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On Oct. 7, 2015, Disney revealed more details on its newest princess, Moana.

And, as expected, the Interwebs shook with joy.



The film — aptly titled "Moana," of course — follows its leading gal on her search for a fabled island in the South Pacific, as E! News reported. It's set to be released in theaters Nov. 2016. *marks calendar*

Disney also introduced the world to the real girl who's bringing Moana to life on screen, 14-year-old Auli'i Cravalho.

In about a year, Cravalho's voice will be filling up theaters around the globe.

GIFs via Disney.

The film has already landed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (who better suited to portray a demigod named Maui in the film than he?), who shared how thrilled he was about Cravalho's casting on Instagram.

IT'S OFFICIAL: After months and months of worldwide casting calls, we've finally found our next DISNEY Princess... #MOANA. I'm pumped to welcome 14yr old @AuliiCravalho of Mililani, Hawaii to our project. What's amazing about this story is that she didn't think she was good enough so she never auditioned. Fortunately, one of our Oahu casting agents discovered her singing at a charity competition and the rest is history. * An awesome lesson to all young kids out there... work hard, have confidence in yourselves and never think you're not good enough because you never know what the future holds. Congratulations Auli'i! Can't wait to work with you and watch you bring this new Disney Princess to life. #YesThatsMeOnTheRight #HisNameIsMaui #HesADemiGod #AndHePutsMoanaInHerPlace #SoHeThinks #DisneyAnimation #MOANA #TimeToSing
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on


As Johnson explained above, Cravalho has virtually no big-time acting experience and was discovered by a casting agent in Oahu when she was singing at a charity competition. She went from an everyday teen to the buzz of the Internet overnight.

Maybe the coolest thing about Cravalho, though? She's actually Hawaiian.

To find Moana, Disney auditioned hundreds of girls throughout the Pacific Islands before deciding Cravalho — who is native Hawaiian — was the "perfect match."

“I didn't think I would have a chance," Cravalho said. “When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing, and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana — representing my culture in that way."

It's worth celebrating when films cast people of color as characters of color. Because, oddly enough, that doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.

If you haven't heard of it, there's this thing Hollywood does called whitewashing, where characters that should be played by actors of color end up being played by white actors instead.

And film studios have been doing this for quite some time now. Remember when Elizabeth Taylor played Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra? Or when Jake Gyllenhaal portrayed the Prince of Persia? Yup.

Photo by Niklas Halle'N/AFP/Getty Images.

Recently, many filmgoers were outraged over Emma Stone being cast as Allison Ng — a character with Asian and Hawaiian roots — in "Aloha." And director Roland Emmerich felt his fair share of criticism for casting a white, cisgender man as the lead in his film, "Stonewall," ignoring the fact many of the real-life human rights pioneers from the 1969 Stonewall Riots for LGBTQ inclusion were actually people of color and transgender.

And just this past weekend, actor Rooney Mara told told People magazine she empathized with the frustration directed toward her casting in the film "Pan," in which she stars as Tiger Lily, a character who is undeniably Native American.

Seeing as a recent study from USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that just17 of the top 100-grossing films last year featured someone from an underrepresented racial group as a lead character, it's vital that people of color get more opportunity to tell their stories on screen.

In a time where whitewashing remains all too common in Hollywood, Cravalho's casting shouldn't be dismissed as no big deal. It's exciting!

Yes, "Moana" is just one movie, and Cravalho is just one actor. But it's a film that's already stirring excitement an entire year before its release. It's going to have an effect.

The world will watch a "badass" teen from the Pacific Islands fight monsters and capture millions of hearts on screen. The fact the real girl bringing Moana to life is someone who shares cultural similarities with her animated character is a pretty sweet addition to an already cool story.

Learn more about Cravalho being cast as Moana below:

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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