Meghan Markle and Prince Harry just delivered a very personal and positive message to sex workers.

Photo by Toby Melville/Getty Images

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stopped by the charity One25 unannounced in Bristol where Markle and Prince Harry got to work helping pack lunches meant to be distributed to sex workers.

As part of its larger set of initiatives, One25 provides 150 sex workers with food bags on a nightly basis.

Markle Spontaneously asked for a magic marker and began to scrawl inspirational messages on the bananas. "Do you have a sharpie?" Markle says in a video of the day. "I have an idea."


“I’m in charge of the banana messaging,” Markle can be heard saying in a videoTweeted out by Kensington Palace, as she wrote supportive words such as "You are strong,""You are brave," "You are special," and "You are loved” over the fruit.

In a brilliant and heart warming move, Markle took inspiration from an American school lunch program.

According to DailyMail’s Rebecca English, Markle said, "I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch program. On each of the bananas she wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea—this small gesture.”

One25 helps women “break free from street sex work, addiction, and other life-controlling issues and build new, independent lives."

“Our approach to giving unconditional love and support is what builds trust — and how that works and helps them move on,” Smith told People. “At the bottom of all this is self-esteem and self-worth for the women who may have come from a background of being sexually abused or a life in care and where their families don’t support them in the way they should.”

Smith said of Markle’s gesture:  “To be told by someone in the public eye that they are worth it and that they value what they’ve said and done is a massive part of that process,” said Smith.

Although the messages weren’t directed towards the volunteers at One25, the volunteers were still touched by Markle’s words. "It sounds really cheesy, but little things like that when you are out, especially tonight, just to get that little thing that Meghan took her time out to write that one, it's lush,” one of the volunteers told Hello.

Markle’s supportive words got a ton of support on Twitter as well.

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Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

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Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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