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Stop me if this sounds familiar.

Women are usually objectified and sexualized in major motion pictures.

People of color are usually the villains, terrorists, drug dealers, and criminals in major motion pictures.


Films usually consist of white men making all the decisions.

Historically, in movies it’s been the white guy calling the shots, faltering briefly, recognizing his wrongs, and eventually saving the day while teasing a sequel dependent on box office returns. Or sometimes, if there's a female lead, she’ll need strong males to help her see the way.

J.J. Abrams was happy to break this trend in last year's "Star Wars" installment, “The Force Awakens."

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

In an interview at Comic-Con last year, when asked about the diversity in "The Force Awakens," Abrams said, "It’s important that fans see people who look like themselves in films."

Legendary franchises like “Ghostbusters” and “Star Wars” have taken huge steps forward not just in gender-neutral and colorblind casting, but in offering the spotlight to women and people of color.

That breaks barriers in Hollywood and proves it’s OK to not follow the homogenous checklist that has permeated Hollywood for decades.

“Rogue One” broke further from this tired formula and gave us new hope.

Slight spoiler alert. There's a moment in the film when the main cast of “good guys” is traveling, at hyperspace, in a beat-up ship that just barely made it out unscathed after witnessing a catastrophic event. As they barrel their way to an imperial base on Planet Eadu, the camera slowly pans across to show the newly formed team. The face of the resistance is not unlike the face of those struggling for equality today. The richness of the diversity is a palpable jolt of hope for all minorities everywhere.

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

A main cast of people of color and a woman leading the way is a powerful scene to see.

Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, leads the whole movement, with a team consisting of Cassian Andor (played by Mexican actor Diego Luna), Chirrut Imwe, the blind warrior (played by Chinese legend Donnie Yen), Bodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed, who is of Pakistani and Indian descent), and Baze Malbus (played by Chinese actor Jiang Wen) after leaving a meeting with another main character, Saw Gerrera (played by African-American Forest Whitaker).

There's no sexual tension to exploit. There are no stereotypes, drug deals, racist themes, religious tropes, or anything else that we’ve come to expect from Hollywood over the last 100 years since “Birth of a Nation” came out.  

Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera. Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

But why is this important?

It’s important because like the "Ghostbusters" casting inspiring little girls, it does innumerable wonders for children of color. They see their races and ethnicities finally represented in Hollywood, and not in a negative light.

It's important because it shows we belong, even despite the adversity that women and minorities face.

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

It’s important because it shows that a woman doesn’t need to be placed in a metal bikini to appeal to a target demographic, spawning thousands of horrid Halloween costumes.

The diverse cast in "Rogue One" shows that despite the challenges women and minorities face on the regular — and, as of Jan. 20, 2017, are likely to face even more often — that we can make strides and show the world, as we’ve tried to do since the beginning of recorded time, that we belong, and that we can also do what the typical white hero has done on the silver screen.

It shows that we’re on the right path but still have a ways to go.

Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen. Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

There's progress being made outside film franchises too. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the U.K.'s version of the Oscars) recently announced that as of 2019, films will not be eligible for any awards unless they're diverse and inclusive in front of and behind the camera. It may not be progress at the speed of light, but that clunky, beat-up ship will get there eventually.

"Rogue One" is billed as the prequel to "A New Hope,"  but for millions of minorities watching it on the big screen, this is their new hope — not just on the big screen, but in the real world we're living in.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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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.