What you didn't see: Jordan Peele's epic answer to a backstage question.

After winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Jordan Peele's press conference got off to an awkward start backstage.

Standing in front of a room of reporters with numbered cards in hand, the "Get Out" writer and director joked that he felt like he was "about to be auctioned off right now." Someone else in the room replied, "You absolutely are. Get used to it."

GIF from "Entertainment Tonight"/YouTube.


The room laughed at what was essentially an unintentional callback to a scene from Peele's award-winning film. "This is creepy," he said. The atmosphere was filled with a kind of enjoyable tension — the same feeling one might have when watching "Get Out" for the first time.

What made the whole experience even more surreal was the fact that Peele almost didn't make the movie, let alone win a top honor for it.

GIF from "Get Out."

The whole press conference was fascinating, but one question about the importance of awards stood out.

"As you continue to move forward telling stories about race and things that have affected us in our society, how important are Oscars and other awards essential to you for validation or to continue to move forward?" asked one reporter. Peele's response touched on his complicated feelings around awards as a sign of validation, discussing how his 12-year-old self helped him understand why they do matter.

"I didn't know how important this was. I always wanted this, but the campaign is grueling, and there are times when I questioned, what is it all about? You're watching your last jump shot for a year, and as an artist, that doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel right to be complacent and to feel like I've done anything too special to reward myself."

Once he was nominated, however, Peele says he understood how much awards helped inspire him at a young age.

"When the nominations for this came together — first of all, when the nominations came out, I had this amazing feeling of looking at the 12-year-old that had this burning in my guts for this type of validation, and I instantly realized that an award like this is much bigger than me."

All GIFs via Entertainment Tonight/YouTube.

It was Whoopi Goldberg's 1991 Best Supporting Actress Oscar win that helped fuel Peele's own curiosity and ambitions. He hopes his win can have the same effect on others.

"This is about paying it forward to the young people who might not believe that they could achieve the highest honor in whatever craft they want to push for. You're not a failure if you don't get this. But I almost didn't do it because I didn't believe that there was a place for me. Whoopi Goldberg, in her acceptance speech for best supporting actress for 'Ghost,' was a huge inspiration to me, and when I got nominated, one of the first things I did was reach out and call her and thank her for telling young people who maybe doubted themselves that they could do it. So I hope that this does the same and inspires more people to use their voices."

Peele has every reason to be inspired by Goldberg's speech. It was filled with a beautiful combination of honesty and joy.

"I want to thank everybody who makes movies," she said, beaming. "I come from New York. As a little kid, I lived in the projects, and you're the people I watched. You're the people wanted — made me want to be an actor. I'm so proud to be here. I'm proud to be an actor, and I'm gonna keep on acting. And thank you so much."

Peele tweeted that Goldberg's speech "practically reached through my TV and told young me to follow my dreams."

Maybe his speech could inspire another aspiring filmmaker the way hers inspired him.

You can watch Peele's backstage press conference below.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

Keep Reading Show less

When you picture a ballerina, you may not picture someone who looks like Lizzy Howell. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Howell is busting stereotypes and challenging people's ideas of what a dancer should look like just by being herself and doing her thing in her own body. The now-19-year-old from Delaware has been dancing since she was five and has performed in venues around the world, including Eurovision 2019. She has won scholarships and trains up to four hours a day to perfect her skills in various styles of dance.

Jordan Matter Photography shared a documentary video about Howell on Facebook—part of his "Unstoppable" series—that has inspired thousands. In it, we get to see Howell's impressive moves and clear love of the art form. Howell shares parts of her life story, including the loss of her mother in a car accident when she was little and how she was raised by a supportive aunt who helped her pursue her dance ambitions. She also explained how she's had to deal with hate comments and bullying from people who judge her based on her appearance.

"I don't think it's right for people to judge off of one thing," Howell says in the video. And she's right—her size is just one thing.

Keep Reading Show less