#ThrowbackThursday: Liu Wen Walks the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, 2009

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

Liu Wen walks the 2009 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Zimbio)

I’ll be honest: Sometimes my posts are born from a random thought. This post comes from my Googling to find out who the first Asian supermodel was. This led me to Liu Wen, whom The New York Times called the “first Asian supermodel” in 2012.

Three years before The Grey Lady bestowed that moniker, Liu walked in the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Asian model to do so. That’s hardly the only first Liu has racked up throughout her career: She’s also the first East Asian model to be a face for Estee Lauder, cover American Vogue in 2017 and make Forbes‘ annual list of highest-paid models. (Liu ranked #5 on Forbes’ list in 2013 with $4.3M.)

 

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“Pansexual” Was Merriam-Webster’s Most-Searched Term After Janelle Monae Came Out

Janelle Monae (Amazon Music)

Janelle Monae (Amazon Music)

Last week, Rolling Stone published an interview with musician Janelle Monae, pegged to the release of her new album “Dirty Computer.” This interview proved significant because, after years of dancing around the subject of her sexuality, Monae actually came out.

In Monae’s own words:

“Being a queer black woman in America,” she says, taking a breath as she comes out, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”

Monae’s definition of her sexuality led to a spike in an unlikely place: Merriam-Webster searches. As @MerriamWebster reported via Twitter:

Merriam-Webster's tweet about searches for pansexuality (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster’s tweet about searches for pansexuality (Twitter)

The dictionary reported that searches for “pansexual” rose 11,000% after the Rolling Stone interview. And that spike carried over into the next day:

Merriam-Webster's tweet about the staying power of "pansexual" as a search term (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster’s tweet about the staying power of “pansexual” as a search term (Twitter)

Thank you QUEEN for dropping that knowledge!!

By The Numbers: Women Who’ve Headlined Coachella

Beyonce headlines Coachella 2018 (Time)

INDIO, CA – APRIL 14: Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

This post was originally published on January 19, 2017 and is being republished. It has been updated from the original.

The first weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (also known as…Coachella) happened last weekend, and this weekend is part two. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Beyonce headlines this year’s festival. She put out an epic set last weekend (watch it if you haven’t!!!)

Why is this significant? Beyonce is the first Black woman to headline Coachella!!

Coachella festivals (#): 19

  • Founded in 1999

Total female headliners (#): 3

Bjork headlined in 2002 and 2007.

Unique female headliners (#): 2

  • Bjork and Beyonce

Total female headliners (%): 2.17%

Unique female headliners (%): 1.45%

Main stage acts (approximate #): 138

*Source: Coachella Festival line-ups page on Wikipedia

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyonce and Solange at Coachella, 2014

Beyonce and Solange at Coachella, 2014 (Global Music Tribune)

Beyonce and Solange at Coachella, 2014 (Global Music Tribune)

This post was originally published on January 19, 2017. It has been updated from the original.

Solange (Beyonce’s younger sister and a talented artist in her own right) performed a set at Coachella in 2014. While singing “Losing You,” off her EP “True,” Beyonce joined her little sister onstage to dance to the song.

Solange returned the favor by joining Beyonce onstage for her elder sister’s historic headlining set at Coachella 2018.

Statue of J. Marion Sims, Father of Modern Gynecology, Removed from Central Park

J. Marion Sims Statue in Central Park (Curbed NY)

J. Marion Sims Statue in Central Park (Curbed NY)

Dr. J. Marion Sims is considered the father of modern gynecology. But this honor comes at a heavy price: Sims carried out his experiments on African-American slave women. It cannot be overstated that these experiments were performed without consent of the patients.

From 1845 to 1849, Sims practiced his methods on 12 slave women who suffered from vaginal issues. In his records, three women reoccurred: Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy #SayTheirNames. Though we don’t know exactly how many operations he performed (and subsequently botched), Sims operated on Anarcha 13 times before successfully repairing her fistula.

Obviously, this is an extremely important and painful part of history, and it should never be repeated. On Tuesday, after 84 years, Central Park removed the statue of Sims. The statue will later be set up in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.

Beyonce is the First Black Woman to Headline Coachella

Beyonce headlines Coachella 2018 (Time)

INDIO, CA – APRIL 14: Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

You may have heard that the California music festival Coachella began this past weekend. You may also have heard that Beyonce was going to headline the festival.

Heard of her?

Unless you were living under a rock, you know that Queen Bey preformed an absolutely epic two-hour set Saturday night at Coachella. Not only is this befitting a QUEEN, but it absolutely fits the first Black woman to headline the festival.

Can you believe it?! It’s true!

Beyonce is the first Black woman to headline Coachella. She was originally tapped to headline last year’s festival, but had to pull out due to her pregnancy. Beyonce is only the second woman to headline, after Icelandic singer Bjork. (Bjork headlined in 2002 and 2007.)

She’ll perform next Saturday night in the second part of Coachella. If you’re not one of the lucky few to see her perform in person, watching this past Saturday’s performance is the next best thing!

 

 

By The Numbers: “Black Panther”‘s Audience Breakdown

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in 'Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in ‘Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

As you no doubt have heard by now (and if you haven’t, where are you?!), “Black Panther” is breaking records left and right: It has the second-highest box office gross in its first four days, and is the highest-grossing movie to open over President’s Day weekend (among other records).

One thing that’s happened with the release of the movie is that the audience makeup is slightly different than the usual. Here’s the breakdown!

First, let’s look at race:

Typical Superhero Movie (2016 Average):

  • African-American: 15%
  • Caucasian: 52%
  • Hispanic: 21%

“Black Panther:”

  • African-American: 37%
  • Caucasian: 35%
  • Hispanic: 18%

For those of you who need a visual:

'Black Panther' Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

‘Black Panther’ Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

Check that out!! The percentage of African-Americans seeing “Blank Panther” was more than double that of the average superhero movie.

The Typical Superhero numbers were pulled from a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Theatrical Market Statistics report from 2016. “Black Panther” numbers came from audience tracking platform comScore.

Gender:

Typical Superhero Movie’s Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 60-65%
  • Female: 35-40%

“Black Panther” Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 55%
  • Female: 45%

This is big too! More women wanted to see “Black Panther” on opening weekend than the usual superhero fare. One explanation is that the movie positions many strong, dynamic female characters front and center: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira).

There you have it, folks: Hard data on the fact that representation matters in media. If you represent inclusivity in your movie, you’ll give a more inclusive audience. And that will translate to bigger bank.