Ryan Reynolds calls wedding with Blake Lively at plantation 'a giant f__king mistake'

Dominant culture in much of the U.S. has long romanticized grand, antebellum-era plantations as a throwback to a bygone era, conjuring up images of Gone With the Wind romanticism while glossing over the heinous slavery that took place on them.

Plantations, with their mansions, tree-lined driveways and well-kept grounds might make a visually stunning backdrop for an event, but the whole slavery reality gives "stunning" a whole new meaning. Ignoring that reality—which people have done for decades—produces pretty pictures, but when you fully acknowledge the horrible history of the ground you're standing on, it's hard to feel okay about using a plantation as a party venue.

When Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively held their wedding at Boone Farm, a South Carolina plantation, in 2012, they were likely looking through a fairly typical white American (or in Reynolds' case, white Canadian) lens. But in an interview with Fast Company, Reynolds expressed profound regret for their wedding location choice.


"It's something we'll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for. It's impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy. Years ago we got married again at home—but shame works in weird ways. A giant fucking mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn't mean you won't fuck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn't end."

Reynolds' acknowledgment could be viewed as lip service if it ended there. But it doesn't.

On the financial front, Reynolds and Lively made two $1 million donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights last year. They also donated an additional $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund this May following the killing of George Floyd.

Though Fast Company says Reynold's is reluctant to talk about racism too much, for fear of being just another white celebrity drowning out voices of people of color, the star has used his social media platform to draw attention to social justice issues and encourage civic action through electing leaders that will make needed reforms in the justice system.

Regarding justice in the workplace, the actor, producer and entrepreneur also told Fast Company, "Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive. Like, it needs to be embedded at the root of storytelling, and that's in both marketing and Hollywood. When you add perspective and insight that isn't your own, you grow. And you grow your company, too."

Reynolds is backing that statement up with action as well. In an Instagram video last week, he announced the Group Effort Initiative, in which he will be using a portion of his salary on an upcoming film to bring in people from marginalized communities to work on the film, get paid for training, and gain valuable skills in the filmmaking industry.

It's one thing to recognize that you've done something insensitive or harmful. It's another to acknowledge it, learn from it, and make amends through real action. While we can't undo the past, we can all strive to build a more equitable and just future.



Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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