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The-Biggest-Highlights-from-the-2019-Grammy-Awards

The Biggest Highlights from the 2019 Grammy Awards

The biggest night in the music industry came and went with minimal controversy. This year’s Grammy Awards were packed with touching speeches, well-deserved wins and stellar performances. We’re talking musical legends like Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, and a surprise appearance by the former First Lady herself.

Like any awards show however, Sunday’s 61st annual ceremony didn’t go off without a hitch. In case you missed any of the four-hour long action, we’ve rounded up the highlights, the gossip and a healthy amount of social media drama.

When they cut Drake’s speech off 

Perhaps in the biggest plot-twist of the night, Drake—who has notoriously boycotted previous Grammy ceremonies—actually showed up to collect his trophy for best rap song.

Celebrating the hit single God’s Plan from his 2018 album Scorpion, the rapper took the opportunity to remind his fellow artists that the Grammy’s do not a winner make.

“The point is you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown,” he said.

“Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won. But—”

Drake was then cut off as the telecast went to a commercial, leaving viewers furious at the interruption.

Cardi B makes history

Cardi B won the best rap album award for her debut Invasion of Privacy, beating out Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and the late Mac Miller, and becoming the first solo woman to take home the trophy.

The rapper gave an emotional speech that touched on her pregnancy and daughter, who was born in July.

“I want to thank my daughter,” she said. “I’m not just saying thank you because she’s my daughter. It’s because, you know, when I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete, like three songs that I was for sure having. And then you know, you know how it was, we was like, we have to get this album done so I could still do videos while I’m still not showing. And it was very long nights.”

Ariana Grande tweeted and then deleted a series of insults as Cardi B took the stage, beating Grande’s late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller to the trophy. The singer called Miller’s snub “trash” and “literal bullshit,” before writing “sry” and deleting the posts.

Grande clarified afterwards that her tweets had “nothing to do w [Cardi]. Good for her. I promise. I’m sorry,” and called someone out for calling Cardi “trash”: “she’s not at all and that’s not what I meant and u know that,” she wrote in another, now-deleted tweet.

In a video recorded backstage at the ceremony and posted to Instagram, Cardi B dedicated her win to Miller, promising that she was “sharing this Grammy” with the late rapper.

Ariana drama 

The night also saw Grande win her first Grammy award for best pop vocal album with her record Sweetener. After a public spat with the show’s producer however, the star took to Instagram to confirm that she would not be attending the ceremony.

“I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things…this is wild and beautiful. Thank you so much. I love u,” she wrote on Sunday. 

Last week, the singer accused the organizer of the Grammys of lying about her reasons for withdrawing from a performance at the ceremony.

Grande still managed to steal the spotlight during the show however, dropping a series of photos that revealed her wearing her custom Zac Posen gown, which had been made for the event, around her house.

Women take center stage

This year, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys led the show, stepping up as the first female host since Queen Latifah took on the role in 2005. Keeping the focus of the show on her love for music, she also enforced its female inclusivity. Last year’s ceremony was criticized for side-lining women, something that Keys was keen to address.

The star’s “sisters,” Lady Gaga, Jada Pinket-Smith and Jennifer Lopez, were invited onto the stage to each tell a personal story of how music changed their life and were joined by a certain former First Lady.

In a surprise appearance, Michelle Obama was forced to restart her speech, after her initial attempts were drowned out by applause.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the Who Run The World songs that fueled me through the last decade, music helps me tell my story,” she said.

“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and our sorrows. Music shows us all of it matters, every story with every voice, every note in every song.”

Captioning a photo of the group that she posted to Twitter, the former First Lady said she showed up for her close friend Alicia Keys—“one of the most genuine and thoughtful people [she knows].” 

Powerful performances

Our favorite performances of the night included Alicia Keys’ piano medley on two pianos (at the same time), Dua Lipa and St. Vincent’s seriously cool collaboration with Masseduction/One Kiss, Lady Gaga’s theatrical performance of Shallow and Kacey Musgraves serene version of Rainbow.

In answer to the question: “Was Jennifer Lopez the right person to choose to do a Motown tribute?” We think not.

Big winners 

Childish Gambino took three of the night’s biggest awards—record of the year, song of the year and video of the year—for his track This Is America. The song became the first hip-hop track to win song of the year, with Alicia Keys and John Mayer accepting the award when the rapper and actor didn’t turn up to the ceremony.

Lady Gaga also won big, accepting two awards for the soundtrack for the movie A Star Is Born. Gaga used her speech to discuss the importance of opening up about mental health, revealing that she was “so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues” and adding: “We gotta take care of each other. So if you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away.”

While her co-star Bradley Cooper represented the film at the BAFTAs, Gaga bagged a further trophy for best vocal performance for Joanne.

Kacey Musgraves triumphed by winning album of the year and Dua Lipa was the only British artist to take home a trophy in a major category. Accepting her two trophies, Lipa made a small dig at the Recording Academy, thanking “all the incredible female artists” and saying “I guess we’ve really stepped up.” 

You can find a complete list of winners here.

Further reading: Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

Alicia Keys to Host 2019 Grammy Awards

Alicia Keys to Host 2019 Grammy Awards

Having won 15 herself, Alicia Keys is no stranger at the Grammys. This year however, the singer will claim a new role, ending James Corden’s two-year stint as host of the awards show.

The announcement came via the Grammys official Twitter page on January 15, with a post that read: “IT’S OFFICIAL! 15-time GRAMMY winner @AliciaKeys will host the 61st GRAMMYs, marking her first time as master of ceremonies for Music’s Biggest Night.”

“I’m going to host the Grammys, you heard it. I know what it feels like to be on that stage,” Keys said in a video post.

“I just feel grateful that I’m able to bring that light, that energy. I’m feeling excited, I feel really good about it.

“I feel that it’s the perfect opportunity to give that light back, especially to all the young women nominated. To me it feels like sister vibes,” she added.

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Unfortunately, not all of the musician’s fans have shared her excitement.

In a video the star shared on social media, Keys can be seen revealing the big news to her two young boys, Egypt and Genesis.

Following a long silence, a confused Egypt, 8, says: “What’s the Grammys?”

Keys captioned the video: “Egy and Gen want to know what the #GRAMMYS are ???”

Last April, Keys was honored at Variety’s Power of Women event in New York, after co-launching Keep a Child Alive—a nonprofit aimed at combating HIV. Using her acceptance speech, the singer spoke out about the inequality that women face in the workplace and in the world, reiterating this message at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

“Look at all the action that’s around us: women running for office in record numbers, women banding together in the entertainment industry, women demanding an end to disparity in the music industry like equal representation on the Grammy stage,” she said.

“We were told we need to step up. Well, you feel that step up now?”

Keys will indeed be stepping up as the first female host of the show since Queen Latifah took on the role in 2005. She will be at the forefront of a year that includes a considerably larger number of female nominees.

“I’m especially excited for all the incredible women nominated this year! It’s going “UP” on February 10!”

The 2019 Grammy Awards will take place at the Staples Centre on February 10 in Los Angeles.

Further reading: Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

Highlights from the 2019 Golden Globe Awards

Highlights from the 2019 Golden Globe Awards

The 76th annual Golden Globe Awards honored the best films and television of 2018 on Sunday, January 6.

This year, your hosts were actors Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, with Oh joining the small group of actors to win awards in the same ceremony that they hosted.

The show may have run 20 minutes over its allotted three-hour running time, but it was full of impassioned speeches, diversification and unexpected surprises.

Here are the night’s most talked-about highlights.

“I’m Sorry!”

Jokes often fall flat during opening monologues. This year however, Sandra Oh managed to stir up some responses from the audience. We’re looking at you Emma Stone.

Introducing the history-making Crazy Rich Asians, Oh called out films that whitewashed Asian roles. “[Crazy Rich Asians] is the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha,” she joked.

The latter saw Emma Stone play a part-Asian character and explains why she shouted, “I’m sorry!” from the audience.

Shortly after, Oh redirected her efforts to Lady Gaga, referencing the actress’ go-to-interview anecdote about there being 100 people in a room “and you just need one to believe in you and that was Bradley Cooper.”

In good spirits, Gaga responded: “It’s true!”

A Swift surprise

While many were upset that Glen Close bested A Star Is Born firm favorite Lady Gaga for best actress (film drama), The Wife star earned a standing ovation for her emotional speech.

Close paid tribute to other nominees in the category, including Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Rosamund Pike, before thanking her own mother as she discussed the film’s themes of gender inequality.

The actress said: “Women, we’re nurturers, we have our children, and our partners if we’re lucky enough, but we have to find personal fulfilment, we have to follow our dreams, we have to say ‘I can do that’ and I think we should be allowed to do that.”

The only Globe A Star Is Born picked up was for best original song. In an unannounced appearance, Taylor Swift presented Gaga with the award for Shallow, the No.1 duet between Gaga and Cooper.

Host-turned-winner

The first person of Asian descent to host the Golden Globes—Sandra Oh is now also the first woman of Asian descent to win best actress (TV drama) in more than three decades, for BBC America’s spy thriller Killing Eve.

Oh’s tearful speech at the top of the show earned her even more adoration on Twitter, as she touched on the diversity of this year’s nominee pool.

“I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change,” she said.

“Trust me, it is real. Because I see you. And I see you. All these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.”

Thank you, Satan

This year, the Globes seemed light on politics. That was, until Christian Bale accepted his award for best actor in a comedy or musical, for political satire Vice.

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for playing this role,” he said about his character Dick Cheney.

While some found the joke tasteless, the comment earned recognition from the Church of Satan itself, which wrote on Twitter: “To us, Satan is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. As Mr. Bale’s own talent and skill won him the award, this is fitting. Hail Christian! Hail Satan!”

50 percent women

In a popular win, Regina King accepted best supporting actress for If Beale Street Could Talk.

After expressing her admiration for fellow nominee Amy Adams, King took a bold stance on gender equality.

“I’m going to use my platform right now to say that in the next two years, everything I produce … is 50 percent women.

“And I challenge anyone that’s out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same,” she said.

Worthy winners 

While the Globes proved to be devastating for A Star is Born, the night was a big success for Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The film won best film (drama) and also saw Rami Malek win best actor for his role as Freddie Mercury.

Richard Madden won best performance by an actor in a television drama for his role in the Bodyguard and Patricia Arquette took home best performance as an actress in a limited series or motion picture made for television for her work on Escape at Dannemora.

The night also gave way to mixed opinions as Mahershala Ali won best performance by an actor in a supporting role motion picture for Green Book.

For a full list of winners, click here.

Further reading: “We Solved it!” Diversity at the Emmys

Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host

Kevin Hart has announced that he will no longer be hosting the 2019 Oscars ceremony.

On Thursday night, the comedian-actor took to Twitter to issue an apology to the LGBTQ community for past “insensitive words” and to confirm he will not be a “distraction” at the Oscars.

The apology and step-down follow an outcry after homophobic comments and tweets from the Ride Along and Jumanji star resurfaced.

What happened?

On Tuesday December 4, Hart—who is currently performing in New Zealand—revealed that he would host Hollywood’s prestigious Oscars ceremony in February 2019.

“I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars,” he wrote.

“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time.”

The backlash

A significant number of Hart’s tweets from between 2009 to 2011 promptly flooded the internet, in which he had used homophobic slurs and derogatory language.

In a tweet from 2011, among some that have been deleted, Hart said: “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay’.”

A video from a 2010 standup special also resurfaced; where Hart delivers an entire standup routine based on the fear his three-year-old son would be gay.

This led people to criticize the Academy’s decision to make him host.

The apology

On Thursday, Hart addressed the situation by posting a video of himself to Instagram that did not feature an apology.

Instead, he said: “Our world is becoming beyond crazy, and I’m not going to let the craziness frustrate me.” The post’s caption read: “I am truly happy people … there is nothing that you can do to change that … NOTHING.”

Hours later, he posted yet another Instagram video, detailing that he had received a call from the Academy telling him to apologize or be removed as host.

“I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. The reason I chose to pass is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up, I’ve addressed this. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”

By Thursday night however, Hart had posted an apology.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he wrote.

“This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.

“I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love and appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”

Among those to question the backlash is Nick Cannon, who reposted old tweets from female comics Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler, which all feature similar slurs.

So, who will host the Oscars now?

Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

And that concludes Sunday’s 44th annual People’s Choice Awards. The show— featuring performances from Rita Ora, Nicki Minaj and Tyga, and John Legend—returned to TV for the first time on E! and broadcasted live from nine to 11pm from Santa Monica. Hollywood A-listers gathered at the viewer-voted ceremony to witness an interesting and memorable group of winners grace the stage. Here are the highlights.

Best movie goes to…

Avengers: Infinity Wars was named best movie of the year. The mega-blockbuster superhero movie also received the Action Movie of 2018 award and saw Scarlett Johansson take home best female movie star for her performance as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.

You go, Danai

Black Panther’s Danai Gurira accepted the award for Action Movie Star of 2018, besting four of the world’s biggest male movie stars (Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwich Boseman and Chris Pratt). Gurira referred to her fellow nominees as “very beautiful men”, a statement that both inverts the patriarchy and elicits no argument from us.

Queen Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was crowned female artist of the year and her LP, Queen, was also professed album of the year. It was Minaj’s acceptance speeches that made her an even bigger winner in our eyes.

“I wanna dedicate this award to Kim Kardashian’s ass in that dress,” she said, while receiving the Album of 2018 reward.

The 35-year-old later thanked the designer, Donatella Versace for her outfit, as well as Black Panther star, Michael B. Jordan, “because he’s going to be taking it off me tonight.”

Shadowhunters Sweep

It’s clear that fans of Shadowhunters are devastated that the series, which is based on The Mortal Instruments book series, may be ending prematurely. With the show awarded TV show of 2018 and Bingeworthy Show of 2018, and Katherine McNamara and Harry Shum Jr. also claiming big wins, the People’s Choice Awards has surely given the cast a memorable send off.

Melissa McCarthy, A.K.A People’s Icon 

Comedy actress, Melissa McCarthy, was honored with the first-ever People’s Icon award, acknowledged for her television and film work, which includes roles in Mike and Molly (2010), Bridesmaids (2011) and Spy (2015).

“Thank you for making it possible for me to do something I love more than anything else,” she said during her acceptance speech.

Spice up your life

Victoria Beckham referenced the Spice Girls hit song Wannabe during her acceptance speech for the Fashion Icon Award. Coming after her band-mates announced a reunion tour that would not include Beckham, fans can be sure that Posh Spice’s dedication to fashion and “girl power” will still give them what they really, really want.

“I wanted to show that if I can do it then really anyone can do it, and what you achieve really can be limitless,” Beckham said. “If you really, really—I can’t help it—if you really, really want it.”

Touching tributes

The People’s Choice Awards fell on Veterans Day and many stars took time to honour the veterans in their speeches. Scarlett Johansson dedicated her award to “the men and women of the armed forces who put their lives on the line every day so we don’t have to”.

Blake Shelton donned a red, white and blue ribbon on his lapel in honor of his veteran father, and Bryan Stevenson spoke out about recent mass shootings, the #MeToo movement and racial inequality during his speech for the People’s Champion Award.

“It’s Veterans Day, it’s important that we honor all our veterans, but it’s important to remember that black veterans after World War I and World War II were menaced and targeted and lynched because of this narrative of racial difference, and today we’re still burdened by that history,” he said.

Attendees also frequently touched on the devastating Woolsey Fire, raging less than 40 miles away from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy, and Kim Kardashian West were among many who thanked firefighters for their tireless work.

Accepting a best reality TV show prize for Keeping Up with The Kardashians, West dedicated the award to “all the firefighters, the law enforcement and the first responders, we really truly appreciate what you have done for all of us.”

Winners

With 46 awards lined up and only 22 given out during the red carpet and live telecast, the winner’s list is deliciously long.

The show witnessed Korean boy band, BTS secure multiple awards for their song and video Idol. Shawn Mendes was named male artist of the year, Jim Parsons announced Comedy TV Star of 2018, Chadwick Boseman crowned male movie star of the year, and Taylor Swift and Shane Dawson also claimed wins. When receiving his award for Nighttime Talk Show of 2018, Jimmy Fallon was met with laughs for thanking “my better half, my rock, my soulmate…Justin Timberlake”.

Popular high school drama, Riverdale won best drama show, Fifty Shades Freed: best drama movie, and Incredibles 2: best family movie.

A full list of winners can be found, here.

Further reading: “We Solved it!” Diversity at the Emmys

The 12 Best Netflix Movies to Watch This Halloween

The 12 Best Netflix Movies to Watch This Halloween

A recent survey by Redbox.com found that, after 45 years, The Exorcist (1973) is still the scariest movie that members have ever seen. Hocus Pocus (1993) is also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, and it’s no surprise to hear that the iconic, 25-year-old classic out-performed all other family-friendly Halloween movies.

Whether you prefer fun or frightening, staying in with Netflix beats trick or treating—just ask the survey. We’re giving you 12 spooky movie options that you can stream for the best October ever.

The survey also showed that 72 percent of responders prefer popcorn to candy, so you should probably watch Children Of The Corn (1984) too. Happy Halloween!

  1. Scooby-Doo (2002)

Anyone who says this isn’t the best film ever made is lying—or just isn’t that nostalgic. The live-action re-imagining of the classic cartoon involves cults, spirits, brainwashing and meddling kids.

  1. It Follows (2014)

This horror film seems to be about an STD—except it takes the form of an evil spirit that sets out to murder its victim. Pass it on to survive.

  1. The Sixth Sense (1999)

This classic psychological thriller follows Bruce Willis as his character tries to help a young boy who is visited by ghosts. If you haven’t already been spoiled on the ending, your Halloween just got 100 times better.

  1. Coraline (2009)

Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s slightly disturbing children’s book. It follows a young girl who discovers an exciting parallel universe. Once you get over how creepy the character’s button-eyes are, this movie is awesome.

  1. The Babadook (2014)

On the surface, this monster movie seems like a terrifying horror film. Deep down, it is a terrifying horror film that cleverly explores the stresses of being a single parent and the manifestation of grief and depression.

  1. The Conjuring (2013) 

The Conjuring is inspired by a true story, and it’s petrifying. The movie follows paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, as they attempt to help a family who are being terrorized by a malevolent spirit.

  1. The Boy (2016)

Creepy doll movies are perfect for Halloween, and this one is no exception. When a young nanny breaks the list of rules for looking after a life-size doll, it becomes clear why the parents treat it like a real boy.

  1. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

If you need a break from the horrors, Hotel Transylvania’s monsters-meet-humans adventure is charming and fun. It was also voted as the fifth family-friendly favourite in the Redbox survey.

  1. Would You Rather (2013)

We dare you to tear your eyes away from this gruesome horror. The intense movie follows a group of unfortunate characters at a dinner party. In a merciless twist, the host forces them to play a sadistic game or pay the price.

  1. Curse of Chucky (2012) 

What screams Halloween more than Chucky? Another sequel. This installment is actually one of the most atmospheric and scary Chucky films, and follows a grieving daughter whose niece has a creepy doll.

  1. Van Helsing (2004)

This monster hunter saga is mainly here because it has Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale in, but it’s also a thrilling roller-coaster ride of entertainment.

  1. Raw (2016) 

This one is best viewed on an empty stomach, so put the popcorn down. At school, a vegetarian girl is convinced to eat raw meat for the first time and develops a craving for flesh. This movie is famous for causing audience members to faint at the Toronto International Film Festival. Go on, we dare you.

Further reading: Why Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is A Loser Is Problematic

Mumford & Sons Debuted New Single “Guiding Light” On The Tonight Show

Mumford & Sons Debuted New Single “Guiding Light” On The Tonight Show

British folk-rock sensation, Mumford & Sons, took to the stage on The Tonight Show to debut their new single, Guiding Light. Monday night’s show also welcomed lead singer, Marcus Mumford, to the couch, where he let slip a hilarious story involving Bruce Springsteen.

Mumford told host, Jimmy Fallon that the band is “still mixing the record” for their upcoming album, Deltaset for release on November 16.

“Is this the first time you’ve promoted an album that’s not finished?” asked Fallon. Mumford laughed as he tried to reassure himself: “Yeah, but this is the modern world. It’s going to be fine!”

Marcus’ bubbly and sweet personality soon had the crowd ‘aw-ing—specifically in response to the singer’s touching words about band mates Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall.

“We all write.

“I hope that means we can be a band for a longer time…They’re also my three favorite song writers, like, in the world,” he told Fallon.

Listing work by Miles Davis and Lauryn Hill as two of the first albums he ever bought, Mumford also noted that he grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen. When asked if the band had ever met Springsteen, Mumford informed Fallon that they had met a couple of times, most memorably at a festival in Belgium.

Springsteen invited the band onto the stage with him, during which Mumford was so nervous that he “forgot the lyrics to Hungry Heart.” Mumford’s retelling of the story also touches on a pair of maracas and was followed by an equally entertaining plot that involved one of the bands earliest escapades.

As the interview came to a close, Marcus confirmed that Mumford & Sons would definitely be going on tour for Delta.

The extensive sixty-date worldwide arena tour will begin later this year. Full tour details will be revealed on October 4.

The album was, of course, written collectively by the band and produced by Paul Epworth. It marks 10 years since the band’s formation.

Speaking about Delta to DJ, Annie Mac, Winston Marshall has said: “I think at the beginning [of recording the album] we kind of fell back in love with the old instruments we didn’t play on Wilder Mind like the acoustic stuff and the more folky instruments but [we were] conscious [about] how we can make these instruments sound not like these instruments which opened up a whole new world for us…”

Watch the full interview, here.

Watch Mumford & Son’s performance of “Guiding Light”, here.

Emmys

“We Solved it!” Diversity at the Emmys

The Primetime Emmys televised jokes about diversity, but failed to select a diverse winning pool.

After president Donald Trump called last year’s Emmy ratings “the worst ever”, the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards took things to a new level. A record-low audience of 10.2 million put the Emmys down 11 percent from the past two years.

The declining popularity of live broadcasted television left the much anticipated 70th Emmy ceremony struggling—but the awkwardness didn’t stop there.

Yet again, major diversity issues presented themselves throughout the three-hour show. As the hosts, Michael Che and Colin Jost, made jokes about Christianity, and more and more white actors took to the stage to collect awards, the atmosphere was detectable from the faces of cringing audience members.

Expectations

The 2017 ceremony seemed to signal the start of a progressive movement, away from historic ideologies. All three lead actor awards were given to men from diverse backgrounds and other categories were also more equally distributed than previous ceremonies. Winners included Sterling K. Brown, Riz Ahmed, Lena Waithe and Atlanta.

This year, the promising prospect continued as the nominee pool included a record 36 non-white actors—a 20 percent increase from 2017. Hollywood was quick to make this known before announcing its winners.

What actually happened?

The show began with the musical opening number: “We Solved It!” Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell and RuPaul (to name but a few) mocked the industry with a poignant song about diversity.

The song referenced Sandra Oh—the first Asian woman to ever be nominated for a lead actress Emmy: “There were none, now there’s one. And so we’re done!” It appeared that, whilst the joke seemed slightly awkward, the 2018 ceremony was being set up to include a diverse and inspiring winner’s circle.

Oh didn’t win—“It’s an honor just to be Asian,” she joked.

Instead, this year’s emphasis on diversity served to draw attention to the fact that only three non-white recipients received awards during the main broadcast.

On a pre-recorded clip, Michael Che did present what he called the “Reparation Emmys”.

“As a black comedian, for so many years our TV legends and heroes have gone unrecognized,

“So this year as host, I took it upon myself to finally right some of those wrongs. I present: The Reparation Emmys,” Che said.

The awards credited Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons), Kadeem Hardison (A Different World), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Jimmie Walker (Good Times), Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris), and John Witherspoon (The Wayan Bros). Gibbs had previously been nominated five times and never won.

As the night unfolded, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the first streaming show to win an Emmy, and Regina Kind (Seven Seconds) and Thandie Newton (Westworld) also took home trophies. Darren Criss, whose mother is Filipino, also took home Best Actor in a Limited Series for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

Game of Thrones, previously criticized for lacking diversity, ended the ceremony by once again winning Outstanding Drama. With the show’s final season coming up, more diverse winners from the production in the near future seem unlikely.

Highlights of the Emmys

In a strange turn of events, Glen Weiss shocked everyone, including girlfriend Jan Svendsen, by proposing to her while accepting his reward for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.

Jenifer Lewis wore a bedazzled custom-made outfit by Nike, thanking them for supporting the football player and activist Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem to protest against racial injustice.

A host of celebrities also used their outfits to advocate political agendas. Accessories included Planned Parenthood and “I Am a Voter” badges, and ACLU blue ribbons. Sarah Sophie Flicker also arrived with a “Stop Kavanaugh” message drawn onto her arm.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star, Rachel Brosnahan, even urged people to vote in the upcoming midterm elections during her acceptance speech, and comedian Hannah Gadsby infused hers with parody.

“I mean, for somebody like me—a nobody, from nowhere—gets this sweet gig, free suit, new boots, just ’cause I don’t like men? That’s a joke, of course. Just jokes, fellas, calm down.

“Hashtag: NotAllMenButALotOfEm. No, it is just jokes, but what are jokes these days? We don’t know. Nobody knows what jokes are. Especially not men! Am I right, fellas? That’s why I’m presenting alone,” she said.

After a somewhat uncomfortable show, the reality of technical and societal change seems to be placing stress on traditional live network broadcasts. This year, the Emmys used the Primetime awards to force us to recognise that they have become more self-aware, but their enlightenment failed to deliver entertainment and implication.

The Creative Arts Emmys actually showcased a record number of non-white winners, but with much less press than the Primetime awards, a lot of these happened offstage. Clearly, Hollywood still has a long way to go on its road to diversity.

Further reading: The Relevancy of BlacKkKlansman

Allison Mack

Allison Mack Arrested for Alleged Role in Sex Trafficking Case

Smallville actress Allison Mack has been arrested in connection to a high profile sex trafficking case, according to police. Mack, best known for her role as Chloe in the popular TV show, was indicted Friday 20 with charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.

In a statement released by the Justice Department, the United States Attorney Donoghue said, “As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere.

“The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit. This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting predators who victimize others through sex trafficking and forced labor.”

Mack was allegedly second-in-command within a New York-based organization called NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um). The group, which markets itself as a ‘self-help’ group, was founded by Keith Raniere (the only male member of the so-called cult) in 1998. Raniere was arrested last month in Mexico for the same charges. Both Mack and Raniere deny all allegations made against them.

According to reports, the organization required thousands of dollars for new recruits to participate in courses, and to rise through the ranks and recruit others to do the same.

According to CNN, Mack apparently co-founded a secret society within the organization called ‘DOS’, in which women recruited other women under false pretences for sexual purposes. New recruits are dubbed ‘slaves’. When they have recruited new women, their position transitioned to that of ‘master’.

In more twisted events, some of the organization’s recruits were purportedly branded with Raniere’s initials on their pubic regions using a cauterizing pen while other women held them down.

Mack had allegedly received payment and other benefits from Raniere in exchange for the women engaging in sexual activities with him.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said, “As this pyramid scheme continues to unravel, we ask anyone who might have been a victim to reach out to us with information that may further our investigation.”

If convicted, both Mack and Raniere face “mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment.”

Further reading: Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial to Begin

Stranger Things

Stranger Things Creators Sued for Plagiarism

The creators of the hit Netflix TV series Stranger Things (2016) and Stranger Things 2 (2017), Matt and Ross Duffer (known in Hollywood as the “Duffer Brothers”), are being sued by producer Charlie Kessler for plagiarising his short film Montauk (2012). Kessler has said that he originally pitched his short film and a feature script (titled The Montauk Project) to the Duffer Brothers back in 2014.

Stranger Things, which first aired on Netflix in 2016, was originally sold to the major streaming service under the same title, Montauk. As with Kessler’s short film, the show had initially been set in Montauk, Long Island. The show was later named Stranger Things and the location shifted to Indiana.

The original logline of the series after it received the greenlight from Netflix’s executives reads: “Described as a love letter to the 80s classics that captivated a generation, the series is set in 1980 Montauk, Long Island, where a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl.”   

Similarly, Kessler’s narrative involves a young boy that goes missing, a nearby military base conducting experiments on children and a supernatural monster from another dimension.

A spokesperson for Kessler has said of the case: “After the massive success of Stranger Things that is based on the Plaintiff’s concepts that the Plaintiff discussed with the Defendants, Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s concepts without compensating or crediting Plaintiff for his concepts.”

Kessler is suing the Duffer Brothers for breach of implied contract and seeks monetary damages at trial.

The Duffer Brothers have since denied these claims. Alex Kohner, the directors’ lawyer, said in a statement to the Press Association, “Mr Kessler’s claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. 

“The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him.”

Kohner added: “This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”

Stranger Things is one of the most popular television shows on Netflix. Netflix experienced its most popular streaming day of the year when the first episode of the second season aired in October 2017.

Further reading: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to Support Inclusion Rider