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Why these 2 athletes made hijabs part of their uniforms.

A hijab is a traditional head covering worn by many Muslim women all over the world.

In the Muslim faith, a hijab is worn to protect modesty, privacy, and morality. Many people think they're oppressive to women and a symbol of extremism, which is why the last time you saw one in the news was probably when France passed several laws restricting when and where women are allowed to wear them.

In reality, many Muslim women embrace the choice to wear hijabs (not to be confused with niqabs, which cover the face, or burkas, which cover the entire body) of their own free will.


A woman preparing hijabs for sale in Indonesia. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images.

Do a little searching online, and you can find amazing tutorials showing all the different ways to style a hijab, fan-art illustrations of superheroes wearing hijabs, and other outspoken and successful Muslim women who embrace the hijab. One of them is Dalia Mogahed, who recently explained on "The Daily Show" why wearing a hijab doesn't mean she's oppressed, saying that women who wear hijabs "do it as an act of devotion, as a part of their faith. Not because anyone forces them but because it's how they believe they should be following their faith."

Two young women have been making news lately with their decisions to show the world that wearing a hijab is not only their right but an important part of their culture that they hold dear.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencing champion from New Jersey, will soon make history when she becomes the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete in hijab.

After earning a bronze medal at the Athens Fencing World Cup, Muhammad — who was already the first Muslim woman to compete in U.S. fencing — earned enough qualifying points to compete in this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently second place in the U.S. national fencing team's point standings.

Muhammad (second from left) after winning the women's team sabre final in the 2014 World Fencing Championship in Kazan. Photo by Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images.

"I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender," she says in her USA fencing team bio. "I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance."

Muhammad is well aware of the lack of diversity in U.S. fencing. In fact, that's partly why she pursued the sport. Shortly after her fencing career at Duke University, she realized she could help push the sport forward.

"After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport," Muhammad told Team USA. “I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber.”

And Stephanie Kurlow, a 14-year-old dancer from Sydney, Australia, is aspiring to be the worlds first hijabi ballerina.

A dancer since age 2, Kurlow stopped practicing shortly after converting to Islam with her family when she was 8, according to the NY Daily News.

She felt self-conscious about wearing her hijab in ballet class and was frustrated to find there were no ballet studios that readily accepted Muslim women. She feared this would prevent her from achieving her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Had such a fun photo shoot the other day!💙 #wedanceasone #dailytelegraph
A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

So her mom decided to open up a performing arts studio that teaches ballet, martial arts, and aboriginal art classes for girls like Stephanie. There, Kurlow continued dancing and went on to win first place in a Muslim talent show as well as the Most Inspirational Young Star in Sydney’s Youth Talent Smash competition last year. All while wearing her hijab.

“[The hijab] is a part of who I am, and represents the beautiful religion that I love,” she told the NY Daily News. “If people have the right to dress down, then I have the right to dress up.”

Kurlow dreams of inspiring other women the way she was inspired and has started a fundraising page so that she may one day train full-time at ballet school and eventually open up her own school.

Both of these women are promoting diversity and acceptance by being who they are.

Ibtihaj Muhammad competing in 2011. Photo by Giusseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images.

Society often moves forward at a snail's pace. You need people who are willing to jump out in front and lead the way. Ibtihaj Muhammad and Stephanie Kurlow are leaders because they believe that the world gets better when everyone is included equally.

Whether it's politics, art, music, dancing, or an Olympic sport, there are talented and incredible people everywhere.

And they can wear whatever the hell they want.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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