#ThrowbackThursday: “The Fate of the Furious,” 2017

'The Fate of the Furious,' 2017 (Junkee)

‘The Fate of the Furious,’ 2017 (Junkee)

“Black Panther” smashed many records within its first week of opening. One of the records it broke was the biggest opening for an African-American director. Ryan Coogler now holds that crown.

The previous record holder was F. Gary Gray, who directed “The Fate of the Furious.” The movie made $98M last year. Gray has also directed the films “Set It Off” (1996), “A Man Apart” (2003) and “Straight Outta Compton” (2015) and music videos for TLC (“Waterfalls” in 1995) and OutKast (“Ms. Jackson” in 2000).


“Black Panther” Has the Biggest President’s Day Box Office with $40.2M

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

The highly-anticipated Marvel movie “Black Panther” opened last Thursday night, and has already broken records.

“Black Panther” made $40.2M on President’s Day, making it the biggest Monday ever. The record was previously held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2016, which made $40.1M.

“Black Panther” also made the second-most amount of money in its first four days of opening with $241.6M. The movie now holds the record for the biggest President’s Day weekend opening, “Deadpool” was the previous recordholder, making $152M in 2016. The only movie that made more within its first four days was (you guessed it) “The Force Awakens, which made $288.1M.

Among movie theater chain AMC, the movie became the highest-grossing title in the chain’s history for 80 theaters, which accounts for over 10% of the chain’s theaters. The movie opened in 661 theaters.

Worldwide, “Black Panther” made $426.6M. The movie has yet to open in China, Japan and Russia.


Trends: Calling Out Pay Disparity

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of 'Today' (ET Online)

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of ‘Today’ (ET Online)

Earlier this week, word got out that Michelle Williams got paid a per diem for quickly reshooting scenes for “All the Money in the World” ahead of its release. That per diem amounted to $80 per diem, totaling less than $1,000. Her costar Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, was paid a whopping $1.5M for the reshoots.

As USA Today notes, “that works out to Williams being paid less than one-tenth of 1% of her male co-star.” Isn’t that crazy?! In light of this revelation, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is investigating the matter to see if any rules were violated during the making of the film.

This isn’t the first time men and women have faced a pay disparity. Far from it. But now, calling out pay disparity has become a public way to shame companies for making their employees feel undervalued.

This has been happening several times in news. After “Today” host Matt Lauer was fired, it was reported that Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie would take over as co-hosts. Kotb and Guthrie would each be paid $7M, with their combined salaries making $14M. Later was making $25M, making the difference between his salary and those of his two co-hosts $11M.

Last month, E! Entertainment host Catt Sadler left her job of 12 years, because she was paid half as much as her male co-host Jason Kennedy. Her departure did not go unnoticed: Actresses Debra Messing, Laura Dern, and Eva Longoria confronted this year’s Golden Globes red carpet pre-show hosts Guiliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest over the issue.

Awareness of pay disparity has also spread around the world. Former BBC News editor Carrie Gracie quit her position earlier this month once she learned that she had been severely underpaid throughout her career.

The pay disparity problem has also crossed racial lines. “Hawaii Five-O” stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park each left the series last year due to pay disparity between themselves and their white costars. Though the two had been with the show since 2010, their respective raises were still 10-15% lower than those of their white costars.

It’s excellent that pay disparities are finally coming to light! Let’s hope they spur some lasting changes toward equality.

Meghan Markle is Engaged to Prince Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (E! Online)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (E! Online)

It’s finally happening! Former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle got engaged to her boyfriend Price Harry (heard of him?), and they announced their engagement a week ago. The two attended a photocall in the morning at Kensington Palance’s Sunken Garden, and sat down for an televised interview revealing more details with the BBC later that day.

This engagement is big for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it’s breaking barriers: Markle will be the first biracial person (and first biracial woman) to join the royal family. (Markle’s mother is Doria Ragland, an African-American woman, and her father is Thomas Markle, who is Caucasian. Markle self-identifies as a “strong, confident mixed-race woman.”) Many are excited because Markle will be the first “Black Princess” (though technically she’s more likely to end up with a Duchess title), but there are more nuances to the situation. “Elle” has a a great piece where 16 Black women aired their reactions to the engagement news; it’s well worth reading in full, so go check it out!

The engagement is also a powerful step towards revolutionizing the British monarchy and the public’s perception thereof. Princes Harry and William have spoken out about their mental health and its importance, and seem to want to make the monarchy more progressive. Along with the fact that Prince Harry will be marrying a biracial woman, he’ll also be marrying a divorcee: Markle was previously married to film producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. The last time a British royal married a divorced woman, he had to abdicate the throne. This happened in 1937 when the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, which caused quite a scandal.

One thing is for sure: this engagement is hurtling the British royal family into the 21st century. As “The New York Times” puts it:

With one heady announcement, it seems, Harry and Ms. Markle have thrown out generations’ worth of quietly repressed tradition and presented a new royal model to a country that will have to adjust to it, whether it wants to or not.


By The Numbers: Interracial Marriage Data

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York (The Huffington Post)

FILE PHOTO – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

The 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia case is soon approaching. The case struck down bans on interracial marriage, and continues to resonate today. With that in mind, I was curious to see any data on interracial marriages: Has the number gone up? Has societal disapproval gone down?

Let’s take a look:

Who’s Marrying Out?

  • In 1970, less than 1% of all married couples were interracial.
  • In 1980, 6%+ of newlyweds were interracial, and only 3% of all marriages were interracial.
  • In 2013, 12% of newlyweds (a record high) married someone of a different race, and 6.3% of all marriages were interracial.
The Absolute Rise of Intermarriage (Priceonomics)

The Absolute Rise of Intermarriage (Priceonomics)

Who’s Down with Marrying Out?

  • In 1986, only 30% of survey respondents felt interracial marriage is acceptable for everyone. But that same percentage of respondents did not feel interracial marriage was acceptable for anyone.
  • In 2009, 83% of survey respondents were accepting of interracial marriage.
  • In 2012, 93% of people approve of interracial marriage.

And let’s end on one more noteworthy statistic that warms my heart and gives me hope for the future:

“More than four-in-ten Americans (43%) say that more people of different races marrying each other has been a change for the better in our society.”



Ohio Bans Abortions After 20 Weeks

Ultrasound of fetus at 20 weeks (The Times in Plain English)

Ultrasound of fetus at 20 weeks (The Times in Plain English)

Another blow for women’s health: Ohio Governor John Kasich (yes, the former Republican presidential hopeful) signed a bill to approve banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. (To put this in context, most pregnancies are around 40 weeks long.)

The Senate Bill 127, signed December 2016, does not allow for exceptions in rape and incest cases. Supporters of the bill claim that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. (I’m curious how they know this; did they ask the fetus through the ultrasound?) The only exception will be for women whose pregnancy puts their health at risk.

Providers caught performing abortions after 20 weeks will charged with a “fourth-degree felony.”

Earlier that month, Kasich tried to sign a “heartbeat” bill, which would ban abortion after six weeks. A heartbeat pulse can generally be found around that time, though women may not know they’re pregnant. He eventually vetoed it due to overwhelming public pressure.

Around 1% of abortions occur after 20 weeks. The new law takes effect Mar. 14, 2017.

Wonder Woman is No Longer a U.N. Ambassador

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (CNet2)

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (CNet2)


DC Comics superhero/feminist icon Wonder Woman has been ousted as the United Nations (U.N.)’s Honorary Ambassador for female empowerment. The character was officially unveiled as the ambassador on Oct. 21. The unveiling tied into the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal #5, which “seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.’

Her last day as ambassador was Dec. 16. Girlfriend didn’t even have the job a whole two months.

The reason for the end of Wonder Woman’s ambassadorship is slightly unclear. Around 45K+ people showed their displeasure with the iconic character’s new role by singing a petition. But the U.N. claims they made the end date soon after the character’s debut in the role, and not as a result of the protests.