpetuates the culture of silence for victims of abuse, but is implicit in allowing abuse to continue at the highest stratospheres of fame.


    We have to recognize what voices are the loudest and refuse to let them stop us from making the right kind of noise.


    Middlebrow is a recap of the week in entertainment, celebrity and television news that provides a comprehensive look at the state of pop culture. From the rock bottom to highfalutin, Middlebrow is your accessible guidebook to the world of entertainment. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.


    Follow Lauren Duca on Twitter: @laurenduca

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    Blake Shelton doesn't beat around the bush when asked why he's been looking a little slimmer lately.


    "Well, you know, you should try the divorce diet," the newly single singer joked in an interview with "America's Morning Show" radio host Blair Garner on Wednesday. Shelton, 39, divorced fellow country star Miranda Lambert in July -- and apparently he didn't have much of an appetite while going through the separation. 


    "The whole stress of getting through all of that is just...It was just weird. I'm not eating as many fried pickles and stuff. I'm doing great. I am," Shelton said. "[You] just stay as busy as you can to kind of keep your mind off of everything." 



    There's a little more to Shelton's slimmed-down look than that, though. Earlier this week, "The Voice" coach's rep told E! News that he's been putting in time at the gym -- albeit begrudgingly. 


    "He's doing the two things he hates to do -- diet and exercise," the rep said. 


    Shelton and Lambert, who were married four years, confirmed their split this summer, telling TMZ: 



    "This is not the future we envisioned and it is with heavy heart that we move forward separately.  We are real people, with real lives, with real family, friends and colleagues.  Therefore, we kindly ask for privacy and compassion concerning this very personal matter." 



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    Ashlee Simpson and her husband, Evan Ross, took to Instagram to show off their first child together, Jagger Snow Ross. This is the first photo the parents have shown of Jagger Snow, who was born on July 30, 2015


    Simpson captioned her Instagram  "Jagger Snow Ross !! We love her so much!!! She is beyond everything!!! I have the best baby daddy @realevanross In the world. Love you" 



    Ross Instagrammed the same photo with a shoutout to his wife, the "best mommy in the world." 


    Simpson also has one son, Bronx, with ex-husband Pete Wentz.  


    H/T People 


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    When Joseph Gordon-Levitt appeared on a "Tonight Show" lip sync battle, the video went on to have around 50 million hits on YouTube. So imagine how crazy it would be if he was actually singing something. That'd be a dream, right?


    Well, good news. JGL was in "Inception," and he just "incepted" the hell out of that dream. "The Walk" actor made a surprise appearance on Thursday with Jimmy Fallon's Ragtime Gals to actually sing Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money," joining the ranks of Steve CarellKevin Spacey and Sting.


    It's just more proof Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the best. Don't act like you forgot.


    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.


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    Fall is that time of year when you always misjudge if you should wear a jacket, the sweet taste of hot chocolate burns the roof of your mouth and you get lost for hours in a corn maze. It's magical.


    Now, there are actually a lot of good things about fall. After watching Jimmy Fallon and The Roots sing your best #FallSongs tweets, we just can't really think of any.










    Summer, it's you we're looking for.

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    Attention, "Black Mirror" fans -- Netflix just announced that it's commissioned 12 brand new episodes of the critically acclaimed series.


    According to a statement from Netflix, creator and writer Charlie Brooker has already started writing the new episodes and will begin filming them in late 2015. The series' first three seasons were originally aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. before being picked up by the streaming service. 


    "Charlie has created a one-of-a-kind series with an uncanny voice and prescient, darkly comedic vision," said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at Netflix.


    "It's all very exciting," said Brooker. "I just hope none of these new story ideas come true." Brooker might be referencing an episode of "Black Mirror" that happened to look a lot like real news.


    Earlier this week, rumors swirled that the current prime minister of the U.K., David Cameron, allegedly put "a private part of his anatomy" into a dead pig's mouth. On "Black Mirror," the first episode of the series portrays a fictional prime minister being forced to have sex with a pig on live television in order to save a princess.  


    Netflix has yet to announce when the new episodes of "Black Mirror" will premiere, so stay tuned. 



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    Nameberry

    Fall is here, and the TV debut season is in full swing. Out of the many interesting character names on these shows, are there any that will break out as baby names the way Khaleesi, Arya and Daenerys did in "Game of Thrones"? Here are some that might have a chance -- if, of course, their shows catch on.


    Agatha



    Granted, this character name in "Minority Report" is not new or flashy, but it does beg the question of whether an attractive contemporary actress -- in this case Laura Regan -- can rejuvenate the image of a fusty name, which has been out of the Top 1000 since 1940.


    Dazzle


    It’s not often that a non-Disney animated character name catches on, but the new "Moonbeam City" has some doozies. This parody of '80s cop shows features the voices of Rob Lowe as Dazzle Novak, Elizabeth Banks as Pizzaz Miller, Kate Mara as Chrysalis Tate and Will Forte as Rad Cunningham. Too much?


    Diver



    The LA-based true crime procedural drama, "Wicked City" has conventional character names -- except for this one. Evan Ross plays crime scene paparazzo Diver Hakes, and I can see this as a new occupational name possibility.


    Jessamy


    The Bastard Executioner, from the creators of Sons of Anarchy, is the kind of action-packed, swashbuckling historical drama that is also usually packed with some fascinating names, including our favorite, Jessamy. But there’s also main hero Wilkin, plus Milus, Calo, Toran, Ash, Annora and Petra.


    Kara



    Supergirl is the first female superhero since Wonder Woman in 1975, and so Kara Zor-El, a cousin of Superman, has a lot of strong role-model potential resting on her toned shoulders. Kara, also a Valkyrie in Norse mythology, was a Top 100 name in the mid-'80s, but now has fallen to 442. Can this power heroine bring it back?


    Leofric


    "The Last Kingdom" is a new testosterone-heavy historical BBC series set in the 9th century. The characters have a mix of Saxon, Norse and invented names, such as Ravn, Beocca, Alferic, Guthrum, Ragnar, Halig, Ubba, Storri and Beocca (male), and Brida and Thyra (female). Some Leo-loving namer might pick up on the novel Leofric.


    Lowry, "Love"



    I couldn’t resist a separate listing for this "The Bastard Executioner" name, as it looks to be one of the most promising. Worn in the show by Baroness Lowry Aberffraw Ventris, known as “Love,” Lowry is a Welsh surname more often used for males, but here with a decidedly feminine nickname.


    Nimah


    "Quantico," about young FBI recruits training at the Quantico, Virginia base, features a multi-cultural cast and some multi-cultural names, including the sweet Arabic Nimah, which means "blessing," and can also be spelled without the final "h."


    Pippy



    "Rosewood" is a new medical series set in Florida, starring Morris Chestnut as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., who has a sister named Pippy. Could Pippy take Poppy and Pippa one step further?


    Veil


    "Into the Badlands" is a martial arts series based on a classic Chinese tale, complete with feudal barons and great warriors -- and some extraordinary names, including a male named Bale, a beguiling beauty named Veil and a female Zypher. I can see these names attracting fans -- if the series does.


    Wolfgang



    The name of the hero of Canadian spy thriller "The Romeo Section" has gone from long-haired German composer to scary animal name and now to spymaster character Professor Wolfgang McGee. Wolfgang is now Number 508 on Nameberry.


    Zayday 


    "Scream Queens," a campy horror show set in a college campus sorority house, which managed to snag the original "scream queen," Jaime Lee Curtis,’ also has a fantastic mix of names. Emma Roberts as Chanel, Keke Palmer as Zayday, Lea Michele as Hester (see Agatha, above), and Tavi Gevinson as Feather.


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    Khloe Kardashian loves to document all the progress she's made in the gym, which isn't surprising considering she's completely transformed her body in the last year. 


    The 31-year-old, like her sisters Kourtney and Kim, is a big fan of waist training, but Khloe is taking it to the next level. 


    On Thursday, the reality star shared a photo on Instagram showcasing her what all those hours wearing that thing can do. 



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    In this exclusive "99 Homes" clip, you get to see Andrew Garfield round up a crew to help him shovel human feces from a home whose evicted family backed up the septic tank before vacating. It's the first sign that his character, a struggling single father, has sold his soul to the same real-estate shark (Michael Shannon) who's just ousted him and his mother (Laura Dern) from their family abode. That poop-slinging launches the axis of Ramin Bahrani's new drama, which takes place amid the 2008 housing crisis and explores how far a guy will go to put a roof over his family's head. In the case of Garfield's character, that means profiting while hapless homeowners are kicked to the curb.


    "99 Homes" opens Friday. Read our interview with Garfield




     


     


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    Robert Pattinson is back and making the rounds for his upcoming movie "Life." In an interview with British music magazine NME, Pattinson dishes on his new movie role, Googling himself and his struggles with Internet comments. 


    In "Life," Pattinson plays photojournalist Dennis Stock, who was good friends with movie star James Dean. When asked by NME why he was right for the role of Stock, a man who Pattinson explained was "was someone who is uncomfortable in every aspect of his life," the actor simply answered, "I'm the most uncomfortable person in the world." 



    It doesn't seem to help that Pattinson feeds his "uncomfortable" persona by Googling his name to "reinforce my negative opinion of myself." While he might appear a little self-loathing, the actor doesn't mince words when talking about the people that talk about him. 


    "It really does really does affect you, and it all comes from some moron sitting on a comment board," said Pattinson in the interview. "It’s always that person who’s needling away at you, who you either want to destroy, or convince them to love you." 


    But at least, according to the star, people aren't quite as crazy about stalking him like they did in his "Twilight" days. 


    "I had people sitting outside my house every single day, and it drove me crazy. I didn’t go into a supermarket for about six years." 


    Head over to NME to read the rest of the Pattinson interview. 


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    BY RAMON RAMIREZ

    It's a slimy art to put hip-hop's swagger-fueled materialism on trial as an outsider. No matter how earnest, learned, and well-intentioned the resulting song is: Preach fiscal responsibility to rap fans and you might as well write a track about pulling up your pants. 

    In his star-studded clip for freshly minted single "$ave Dat Money," 27-year-old rapper and former comedian Lil Dicky (real name David Burd) tries to have his bottle service and pop it too. His message attacks his rap counterparts for their irresponsible spending -- even though he leans on their talents and slang to get there. 

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    The viral video's concept is simple: Engage high-end retailers and wealthy people, ask them to borrow stuff for a shoot, and make a Roman orgy rap clip on the cheap. 



    The song is gorgeously engineered. Trap king Fetty Wap handles chorus duties; T-Pain encourages Dicky to borrow footage from his in-progress set; and Rich Homie Quan pops in to essentially lampoon his ode to lavish living, "Lifestyle." (Itself one of 2014's finest works.) Producer Money Alwayz leans on the warm, clang-on-PVC-pipe synthesizer trick still in our heads from Iggy Azalea's "Fancy." For his part, Lil Dicky twists words into laugh-out-loud knots -- on the bridge he goes full DJ Screw, slow-pitching his voice for a towering diatribe about haggling with a waiter.

    Dicky rhymes well, and more importantly understands the cues and flow of rap music. This makes his stern grandstanding less repellent than Macklemore's box cutter, void-of-charisma lyrics about ironic mopeds. It makes Dicky appear less clueless than the sulking teen bile tossed at rap videos by Lorde.

    But it's still an irresponsible gaming of the system.

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    Dicky enjoys the misogynist perks of filming women in bikinis on a yacht, but never yields his humble, low-rent, good-dude charm. For an artist who grew up in the upper-middle class streets of Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, pretending that a McLaren brings him the same accomplished symbolism that it does a rapper from Paterson, New Jersey (and its 15 out of 100 crime index safety rating) is misguided.

    He's also able to use his white privilege to not only flip the script on rap, but also bring his director's treatment to life. The video calls for him to get access to free and expensive items by way of -- and this is rich -- walking into gated communities, night clubs, marinas, and car dealerships, then asking other white people to use their stuff. At the risk of being cynical, I don't believe the sweet, elderly white woman who ultimately lets Dicky film in her mansion answers the security buzzer if it's Rich Homie Quan at the door.

    As pure artistry, it's easier to traverse a universe and borrow components than it is to fully operate under its guiding parameters. With the luxury of detachment, structuring a rap business model that strays from the norm (black people writing about what is around them and how they feel about it) and veers into Seth Rogan-esque, basketball shorts commentary for frat houses is calculated cake.

    PIt's not a bad way for newcomers to skip the XXL magazine Freshmen cover, and go straight for a GQ profile. In Dicky's previous video -- a collaboration with Snoop Dogg -- he at least lays out why he thinks it will work: "Literally I can reinvent myself, I get a forum to express myself."



    He's fully aware of his background, but uses it incorrectly as a bargaining chip -- reasoning that he must work harder to avoid the stigma of his upbringing in order to make his rap career work. This ignores being able to tinker with music throughout college, then having enough institutional runway to ditch structured work and give music a go.

    "That's my niche," he raps to Snoop. "Don't get offended by this, but that's the market y'all miss. That's the target I'll hit. That's the heart of my pitch -- I want to do this whole thing different."

    He goes on to make the point that his "anti-rap" will land with people who don't value and respect rap music, and his music is "ironically one of the real brands of rap left." Dicky's plan to beam into the YouTube apps of suburban kids is moving along swimmingly.




    Engaging with rap long enough to cultivate a rhyming voice is something a vast, undiagnosed cluster of fans instinctively do. But it's a weapon -- just ask Tom Hanks' son Chet.

    Dicky made a name for himself rapping like what he called a "thug" about childhood pop culture like Disney's The Lion King. He carved a voice out composed of stereotypes -- otherwise known as a blaccent -- built upon his experiences listening to records.

    To be fair. Dicky is an objectively talented young rapper. When his material lands, the joke is pure Lonely Island: Present the dichotomy of familiar posturing with common engagements like stealing Wi-Fi from your neighbor, and you have well-earned viral hits.



    I'm rooting for the guy because he has a story to tell. One about getting stoned, feeling alienated in a suburb, and stubbornly carving a path via privilege and cultural theft. He's basically Win Butler, but honest and interesting because his ace in the hole is competent observational humor.

    But next time out, let's hope he remembers that rap materialism is rooted in the escapism that comes with being an American minority who sometimes feels oppressed. Ever listened to loud, bleeding music in your ears to block out the world? It can be a territorial defense mechanism. 

    There is fatalism in throwing money at depreciating assets, but also beauty. Never forget that stunting is a habit. Dicky should learn to love the humanist value of putting everyone's margaritas on your card. 

    Ramon Ramirez is the evening editor for the Daily Dot.

    This story originally published on the Daily Dot.

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    BY DERRICK CLIFTON


    Let's just all take a moment and give a round of applause to all the white men who benevolently offer their wise counsel to women and people of color on matters of diversity

    Without their wisdom and tireless efforts, television and movies today would be nowhere close to portraying the realities of Americans from all walks of life. And the people leading most productions, networks, studios, and awarding organizations reflect the spirit of that commitment.

    In reality, it's a hollow, apathetic spirit. Even as people from underrepresented communities highlight the persistent pitfalls in representation, both in front of and behind the camera, the industry still finds a way to congratulate itself for a job well done. And so much so, it will trick the public into believing that it's listening and truly committed to giving everyone a fair seat at the table -- even when the same white men running the show keep the seats reserved for members of their boys' club.

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    It's what explains the audacity of both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight, and a Vanity Fair feature that heralded "Why Late Night Television Is Better Than Ever." Within the same week, both platforms managed to put white men front and center in conversations about inclusion, diversity, and equity in the media. They not only glossed over ongoing problems, but did so while talking down to and over women and people of color who have long forced the issue. 

    And the message was clear: It's OK to include narratives about people of color and women, as long as white people (especially men) remain in complete control.










    In one instance, Damon -- a rich, industry-backed, white male screenwriter and producer -- dared to dictate to an experienced Hollywood producer (and a black woman) how to handle issues of diversity in the filming process. "When we're talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film not in the casting of the show," he said, after Effie Brown points out a glaring problem with how a sole black character is portrayed, and why it'll be crucial to hire a culturally competent person to direct it. It's something any wise manager might want to keep in mind, especially when the only black character in a project is a female prostitute being slapped by a white pimp. But as Jezebel's Kara Brown notes, Damon dismissed Brown's appeal, essentially saying "that they don't have to hire any diverse filmmakers on Project Greenlight as long as they throw a few women and black people onscreen."


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    And in Vanity Fair, longtime contributing editor David Kamp praised the revitalized "mix of new faces, shows, and platforms," following recent seismic shifts in late-night televisions lineups -- notably as Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart took their final bows, and Stephen Colbert moved from cable to network. To Kamp's credit, he noted that women are "conspicuously missing" from late-night TV, even with Samantha Bee's impending debut on TBS and Chelsea Handler's move from E! to Netflix. But even so, the optics of the headline and the photo of late-night hosts (with Bee and Handler not included) spoke volumes on social media -- late-night television still isn't so great if you're a woman or a person of color. 

    The latter of both categories was nary mentioned in the story, but if we're counting all 12 hosts, something is clear: For two groups that make up roughly half the population, they each represent only 16 percent of late-night hosts. It's a fact that wasn't lost upon the likes of CBS, NBCComedy Central, or any entertainment journalists in recent years, when the Internet made it abundantly clear that it was time to break up the white male stranglehold on late-night hosting slots (and writing staffs).

    But for now, this is how diversity works in America. White men continue taking the lead, even when they'd probably be better off taking more of a seat -- and working with the leadership of women and people of color.










    To be clear, white men and women aren't monolithic social categories, and there's diversity within those ranks as well. For example, a gay white man who isn't trans will likely have different career, education, and life experiences when compared to a heterosexual, white woman. In either case, both parties have a different set of privileges and limitations based on gender and sexuality.

    At the same time, both groups have one thing in common: they're still white. And as a result, of no fault of their own, they just won't be as privy to the experiences of people of color beyond whatever they're able to learn.

    Even though Handler and Bee are now the standard bearers for women in late-night TV, which is a step up for gender diversity, both women are still white. Reportedly, Amy Schumer turned down a Daily Show hosting gig, satisfied with her current show and because it didn't feel like the right fit. Yet for women of color, who live at the intersections of race and gender, there is no late-night host who looks like them, and relatively few major films where they're running the show.

    Notably, the Daily Show's Jessica Williams quieted the online cheers for her to replace Stewart, emphasizing that it's not the job she wants, and of course it's her prerogative. But that she was easily identified as a qualified alternative, and one that wasn't white nor male, suggests that audiences want more diversity in late-night TV, not less. Within the past two years, many black women (and their allies) pressed hard for Saturday Night Live -- weekend late-night television if you will -- to stop putting black men in drag after Maya Rudolph's departure and actually hire black female comedians. The push culminated in roles for Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata. (Nasim Pedrad, an Iranian-American comedian on the cast for five seasons, left shortly after to pursue other projects.)

    And over on the big screen, a 2015 study from the Bunche Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, highlights that -- based on major film releases in the 2012-2013 season -- people of color remained outnumbered two-to-one among film directors and three-to-one among film writers. As for women, they too, are outnumbered, at a ratio of eight-to-one among film directors and four-to-one among film writers. In the executive offices, it's even worse for women and people of color, where management at almost every level is roughly 90 percent (or more) white and overwhelmingly male.

    But if we're still following Matt Damon's logic -- in which he knows better than an experienced black female producer -- the only diversity focus necessary comes through how film roles are cast, not who's directing, writing, producing, or even green-lighting projects. 



    The status quo isn't solving the problem. Although inclusion and diversity translate to various historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. Yet in the context of entertainment, even with some measurable advances along the strict lines of gender and sexuality, race remains perhaps the most salient marker of the disproportionate power and privilege held by white men (and some white women) in power. But based on the prevailing reasoning on the issue, all it takes is affirming the leadership of expressly (or aspiring) progressive white men who think they know a thing or two about issues of diverse representation. As far as how women and people of color are represented, it's by incorporating their issues -- as filtered through mostly white male staffs -- whereas a few people from either group get hired in visible roles for optics. But many of those immensely powerful men have no idea about how to truly include marginalized perspectives, or engender more access and equitable division of power in the industry.

    No matter how well-intentioned, the mostly white male late-night hosts, film producers, and directors can't rely on their thoughts alone to substantively address ongoing issues of inclusion. No amount of self-education in the world is a replacement for one straightforward, yet seemingly Herculean task: Hire diverse people of color at every level, in front of and behind the camera.

    And when there's a discussion about diversity, remove white maleness from the center.

    Derrick Clifton is the deputy opinion editor for the Daily Dot and a New York-based journalist and speaker, primarily covering issues of identity, culture, and social justice. Follow Derrick on Twitter: @DerrickClifton.

    This story originally published on the Daily Dot.

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    SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A judge has approved Caitlyn Jenner's request to make her name and gender change official.


    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg approved Jenner's petition to legally change her name and gender during a hearing Friday in Santa Monica, California.


    The 65-year-old Olympic gold medalist, who was born William Bruce Jenner, didn't attend the brief hearing. The approval means she can now get government documents, such as a driver's license and Social Security card, under her new identity.


    Jenner has publicly transitioned to a woman in recent months after revealing her intentions to journalist Diane Sawyer in a televised special and debuting her new name and look on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.


    Some details that accompanied her petition were redacted after Jenner cited privacy concerns and threats she says she has received during her transition.


     


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    BY NICO LANG

    Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift might make for a seemingly unexpected mashup, but the pairing isn't all that unusual. Girl Talk's Feed the Animals and Night Ripper brought together acts as seemingly incongruous as Notorious B.I.G., Aphex Twin, and Elton John to form something totally new and totally transcendent. Who knew that Dolla would bring out the best in Avril Lavigne

    Danger Mouse, the prolific producer and musician, likewise paired the Beatles' self-titled LP (popularly known as the "White Album") and Jay-Z's The Black Album for the appropriately titled The Grey Album. You haven't heard "99 Problems" until you've heard it mashed up with "Helter Skelter."



    While Adams' version of 1989, released to iTunes on Tuesday, isn't a mashup in the Greg Gillis model, it carries the same raison d'etre -- creating something that's not greater than the sum of its parts but worthy to them.

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    Influenced by Springsteen and The Smiths, Ryan Adams reimagines the best-settling pop album of the past year as a love letter to folk Americana, complete with ballads about long drives, bad girls, and the ones that got away. In Adams' hands, the poppy "Shake It Off" becomes a mournful ballad of post-breakup empowerment, whereas "Welcome to New York" evokes the swagger of the Boss at his best.

    But his interpretations of "Wildest Dreams" and "Blank Space" that offer the album's finest moments, but perhaps not in the way Adams initially intended.

    Given that these songs are both about Swift's past relationships with men, there's a specific gendered element to her lyrics. "Blank Space," in particular, calls heavily upon the "crazy ex-girlfriend" trope with lines like: "Boys only want love if it's torture/Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn you" and "Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream." Ryan Adams cuts these but keeps other references to the singer's gender. The lines "Be that girl for a month" and "Keep you second guessing like, 'Oh my god, who is she?'" are left intact.



    While Adams' "Style" snips a line about James Dean in favor of a Sonic Youth reference, "Wildest Dreams" gets even messier with gender. Ryan Adams refers to his object of affection as "so tall and handsome as hell/she's so bad, but she does it so well" -- qualities not often used to describe a singer's ideal woman. 

    In particular, "handsome" is curiously antiquated signifier. In an 1813 encyclopedia, the term was positioned as oppositional to the less loaded "beautiful," which meant "delicately made." In contrast, a beautiful woman is "tall, graceful, and well-shaped, with a regular disposition of features." Thus, there's a certain stately androgyny that only enhances the "handsome" woman's poise and stature. 

    On Google, the women most associated with the term include Katherine Hepburn and Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox -- both of whom blur the lines between femininity and masculinity. Hepburn was known as "the woman who wore pants," serving to popularize the fashion trend of female trousers at a time when it was still considered unladylike. The choice was more than just a "fashion statement," as Time magazine's Eliza Berman explains, it was a political one -- a "symbol of stubborn independence and a declaration of modernity."

    In "Wildest Dreams," however, Adams tentatively positions himself as "the man who wore a dress." The inverted gender roles leave the meaning of lyrics like "standing in your nice dress, staring at the sunset" open to interpretation: Who is exactly wearing the garment -- his ex or Adams himself? This might seem like a ridiculous reading, but it was a theme powerfully explored in Francois Ozon's recent French psychological drama The New Girlfriend -- in which a bereaved widower, David, copes with his wife's death by wearing her clothing. For David, her dress is a gateway drug to a greater realization: He is transgender. David then begins the slow process of living as a woman.

    While Ryan Adams obviously didn't intend on making a trans empowerment out of Swift's current hit single, he doesn't shy away from these complex gender dynamics either. 

    The choice is extremely reminiscent of the Magnetic Fields' three-disc spanning masterpiece, 69 Love Songs, the gold standard of queering gender in pop music. Although the group has been dubbed as "gay synth-pop," co-vocalist Claudia Gonson told the Advocate that they wanted want their songs to appeal to everyone: "When we started Magnetic Fields, we purposely had one lesbian, one gay guy, one straight woman, and one straight man. The audience could identify with whomever they wanted."

    On 69 Love Songs, the group achieves this goal by having Gonson and the band's Stephen Merritt and Shirley Simms, as well as guest vocalists LD Beghtol and Dudley Klute, sing the album's titular tracks to a variety of lovers -- of varying genders and sexualities. 

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    Merritt's blissfully romantic "When My Boy Walks Down the Street" is delivered to a man, whereas Gonson and Merritt sings the darkly comic "Yeah! Oh, Yeah" to each other. The subject of "Reno Dakota," which Gonson provides vocals on, could be either male or female. Shirley Simms' "Come Back From San Francisco" appears to be addressed from a woman to a queer man.



    In covering Taylor Swift, Ryan Adams achieves something similar to what the Magnetic Fields set out to do: By toying with the gender in 1989's lyrics, Adams shines an added light on the universal themes of heartache, longing, and resilience at the core of Swift's music. 

    As an artist who markets primarily to a young, female fanbase, it might be easy to dismiss Taylor Swift as "girl pop" instead of taking her work seriously. Mashing up gender doesn't just bring out the best in both Swift and Adams -- resulting in one of the best albums of their of their respective careers -- it reminds us why we listen to love songs to begin with.

    This story originally published on the Daily Dot.

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    Kylie Jenner had a Friday surprise for fans when she shared a never-before-seen shot of sister Kim Kardashian from that famous swimsuit shoot she did in 2013. 


    Jenner posted a pic of Kardashian in a low-cut white swimsuit with blond hair Friday afternoon.  



    A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on



    The shot was taken almost two years ago. At the time, Kardashian took a selfie showing the suit's high-cut bottom and captioned it with #NoFilter, much to Kanye West's delight. The photo racked up over 1 million likes on Instagram. 



     


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