Lupita Nyong'o wore a light-up dress programmed by young women, and it was stunning.

It's no secret that actress Lupita Nyong'o is a smart and talented movie star who elevates any red carpet she walks.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.


And her appearance at a recent promotional event for the new "Star Wars" film, in which she plays Maz Kanata, was no different.

Nyong'o wore a beautifully designed dress that resembles the night sky (or a galaxy far, far away).

The dress was gorgeous, a ZAC Zac Posen design, and covered in flashing LED lights, lighting up in various intricate patterns as she walked down the carpet.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

Even cooler than that, though, the coding for those LED lights was created entirely by young female programmers who are part of Google's Made with Code initiative. The coding program was created to encourage girls to get interested in programming, which is important because, as MWC says on its website, "increasingly more aspects in our lives are powered by technology, yet women aren't represented in the roles that make technology happen."

Made with Code has a number of interactive coding projects to encourage this, including a music maker, a GIF animator, and — you guessed it — the opportunity to make your own light-up dress using the same Zac Posen dress Nyong'o wore as a template.


"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" co-stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega admire Nyong'o's light-up dress. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

There's been a shift lately on red carpets as reporters are pressured to #AskHerMore. Nyong'o found a brilliant way to make sure that happens.

By highlighting the abilities of talented young female programmers in her fashion choices, Nyong'o has ensured a meaningful red carpet conversation. The move fits right in with #AskHerMore, which encourages reporters to ask actresses questions beyond what they're wearing on the red carpet.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

Given how much technology played a role in making the Star Wars movies possible, as well as in the Star Wars universe itself, the Star Wars Force 4 Fashion event is a perfect venue for this type of dress and for showing women and girls how important and accessible coding is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to learn how to animate a dancing yeti.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less
via Kim Kardashian West / Twitter

It's not hard for most people to make fun of the Kardashians. But this week it got even easier after Kim tweeted she took a birthday getaway to Tahiti with her friends and family — during a deadly pandemic.

"After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time," she tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ted-Ed / YouTube

Trees are one of the most effective ways to fight back against climate change. Like all plants, trees consume atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis then store it in their wood tissue and in the surrounding soil.

They work as an organic vacuum to remove the billions of pounds of carbon dioxide that humans have dumped into the atmosphere over the past century.

So, if trees are going to be part of the war on climate change, what strategies should we use to make the best use of their amazing ability to repair the Earth? How can we be sure that after planting these trees they are protected and don't become another ecological victim of human greed?

Keep Reading Show less