Quvenzhané-Wallis-in-BEASTS-OF-THE-SOUTHERN-WILD

5 Things You Need to Know About Quvenzhané Wallis

This year’s Academy Awards nominations have just been announced and Hollywood is abuzz about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis and her breakout role in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Here’s five things you need to know about the buzzy newcomer actress.

Say Her Name
How do you pronounce her name? Media outlets all over the place have butchered the Swahili-rooted name, but veteran film critic Roger Ebert--who dubbed the actress a “small force of nature”--confirmed that it’s: “kwa van je nay." The first part combines elements of her mother’s first name, Qulyndreia, and father’s first name, Venjie. Quvenzhané’s nickname is “Nazie.”

She’s 9 Years Old
The pint-sized cutie packs a punch, but she’s only 9 years old. When she won her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, she was only 5! At the recent Critics Choice Awards, during which she snagged the Best Young Actress accolade, the precocious kid attended holding a puppy purse and read her acceptance speech from her pink phone. How adorable is she?

Beasts of the Southern Wild
In Beasts of the Southern Wild, Nazie plays “Hushpuppy,” a girl trying to save her ailing father during a hurricane in the Louisiana bayou. The film garnered a total of four Academy Award nominations this year: Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, Best Director Benh Zeitlin, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

Best Actress Academy Award
Quvenzhané is the youngest Best Actress nominee in the history of the Academy Awards. When she was 5-years-old, her Mom wouldn’t let her audition for the film because she was too young, so the actress did it anyways. She remembers, "My audition turned out to be at the library and my Mom got a call from one of her friends and it was for a six to nine year old. So my Mom said I couldn't go 'cause I was only five. But we just went and we act like we're having nothin' to do; we had done nothin' wrong. And we just sneaked in because I was like one year younger so we just sneaked in and we walked out like we ain't done nothin'.

Her Oscar Reaction
"It makes me feel excited," Quvenzhané told Entertainment Tonight about her nomination. "It makes me feel special too." Reportedly, she’s never watched the Oscars before. "Whenever they said you might make it to the Oscars, I was like, ‘Who's Oscar? I don't know Oscar.'"

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Gina Rodriguez Tearfully Addresses Anti-Black Allegations

Gina Rodriguez sparked controversy on social media in Nov. 2018, after she made questionable claims about the racial pay gap in the workplace. During a panel discussion on Neta Porter's "The Television Debate" with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and more, the actress falsely claimed that black women were paid more than Latina and Asian women. Nearly two months after the backlash, Rodriguez sat down with Sway in the Morning on Jan. 22, to explain her previous statements and debunk the notion that she is anti-black.

"I wasn’t speaking about my industry," she said of her previous comments about the racial pay gap. "I always find it difficult to  talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As somebody who came from poverty to now the amount of money I get paid, it doesn’t feel right that I’m the one talking about it because i’m just so damn grateful…"

The Jane the Virgin actress stated that she was devastated by the tweets from the black community that claimed she was anti-black because she felt deeply connected to the racial group growing up. "What I was saying is that when we talk about equal pay we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise. And so, the backlash was devastating to say the least because the black community was the only community I looked towards," she continued. "Growing up, we didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned. He’s Afro-latino. And my cousins are. And Puerto Ricans are African, Taino, and Spaniard blood…"

She also suggested that the backlash was fueled by click-bait. "I know my heart. I know what I meant. And I really wish we lived in a culture that wasn’t click-bait because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody and far would I ever," she added. "The black community is my community. As Latinos, we have black Latinos. That is what we are. I think when I talk about Latino advocacy they think I mean people only my skin color. And little do they know that I’m very aware of what my culture is… It was a really really dark time for me."

Check out Rodriguez's full comments on the subject at the 12:34-mark in the video above.

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Taraji P. Henson Criticized For Comparing R. Kelly And Harvey Weinstein

Taraji P. Henson is under fire after she appeared to compare the backlash and response surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein. Henson seemed to question why Kelly was being slammed more than Weinstein, and Twitter users were not happy about her argument to say the least.

Henson shared her thoughts on her Instagram Stories on Tuesday (Jan. 22). She shared a series of videos, first of her looking up the hashtag and fan pages under "Mute R. Kelly." To no surprise, she found a handful of pages advocating for the complete dismissal of R. Kelly.

I love me some Taraji but GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLLLAAAAAAAA. Make it make sense. pic.twitter.com/qBtYuwpio0

— sie (@NOPussBoys_) January 22, 2019

She then searched for similar tags and pages for Weinstein, but was unsuccessful. She also looked up pages under his full name to no avail. Henson then shared an emoji along with a simple "hmmm." The message suggested that she was confused as to why Weinstein and Kelly – both of whom have been accused of sexually abusing dozens of women through their career – were not receiving the same backlash. It appeared her argument regarding the discrepancy might have something to do with race.

Twitter users were not persuaded by Henson's thesis however. Surviving R. Kelly show-runner, dream hampton promptly responded to Henson's story, saying, "no idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more." Others criticized the actress for not acknowledging the black women and girls who had allegedly been abused by Kelly throughout the years.

While there may not be pages about muting Weinstein on Instagram, the Hollywood mogul is facing consequences for his heinous actions. Weinstein was forced to step down from his company, and he was arrested in May 2018 and charged with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women." He later made bail but was mandated to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.

Check out the Twitter reactions to Taraji P. Henson's comments below.

No idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more.

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

All of us watching Taraji’s instastory pic.twitter.com/VbcmMY3t7U

— Kayla Marie (@Maria_Giesela) January 22, 2019

TARAJI IS SO EMBARRASSING I HATE HER pic.twitter.com/tnm4HcMeAP

— fads (@azuIair) January 22, 2019

Yall.....Taraji P Henson done lost her entire mind....I... pic.twitter.com/8CuLCy19h2

— future librarian ♏️ (@blkbravado) January 22, 2019

Harvey Weinstein has been booked, charged, etc. the purpose of #MuteRKelly is to silence his music. For him to be held accountable for his actions. I really need taraji to know better. Unbelievable.

— Krissy Brierre-Davis (@krissys_kitchen) January 22, 2019

Taraji is dumb ass bricks. She really tried to compare mute R. Kelly hashtags to Mute Harvey Weinstein! News flash, Taraji, Harvey is about to go to trial. There are people willing to testify against him. His businesses and career are DONE! R. Kelly is still out here functioning!

— Where Is Yo Scoota? Where Is It?! (@AshleyShyMiller) January 22, 2019

Taraji, why? pic.twitter.com/6a4CenaNg3

— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) January 22, 2019

1. Why would “Mute” apply to people who aren’t in the music industry?2. Weinstein has several documentaries coming about his allegations. 3. Weinstein is also going to trial over his allegations. 4. Between Taraji and Erykah “What Men Want” is a no go. pic.twitter.com/DLzvq32VKy

— M’BlockU (@rodimusprime) January 22, 2019

I wanna have a conversation about women Taraji's/Erykah's age and their obsession with "being a man's peace/shield/sponge because society brings them down enough" but I've already hit my 1 thread a day limit.

— Mári 🇵🇷 (I'm Black. This isn't hard.) (@_ItsMarisWorld_) January 22, 2019

 

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Kelly Rowland Becomes Gladys Knight For 'American Soul'

Kelly Rowland will reprise a multi-episode role as Gladys Knight on BET's newest series, American Soul.

The forthcoming series explores Don Cornelius' journey to creating Soul Train, the first nationally-syndicated show centered around black music, chronicling the uphill battling with record labels and off-camera drama with dancers, artists and more. The '70s set also painted pictures of the racially charged issues that plagued that generation.

It's almost as if the black entertainment channel is creating a Destiny's Child reunion, because Michelle Williams has been announced as the series' Diana Ross.

In a first look clip provided to VIBE, Cornelius is seen pitching the idea to a seemingly uninterested Knight (Rowland). The Chi-town DJ wants to create a show centered around black singer, dancer and performers.

"I’m talking about a national television show written, produced, and owned by black folks. I’m talking about bringing us — not whitewashed, not toned down, but us — into millions of homes, like it or not,” Cornelius' character says to Knight. Non-spoiler alert: Knight would eventually go on to be the first guest on Soul Train if history is any indication.

American Soul will premiere Feb. 5 on BET at 9 pm ET/PT on BET. Watch Kelly Rowland bring Gladys Knight's character to life in American Soul above.

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