#ThrowbackThursday: Loving v. Virginia, 1967

Mildred and Richard Loving (The New York Times)

Mildred and Richard Loving (The New York Times)

Virginia newlyweds Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested shortly after their wedding in 1958. The reason? As Life magazine would later put it, “the crime of being married.”

The Lovings had violated Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which banned interracial relationships and marriage. The couple avoided prison time be agreeing to leave Virginia and not come back for 25 years.

In 1964, the couple took their case to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which eventually went all the way to the Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Racial Integrity Act was unconstitutional. The decision made states’ anti-miscegenation laws unenforceable (though many of the laws remained on the books for years later).

Today, nearly 50 years later, the Loving v. Virginia case continues to resonate. In 2015, the decision was cited in Obergefell v. Hodges in arguments in favor of marriage equality to the case’s success. A documentary “The Loving Story” was released in 2011, and “Loving” was released in 2016 with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the historic couple.

 

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Trends: Custom Emoji

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji (Fushion)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji (Fushion)

Everyone loves emoji. That’s just a fact. Recently, emoji have grown and expanded. Where there used to be just one brand of emoji, now there are several types.

Distribution company Focus Features came up with custom emoji to promote their recent film “Loving.” The film details the history of the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case which struck down miscegenation statues across the United States. The emoji were created to show the range of love between people, and so users could relate to the film in a modern way.

Releasing custom emoji has hit disparate industries and public figures. Professional golfer Bubba Watson released his “Bubbamoji” in April 2016. Stand-up comic and actor Kevin Hart has his line of “Kevmoji,” all modeled after the comedian’s very expressive face. The “Kevmoji” hit #1 on iTunes downloads immediately after its release in September 2016.

But nobody’s dominated the custom emoji space better than America’s most polarizing reality TV family: the Kardashian/Jenners. Members of the family have taken to designing custom emoji for their fans to communicate with like-minded souls. Kim Kardashian West (who’s turned out to be quite the technology and new media mogul) debuted her “Kimoji” in December 2015, and was an immediate hit.

Not to be outdone, Rob Kardashian’s fiancee (and mother of his daughter Dream) Blac Chyna has also released her own line of emoji. But, like anything dealing with the Kardashian/Jenner clan, this has not been without drama: One of the “Chymoji” depicts Chyna slapping a brunette woman presumed to be Kardashian West’s stepsister Kylie Jenner. (If you don’t know why this is a foul, brush up on the history of the feud between the two.)

Another person in the Kardashian Extended Universe (KEU, for short) is feminist activist Amber Rose. (Rose is one of Kanye West’s former paramours. West is now, of course, married to Kim Kardashian West.) Rose dropped her “MuvaMoji” in March 2016, where it earned around $4M. That number includes $2M on release day alone.

It’s clear that launching a set of custom emoji is becoming a necessary step in engaging with fans. So who’ll be next to launch a set?

Trends: Historic Interracial Couples on Film

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in 'Loving' (Evening Standard)

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in ‘Loving’ (Evening Standard)

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, the conversation around movies in Hollywood centered around the fact that there was no diversity. #OscarsSoWhite gained prominence during the national conversation. It seems the entertainment industry listened, because movies with diverse casts and themes will be released. Even better, a couple of movies will tell stories from history that need to be more widely known than they are.

The story of Virginia couple Mildred and Richard Loving are featured in Jeff Nichols’ Loving. Mildred, a Black woman (played by Ruth Negga), and Richard (Joel Edgerton), a white man, were arrested in 1958 for the crime of being married when interracial marriage was a crime. The Lovings’ ordeal to have their union be legally recognized led to the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case in 1967. The ruling struck down every anti-miscegenation law still on the books in 16 Southern states. (At least in theory; several states still tried to unofficially enforce the law.)

Too few people know this story, and I’m glad it’s gaining more recognition. The case is seen as a landmark in the struggle for civil rights, and can be regarded as the spiritual predecessor to the recent marriage equality fight and decision.

Loving isn’t the only historic interracial love story debuting this winter. Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom focuses on the story of Sir Seretse Khama (played by David Oyelowo), a member of the Bechuanaland Protectorate’s royal family, and Ruth Williams (played by Rosamund Pike), an English woman and Khama’s eventual wife. The Khamas’ romance and eventual marriage set off an international scandal which took years to rectify.

Director Asante’s previous feature was Belle, the true story of a mixed-race English woman in the 18th century. I enjoyed it, particularly because it was something I hadn’t seen before: a woman of color in a period costume drama. Asante won my attention and my dollars with that film, so I’m curious to see her new one as well.

Loving will be released on Nov. 4th, and A United Kingdom will be released Jan. 17, 2017.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: “The Loving Story,” 2011

Richard and Mildred Loving, 'The Loving Story' (Documentary Daze)

Richard and Mildred Loving, ‘The Loving Story’ (Documentary Daze)

Documentary “The Loving Story” was released in 2011, and examined the lives of Richard and Mildred Loving. An interracial couple from Virginia, they were arrested for violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law shortly after their wedding in 1958. The film examines their struggle to remain married and able to live in Virginia, which led to the historic Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision of 1967.

The film was directed by Nancy Buirski, premiered in 2012, and won a Peabody Award.

“Loving” Film Releases Interracial Emoji Couples

Love-Moji ('Glamour' en Espanol)

Love-Moji (‘Glamour’ en Espanol)

Given our current obsession with all things tech, Focus Features has found a fitting way to promote the company’s upcoming film “Loving:” custom emojis.

The Love-Mojis feature a variety of emojis of interracial couples in about every combination you could think of. So if you’re in an interracial couple, and you haven’t yet felt your coupling properly represented by the Unicode Consortium, your time has finally come!

Why is this important? Let’s start with the film itself: “Loving” follows Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who got married in 1958. This wouldn’t be so remarkable except that Richard was white and Mildred was black. Their marriage happened during a time where interracial dating, much less marriage, was frowned upon, to put it lightly. Interracial marriage could bring a charge of miscegenation (race mixing, in plain terms).

The Lovings were arrested after their marriage for the crime of their relationship, and forced to leave Virginia. Once in D.C., they began legal proceedings. The Loving v. Virginia case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, which struck down said laws that were on the books of sixteen states. (All sixteen states were in the South. Shocker.)

Needless to say, this was a landmark case.

But why use emojis to promote it?

Since emojis debuted, the options for emoji couples were pretty stark. They didn’t show the breadth of real-life relationships in terms of race and also sexual preference. The new Love-Moji take this into account, and rectify the oversight.

There’s also the fact that using emojis has become a convenient visual shorthand for emotions we don’t particularly feel like typing out in words.

You can get the Love-Moji via app stores and at VoteLoving.com.

“Loving” comes out on Friday, Nov. 4th.

OKCupid Data of 2015: By The Numbers

OkCupid logo (IAC)

OkCupid logo (IAC)

I love it when online dating sites share their data. You can tell a lot about a person, or people as a group, by what they’re willing to admit to on the Internet.

I’ve picked out the most interesting facts, but you can see the full report for yourself.

State with the most users looking for casual sex: Oregon (15.51%)

State with most users who are (admitted) virgins: Utah (19.78%)

Percentage of people interested in participating in bondage: 58%

  • Year-over-year increase from 2014: +5%

Percentage of users who masturbate at least a few times a week: 51.3%

OkCupid 'The Hangover' 2016 Emoji Data (OkCupid)

OkCupid ‘The Hangover’ 2016 Emoji Data (OkCupid)

Average number of questions a user answers: 125

Percentage of overall users not down with interracial marriage: 3%

Percentage of users in Mississippi not down with interracial marriage: 18%

Percentage of users who said they’d date a transgender person: 25%

  • Year-over-year change from 2014: +5%

 

And lastly, the most important stat of all:

OkCupid 'The Hangover 2016' Pop Culture Data (OkCupid)

OkCupid ‘The Hangover 2016’ Pop Culture Data (OkCupid)

Trends: Interracial Couples on Broadcast TV, 2010-2015, Part 2

President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in 'Scandal' (New York Post)

President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in ‘Scandal’ (New York Post)

Happy Friday! Ready for Part 2? (If not, catch up on all the interracial couples of broadcast TV over the past five years, and then come on back!) Here’s the fun part: seeing the data play out in graphs!

First off, here are the basic data tables. Here are the number of new shows and total shows per season per network:

New Shows and Total Shows per Season per Broadcast Network (Excel)

New Shows and Total Shows per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)

Those look like relatively big numbers, right?

Here are the number of shows per network per season that featured interracial couples:

Number of Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Excel)

Number of Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)

There are too many zeroes in that table.

And here’s how the numbers on the interracial couples translate for the percentages of new shows and total shows:

Percentage of New and Total Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Excel)

Percentage of New and Total Shows Featuring Interracial Couples per Season per Broadcast Network (Sex & Stats)

Interracial couples were never part of more than 25% of new shows, and 10% of total shows in any given season. Sad, right?

Next, I wanted to find the breakdown of interracial couplings by season, to see if any one season featured more of one coupling than for others. Here’s the table for that:

Interracial Couples Breakdown by Season, 2010-2015 (Excel)

Interracial Couples Breakdown by Season, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

And the resulting line graph:

 

Interracial Coupling Types on Broadcast TV, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

Interracial Coupling Types on Broadcast TV, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

You may be wondering what that massive spike is at 2012-2013 (I know I was). That was when “The Mindy Project” debuted on Fox, and Mindy Lahiri dating all the white guys really skewed that sample.

Other than that, you can see that the most common racial combinations depicted were white and Black/African-American, and white and Latino/a. Without the spike, I’m betting that the white/Asian combination would’ve fallen somewhere in the middle. South Asian/East Asian couples were rare, as was one coupling with a mixed-race person. (Crazy that a mixed-race person on TV didn’t come around until Tracee Ellis Ross in “Black-ish.”)

I was also curious to see how depictions of interracial couples broke down by network. Here’s that table:

Interracial Couples Breakdown by Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

Interracial Couples Breakdown by Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

And what it looks like in bar-graph form:

Number of Interracial Couples per Broadcast Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

Number of Interracial Couples per Broadcast Network, 2010-2015 (Sex & Stats)

ABC led the charge with White/Black couples, and Fox clearly dominated with the White/Asian combination. ABC also had the broadest range of interracial relationships depicted. CBS showed the most White/Latino couples.

Even though strides have been made in depicting interracial relationships (in quantity, at least), there’s clearly still a long way to go in getting equal representation.