Things That Matter

Gina Torres, The Mother Queen, Says ‘Afro-Latinos don’t fit into a box, they fit into all the boxes’

When you think of Gina Torres, you probably think of an actress who has built a career playing the role of the kick-ass tough girl. From Jessica Pearson in “Suits” to Cas in “The Matrix Reloaded”, Torres has carved out a space for herself in a hyper-competitive, cutthroat industry. With over eighty-nine IMDB credits to her name stretching back to 1992, Torres has been in the game for a long time. And she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. 

Torres’s next project is the highly-anticipated USA “Suits” spinoff “Pearson”, which follows her character Jessica Pearson as she makes the transition from heading up a New York-based law firm to entering the dirty world of Chicago politics. 

But although Torres is an industry veteran, you may not know that she has struggled with self-doubt and “imposter syndrome” throughout her career.

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That’s right–this woman who seems to ooze confidence and self-assurance is the same as you and me. In a new interview with Bustle, Torres got candid about the feelings of self-doubt and second-guessing that have plagued her throughout her 20-year career. But instead of letting her fears stop her, Torres instead chose to face them head-on. Case in point: she had no problem going to auditions for characters that weren’t necessarily supposed to look like her. 

“Very often I was in the room for a part that was not specifically written for anyone that looked like me,” she said, possibly referring both to her status as a black woman and as an Afro-Latina. But unlike other people who may have given up in the face of such constant rejection, Torres proved to her critics that she had as much a right to be there as any other actress. 

“You’re in the room for a reason,” Torres said. “And you can take your space and show everybody why you’re in that room. Every opportunity has to be taken”. 

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Unfortunately, ambition like Torres’s is generally hard to come by in women. Most women are routinely plagued by feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome like Torres is. One Hewlett Packard study found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, while women only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications. In other words: women don’t even try to aim higher because they’re conditioned to believe they’re not good enough. Torres’s confidence in herself and her abilities it what sets her apart from the pack and makes her a great role model for working women everywhere. Her ambition is both singular, intense, and inspiring.

This confident attitude is exactly what has made Torres a stalwart in an industry that is notoriously shallow.

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Hollywood executives are notorious for filling a role based on what they think a character should look like–not based on the reality of what a character would actually look like given the circumstances. 

And Torres, as a Cuban-American Afro-Latina, knows better than anyone the pitfalls of Hollywood’s reliance on stereotyping. In the past, Torres has been honest about the struggles she’s faced trying to land roles as both a black woman and as an Afro-Latina: “When I became an actress, I quickly realized that the world liked their Latinas to look Italian and not like me,” she’s said. 

Torres has also talked about how Hollywood “likes everything in a little box”. 

“They have operated that way for many years,” she’s explained. “And what happens is that Afro-Latinos don’t fit into a box, they fit into all the boxes”. But Torres has come to a point in her career when she can finally create her own box. Credited as an Executive Producer on “Pearson”, Torres has reached a position of power where she no longer has to defer to an old white man to decide what type of character she gets to play. 

So, this time around, Gina Torres is intent on doing things her own way. First order of business? Fleshing-out Jessica Pearson’s personal background. “I was very specific about reinventing Jessica’s mythology and making sure, for the first time in my life, I would actually be playing an Afro-Latina character,” she said in an interview with Vibe

Indeed, in the second episode of the new season, Pearson is seen speaking Spanish to a non-suspecting Latina who thinks she can get away with speaking in front of her. Pearson surprises her by sassily responding in fluent Spanish. “In the past, it was never an issue for me because I wasn’t in a position of power, but now, in this instance, I was, and I got to say, ‘This is who she is and we are going to reintroduce her to the world as a proud Afro-Latina character’.” We’re confident that with Gina Torres, the best is yet to come.

The Best And Worst National Anthem Performances Of All Time

Entertainment

The Best And Worst National Anthem Performances Of All Time

CavBuffaloSoldier /Youtube

Belting out any song in your best voice can be tough stuffings. But when it comes to performing the “Star-Spangled Banner” only singers in a completely different league of their own can actually do the national anthem justice. The songs poetic lyrics are notoriously difficult because of its wide range. So of course, naturally, in the decades of performances in which “Star-Spangled Banner” has been song at sporting events and the like, there have been some mishaps. 

This year, both Shakira and J.Lo are set to perform at the Super Bowl’s halftime show while Demi Lovato will make a career come back by singing the national anthem for millions of viewers. Here’s a look at all of the times singers have rocked and flubbed the national anthem.

That time the Dixie Chicks did a beautiful country rendition of the song.

Fans of the Dixie Chicks fell further in love with the country music stars when they stuck to the original lyrics and sentiment of the song when they performed at Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. 

When Whitney Houston gave a GOAT performance back in the 90s.

The queen of pop reigned supreme back in the 90s and thanks to her outstanding vocal range she had the full anthem in the bag. During the 1991 Super Bowl XXV,  Houston sang and hit each and every note. Not only that, she recorded the song and released it as a single and when 9/11 happened she re-released the single and gave all of her earnings to charity. 

In 1983, when Marvin Gaye gave the national anthem a whirl and blew our minds.

Twenty years ago, the beloved “Aint No Mountain High Enough” singer took the anthem to the next level. The singer’s  1983 NBA All-Star performance had a traditional MoTown feel and to this day is celebrated. In fact, his rendition was used in a 2008 Nike commercial featuring the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

When Chloe and Halle gave the classic ballad a twist of their own.

Back in 2017, the sister duo stole breaths at the NFL Draft Kick Off when the two sang “America the Beautiful”.  Beyonce did us a solid by discovering them.

That time Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem in a fire pantsuit. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU_UEVp2ynU

Lady Gaga rocked Stadiums at the 2016 Super Bowl. During her performance, the Lady of ladies hit all of her notes and reinvigorated both sides of the crowd. 

That time Fergie went for an eye-popping performance. 

Beloved singer Fergie did a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner’ in 2018 that was one for the books. The strange performance went haywire when the singer attempted to go for a sultry version of the national anthem that just… did not slay. During her perfroamce, camera panned to find audience members stifling giggles and soon enough an internet meme was born. Poor Fergie.

When Roseanne Barr gave us a peek into just how problematic she was.

Back in 1990, Barr made an appearance at a Padres game and sang the national anthem. (Still no word on who booked her for this.) Barr’s cringeworthy performance, which was off-key and oddly high pitched, was made worse when fans realized she was attempting to make the patriotic song into a joke. The racist comedian dared to even spit on the pitcher’s mound as she was leaving the field. Yikes. 

When Christina Aguilera forgot the lyrics.

In 2011, Aguilera came out to sing the lyrics to our countries beloved anthem and pretty much bombed. The famous singer had been celebrated for nailing the song hundreds of times. Even when she was kid. Video of the singer proves that she started out of the gate spectacularly but ultimately, things took a turn for the worse when she skipped over lyrics and even began the song again. According to an interview with Aguilera on Elleh, the singer let her get the mood get to her so bad that she forgot most of the lyrics and tried to improve. 

Eminem’s New Song ‘Unaccommodating’ Talks About The Bombing Of Ariana Grande’s Concert And People Are Offended

Entertainment

Eminem’s New Song ‘Unaccommodating’ Talks About The Bombing Of Ariana Grande’s Concert And People Are Offended

eminem / Instagram, arianagrande/ Instagram

Eminem’s new album has been getting a lot of backlash —granted, there’s no surprise there. But there’s one song in particular that has Ariana Grande fans fuming. It looks like the real Slim Shady referenced the 2017 bombing that took place during an Ariana Grande concert in one of his songs, and Arianators are not having it. 

Eminem’s new album, which dropped Friday, includes the track “Unaccommodating.”

The song contains the lyrics: “But I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game/Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.” Fans are steaming mad over the lyrics, which they say, make light of the Manchester Arena bombing. The 2017 terror attack killed 23 people, and happened during one of the “thank u, next” singer’s concerts.

To make things worse, the song samples an explosion sound effect, which many are calling disrespectful.

The 47-year-old raps the line against a backdrop of an explosion sound effect, and Twitter users were quick to express their disapproval. “Eminem really mocked the Manchester bombing on his new album? Does he not realize that kids and teenagers lost their lives that night?,” wrote one user. 

Others think he should stop making music altogether…

Real talk, Eminem is such a piece of trash for making a punchline out of the 22 people who died in the Manchester attack,” one person wrote on Twitter. 

The BBC reports that Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is among those who are unhappy with Eminem’s lyrics.

In a statement, the mayor further explained: “This is unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful to the families and all those affected.”

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the attack, also voiced her disapproval.

“Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities,” she wrote on Twitter after being informed of the two songs on Friday, “Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage.”

Murray has campaigned for the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which would require venues to introduce more stringent security checks. She later deleted the tweet after receiving backlash.

“Unaccommodating” is a song off of Eminem’s new album, Music To Be Murdered by. 

Fans of the rapper have taken to social media to defend him, with some pointing out that the entirety of his album is actually about gun violence and mental health. Others reminded Eminem’s critics that the rapper helped raise money at the time of the Manchester attack in order to support the victims and their families.

Eminem previously pledged his support to victims of the bombing in 2017.

The rapper urged fans to donate money to families who had been affected.

This is not the first time the 47-year-old has referenced the attack in song.

In a 2018 freestyle, he rapped about a brainwashed suicide bomber “seeing Ariana Grande sing her last song of the evening/And as the audience from the damn concert is leaving/Detonates the device strapped to his abdominal region.”

In a contrast to the Manchester Arena lyric, the album’s lead single, Darkness, advocates tighter gun control laws in the US.

The song and video reference the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas, in which 58 people died, with Eminem playing the role of an isolated, mentally-disturbed character who plots a murderous rampage to gain notoriety. The video ends with a montage of news reports from recent mass shootings, captioned: “When will it end? When enough people care.”

Eminem then urges fans to register to vote in the upcoming US elections, writing: “Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America”.

The video also links to a website with information and links to various anti-gun violence organisations including Everytown For Gun Safety, March For Our Lives and Sandy Hook Promise. It’s not the first time the rapper has addressed the issue. Performing at last year’s iHeartRadio music awards, he delivered a verse attacking the National Rifle Association’s hold over politicians, rapping: “They love their guns more than our children.”