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This was the cover of Los Angeles Times' magazine The Envelope, published on Dec. 21, 2017.

Notice anything ... painfully obvious?

All actresses gracing the cover — Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, and Kate Winslet — are white.


The cover's message — highlighting "a change in the way many stories are told" — came across as tone deaf and exclusionary at a time when the conversation around racial diversity on screen has taken center stage.

Many people noticed. "I don't understand how ... a cover like this could be approved with this headline," one Twitter user said.

It was Chastain in particular, though, who took the most heat for appearing on the cover.

In recent years, Chastain has become a vocal advocate for change in Hollywood, publicly addressing how racism and misogyny affect her industry in consequential ways. Her production company, Freckle Films, is primarily staffed by women, according to The Mary Sue, and focuses on female-driven projects. So her involvement in The Envelope cover was especially noteworthy (and disappointing) to many fans, given her commitment to changing the industry from the inside out.

‌Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards.‌

"Honestly, [Chastain], as an outspoken voice for equality, how do you pose for a photo like this and not feel absolutely mortified by the blatant exclusion?" asked WNYC editor Rebecca Carroll.

To her credit, Chastain responded to the cover, calling it "sad" and demanding better:

And many fans defended the actress, suggesting that she was being disproportionately criticized.

But Chastain also got some big-name support from another famous woman in Hollywood: Jada Pinkett Smith.

At the Sundance Film Festival, Pinkett Smith took part in a panel about the importance of diverse storytelling on Jan. 22, 2018. While she didn't directly reference the fallout from The Envelope cover, Pinkett Smith made a point to praise Chastain for her work behind the scenes empowering women of all colors.

‌Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation.‌

Pinkett Smith referenced a new film project starring Chastain and the Oscar-winning Octavia Spencer, who is black, in order to illustrate an important point.

"Jessica said to Octavia, ‘I got you. I’m going to Universal, and we’re going to make a favored nations deal,’" she began. "Jessica stood up for Octavia, and I want you to know that because they stood together, they got three times what they were asking for as a unit."

The "favored nations deal" Pinkett Smith referenced is a clause in some entertainment contracts that guarantees no other performer sharing the screen with an artist can be working under better terms. By helping ensure Spencer got a deal in that vein, Chastain helped level the playing field.

Representation is important, Pinkett Smith explained, but it should be accompanied by real, substantial work toward equality — work that often happens behind the scenes.

And when it comes to doing the work, according to Pinkett Smith, Chastain is a team player. She went on:

"It’s nice to go out and march, we can do that. It’s nice to wear black at the Golden Globes. It’s nice to do that. But what are we doing behind closed doors? And I got to give our sister Jessica Chastain her props. Because she stood up for Octavia and put it down. And that’s how we all need to do it for each other.”

Preach, Jada.

Watch Pinkett Smith's fiery defense of Chastain in the video below:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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