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A rare behind-the-curtain look at acting that's less glam and more racist

Underrepresented actors often have been complicit in creating ethnic stereotypes in the media. For my own part, I rented out my Asian face to Jerry Lewis back in the day.Now we're not only speaking out, but creating, writing, and portraying who we are — as we are — in our great, dazzling diversity. As we contribute our authentic selves, the comedy becomes specific and real, the drama is distinctive and identifiable, and our society grows enriched and involving. Hollywood and the media now have the opportunity to actively engage with the talented diversity that comprises our entire society. But is it "to be or not to be? That is the question." — George Takei

A rare behind-the-curtain look at acting that's less glam and more racist
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Hollywood has a huge imagination.

In the last decade and a half, we've had:

Billionaire superheroes.


Hot elves.

George Clooney in space.

But for some reason, there's one thing that Hollywood still has a truly, deeply, inexplicably hard time imagining.

Complex, three-dimensional characters of color. Yes, indeed. The entertainment industry has a diversity problem.

Sure, there are more people of color in film and television today than there were for the better part of the last century, but it's far from reflective of our national diversity.

And when casting directors do hire people of color, what they seem to want is more a caricature of reality than reality itself.

When they say things like, "We're looking for a specific type" or "Think more 'urban,'" what they really mean is ...

Casting discrimination isn't just a symbolic problem, it's a practical one.

A 2014 UCLA study found that TV shows with diverse casts draw higher-than-average ratings. The same study found that "films with relatively diverse casts excelled at the box office and in return on investment." In spite of that, white actors are favored in almost 70% of casting calls.

One of the actors in this video had this to say:

"I oftentimes feel like, well, am I being racially paranoid, or is it in my head? But when you look at the numbers, not all artists of color can be crazy, you know? We're genuinely fighting the entertainment industry that seems very obsessed with telling Euro-centric stories and refuses to let go of it."

Film and television aren't made for casting directors or critics or even the actors themselves.

They're made for consumers.

That's us, people.

And we're already voting with our feet. And our eyeballs.

More than 10 million people tuned in to the winter premiere of "Scandal," starring Kerry Washington as a public relations guru with a complicated past.

The series premiere of "How to Get Away with Murder," starring Viola Davis as a hard-charging attorney, attracted an unbelievable 20.3 million viewers.

"Empire," starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as warring music industry moguls, just set a record for the most consecutive ratings gains in all of television history.

Real diversity isn't just some fantasy, bleeding-heart, we-are-the-world ideal. It's a proven moneymaker.

And while Hollywood might finally be waking up, we can help them wake up faster by tuning in to shows with characters of color who are treated with respect and represented as real people, not cartoons.

As consumers, we have choices and voices we can use to stop the stereotypes. So let's keep on using 'em, shall we? — Team Upworthy

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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