#TimesUp for R. Kelly thanks to Ava DuVernay and other brave, badass black women.

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.

More
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's