+
More

Meet the new Iron Man, a badass black female teen prodigy.

The cover of Marvel's upcoming "Invincible Iron Man" comic contains a bold 21st-century update for the iconic character.

Photo by Marvel.


According to Marvel, Tony Stark will be stepping down as Iron Man — at least temporarily.

Robert Downey Jr. with an Iron Man suit. Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Images.

Assuming the role in his place? A black female teen prodigy named Riri Williams.

Photo by Marvel.

According to a Time report, Williams' skills make her a natural fit for the role.

"Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm."

Marvel has taken steps to increase the diversity of its characters in the past several years.

Previous nonwhite characters to take over as tent-pole superheroes include Spider-Man Miles Morales, whose arc began in 2011, and Sam Wilson's Captain America.

The diversification extends to gender as well: Marvel increased its number of female leads from zero in 2012 to 16 in 2015. Kamala Khan, the first Muslim-American Ms. Marvel, was introduced in 2013.

Needless to say, the announcement was met with much rejoicing!



But with the news came calls for more inclusion behind the scenes, as well.

Jamie Broadnax, who hosts the "Black Girl Nerds" podcast, was enthusiastic about the announcement.

"I think it's great. I cannot stress that enough. I think that Marvel is doing excellent work, even in the cinematic world," Broadnax told Upworthy.

Nevertheless, she believes the industry has fallen short when it comes to opening doors to creators of color — and black women in particular.

"I think it's important that black people are allowed to write black stories," she said. "I'm not saying that it should be exclusive to us, but I think that we should have those opportunities."


She cited Regine Sawyer ("The Rippers," "Eating Vampires"), Mildred Lewis ("Agents of the Realm"), and Nilah Magruder ("M.F.K.") — talented writers and illustrators who would be assets to publishers like Marvel, especially as they introduce more characters of color.

"They're out there. It's just that for some reason, they seem to get missed when these opportunities come by," Broadnax said.

In the meantime, the Riri Williams "Iron Man" is an overdue acknowledgement of the obvious:

Practically speaking, you don't need to be any particular race or gender in order to fly around in a red-and-gold mechanical suit.

Though it helps to have some cool poses handy. Photo by GabboT/Flickr.

And in a universe where mutants move objects with their minds, alien raccoons hang out with giant trees, and gods mingle with mortal men, the notion that superheroes have to look the way they always did is ... dubious at best.

Here's hoping that in the future, character choices like this will be met not with a big announcement but with a shrug.

If comic-book writers' rooms start to look more like what's on the page, we might just get there sooner than expected.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash

A few simple tweaks to go from "Yuck!" to "Yum!"

Sure, you might find an adventurous 3-year-old who enjoys sushi and salads from time to time. But generally speaking, toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. If a meal strays even an inch beyond the comfort zone of french fries and grilled cheese, it’s a hard no. Followed by tears. Or maybe screaming. Or both.

However, Emma Hubbard, a pediatric occupational therapist, is convinced that even the finickiest kid can be coaxed into expanding their palate with just a few simple yet effective tweaks.

As Hubbard mentions in her video, new food isn’t just unpleasant for toddlers—it’s downright scary. “Toddlers have a genuine fear of trying new food,” she said, which explains why they have such a visceral fight-or-flight reaction and “become overwhelmed and run away, have a tantrum, or shut down.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

She quit teaching, works at Costco, and has 'never been happier.' That says something.

Maggie Perkins' viral videos and unique perspective have ignited the conversation around teacher attrition.

Maggie Perkins doesn't miss having a winter break.

Maggie Perkins loves teaching, loves teachers and loves students. In fact, she loves them so much that working on her Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Practice. Her research is focused on teacher attrition, examining why quality, experienced teachers quit the profession—something she understands all too well since she recently became one of them.

The former educator now works at Costco and she says she's never been happier. Her migraines are gone. Her anxiety has improved. She sleeps through the night. As an entry-level employee, she makes less money than she did teaching, but not enough less to make a difference in her financial situation. She goes home from work happy at the end of the day.

Perkins has been sharing the contrast in working conditions between the classroom and Costco on her TikTok channel and it is eye-opening, to say the least.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Late Late Show with James Corden/Youtube

The instructors were ruthless.

If you’re not familiar with James Corden’s popular "Toddlerography" segment, you’re in for a treat.

As the name suggests, celebrity guests on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” take a dance class taught by kiddy instructors. Sure, the “students” are usually pretty seasoned performers, like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Jason Derulo, but their experience doesn’t make learning the moves any less intense. Anyone who’s tried to keep pace with a toddler knows it’s a helluva workout.

Billy Porter was the latest guest invited to participate in this wholesome fitness trend, and he did not disappoint.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Freepik

A new mother struggling with postpartum depression.

We may be just months away from having the first-ever pill to help treat postpartum depression (PPD). The drug, called Zuranolone, was developed by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen, two companies out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The FDA has given the drug’s application priority review and the period ends on August 5, 2023.

Currently, there is only one FDA-approved medication for PPD, Zulresso, which is only available through a 60-hour, one-time infusion and can cost up to $35,000 per treatment.

If the medication is approved, it can also be used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

Keep ReadingShow less