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John Boyega's Jedi-like approach to shutting down race-based criticism.

The Force is strong with this one (and his ability to deal with this kind of ignorance).

John Boyega's Jedi-like approach to shutting down race-based criticism.

Over the weekend, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hit theaters, crushing pretty much every box office record imaginable.

Maybe you had the pleasure of checking it out (but if not, don't worry, no spoilers). The film was a massive success, but underneath that was a bit of a squabble among fans surrounding some casting decisions.


A $524.9 million opening weekend! Not too shabby, eh? Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Controversy surrounded the casting of one of the movie's lead characters.

Er, no, not you, BB-8. Everyone loves you.

"BB-8! BB-8! Who are you wearing!?" Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

The controversy was in the casting of John Boyega, seen below, in the role of Finn. In the film's first trailer, released last year, Boyega was shown taking off a stormtrooper helmet. Some fans were less than thrilled, saying that a black man shouldn't be playing the role of a stormtrooper on the basis of ... uh ... well, no basis, really. They just didn't like it.

Boyega responded with a simple statement: "Get used to it."

That, sir, is how you dress for a movie premiere! Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

In October, after a group tried to organize a boycott of the movie, Boyega struck back with a bit more force.

In an interview with V Magazine, Boyega addressed critics who had established their opinion of him based solely on the color of his skin, rather than his talent as an actor.

But in perhaps the best comeback yet to this outdated argument, Boyega let the ticket sales speak for themselves.

On "The Wake Up Show," host Sway got right to the point, asking what it's been like to be on the receiving end of baseless, ignorant criticism. Boyega's response was priceless.

GIFs from SwaysUniverse.

We need to continue to push for increased diversity in Hollywood, precisely because this type of backlash exists.

Whether you're an actor, director, writer, producer, or just a consumer of the entertainment industry, diversity is important (and yes, you benefit from this even if you're white and male). It's why diversity-driven initiatives, like that led by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, exist to try to level the Hollywood playing field.

Right now, white and/or male is considered the default in just about any lead role. Just look at the backlash to the news that a black actress (Noma Dumezweni) had been cast as Hermione in the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," even after J.K. Rowling herself said Hermione could be a woman of color.

To see a record-busting action movie like "Star Wars" being led by a black man and a woman (Daisy Ridley as Rey) is not only needed, but it's more revolutionary than anything a special effects team could even begin to touch. This kind of casting shouldn't have to be considered subversive, but right now, that's the reality we live in.

People like Boyega, bravely pushing back on hate, are helping make the world a better place for future generations of actors.

Watch Boyega's appearance on "The Wake Up Show" below.

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Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


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via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

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