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There weren't enough roles for her to play. So Madeleine Sami wrote 5 for herself.

She's building her own bridge across the diversity gap.

There weren't enough roles for her to play. So Madeleine Sami wrote 5 for herself.
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Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

When Madeleine Sami started off in theater, she found herself playing stereotypical roles for people of color.

The New Zealand filmmaker/writer/actress is half Fijian-Indian and half Kiwi with Irish heritage, and she found that there were not a lot of three-dimensional roles available to her.

According to a recent survey in New Zealand, only 38% of television writers are women. And a recent UCLA diversity report in Hollywood shows that minorities are underrepresented 2 to 1 in cable, scripted, and reality TV leads and that for women, it's about the same.


So she made a decision: She'd cast herself in the roles she wants.

She's not just one lead in her TV show, "Super City"; she cast herself in five lead roles.


GIF via NZonscreen on YouTube

"Super City" shows that an actor of color can play multiple roles — roles that even open-minded casting directors might never have considered!

When you're the writer of your own story — literally or figuratively — you can consider anything.

She wrote roles for herself like these:

— Pasha, a ditzy actress and socialite


All images via "Super City" trailer/YouTube.

— Azeem, a patriotic male cab driver

Did Sami do such an incredible and hilarious job in a male role that I'm reconsidering the necessity of casting based on gender? Those thoughts are forming.

— Linda, a middle-aged and uptight aspiring artist

— Jo, a fitness trainer grappling with her sexuality

— Georgie, a homeless mom trying to make it as a parent

And all in one show!

By both making her art and selling it on the entertainment market, Sami and her show are a powerful proving ground for the marketability of diverse voices in entertainment.

It was through social media, Facebook in particular, that Sami realized just how much people were really responding to her show.

GIF via NZonscreen/YouTube.

She says, "Someone set up a 'Super City' quotes page on Facebook. ... I had a look at it the other day ... people remember whole paragraphs of dialogue from the show!"

Because of Facebook, Sami was able to hear from her fans directly. She was able to get confidence directly from the people she was trying to reach. And things must've gone well with TV studios because the show got a second season!

Diverse characters, voices, and perspectives all interact in "Super City." It's a comedy, and if you watch the trailer, you'll see how funny it is but that something else is going on.

By having all the parts played by one person, we can see how alike we all are! It's pretty cool.

Watch the trailer for Sami's show and have a laugh!

Sumo Citrus
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Don Bay has been in the citrus business for over 50 years now, and according to him, his most recent growing endeavor has been the most challenging. Alongside his son Darren and grandson Luke, Don cultivates Sumo Citrus®, one of the most difficult fruits to grow. The Bay family runs San Joaquin Growers Ranch in Porterville, California, one of the farms where the fruit is grown in the United States.

Sumo Citrus was originally developed in Japan, and is an extraordinary hybrid of mandarin, pomelo and navel oranges.

The fruit is temperamental, and it can take time to get a thriving crop. The trees require year-round care, and it takes five years from seed to fruit until they're ready for harvest. Thanks to expert citrus growers like the Bay family though, Sumo Citrus have flourished in California. Don and his son Darren worked together through trial and error to perfect their crop of Sumo Citrus. Darren is now an expert on cultivating this famously temperamental fruit, and his son Luke is learning from him every step of the way.

Don, Darren and Luke BayAll photos courtesy of Sumo Citrus

"Luke's been involved as early as he could come out," Darren said in a YouTube video.

"Having both my son and grandson [working with me] is basically what I've dreamt about," said Don. "To have been able to develop this orchard and have them work on it and work with me — then I don't have to do all the work."

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Public education is one of the most complex issues under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has made it far more complicated. The question of how to meet the needs of kids who come from diverse families, communities, and socioeconomic circumstances—not to mention having diverse mental strengths, interests, and challenges of their own—is never simple, and adding the difficulty of living through a pandemic with its lack of certainty, structure, and security is a whole freaking lot.

Kids' individual experiences during the pandemic have varied greatly. While the overall situation has been hard for everyone, some kids have actually thrived at home, away from the rigid schedules and social quagmire of traditional school. Other kids have floundered without the routine and personal interaction, while still others are stuck in terrible home situations or have needs that can't be met by parents alone. Some kids are being greatly harmed by missing school.

Educators, politicians, public health officials, and parents have gone around and around for the past year trying to figure out what smart, what's safe, what's necessary, and what's not for kids during COVID-19. Many of us are worried about the mental health and educational struggles children are facing. There are no easy answers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

However, there is an attitude that we can take that will serve all our children as more kids move back to the classroom. A 40-year veteran of our education system, former New York teacher and administrator Therea Thayer Snyder, wrote a letter on Facebook that has resonated with teachers and parents alike. In it, she describes what our kids have experienced during the pandemic, how academic standards and measures no longer apply, and what schools can do to help kids process what they've been through. It reads:

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Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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via YouTube The Kelly Clarkson Show

America's original idol, Kelly Clarkson, put a powerful spin on No Doubt's breakthrough hit, 1995's "Just a Girl," on her talk show Monday. She slowed down the tempo, added some strings and a menacing keyboard, to give the song a haunting sound.

The original version was peppy and sarcastic with Gwen Stefani singing in a faux pouty voice until the chorus in which she goes full '90s girl power.

Clarkson sang the new version during the "Kellyoke" segment of her talk show where she covers some of her favorite songs. Check out the moment 58 seconds in where she holds the final note on the line, "That's all that you'll let me be."

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Sergi Cardenas/Instagram

Optical illusions are always fun to play with, and the paintings of Sergi Cadenas are no exception.

If you walk up to one of Cadenas's portraits from one direction, you'll see a face. If you walk up to it from the opposite direction, you'll also see a face—but a totally different one. Sometimes it's a young face that ages as you walk from one side to another, like this one:

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Sometimes it's a face that has the...um...face part removed.

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