+

In typical badass Ava DuVernay style, the filmmaker is fearlessly taking on one of the #MeToo movement's forgotten foes.    

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


On April 30, DuVernay joined forces with women of color in the #MeToo movement by declaring support for #MuteRKelly, an online call to action demanding that Live Nation and Sony Music to drop R&B singer R. Kelly from his recording contract and cancel his tour dates.      

‌Other incredible black women celebrities, including Lena Waithe and Shonda Rimes, are joining the cause, too, according to a statement also released April 30.

Kelly's disgusting behavior has been well documented though largely ignored.

For decades, multiple women have accused the popular singer of aggravated assault, statutory rape, and harassment.

In 2000, Kelly was accused of statutory rape and numerous other charges followed in the years after. Most recently, reports surfaced of Kelly running a "sex cult" that entailed Kelly holding young girls against their will, and controlling their every move with only minimal impact on his career. Instead, Kelly has often been the brunt off of-the-cuff jokes.

To make matters worse, Most of Kelly's victims have been black women, and have yet to receive any sort of justice.

Photo by ‌Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images.‌

The dude is gross, and thanks to DuVernay and other amazing women of color, time may finally be up for Kelly.

Photo by Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.‌

Finally, calls to investigate Kelly and bring him to justice for his sexual misconduct appear to be sticking: The singer was recently dropped by his publicist, lawyer, and assistant. Slowly people are distancing themselves, and DuVernay will likely push that further.    

DuVernay is certainly no stranger to fighting for social justice.

The director and filmmaker has spent a large part of her prominent career fighting against America's prison industrial complex and advocating for increasing the number of women of color in film.

Importantly, she's also made it clear in her career that women should no longer be holding themselves back to appease society. ‌

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.‌

"Women have been trained in our culture and society to ask for what we want instead of taking what we want," DuVernay said in a 2015 BlogHer keynote speech. "We've been really indoctrinated with this culture of permission. I think it's true for women, and I think it's true for people of color. It's historic, and it's unfortunate and has somehow become part of our DNA. But that time has passed."

According to a study from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, black girls and women 12 years old and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls. Given the fact that black women and girls experience heartbreaking rates of sexual assault but are less likely to report it, DuVernay's stand matters more than ever.  

When powerful women use their platforms to raise awareness and demand change, the world responds.  

As the country continues to evolve in how it responds to sexual assault, it's important that we uplift all women who are survivors and make sure that their voices are heard.

DuVernay is doing just that.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

5 easy ways to practice self care

Because taking care of yourself should never feel like a chore

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life we forget the important things: like taking care of ourselves. While binge watching your favorite show and ordering take out can be just the treat-yourself-thing you need, your body might not always feel the same. So we’re bringing you 5 easy ways to practice self-care that both you and your body will thank us for.

Keep ReadingShow less

Saving the life of one small animal among the billions upon billions of living things on Earth may not seem significant in the big picture, but when that one small animal's life is in your hands, it means the world.

Yassin Elmahgoub is a medical student from Egypt who recently shared the journey of a tiny baby parrot he rescued. The parrot, who he named Mumble, was born with birth defects and wasn't able to stand or walk. With the help of a parrot behavior consultant, Elmahgoub hand-fed Mumble, nursed him to good health and helped him develop mobility.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed more than 8 million times, Elmahgoub shared Mumble's journey from his earliest days until he was finally able to walk on his own.

Keep ReadingShow less