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For the first time in Hollywood history, Spider-Man's love interest will be played by a black actress.

And she's none other than 19-year-old Zendaya — a former Disney star whose acting, modeling, and business career has taken off in recent years.

Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Essence.


The rumor mill began churning earlier this year after Zendaya was first cast, with many speculating she'd play Peter Parker's friend Michelle.

But according to an inside scoop from The Wrap, Zendaya landed the coveted role of Mary Jane Watson in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" — a character we're used to seeing with red locks and white skin.

As you can imagine, the news is certainly making waves.

Reactions from around the web began pouring in with excitement and praise, proving that casting makes a difference.

Just the thought of the new Mary Jane is brightening people's day.

In an industry that tends to exclude certain groups from the big screen, this is big.

And who knows how many little girls are celebrating the casting decision this very moment?

Of course, not all reactions were of approval. Some are arguing that a black actress would break the mold of Mary Jane's original comic book look (and they clearly aren't happy about it).

But I suggest we take a step back and give this news a little context first.

For every person of color who's portrayed a character originally written as white, there are about a million examples of the opposite.

I mean, just take a peek at this list.

Not only is Hollywood hesitant to create films directed by and starring people of color, but it also has a nasty habit of whitewashing — giving roles that should be played by actors of color to white people (think, Emma Stone playing Allison Ng in "Aloha" or Rooney Mara playing Tiger Lily — a character who's decidedly Native American — in "Pan").

These systemic problems have meant certain groups are dramatically underrepresented on the big screen.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

So instead of getting our feathers ruffled over the modernizing of a comic book series, shouldn't we be celebrating an evolving, more-inclusive film industry?

After all, diversity isn't just cool for the sake of diversity — representation matters.

Everyone deserves to see themselves in the heroes that capture our hearts on-screen.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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Identity

Sacheen Littlefeather, who famously appeared in Marlon Brando's place at Oscars, has passed away

'It feels like the sacred circle is completing itself before I go in this life.'

Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather.

A little more than two weeks after receiving a formal apology from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the abuse she suffered at the 1973 Academy Awards, Native American rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather has died at age 75.

Littlefeather is a Native American civil rights activist born to an Apache and Yaqui father and a European American mother. Littlefeather made history at the 1973 Academy Awards by forcing Hollywood and America to confront its mistreatment of Native Americans by rejecting Brando's award on his behalf.

Dressed in traditional clothing, she explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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This article originally appeared on 08.05.21


Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.

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