Mulan cancels wide theatrical release, moves to Disney+

Mulan is no longer headed for a major theatrical release. The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that it will debut its live-action blockbuster on its subscription streaming service, Disney+, on Sept. 4. 

But this is no Hamilton. Customers in the United States will have to pay an additional $29.99 US on top of the cost of the monthly subscription to watch Mulan. The company plans to release it in theatres in areas where Disney+ is not available. 

Disney+ did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the movie’s price in Canada.

“In order to meet the needs of consumers during this unpredictable period, we thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family-friendly film to them in a timely manner,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on the company’s earnings call. “We see this as an opportunity to bring this incredible film to a broad audience currently unable to go to movie theatres.”

The live-action remake of the animated film was one of the first major films to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Originally set for a March 27 release, Mulan moved to late July, then late August and was then pulled from the calendar all together as COVID-19 cases spiked through the U.S.

Theatrical releases in doubt

Along with Warner Bros.’ Tenet, Mulan was going to be one of the first major movies to open in theatres since the shutdown. Exhibitors, most of which have been closed for over four months, have been desperate for new films that would help draw wary audiences back to theatres. 

But while Warner Bros. is moving forward with a theatrical release plan, which involves opening Tenet internationally first and then in select U.S. theatres a week later, on Sept. 3, Disney decided to pivot and direct consumers to its streaming service. 

It is not unprecedented for a major studio to offer a premium video on demand release during the pandemic. Universal Pictures debuted Trolls World Tour on streaming in April while most theatres were shuttered. Although it caused a major rift at the time, it has since led to an historic compromise between the nation’s largest theatre chain and Universal to shrink its theatrical window to 17 days. 

But few expected Mulan, a $200 million production, to go this route, even Disney. In late June, when announcing its delay to August, Disney executives Alan Horn and Alan Bergman wrote in a joint statement that Mulan was, “Everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs — on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”



Hamilton man to walk red carpet with neighbours after ‘shock’ Emmy win

John Smith said he was in bed, scrolling through Twitter on Sunday when he realized the Daytime Emmy Awards were happening. 

Five minutes later, the Dundas, Ont. man and his colleagues were announced as winners of the award for outstanding sound editing in a live action program for the PBS childrens’ show Odd Squad.

“It’s quite a shock actually,” he said, saying the win took him off guard since the days began to blur together in the pandemic. “It certainly woke me up.”

The #DaytimeEmmys Award in Outstanding Sound Editing for a Live Action Program goes to…
Odd Squad │ @OddSquadPBS @sinkingshipent @FredRogersPro @PBS


“I lost some sleep when I found out…[I was] excited because I knew my family would be,” he said.

While his parents and wife were thrilled, Smith said his six-year-old son didn’t quite recognize what the award means. His older boys are “living their own lives,” he laughed.   

This is Smith’s fourth daytime nomination and first Daytime Emmy win. He previously won a Primetime Emmy for his work on the CBS miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil.

“It’s nice to be recognized for your work because sometimes you’re working really hard trying to produce and create innovative sound and be cutting edge — all those things which I need to continue my career and stay on top of my game to be able to work on some of the bigger shows that come up from the U.S,” he said.  

‘That movie magic’

Smith was in charge of dialogue editing and ADR editing and supervision, which is when the actors come in after the shoot to redo lines, whether that be for voiceover or for performance or technical issues. 

Odd Squad, where kid agents use math to solve problems around the world, used a lot of wind machines on set that make a “heck of a noise.”

Smith said they would re-record the actors in studio, cut that into perfect lip sync, and added all the sound effects they wanted back in, like electrical hurricanes or thunderstorms.

Because of the hundreds of layers of sound, Smith said editors would spend around five days doing sound inventory on 20 minutes of program.

“It’s part of that movie magic people don’t even realize or recognize that it happens,” he said, describing sound’s ability to immerse an audience through eerie music or a tree limb tapping against a window.

“So you don’t really notice it. You just feel it.” 

Smith has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy before, and he laughed about his win coming at a time when he doesn’t get to walk the red carpet

Instead, he said he’s looking forward to acting out the moment with his neighbours, who will also give their own acceptance speeches.

“They think it’s hilarious that they have a neighbour that’s won an Emmy up in Dundas, Ontario,” he said. “That’ll be my red carpet…we’ll make some fun with it. “

A Genie and Gemini-award winner, Smith has done sound effects and sound design on David Cronenberg’s Crash and worked on Norman Jewison’s The Statement.

His work on Tiny Pretty Things  a series on an elite ballet academy shot in Toronto  and Ginny and Georgia will come out on Netflix this fall.

He also worked on Antlers, a horror movie produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Scott Cooper, which will be released in 2021. 


Toronto Caribbean Carnival keeps spirit of celebration, community solidarity alive in face of pandemic

“Being in here and it’s empty is just heartbreaking. There would [normally] be a lot of energy going on right now,” Candice Dixon says as she and her husband, Dwayne, stand in the middle of a desolate warehouse space.

It’s the site of their mas camp, where people would normally gather to get ready and distribute costumes ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

Long-time masqueraders, Candice and Dwayne Dixon have worked for the past two years to start their own mas band, SugaCayne, in time for 2020. Costumes were designed, spaces were leased, themes and concepts tirelessly worked over.

That all came to a halt when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and Toronto went into lockdown.

“At first I was like, okay, two weeks … I’ll bring some stuff home and work on a few pieces. And then it became very real that it wasn’t happening, and it was a blow,” Dixon says.

For the first time in 53 years, Toronto Caribbean Carnival (previously called Caribana) will not be held the way people have come to know it: a vibrant multi-day festival with parties, concerts, the King and Queen competition and the Grand Parade attracting more than 1 million people.

One of the costumes new mas band SugaCayne would have debuted at Toronto Caribbean Carnival this year. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The first Caribana was held in Toronto on Aug. 5, 1967. It was organized by a group of prominent Caribbean community members as a tribute to centennial celebrations and the tradition of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, where it’s a celebration of emancipation of enslaved peoples.

When the decision to cancel this year’s festivities due to the pandemic came on April 8, carnival organizers promised to find a “non-traditional” way to mark the weekend.

They have held virtual events, in the form of makeup workshops, workout and cooking classes, and parties and panels over Zoom and Instagram live. The main event on Aug. 1 is a day-long party with DJs, performers and revelers from around the world called The Virtual Road.

Denise Herrera-Jackson, head of government relations for Toronto Caribbean Carnival, says the goal was to highlight the many contributions by members of the community that often go unseen, and maintain the spirit of celebration.

“We went through it diligently trying to create events that would continue to represent what was going on. And the more important thing I think we found was bringing in what happens in the background of this festival,” says Herrera-Jackson. “Who were the artisans? Who were the designers talking to them? How do you do it, you know? So bringing that back-story upfront was very critical.”

Denise Herrera-Jackson, who handles government relations for Toronto Caribbean Carnival, says organizers wanted their virtual content throughout the month of July to highlight the many Caribbean artists and businesses that contribute to the festivities. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

Community impact

But virtual events can’t make up for the money Carnival brings in, with thousands of tourists coming into the city every year to take part. Organizers estimated that it contributes $400 million to Canada’s GDP every year, the bulk of that coming from accommodations, transportation and food and beverage services.

Jackson says it’s small Caribbean businesses that are feeling it the most.

“What about the people who do our doubles and roti and things like that — what are they doing? They have obviously been also impacted,” Jackson says.

For independent event organizer Rebeka Dawn, not being able to hold her popular annual Cozy Caribana party this year is a massive loss, not just for herself but for everyone involved.

“Promoters are losing money, the small people like the door girls are losing money — so many small little pieces that we don’t really consider,” Dawn says.

She had spent months putting things in place for Cozy Caribana, knowing venues normally book up fast as hundreds of parties compete for Carnival attendees. With Carnival on hold this year and businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dawn worries that the losses incurred this year could have lasting effects.

“I think it’s really important that we kind of focus our eye on some type of Caribbean infrastructure in the city, so that we can have our own little piece of something that we know isn’t going to disappear in a year, two years or five years,” Dawn says.

Canadian musicians and artists are also grappling with the ripple effect of not having Carnival this year, which means no parties or concerts to perform at.

For Wendy Jones, the month of July is usually filled with the rhythmic sounds of steel pans and performances throughout the city on Carnival’s biggest stages. Jones has been playing steel pan since the ’70s and is the leader of the Pan Fantasy steel band orchestra. Her instrument of choice: the six bass.

“When I’m behind my bass, I’m in a different world. I’m in a different world because I’m enjoying the music.”

Wendy Jones and a few members of the Pan Fantasy steel pan band pose outside of their ‘pan yard,’ the rehearsal space where they practice and arrange their performances for Toronto Caribbean Carnival. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

During carnival season, you can find anywhere from 80 to 100 steel pan players in and out of their warehouse headquarters, known as the Pan Yard.

“This is the first year in all the years … that we haven’t played on the road [in a parade] or played in the festival itself,” Jones says, adding that it has been emotional to be apart from the team. “The band is not just here to play, it’s a family. And because we’re a family it brings us all together.”

Jones says they’re using technology like Zoom and online chats to keep the band connected and the music going, with hopes they’ll be back together in person next year.

“We haven’t stopped rehearsing, so that gives us an opportunity to come together and just work with each other in that context.”

Wendy Jones, leader of steel pan band Pan Fantasy, describes the emotional impact on the community of Toronto Caribbean Carnival being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 0:25


One of the ways revelers and artists are getting through this unusual summer is by sharing memories of Carnivals past.

Wanna Thompson and Martika Gregory, both Carnival enthusiasts and content creators, started the hashtag #CaribanaCyahDun. Under it, people have shared photos and videos of past Carnival costumes, as well as fun scenes from parties and being “on the road” in the parade as a reminder that while this year may be different, the tradition doesn’t end here.

“Caribana Cyah Dun is basically like it’s not here, but it’s not over for us. We are still here. We are the people of Caribana, we are people of Caribbean culture,” says Gregory.

“So even though the parade is cancelled due to COVID, we are still here. We can still participate in our own way, digitally or otherwise.”

I was really looking forward to playing this year, now it’ll be 2 years since I’ve touched road😢 #CaribanaCyahDun


“It’s a really great thing to see people in the element. I think mas allows people to forget about their worries and stress for the day or the few hours that we’re on the road,” adds Thompson. “You know, I love that we’re on the road in all these videos that highlight that. But you feel sad too, because we’re not having it this year, obviously.”

That feeling is what many in the community call ‘tabanca,’ the specific sadness and longing that comes at the end of Carnival or when one is not able to participate.

When Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival had to become a virtual celebration due to COVID-19, Martika Gregory and Wanna Thompson started the hashtag #CaribanaCyahDun for people to share photos and videos of past Carnivals. Gregory talks about what it means to feel ‘tabanca’ about this year’s unusual Carnival. 0:38

Carnival’s history of resistance

Alongside the stress and isolation that the pandemic has brought, the recent deaths of unarmed Black and Indigenous people, and the protests that have followed, are another reason why Carnival revelers wish they could have the opportunity to come together as a community.

For Dwayne Dixon, Black resistance and Carnival go hand in hand.

“What’s the same is the cause, the purpose, you know. The reason why we play Mas to begin with, you know, it’s about celebration,” says Dixon. “It’s about liberation. It’s about emancipation. it’s about freedom. And that’s what we’re fighting for today, ironically enough.”

Carnival originated in Trinidad and Tobago as an evolution of French settlers’ masquerade balls that would be held between Christmas and Lent. When Africans on the island were emancipated in 1838, they created their own masking traditions, known as Canboulay, and used it as an act of defiance and resistance against the British government, which had outlawed African drums and masquerade. And the tradition continued.

Candice Dixon, creative director for new Toronto Caribbean Carnival mas band Suga Cayne, talks about the origins and the importance of Carnival. 1:22

Toronto’s Carnival continues to be held during the August long weekend in order to coincide with Emancipation Day for enslaved people of African descent in Canada.

Bringing those roots and connecting them to the current fight is what Wanna Thompson wishes she could’ve seen at Carnival this year, and what she hopes to see next year.

“I feel that with everything happening this year, especially witnessing what’s happening in America and also our own injustice in Canada, I think it would have been a powerful display of freedom [and] resistance,” says Thompson. “Just like, you know, we’re here in solidarity through our costumes, through the music we’re chanting. We’re here.”


Beyoncé fans and followers unpack Black is King

Beyoncé superfan Andre Matthew Gordon has had the fortune of seeing his queen perform in concert twice. He says she has “a stage presence that is second to none.”

Beyoncé has been a big part of Gordon’s life since he was younger, hearing her songs that he says made him feel invincible. As a performer he says he admires how Beyoncé refuses to be contained by any labels. 

“She’s given us rock, she’s given us country, and no matter who you are she’s given us something for you to love.”

On Friday morning Beyoncé gave subscribers of Disney+ something more.  

Inspired by her album Lion King: The Gift, the 95-minute Black is King is essentially a series of interconnected music videos following a young Black boy as he discovers his royal heritage. 

On Instagram, Beyoncé described the visual album as a way to “celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry.” But, she added, she never imagined it would “serve a greater purpose.”

WATCH | The trailer for Black is King

The greater purpose she’s referring to, is framing the Black experience in a positive light, during the continuing conversation about anti-Black racism. 

What Black is King offers is a booster shot of pride. Shot in parts of Africa, the U.S. and Europe, it presents a stylish, inspiring view of African culture and its diaspora. Some scenes explore history, while others would be equally at home in Wakanda

Pop culture writer and producer Kathleen Newman-Bremang is a self-avowed follower in the church of Beyoncé. Beyond her pop songs, what strikes her is Beyoncé’s evolution as an artist. 

“We’ve seen her really grow into this feminist icon which is unusual for someone who is such a mainstream pop artist. She has led a lot of her work with talking about Black women’s liberation, with talking about Black motherhood [and] injecting feminist lyrics … which is unprecedented,” she says. 

WATCH | Kathleen Newman-Bremang discusses one her favourite music videos: 

Kathleen Newman-Bremang and Eli Glasner discuss the song Apes**t by Beyonce and Jay-Z. 1:39

Part of what also set her apart is the degree to which Beyoncé controls her own media narrative. Newman-Bremang says it is “the Beyoncé way.”

At this point her career, Queen B does not sit down for interviews. Instead she sends pre-taped messages, or emails answers. Every new Instagram post is an event that comes with a flurry of analysis. Newman-Bremang says Beyoncé’s approach comes from having begun in heavily controlled girl groups. She started out in the trio Girl’s Tyme before fronting Destiny’s Child in the 1990s.

“She’s played this game a lot. I think at a certain point she realized that if she gave an interview, things would be twisted … So because of that she decided to take the narrative back.”

Newman-Bremang says what’s also marked Beyoncé’s career is her willingness to elevate other Black artists. “Beyoncé’s been doing that since [the album] Lemonade and before. She has really led the way.” She points out Beyoncé ‘s Vogue magazine cover, the first to be shot by an African-American photographer.  

“She made sure that her Vogue cover was shot by a Black man. In this moment of upheaval she is a groundbreaker.”

While Black is King features fashion from major style houses such as Burberry and Valentino, it also showcases a range of Black designers including Côte d’Ivoire’s Loza Maléombho and 5:31 Jérôme from New York City. 

University of Waterloo associate professor Naila Keleta-Mae studies Beyoncé as part of her explorations of race and gender. She says she’s very impressed with what Beyoncé has endured. “She’s a Black woman working in the music industry in the United States that has historically been so violent and horrific to Black artists,” she says.

Beyoncé superfan Andre Matthew Gordon has seen her in concert twice and was up early on Friday to watch the 95-minute Black is King. (CBC)

Pushing the limits of pop

She says the fact that Beyoncé is so singular however, speaks volumes. “It’s a testament to her particular skill and it’s a testament to the kinds of female Blackness that the world is willing to accept.” 

Ultimately Keleta-Mae says Beyoncé can only do so much.  

“She’s pushing within the confines of pop music. Pop music and pop culture requires you to reinforce certain views at the same time. Pop music doesn’t ask you to radically reimagine the world, it doesn’t ask you to take down statues that are supposed to be revered.”

But for Gordon, the superfan, there is something radical about how Beyoncé’s new film reimagines the Black experience. 

‘She took all of our highest expectations and shattered them,’ says writer and producer Kathleen Newman-Bremang of Beyoncé’s latest. (CBC)

“What Black is King is doing,  is allowing us as Black people to go back to a time in our lives when we were not less than and we didn’t feel inferior. We have beauty and we have intellect and that’s what Black is King means more than anything.”

For her part, after staying up all night to watch Queen B’s latest release, Kathleen Newman-Bremang remains in awe. 

“For every derivative depiction of Africa we’ve seen through pop culture, Beyoncé gave us a stunning visual of beauty and depth to counter that.”

“Through her work I feel seen. I feel empowered. I am just so grateful for her.”


Black filmmakers call out racism, inequity in the film industry

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Ryan Reynolds launches training program to boost inclusivity on his next film


Vancouver-born Deadpool actor, Ryan Reynolds, announced plans on Friday for the Group Effort Initiative, which will recruit 10 to 20 trainees from Black, Indigenous and “all other marginalized communities” to work alongside experienced professionals on his next movie.

David Friend ·

The Canadian Press


The Vancouver-born Deadpool actor announced plans on Friday for the Group Effort Initiative, which will recruit 10 to 20 trainees from Black, Indigenous and “all other marginalized communities” to work alongside experienced professionals on his next movie. (The Canadian Press/The Associated Press/Steve Luciano)

Ryan Reynolds is using his Hollywood superstar status to launch an on-set film production inclusivity program for marginalized communities.

The Vancouver-born Deadpool actor announced plans on Friday for the Group Effort Initiative, which will recruit 10 to 20 trainees from Black, Indigenous and “all other marginalized communities” to work alongside experienced professionals on his next movie.

Reynolds didn’t name the film in a video posted on social media, but he confirmed the production is slated to begin shooting this fall, in partnership with Netflix and SkyDance.

The Group Effort Initiative is designed to invest in the talent and creativity of any and all under-represented communities who’ve felt this industry didn’t have room for their dreams. To register yourself, go to: #GroupEffort #MaximumEffort


The actor says expenses for the trainees including pay, housing and travel will come out of his salary.

The Group Effort Initiative will operate through a wing of the actor’s Maximum Effort production company.

Reynolds called on others “with the privilege that I’m lucky enough to experience” to join his effort to expand diversity and inclusivity in the film industry.

Interested applicants can visit the Group Initiative website to apply and receive future updates.


Duchess Kate: Her style through the years

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#BlackBirdersWeek, #BlackInNeuro: Black scientists, physicians are using hashtags to uplift

Black scientists are embracing the hashtag movement that forced the nation to take a hard look at systemic racism.

As #BlackLivesMatter remains a rallying cry across the country, Black researchers and physicians are using tags including #BlackBirdersWeek, #BlackInAstro, #BlackInNeuro and #BlackInChem to lift up the achievements of their peers and call out the discrimination they face on a daily basis.

Racism has long been an issue in academia. Black scientists report high rates of both subtle and overt forms of workplace discrimination and, according to a 2019 study, are less likely than their white peers to receive funding for their research. Research published in April via the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that underrepresented groups are innovative at a higher rate than their majority peers but their achievements are often overlooked.

So Black birders, astronomers, botanists, physicians and neuroscientists, many of them women, have taken to Twitter and Insta to draw attention to the challenges they face.

In the summer of being proudly #BlackAFinSTEM (as one popular hashtag puts it), can tweeting make a difference?

We talked to founders of six social media movements to see how racial inequality manifests in the science world and whether candid conversations on the internet can change people’s attitudes.


The organizers of #BlackBirdersWeek get together for a call.

One of its founders: Chelsea Connor, 26, herpetologist from the Commonwealth of Dominica

When a Black bird-watcher shared a video of a white woman calling the police on him, and saying that she was being threatened by “an African American man,” it made national news. The video didn’t surprise Connor, however.

“For so many people who aren’t Black, they’re like, ‘Wait, this happens?’” she says. “Yeah, we’ve been saying this, but now people are paying attention.”

Connor, with the support of organizations like The National Audubon Society, co-founded #BlackBirdersWeek in late May to stand in virtual solidarity with the birder, Christian Cooper, and connect fellow naturalists.

In one livestream, panelists told personal stories about “birding while Black,” a shorthand used to encompass the discomfort felt and unprovoked suspicion raised when someone is working in the field. For example, one speaker shared a story of a police car following him while he was outdoors wearing binoculars to birdwatch .

“You have to go to such a length so people know you’re out here and not up to anything,” says Connor. “No one should have to explain why they’re existing in a space that they should be allowed to exist in peacefully.”

Since starting the hashtag, Connor says she’s already seen a change in behavior: Allies are less hesitant to speak up in support of Black scientistsonline.

When Connor reacted to an insensitive comment made about race in a discussion about roundworms that turned into a “Worm War,” non-Black allies rallied to her side. That, she says, was new.

“I didn’t have to worry about the burden being just on me,” she said. 


Ashley Walker, who is currently finishing up a summer internship at NASA, is pictured at Johns Hopkins University.

Founder: Ashley Walker, 31, astrochemist and planetary scientist from Chicago

Walker remembers being 10 years old at Adler’s Planetarium in Chicago and learning that because of the change of gravitational pull and her petite size, she’d be weightless on other planets. She was mystified. Now, she’s a NASA summer intern .

Though she still describes herself as “a really tiny person,” the astrochemist and planetary scientist is not shy. For years, she’s been advocating for Black scientists, particularly women, who routinely face racism and discrimination for “walking into a room and being Black.” 

Walker says that people make assumptions about her, that she’s “less than,” “subpar,” “angry” and “ghetto,” because she speaks AAVE, African American Vernacular English.

“So oftentimes for me, personally, people often automatically assume (things about me),” she says. Walker hopes that #BlackInAstro week, which showcased a number of astronomers of color, can start to eliminate bias.

Since she started the hashtag in late June, Walker said she has seen progress. Students have reached out to her, saying they plan to follow her example of communicating with faculty members about the struggles BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) face. Some lauded Walker’s “bravery.”

“I didn’t do anything,” she says. “I just speak my mind, as always.”


After #BlackBirdersWeek became a popular Twitter hashtag, organizers founded #BlackBotanistsWeek.

One of founders: Tanisha Wiliams, 35, postdoctoral fellow in botany at Bucknell University from Washington, D.C.

Growing up, Williams knew of two Black people with a wealth of plant knowledge: George Washington Carver and her great grandmother.

Her great grandmother, Grace Alice Hawkins, “knew the different remedies for medicines that she learned from her grandmother and great grandmother who were slaves and some were Native Americans,” Williams says. “We have this really complex family origin.”

Now, she is trying to raise awareness of her field and the challenges that come with “botanizing” while Black.

During the social media campaign for Black and Indigenous botanists and allies, which launched in early July, she discussed how she’s had great opportunities in her field, like when she built neighborhood gardens with communities in Capetown, and not-so-great experiences, like when she was followed while doing work. 

“I make sure that I carry pepper spray,” Williams says. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, nature. It’s so peaceful,’ which it is. But being a person of color adds an extra layer of weight.”

So has the social media chatter about race and botany challenged stereotypes?Williams says yes: Other botanists are taking note of the need to listen to and connect with botanists of color. At the recent annual Botanical Society of America Conference, organizers added a new event: A BIPOC mixer.

Says Williams, “It was nice to see all of these beautiful Black and brown faces on the Zoom call.”


For #ShareTheMedicalMic, 40 Black women physicians took over the Instagram accounts of non-Black female physicians.

Founders: Dr. Lauren Powell, 34, family physician from Atlanta; Dr. Renée Paro, 37, pediatric cardiologist from Dublin, California

Powell and Paro were inspired by the #ShareTheMicNow movement, where Black activists took over the Instagram pages of white celebrities, to launch a similar campaign for the medical field. 

In late July, they paired 40 Black physicians with 40 non-Black physicians for the event they called #ShareTheMedicalMicNow.

“A lightbulb went on for me,” says Powell. “It’s one thing for me as a Black female to have these conversations (about race) with other Black females. But we create change by having these conversations with people that don’t look like us.” 

Paro, who is Hispanic, agreed. “If you, yourself, haven’t experienced (racism), it’s very easy to believe that there’s nothing wrong,” she says.

Powell and other Black physicians had live-streamed conversations about the myriad ways racial bias festers in healthcare, from people always assuming she’s a nurse and being asked to show her ID wherever she goes,  to the reality that Black patients don’t know to seek medical counsel for topics like fertility.

In one particular Instagram Live, Powell and a specialist talked about how Black women are “least likely to receive care for their fertility,” she says. “Black females are just trying to make it and thinking about fertility almost seems like a luxury.”

That conversation proved impactful.

“After that Live, I got so many messages from women who were like “I’m going to see my doctor and talk to them about my fertility. I didn’t even know it was OK to do this,’” Powell says.

She believes white fertility doctors got something out of the chat, too. 

“I think that opened up their eyes a little bit in terms of ‘Why are my Black patients seeing me so late?’ It probably offers another level of compassion for these patients.”


Organizers of #BlackInNeuro talk on a Zoom call

One of the founders: Angeline Dukes, 24, graduate student researcher/addiction neuroscientist from Warner Robins, Georgia

When you think of a scientist, who do you see? Growing up, Dukes only envisioned white men.

“I thought they were all Albert Einstein and Bill Nye,” Dukes, now a PhD student of neurobiology at the University of California Irvine, says. “I never saw a Black scientist.”

As a first-generation American and college student whose parents immigrated from Trinidad and Haiti, Dukes didn’t get much guidance when it came to applying to schools, seeking scholarships and choosing careers. 

She wants to make sure other Black students get the mentorship they need when it comes to choosing a career in science, and then pursuing their studies.

“Especially now, in the wake of all of the police brutality and white supremacy, being the only Black person in the lab as everyone seems to go about their days as if everything’s normal (is particularly challenging),” says Dukes. 

With #BlackInNeuro week – which launched in late July and was sponsored by a number of science institutions including Stanford Biosciences and Harvard’s Division of Medical Sciences –  the goal was to showcase neuroscientists of color and to foster relationships within the field.

“I just felt like it was really important for us to have a way to highlight ourselves, but also to build a community,” Dukes says. 


#BlackInChem week begins Aug. 10.

One of the founders: Devin Swiner, 26, PhD candidate in chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, from Prince George’s County, Maryland

Swiner has long had a love of science, and also for lipstick. “I have an affinity for purples,” she says.

That’s how the PhD candidate in chemistry got the nickname “MAC scientist” (referring to the makeup brand), which has become the name of her blog that aims to uplift women of color in STEM fields. 

“A lot of times with women that are in science, especially Black women in science, they are pigeonholed,” Swiner says. Through her continued advocacy, and through the forthcoming #BlackInChem week (starts Aug. 10) she co-organized, she wants to challenge that notion.

“We’re multifaceted. You are allowed to not be in a lab coat every day. You’re allowed to not always talk about science,” she says.


Here’s what’s next for Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show amidst workplace misconduct allegations

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USA TODAY’s Gary Levin explains why he thinks Ellen DeGeneres will return to her daytime talk show despite allegations of mistreatment from staffers.

Just the FAQs, USA TODAY


Brian Austin Green on how he found out Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox were dating

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On the “Hollywood Raw” podcast, actor Brian Austin Green discussed his single life and co-parenting with his ex, actress Megan Fox.

Entertain This!, USA TODAY