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MJ Rodriguez Makes History By Signing First Ever Beauty Deal With Olay Body As Trans Woman

Actress and singer MJ Rodriguez is having an incredible whirlwind year. In 2019, she continued her role as Blanca Rodriguez in the history making series “Pose.” Her moving and capitalizing performance won her “Best Actress” at the Imagen Awards; the first time an openly trans women has ever received the honor. She also became the first transgender woman of color to play the role of Audrey in a major production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Rodriguez even preformed the play’s popular love ballad “Suddenly Seymour” on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” ⁠— wowing the TV audience with her powerful vocals. In addition to all that success, this week, her activism, advocacy and talent was celebrated when Rodriguez was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 NEXT.

Now, Rodriguez officially has one more win to close out her successful 2019.  

Twitter / @outmagazine

This week, Rodriguez made history by securing her first ever beauty campaign. The “Pose” star announced her new partnership with Olay Body at the 5th Annual Diversity Summit where she gave the keynote speech. She will officially be one of the label’s brand ambassadors — making her the first trans Afro-Latina to fill this role with Olay. 

“Olay Body is leading by example for other brands by opening doors for trans individuals like myself,” Rodriguez said during her speech. “I am so excited to work with Olay Body on this campaign leading up to my speech at the Diversity Summit. This is officially my first ever beauty campaign — I am so thankful to have the opportunity to show other trans women of color everywhere that they are seen and that they are worthy.”

Rodriguez’s campaign joins other trans women like Laverne Cox, Tracey Norman, Lea T and Geena Rocero — who have all recently worked with hair, makeup, and skincare brands in public roles. 

Twitter / @pedro_a

Rodriguez isn’t the only one excited about this new opportunity. Olay Body also expressed their eagerness to explore the new partnership and the diversity and inclusivity that Rodriguez brings to the brand. In an email to “Out,” the body care company shared their excitement over their new brand ambassador.

“Olay Body is excited to work with Mj Rodriguez on this campaign, as Mj is truly a recognized trailblazer,” the brand wrote. “She has transformed not just personally and professionally, but also as a leading advocate for diversity and inclusivity. This makes her the perfect fearless partner, where she is able to share her authentic journey of feeling confident in her own skin. As we begin to plan for future programs, Mj is definitely top of mind. We can’t divulge specifics at this time, but stay tuned for what’s coming next!” 

For the first act of their partnership, Rodriguez did Olay Body’s 14 Day Transformation and posted the results on her Instagram. 

Instagram / @mjrodriguez7

While she’s incredibly honored to have been selected as a brand ambassador, the call from Olay caught her off guard. Rodriguez even doubted if she was up to the task.

“When they called me, I screamed on the phone, because Olay is one of the leading forces in beauty,” she explained to “The Cut” of her new project. “I was like ‘Oh my god, am I really being considered for this, am I worthy?’”

Rodriguez explained that for trans women and women of color, these opportunities don’t usually come around so she was overwhelmed yet honored with the responsibility. 

“For starters, I’ve never been able to be considered for a partnership like this,” she told “The Cut.” “A lot of girls like myself — trans women — we don’t get the opportunity to have open dialogue, let alone be in partnership with organizations like this. As a woman, as a black or Latina or trans woman, we have to constantly give words of affirmation to ourselves. It’s just hard for us. I’m just focusing on amplifying my voice, trying to get it out there as much as possible.”

Of course, Rodriguez’s online fans showered her with love and affirmation for her new role with Olay Body. 

Twitter / @outioflove

Rodriguez’s mentions are full of fans congratulating her and wishing her the best for her career. One tweet by @guida told the star, “You deserve every good thing coming your way, I’m so happy for you!” Another by @nel_mamaboho thanked the actress, saying, “I actually truly love you just because YOU ARE SEEN. Your visibility makes so many more of us unavoidable. Thank Y.O.U.”

Rodriguez is truly paving the way for the visibility of other trans people and people of color. As an Afro-Latina, a trans woman and a member of the LBGTQ+ community, she represents many groups of marginalized people. As such, her role with Olay Body will set the precedent that these groups can and should have a visible place in our society.

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K-Pop Stans Took Over #WhiteLivesMatter On Twitter Completely Shutting Down The Hashtag

Entertainment

K-Pop Stans Took Over #WhiteLivesMatter On Twitter Completely Shutting Down The Hashtag

Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

K-Pop is both one of the most popular and most polarizing music created. It has made a global impact with fandoms everywhere. However, sometimes you just can’t get on Twitter without seeing the videos of K-Pop flooding popular hashtags and discussions. The latest K-Pop Twitter takeover was something everyone could get behind.

K-Pop completely shut down a social media party of #WhiteLivesMatter.

Black Lives Matter protests have cropped up around the world and they don’t show any sign of slowing down. They continue to grow in size and the protest has gone international with protesters fighting for American Black lives. In response, some people tried to make #WhiteLivesMatter a thing on Twitter but K Pop fans shut it down quickly.

K-Pop stans really came through in an unexpected yet obvious way.

K-Pop stans are a force to be reckoned with. They are loud and large in numbers and when they want to be seen and heard on Twitter nothing can stop them. They are very engaged on social media and they came out to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Imagine wanting to go to #WhiteLivesMatter to legitimately see something and then seeing K Pop everywhere.

There was some choice speculation about the reaction of #WhiteLivesMatter supporters watching their hashtag get derailed.

Alt-right Twitter users have been using this tactic for years attempting to derail all progressive and unifying social media movements. The sudden reversal in the dynamics of social media manipulation is something we should all be celebrating thanks to the fast-acting K Pop fans.

Not only did K-Pop fans take over the hashtag, Twitter even classified its ranking within K Pop.

That’s what you call success. #WhiteLivesMatter was stunted in its original mission of trying to lessen the Black Lives Matter protests demanding racial justice. There has long been a group of people trying to take attention away from Black Lives Matter under a cloak of caring for all people. Some have even claimed that it was racist to say Black Lives Matter because it somehow minimizes other lives.

Black Lives Matter is not trying to say other lives do not matter. What it means is that Black lives are under attack and they need to matter to society. There is a crisis of unarmed Black people being killed by police for no reason and it has to stop. It is a crisis that has needed attention for years and the death of George Floyd coupled with COVID-19 has catapulted it into the forefront of the American consciousness.

Even people who don’t listen to K-Pop got in on the fun.

Honestly, it is a remarkable thing to see. Twitter users coming together for a common goal of silencing what was being called a racist mobilization on Twitter.

People loved to see it all happen.

Anything that can bring people together is something we should celebrate. The world is fighting to protect the lives of one community that has been over-policed and disproportionately attacked by police. The movement has grown to now include more people both online and offline.

Maybe it is the isolation, but people are very grateful for this moment in social media history.

Black Lives Matter organizers are giving it everything they have. They are fighting to keep people organized in the fight against racial injustice at the hands of police officers. It seems they have support and backup from all sides.

READ: Meet the Korean-Mexican Hearthrob Topping The K-Pop Charts

Lea Michele Half-Apologizes For Subjecting Former Co-Star To Relentless Microagressions

Entertainment

Lea Michele Half-Apologizes For Subjecting Former Co-Star To Relentless Microagressions

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The world is watching and reacting as the investigation into the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Activists have been raising their voices and organizing to maintain and grow sustained protests around the world demanding justice. Celebrities have been swept up in the anger and protest as well and, for some, it has backfired.

Former “Glee” star Lea Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Michele joined the trend of celebrities who have started to join in the protests against racial injustice inflicted by police in the U.S. Even major corporations joined the Black Lives Matter conversation after being silent for years with many participating in #BlackOutTuesday. Yet, Michele is facing accusations of her own microaggressions against former co-stars.

Samantha Ware had issues with Michele’s tweet of solidarity.

Ware played Jane Hayward in the sixth season of “Glee” and accused Michele of microaggressions. The microaggressions were relentless and traumatic enough to make Ware’s tenure on the show “a living hell.”

Ware’s response immediately rang true for so many who have faced a lifetime of microaggressions.

Microaggressions are a major issue in everyday life for people of color. They are defined as verbal, behavioral, or environmental things that have underlying hostile and prejudice roots. They are things like assuming that a Black woman is wearing a wig or locking your car doors when a Black person walks by you.

Dabier Snell also spoke up about Michele’s behavior.

Snell continued with a second tweet explaining that he is always here to make content that people will enjoy. He tries to stray away from creating anything negative in the world. However, according to Snell, seeing Michele’s tweet for George Floyd brought back bad memories of her treating him as less than while on set.

Another “Glee” co-star, Alex Newell, echoed Snell and Ware.

Three of Michele’s co-stars have come forward to call her out in public because of how she treated people. All three have been Black actors who have accused the actor of treating them with no respect and lodging microaggressions against them.

Some people are doing the work and reminding us that Naya Rivera tried to call Michele out first.

In her memoir “Sorry Not Sorry,” Rivera recounted how Michele treated her while they were on “Glee.” Rivera did not hold back when she described Michele’s reaction as Santana Lopez became a more and more important character in the “Glee” universe.

“As Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel – erm, I mean Lea – didn’t like sharing the spotlight,” reads the memoir. “If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of season 6.”

Michele offered a half-apology to address the accusations while admitting to them at the same time.

“While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point, what matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” reads part of the statement. “We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”

Her apology sparked more backlash from people who claim to have been part of the “Glee” cast and crew.

Credit: leamichele / Instagram

Other people have commented on her apology claiming that she is not really apologizing if she claims not to remember. Others are frustrated that Michele is apologizing for how people have perceived her words, not for the words itself.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Memoir Talks About Abortion And Anorexia