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OBSESSED: RUMOR MILL, PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE


So, I’m not entirely sure this story is true, but let’s pretend it is because it’s AMAZING! For the past few days several news outlets have been reporting that 32-year-old Prince Henry of Wales (better known as Prince Harry) is dating 35-year-old American actress of “Suits” fame, Meghan Markle. I don’t know what’s better, the fact that she’s three years his senior or she’s a gorgeous mixed woman! I honestly can’t remember that I’ve ever heard of someone in the British royal family being linked romantically to someone of mixed race (don’t quote me). While growing up queens and princess were always white, and the first black princess I can even remember (besides, Lisa McDowell in “Coming to America”) is Tiana in “The Princess in the Frog.” The problem here – both of those stories were fictional, and this story is real (well, maybe). Anyway, I love this rumor because I hope whether it’s true or not it gives little mixed girls hope that they someday can be princesses, too. Go Meghan, get you a prince!

OBSESSED: RUMOR MILL, PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE via Swirl Nation Blog

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CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN FLATS FOR EVERY SKIN TONE

For Spring 2016, Christian Louboutin introduces a pointy-toe ballet flat for every skin tone.

Christian Louboutin Pointy Flats For All Skin Tones by Swirl Nation Blog

Big cheers to designer Christian Louboutin for his new line of flats in a line of nude tones that encompass a wide range of skin tones from "porcelain Nude #1" and "deep chocolate Nude #7." In total there are seven shades and three styles to choose from; the shoes went on sale this week.

"The expansive collection ensures that every woman can find a nude perfectly suited to her complexion," the company first announced in a statement in January.

Like the brand's other shoes, the new nude colors don't come cheap. The pointy-toe ballet flat Solasofia, for example, is priced at $595. I haven't tried them on yet so I can't speak to their comfort, but I will always applaud inclusiveness especially in the world of fashion where it is often lacking. I agree completely with this Facebook fan:

"Designers often treat nude like it's a synonym for light tan, thereby excluding women of color," one Facebook user wrote. "So it's good news that Christian Louboutin has expanded its nudes collection, adding a larger spectrum of skin-tone shades to ensure that no matter what your ethnicity, you can find a shoe to match your complexion."

Who else is running out to buy them?!

Christian Louboutin Pointy Flats For All Skin Tones by Swirl Nation Blog

 

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DIVERSE TV PICKS: EMPIRE


My biggest guilty pleasure on television, aside from my all-time favorite show New Girl, has got to be Fox’s Empire. I love this show for several reasons and the easiest way to explain is with a list. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but be warned; if you have never watched and want to be surprised, you might want to read with caution.

  • First, and most importantly, I love the diversity of the cast. You have this powerful African American family, which is fantastic. Then, one of the sons, Andre, is married to a white woman (Kaitlin Doubleday) and the main character, Lucious, was going to marry a mixed race woman (Grace Gealey). The supporting cast is also diverse with Cookie’s Hispanic love interest (Adam Rodriguez) and Marisa Tomei plays Lucious’ high-powered business partner, Mimi. In the first part of season two, Hakeem’s love interest is also Hispanic. I really feel that the writers are trying their best to accurately portray the diverse world that we live in today. I think it’s fantastic and makes for very entertaining television because it seems so real.

  • The show also deals with a variety of really tough issues that also make it incredibly relatable. One of Lucious’ sons is gay and homophobia is a big issue in the African American community. I love that the writers take the time to play out the dynamic between Lucious and Jamal and that they show their past struggles. The writers also bring in the issue of mental illness with Andre’s huge breakdown and I think it is incredibly important for audiences to see. In my opinion, mental illness isn’t dealt with very well in this country and I really appreciate when mainstream shows use their characters to showcase just how damaging it can be and how it can happen to anyone.

  • Despite some of it’s cheesy, over-the-top drama, the show is highly entertaining. I am not usually one to continually watch shows every week, but this one I can’t stop watching. I always want to know what is going to happen to the Lyon family!

  • The music is pretty great and I’ve even found myself listening to the soundtrack on Pandora. Jussie Smollett can sing!!

  • The celebrity guest appearances are also pretty great. They’ve had Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, and Jennifer Hudson, to name a few, and it really adds an interesting and exciting layer to the show.

  • And lastly, Cookie Lyon. She is, hands down, my favorite character. She is brave, outspoken and fiercely loyal. She is also strong, confident and passionate, but always goes out of her way to help others. I love her colorful outfits and that she just doesn’t take shit from anyone. She always has a plan that usually revolves around making sure that her sons become the artists and people that they want to be. The writers wrote an incredible character and Taraji P. Henson, does an amazing job bringing her to life.

 

Without sounding as though Fox paid me to write this (which they did not), I have to say that it really is a great show. The writers and producers have crafted a unique story and done a great job with casting a diverse set of talented actors and actresses.


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE


DIVERSE MOVIE PICKS THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE via Swirl Nation Blog

Things We Lost In The Fire was one of the first mainstream movies that I felt broke many movie barrier rules and portrayed the beauty of biracial families and marriage.  Released in 2007, the film didn’t receive the recognition it deserved.

DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE via Swirl Nation Blog

Without giving away too much of the plot, Halle Berry plays a wife and mother struggling through grief and heartache over the death of her loving husband.  Her husband, played by David Duchovny, is a doting father to their two beautiful bi-racial children.  The love between their characters is evident, truthful, deep and honest.  Another storyline within the film, depicts the husband’s friend, played by Benicio Del Toro, who struggles with addiction.  The movie reveals the gritty truths of human struggle, paralyzing fear, death, forgiveness, growth, love, change, friendship, family, and most of all inner strength.   


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM


My favorite movies are movies I can enjoy with my family.  I love movies with strong female characters who overcome adversity through working hard and having grit.  I have a 7-year-old daughter who loves soccer and Bend It Like Beckham, with the exception of a few scenes with “older” themes, is a good family movie.  It is slightly cheesy and has a few clichés, but it is so funny and addresses issues of culture, tradition, race, and stereotypes of girls who like sports.

 

The movie is about a young, Indian girl growing up in London named Jess (played by Parminder Nagra) who loves to play soccer; however, her traditional Indian family feels she should pass her A Levels and learn to make the perfect chapati.  After seeing Jess play soccer with boys in the park, Jules (played by Kiera Knightley) asks her to join her soccer practice.  Jess practices with Jules’ team and loves it.  She hides soccer from her family for as long as she can, but her family eventually finds out and it forces them to make a decision between dreams and tradition.

 

Bend It Like Beckham focuses on the struggle first-generation Indian youth face in London. Whether it is holding on to tradition, respecting elders, and living the dreams of your parents; or truly assimilating into your new culture and living your own dreams.  It addresses that balance between being who your family is and adopting the culture of where you were born, a theme very relatable for most first-generation youth.

The movie also spotlights sexual orientation.  A side story of the movie is Jules’ mom’s preoccupation and fear that her daughter is a lesbian.  It is a very comical side story, but it brings up a stereotype that girls cannot be good at sports, or like sports, unless they are lesbian.  One of my favorite quotes from the movie is, “Get your lesbian feet out of my shoes!”  You have to watch the movie to get it, and I promise that line will be met with laughter.


There’s a little romance, lots of cultural jokes, and David Beckham only appears in posters throughout the movie.  Bend It Like Beckham features a multi-cultural cast that does such a great job in truly bringing to life cultural nuances and comedy is used as a vehicle to address social issues with impeccable timing.  I really love this movie - I wrote this whole post with a smile on my face.


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS


I'm a total geek, and I was so thrilled when this new Star Wars film came out. Not only is it kick-ass but I felt it has an ethnically diverse cast, which is even better!

So much of Hollywood is white washed, so when I was asked what my favorite movie with an ethnically diverse cast is, I draw a blank. How sad is that? Granted there
are several "indie" films, but nothing really mainstream. Thankfully this new Star Wars
came along. Granted it's still not "that" diverse. I'm just hoping this is a step in the right direction. Shouldn't the movies we see reflect the society we live in? I sure as hell don't live in an all "white" community, and I sure don't like seeing it on screen.


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! BELLE


This week we are sharing our favorite movies, focusing specifically on movies with diverse casts. 

I’m not a huge movie person. But every once and awhile I scroll through Netflix or On-demand and see what pops up. One night that movie was Belle. Belle is a beautiful period film from the 18th-century based on the life of a biracial woman named Dido Elizabeth Belle.

 

The movie is a true story and follows Dido’s life from the time her father, navy captain Sir John Lindsay, introduces the child as his own to his uncle, Lord Mansfield. The Lord and Lady then agree to raise the child as their own as she is brought up with another grandniece, Elizabeth Murray. Sir John then leaves to go back to battle and dies, never seeing Dido again.

 

The movie quickly skips to the time the 2 young women are of age to be paired up for marriage. Dido struggles with finding her place in her world as a member of a privileged family, yet without the same rights as Elizabeth. She asks the Lord “Papa, how may I be too high in rank to dine with the servants and to low to dine with my family?”

 

The movie’s most compelling scenes come from Dido learning about a horribly real case involving the Zong Slave Ship in which there was a mass murder of African slaves who were then claimed for life insurance purposes. The Lord is Chief Justice and for much of the movie Dido as well as a young lawyer, John Davinier, are on the opposite side of the issue. Since it is a true story I don’t think I am ruining anything by telling you the decision the Lord Chief Justice made forever changed issues in Britain regarding slavery. 

 

The movie is very moving. Beautifully directed and shares a true story that I had never heard before. You can probably picture me, red wine in hand, weeping during many points of this story. This is a must see for anyone, but especially those of us with biracial or multiracial children. It is rated PG so while it is a difficult piece of history to discuss, it is suitable for children who are old enough to understand the subject.


Here is the trailer which will showcase what a beautiful performance Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives as Dido. 

The movie is directed by Amma Asante


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