Trends: Hollywood Adopts Inclusion Riders

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Many people only learned of the term “inclusion rider” when actress Frances McDormand mentioned it during her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Curiosity about the term was so high that Merriam-Webster later reported via Twitter that “inclusion” was the dictionary’s most-searched term during the Oscars ceremony. (“Rider” came in fourth.)

(For those who haven’t yet heard, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. This clause can also be called an equity rider. The rider was invented by Stacy L. Smith, professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism along with lawyer Kalpana Kotagal. If you’re curious about what an inclusion rider looks like, here’s an inclusion rider template.)

Following the concept’s wave of exposure, others in Hollywood are making a commitment to inclusiveness in their projects official with the rider. “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company Outlier Society Productions would adopt the inclusion rider for its projects. Jordan is the first major actor to adopt the rider following McDormand’s Oscars speech. Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also announced that their joint production company Pearl Street Films will also adopt an inclusion rider.

I certainly hope others take up this cause to the point that we no longer need inclusion riders.

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By The Numbers: Women’s March 2018

Women's March 2018 (Yahoo)

Women’s March 2018 (Yahoo)

Did you go to a Women’s March this past weekend? I went to the one in LA, and had a great time! It was wonderful being surrounded by so many positive people interested in change.

I was curious to see if there were any numbers on how many people marched this year. It does make sense that turnout would be lower this year than last year, which saw around 3M people around the country. It has been noted that year-over-year attendance in major cities decreased, while those in surrounding areas actually increased due to protestors opting to attend marches closer to home.

While it was difficult to estimate because some cities had marches spread out over the weekend and some cities didn’t have estimates, other cities still reported numbers:

  • Los Angeles: 500K
  • New York City: 200K+
  • San Diego: 37K
  • Washington, DC: 10K
  • Raleigh, NC: 1K+
  • Casper, Wyoming: 350

Hit the links to read more about the numbers. Can’t wait to march next year!

Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

Siri Corrects Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner

Siri's response to Bruce Jenner questions (Daviesha/Last November 4 Tumblr)

Siri’s response to Bruce Jenner questions (Daviesha/Last November 4 Tumblr)

Happy Friday! Here’s a great example of how technology is adapting to the changing times. Tumblr user Daviesha found that Apple iPhone’s Siri corrects the name of Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner. Daviesha asked Siri, “how tall is Bruce Jenner?” and “What is Bruce Jenner’s real name?” You can see the results in the screenshot above.

This aspect of Siri began gaining attention earlier this month. Jenner came out as a transwoman in April of this year, and debuted her new name and look on the cover of “Vanity Fair” in the publication’s June issue. She recently received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ESPYs this year, and her docuseries “I Am Cait” premieres Sunday night on E! (home to the Kardashian empire).

It’s fantastic that it took Apple absolutely no time to adjust Siri to account for this momentous event. After all, Jenner is now the most recognizable trans person in the world right now. The tech giant is showing they’re capable to changing as societal mores do, and updating their technology to reflect those changes.

Misty Copeland is American Ballet Theatre’s First Black Principal Dancer

Misty Copeland in 'Swan Lake' (Vanity Fair)

Misty Copeland in ‘Swan Lake’ (Vanity Fair)

Last week, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York City promoted dancer Misty Copeland to principal. Copeland is the first Black woman to attain the level of principal (the highest level possible for a dancer) in ABT’s 75-year history. (ABT has previously had one Black man reach principal: Desmond Richardson, who achieved the level in 1997.) Since she’s considered a classical ballet dancer, this is all the more rare.

Copeland is considered to be a ballet prodigy since she began studying at age 13, and began dancing in pointe shoes a mere three months (!) later. She came to the larger public’s attention when she starred in the now-famous UnderArmour 2014 ad spot “I Will What I Want,” which featured her dancing. Since then, Copeland has written a biography and a children’s book, appeared on the cover of “Time” for their 2015 Top 100 list, and was the subject of a documentery, “A Ballerina’s Tale,” that premiered at the Tribeca 2015 Film Festival.

Copeland’s notable roles include the titular role in “The Firebird,” Swanhilda in “Coppélia,” and the dual roles of Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake.” The “Swan Lake” roles were significant for Copeland, and the rest of the ballet world:

It was a symbolically significant moment in American arts, in which a black woman danced the role of ballet’s famed white swan—and sold out all of her performances from the moment tickets went on sale months earlier.

Copeland became a member of ABT’s corps de ballet in 2001, and was promoted to soloist in 2007. She’ll start as principal dancer on August 1st.

Caitlyn (Formerly Bruce) Jenner Covers “Vanity Fair”

Caitlyn Jenner on the 'Vanity Fair' cover (Us Magazine)

Caitlyn Jenner on the ‘Vanity Fair’ cover (Us Magazine)

Another Kardashian (well, Jenner) woman has broken the Internet.

The latest issue of “Vanity Fair” debuted today, and with it, the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner. And she. Is. Beautiful.

Caitlyn, previously known as Bruce, first publicly confirmed her transition in April during an interview with Diane Sawyer for “20/20.” Since then, things have moved quickly: Jenner said she’d transition “sometime during the spring” and would wait to debut a female name. Just last week, sources reported that Jenner would cover “Vanity Fair” sometime this summer. But I’m sure nobody thought it’d be this soon.

This interview also marks the first time Jenner has used female pronouns to describe herself. Taking her cue, other media outlets are following suit.

All of this has paid off in terms of web traffic: “Vanity Fair” reported that the Jenner piece set a new traffic record, netting 6M+ unique visitors in just hours.

(Side note: Caitlyn evidently took a few notes from her step-daughter Kim Kardashian in terms of self-promotion, not that that’s a bad thing. She’s also overshadowing Kim’s announcement that she’s pregnant with her second child with husband Kanye West.)

It’s safe to say that Caitlyn is literally the most high-profile transwoman right now. (And she would know, having been part of the Kardashian/Jenner clan for decades.) Covering “Vanity Fair,” a staple in entertainment and society journalism, really marks a debut of her true self.

It’s very inspiring to see someone blossom once they’re so comfortable in their own skin, and this is definitely the case with Caitlyn.

John Jolie-Pitt: Transgender Children Statistics

John Jolie-Pitt (Refinery 29)

John Jolie-Pitt (Refinery 29)

Happy 2015! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday season.

Now, let’s get back to business. The business of sex and numbers.

Last month, actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt stepped out with their family for the premiere of Jolie’s new film (and directorial debut) “Unbroken.” Many media outlets commented on their eight-year-old daughter Shiloh wearing a tux to the event. Shiloh has been asked to be referred to as “John” and self-identifies as a boy. (Wonderfully supportive parents Jolie and Pitt have readily obliged.)

John has not publicly identified himself as transgender, and his parents have not identified him as such either.

But how many children might identify as, or fit the label of, transgender?

At the moment, there’s really no hard data answering this question. Either researchers aren’t delving into this topic, or they might not be using the term “transgender” when asking a child to self-identify.

But gender identity tends to be fixed early in life. A PDF on children’s transgender identity for parents from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) San Francisco notes the following:

“Most people have a sense of their gender identity between ages two and four. If your child expresses a transgender identity since early childhood, it is unlikely they will change their mind as they age. Their sense of themselves will only deepen.”

This makes sense as it relates to John, as Jolie observing that he “wants to be a boy” in a 2010 “Vanity Fair” interview.

It’ll be interesting to watch John Jolie-Pitt grow up and how his gender identity changes or stays the same. No matter which happens, it’s great to see a notable example of a supportive family surrounding him. Hopefully, it’ll change and open some minds.