#ThrowbackThursday: Rita Moreno, 1961

Rita Moreno, 1961 (Pinterest)

Actress Rita Moreno poses with her Oscar after she was named best supporting actress at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on April 9, 1962. She won for her roll in “West Side Story

In 1961, actress Rita Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in “West Side Story.” She was the first Latina actress to win that award.

Moreno didn’t stop there: In 1975, she won the Tony for Best Supporting Actress for “The Ritz.” And she was the first Latina actress to win that award as well.

Two years later, Moreno became the second person ever to achieve the EGOT: winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. She’s continued working steadily and blazing trails today.

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#ThrowbackThursday: Lupita Nyong’o, Oscars 2014

Lupita Nyong'o Oscar acceptance, 2014 (CBS News)

Lupita Nyong’o Oscar acceptance, 2014 (CBS News)

The Oscars are this weekend (Sunday, Feb. 28). If you’ve been following awards season this year, you know that the #OscarsSoWhite reared its ugly head again. This is the second year in a row that there have been no non-white nominees in the four acting categories. Shameful isn’t a strong enough word.

So I’m throwing it back to the last time we had a non-white winner in an acting category. That was back in 2014, at the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress for her role in 2013’s “12 Years A Slave.” She’s both the most recent POC nominee and winner.

And because I couldn’t choose just one photo of Nyong’o, here’s another one that showcases her incredible Prada dress:

Lupita Nyong'o backstage at the Oscars, 2014 (Fiction Diversity WordPress)

Lupita Nyong’o backstage at the Oscars, 2014 (Fiction Diversity WordPress)

 

Black Women Covering the September Issue for “Vogue:” By The Numbers

Beyonce's 'Vogue' Cover, September 2015 (PopSugar)

Beyonce’s ‘Vogue’ Cover, September 2015 (PopSugar)

Sadly, the number of Black women covering the famed September issue of “Vogue” is very short. It really needs to be longer (how the hell is it 2015, and we’re still talking about this?!), and I have no doubt that it will be. Someday. But not soon enough.

As everyone knows by now, the ***Flawless Beyoncé will be covering the fashion bible’s September issue, which comes out Aug. 25th. It’s her first time covering the issue, though it’ll be her third time around as a “Vogue” cover model.

3: The number of Black women covering the September issue solo

1989: Supermodel Naomi Campbell covers the September issue

2010: Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry covers the September issue.

The fashion industry is notoriously slow to change its ways (look at how many Black women were on “Vogue” covers in 2014). I hope Queen B’s new issue means we’ll see more diverse cover models, and soon.

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyoncé’s “Vogue” Covers, 2009 and 2013

Beyoncé's 'Vogue' covers, April 2009 and March 2013 (Celebuzz)

Beyoncé’s ‘Vogue’ covers, April 2009 and March 2013 (Celebuzz)

Last week, fashion bible “Vogue” announced its cover star for the always-hotly-anticipated September issue: the one, the only Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. But you may know the acclaimed singer solely by her first name.

This will mark Beyoncé’s third turn as the magazine’s cover model: She had previously appeared on the April 2009 and March 2013 covers. But this time is significant: It’ll be the first time she’s covered the September issue. Beyoncé will be only the third Black woman to cover the biggest issue of the year solo. (Her predecessors are supermodel Naomi Campbell and Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry.)

The issue will hit newsstands Aug. 25th.

 

Thursday Trends: Female Celebrities’ Fluid Sexuality

Maria Bello (Salon)

Maria Bello (Salon)

Last week, actress Maria Bello released her new memoir. “Whatever…Love Is Love” chronicles Bello’s journey as a single mom who self-identified as straight, but then unexpectedly fell in love with her female best friend. She penned a piece for “The New York Times” in 2013 that centered on worrying how her son would react to the news. (If you’re wondering, his response is her memoir title verbatim.) From there, Bello decided to redefine her relationships in a way that worked for her, and she now sexually identifies as a “whatever.”

Bello isn’t the only female public figure whose sexuality has shifted within the public eye. Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal recently revealed that she likes and has been dating mostly women for some time now. O’Neal didn’t self-identify as lesbian or bisexual (she had previously been married to, and had children with, tennis ace John McEnroe), and says she’s “not one or the other.”

The millennial generation also has its share of sexually fluid women who eschew labels. Actress Amber Heard dated photographer Tasya van Ree before marrying actor Johnny Depp earlier this year. She also doesn’t label herself “one way or another.” Actress Lindsay Lohan famously had a volatile relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson, but then publicly self-identified as straight years after the relationship was over.

Though the majority of examples come from entertainment, the political sphere can claim on entrant. Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, self-identified as a lesbian when she met her now-husband in 1991. Years earlier in 1979, McCray had written an essay for “Essence,” titled “I Am A Lesbian,” which centered on gays and lesbians within the black community. McCray’s essay didn’t receive much attention until just before her husband decided to run for mayor in 2012.

What’s interesting about McCray’s case is how others in the media reacted to it: Many termed her some variation of “former lesbian.” But McCray never self-identified as anything remotely resembling that. Here’s how she responded in 2013 when asked if she self-identified as bisexual:

I am more than just a label. Why are people so driven to labeling where we fall on the sexual spectrum? Labels put people in boxes, and those boxes are shaped like coffins. Finding the right person can be so hard that often, when a person finally finds someone she or he is comfortable with, she or he just makes it work.

It’s fantastic how so many women (and people in general) are gaining the courage to step outside the box and do what works for them, especially in terms of sexuality and relationships. What I love about the above examples is that they’re all open to new experiences and don’t use labels to limit them. And that’s just beautiful.