White Supremacist John William King Executed for Brutal Dragging Death of James Byrd Jr.

The white supremacist behind one of the late 20th century’s most notorious hate crimes has been put to death by legal injection in Texas.

John William King—a proud racist who orchestrated the brutal murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas in 1998—was executed Wednesday (Apr. 24) at the Texas State Penitentiary and was pronounced dead at 7:08 p.m., a corrections spokesperson said.

NBC News reports:

Asked whether he had a final statement, King said, “No,” and then wrote out a single-sentence statement reading: “capital punishment: Them without the capital get the punishment,” the spokesman said.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied a last-minute application for a stay of execution, which delayed the execution by about an hour.

King was the ringleader of a group that chained Byrd, 49, who was African American, to the back of a 1992 Ford pickup truck and dragged him to his death over nearly three miles in the woods outside Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. The killers left Byrd’s mangled body by a roadside.

Byrd’s murder shocked the nation and put a harsh light on race relations in the small town on the Louisiana border.

“I hope people remember him not as a hate crime statistic. This was a real person. A family man, a father, a brother and a son,” Mylinda Byrd Washington, one of Byrd’s sisters, said recently.

King, who has never shied from his racist beliefs, has hateful tattoos on his body, including one with a black person hanging by a noose from a tree, Nazi symbols and the words “Aryan Pride.”

Louvon Byrd Harris, one of Byrd’s sisters, had planned to attend Wednesday’s execution.

“I think it will be a message to the world that when you do something horrible like that, that you have to pay the high penalty,” she said.

Harris said King’s death at the end of a syringe paled in comparison to the unspeakable terror and pain her brother felt as he was being killed.

“All they are going to do is go to sleep. But half the things they did to James, all the suffering he had to go through, they still get an easy way out to me,” she said.

King, who said Byrd’s death was a drug deal gone awry and not a hate-fueled murder, was the second man to be put to death in the case following the 2011 execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer.

The third person convicted in Byrd’s murder, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison.

White Supremacist John William King Executed for Brutal Dragging Death of James Byrd Jr. is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News & Videos

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Bun B Shoots Masked Intruder in His Houston Home After His Wife Was Held at Gunpoint

Rapper Bun B was involved in a shooting inside his home in Houston, Texas Tuesday evening (Apr. 23) after a masked intruder held his wife at gunpoint and tried to steal her car.

According to Houston’s Fox 26 News, Queenie Freeman (Bun B’s wife) told police she heard the doorbell ring and answered it, thinking it was a delivery man dropping off a package she was expecting.

Instead, Queenie was met with an armed introducer who forced his way into the home and demanded money and valuables. Queenie said she told the man to go in the garage and take her Audi.

Bun B, whose real name is Bernard Freeman, heard the commotion going on from upstairs, so he grabbed his pistol and confronted the intruder in the garage as he was getting into the car.

A shootout between Bun B and the intruder ensued, and the man ran away, leaving his gun behind. Bun B chased the suspect down and pulled off his mask, revealing his identity. Police said the suspect broke free from Bun B and ran away.

The suspect, who has since been identified as 20-year-old DeMonte Jackson, later showed up at Pearland Medical Center seeking treatment for a gunshot wound to his left shoulder several hours later, police said.

Bun B and his wife Queenie were unharmed in the incident, but their attorney said Queenie is especially upset because Jackson pointed his gun at her head.

Jackson was charged with three felonies—two counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and one count of burglary with intent to commit another felony.

Police said Bun B identified Jackson as the suspect in a lineup.

Jackson appeared in court Wednesday (Apr. 24) wearing a sling on his left arm and stood motionless as his charges were read aloud. His bond was set at $90,000 for all three charges.

Bun B is best known as one half of the southern rap duo UGK (UnderGround Kingz), a group he formed in the late 1980s with Pimp C.

He also teaches a class called “Religion and Hip Hop Culture” at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Bun B Shoots Masked Intruder in His Houston Home After His Wife Was Held at Gunpoint is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News & Videos

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Wendy Williams Has Cut Kevin Hunter Off Financially & He Hasn’t Received Any Money From the Show Yet

Wendy Williams has already taken the necessary steps to distance herself from her estranged husband Kevin Hunter, including totally cutting him off financially and separating their assets.

According to TMZ, Wendy has hired a team to make sure all of her finances are safe.

Sources close to Williams say that she’s separated her funds from Kevin’s and has created new accounts, a process she started before she filed for divorce.

Wendy has also reportedly found a new home in Manhattan and she is in the process of moving out of her Livingston, New Jersey mansion where she and Kevin raised their son, Kevin Hunter Jr.

Wendy is in the process of moving out of her Livingston, New Jersey mansion where she and Kevin raised their son, Kevin Hunter, Jr. As we previously reported, Kevin was given 48 hours to pack his sh*t and go.

“Our sources say she signed the lease on her new home a few weeks ago and has already paid rent for the next year,” TMZ reported.

Regarding their business matters, Wendy has reportedly decided to cut all ties from Kevin and is currently looking for a new manager.

TMZ also reports that, contrary to rumors suggesting Hunter received a $10 million payout to leave The Wendy Williams Show, he hasn’t received any money from the show following his departure … yet.

Kevin knows his way around business deals, so execs from the show expect he’ll insist on some type of severance package.

Meanwhile, more Wendy insiders say that she has absolutely no regrets after filing for divorce.

According to one source who spoke to Us Weekly, some people in Wendy’s inner circle “fear Kevin will try to manipulate his way back in” following Williams’ April 11th divorce filing, but the daytime talk show host “is done with Kevin” and has absolutely zero intentions of going back to him.

“Wendy’s not looking back. Her friends and family think the sky’s the limit now that Kevin’s gone,” the source said. “She still has healing to do, but she’s taken several major steps in the right direction. She’s strong and resilient.”

The source added that following the divorce filing, and Hunter’s subsequent firing as executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show, Wendy has been spending a lot of quality time with her 19-year-old son, who “cares deeply about his mom and has been a rock” for the talk show host.

Wendy and Kevin have been having relationship troubles for years, but things started to come to a head in 2017 after he was seen out and about with his longtime mistress Sharina Hudson. Then in 2018, Hudson became pregnant and in 2019, she gave birth to a baby girl who is believed to be Hunter’s child.

Kevin, at one point, reportedly told Hudson he couldn’t divorce Wendy to be with her full-time because Wendy was financing his lavish lifestyle.

Wendy Williams Has Cut Kevin Hunter Off Financially & He Hasn’t Received Any Money From the Show Yet is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News & Videos

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Future’s Rumored 6th Baby Mama Eliza Reign Gives Birth to His 6th Child (His 2nd Child in Less Than 6 Months)

Someone better remind Future that he has one more Mother’s Day gift to pick up. Rumor has it, he may have just become a father for the 6th time.

Social media star Eliza Reign has claimed for months that Future is her baby daddy. And it seems she gave birth on Easter Sunday (Apr. 21).

Though unconfirmed, Reign posted a selfie on Sunday while lying in a hospital bed. “Still Glowing,” she captioned the pic.

View this post on Instagram

Still Glowing #HappyEaster 🐰

A post shared by Haitian Goddess 🇭🇹 (@elizareign_) on

She sparked further speculation that she’s a new mom after mentioning breastfeeding in an Instagram story.

Reign teased her followers last week with a post suggesting that she was giving birth soon. “Can y’all guess my due date?” she asked.

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Can y’all guess my due date?

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Future has neither publicly confirmed nor denied the allegations that Reign was pregnant with his baby. But, Reign did defend him in the comment section last week and implied the two have private conversations about their situation.

“Are you on the phone line when we converse with each other?” she clapped back. “Now mind the business that pays you.”

If Reign does, in fact, share a newborn child with Future, it means the Atlanta rapper would have two new babies just months apart. He welcomed his fifth child into the world on Christmas Day 2018, with model Joe Chavis (Bow Wow’s baby mama).

Future has five confirmed children with five confirmed baby mamas, the most famous one being singer Ciara. The two share a five-year-old son, Future Zahir.

Future’s Rumored 6th Baby Mama Eliza Reign Gives Birth to His 6th Child (His 2nd Child in Less Than 6 Months) is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News & Videos

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WATCH: Cardi B Goes Off on The Shade Room for Only Posting Negative Articles About Her & Offset

Cardi B just went all the off on The Shade Room!

In a series of now-deleted Instagram videos and posts, Cardi blasted TSR and its owner, Angie Nwandu, for what she believes is a “hate campaign” against her and people she associates with and/or supports.

The “Please Me” rapper went on the epic rant today (Apr. 23) and claims that since TSR agreed to not post about her, the Instagram blog then started going after artists she’s close with, like artists signed to QC (Quality Control Music label), despite them being successful and doing positive things.

“Every artist that he got under his label is rocketing,” Cardi said of QC owner Pierre “Pee” Thomas. “But nah, [Nwandu] rather not post when he’s getting good accomplishments. She’d rather post him when he’s dealing with baby mama drama or his personal life.”

In another video, she pointed out Offset’s recently charitable and philanthropic work, such as donating $25,000 to Ellen DeGeneres’ wildlife organization and working on a cancer-free campaign, yet The Shade Room did not cover these positive stories, Cardi said.

“But they sure posted when he had drama with his baby mom. They sure posted about his court cases,” she said.

She went on to say that blogs shouldn’t be biased.

“I’m not saying that I only want people to post positive sh*t about us. At the end of the day a blog is a blog and I feel like they got to post the good and the bad. But that biased sh*t … that sh*t is getting whack. It’s trash.”

After Cardi’s multiple rants went viral, The Shade Room took to its IG Stories and posted examples of positive stories they’ve written about Cardi and Offset in the past. The articles included “Bodak Yellow” hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Migos handing out turkeys on Thanksgiving.

Cardi still clapped back, stating that most of the positive articles TSR shared were written last year. She also insinuated the blog was getting paid to “smear” her name.

“What positive sh*t have you posted about me or my n***a this year? Nothing at all. So, stop with the sh*ts. Or anybody that I’m associated with. All you do is try to get them dragged. So, stop it b*tch.”

Cardi eventually deleted the videos and then advised blogs to stop claiming to be “for the people” when they continue to capitalize on the misfortune of urban artists they supposed to be supporting. She deleted that post too.

So yeah, Cardi had time today and it’s safe to say her beef with The Shade Room is far from over.

WATCH: Cardi B Goes Off on The Shade Room for Only Posting Negative Articles About Her & Offset is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News & Videos

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There’s a Seriously Problematic Depiction of a Character in Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame main cast

***Spoilers about one Avengers: Endgame character and minor plot points***

I’m dedicated to supporting everyone who wants to remain spoiler-free until Endgame. I was desperate to avoid even the shadow of a spoiler before I saw the movie. But I think it’s important to talk about one aspect of characterization that occurs in the film (I won’t reveal plot specifics). Several reviews have mentioned this in passing, so I feel like it’s fair game.

Enough people I know are upset over it already due to leaks and early screenings, and I’m angrier by the minute. If I can spare even one person the surprise and dismay I felt with this advance warning, it’s worth it.

***Again, please do not read further if you want to stay totally unspoiled***

***Seriously***

***Last chance***

There’s a point in Endgame where we meet up with Thor. The God of Thunder, who lost his parents in short order, watched Thanos murder his brother Loki, and was helpless to stop both Ragnarok and the slaughter of his people by Hela and then Thanos, has been treated to unrelenting horror over the course of the last few movies. In Infinity War he’s fraught with grief and motivated by revenge.

In Endgame, Thor’s trauma and distress manifest in his retreat from society and into, primarily, drinking. There was the opportunity for an Avengers movie, which will be viewed by millions, to explore mental illness, substance abuse, and the process of grieving with sensitivity or even just basic humanity. I know I’m not alone in saying that would have been a much-appreciated surprise; many of us would have felt seen by Marvel Studios’ biggest movie to date.

Instead, Thor is depicted as one non-stop fat joke.

Given a prominent beer belly, he’s introduced with his shirt off and the belly out in an obvious attempt at “parodying” Chris Hemsworth’s customary shirtless scenes. If only it ended there.

That’s the big reveal about Thor and much of his characterization in Endgame: the Asgardian is in a fat suit and/or enhanced by bad effects. The problem isn’t the depiction of Thor as having gained weight but the relentless and cruel way that Endgame treats this as something to be mocked, worse than the worst schoolyard bully.

There isn’t just one jab in there, either. It’s a longrunning theme, intended to be hilarious, that Thor’s once-sculpted physique is different following his self-isolation after unimaginable tragedy. Ha, ha. Ha.

Clearly some people do find Thor’s depiction humorous. We live in a fatphobic culture where larger people are subjected to derision in the media and seeing them derided is par for the course. The audience roared with laughter on cue at my screening. Social media has been full of people who love “Fat Thor.” People I know and trust have loved “Fat Thor.” But the “gag,” as it were, strikes me as juvenile, outdated, and utterly unnecessary.

While a passing joke would have felt disappointing for a major movie but you might understand how it squeaked by, the fact that this is an ongoing theme throughout just baffles me. Countless production hours are poured into the creation of something like Endgame. That means again and again and again and again many people signed off on making “Fat Thor” jokes, from the screenwriters to the costume designers to the directors to the actors to the editors to the executives who rubber-stamped the idea.

If Endgame had done this to a female character, they would have been excoriated by audiences and critics. So why is it acceptable to do this to a man? It’s not, and it’s damaging all-around. I know several people who adore Thor and have body image issues (like the majority of society), and they’re horrified at the idea of their favorite character being mocked while he’s obviously also suffering a great deal of emotional pain. Some no longer want to go to Endgame at all.

I think about kids going to see this movie, and seeing heroes mocking their fellow hero, and the audience laughing, and I feel physically ill. Of all the possibilities I imagined for Thor in Endgame, this was the last that I would have conceived of. It’s unacceptable and enraging.

The Endgame powers that be seem to have taken the inspirational spark that Hemsworth could play Thor with exceptional comic timing in Ragnarok and misconstrued comedy with being made the butt of the joke. Thor isn’t being funny; he’s there to be laughed at simply for being. The “joke” is one that might have worked as a 3-minute SNL sketch, but its continued presence in the three-hour film is incomprehensible to me.

At one point, someone that Thor loves suggests that he should eat a salad.

Adding to my upset at this situation is the way that it’s been treated as some kind of secret that the movie is giddy to reveal but not advertise. Every toy and visual pushed for Thor in Endgame shows him with an aesthetic that is, essentially, a lie. The movie wants to be able to market merchandise with Hemsworth’s familiar features and Thor in his “traditional” body.

Apparently, it’s important that the audience not know that Thor has gained weight until it’s showcased for laughs. Yet if the movie is so committed to the bit, they should give us the opportunity to purchase action figures featuring Thor and his belly and unkempt mane. I would have bought three. The mixed messaging creates an awful dissonance: “Fat Thor” is a significant reveal, but unsuitable for a promotional poster or toy box.

What’s also damaging here is that it could have meant a lot to many people to see a godlike Avenger struggling with painful issues that hit close to home—and to have seen a hero who looks more realistic in body type and have that accepted with love. Yet according to Avengers: Endgame, any deviation from the movie-star ideal is a transgression punishable by public shaming.

The real shame belongs with Marvel Studios and the Russos for signing off on this terrible depiction. I thought that the MCU was better than this, and I’m incredibly sad to be wrong on this account.

(image: Marvel Studios)

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Things We Saw Today: John Boyega Says He Probably Won’t Reprise His Star Wars Role After The Rise of Skywalker

Finn (John Boyega) is ready for a fight in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

This December, it won’t be just Luke and Leia who we bid farewell too. It seems as though this will also be the swan song for Rey, Finn, and Poe, or at least it will be if we take recent comments from John Boyega at face value.

“Honestly, the bottom of my heart, I don’t think I am [coming back]. I don’t think I am. I really do feel that way. This really is that movie,” Boyega told MTV news. “I think everyone doesn’t believe it, but this is that war that just ends everything.”


First off, if this means anything happens to Finn, I will be beyond enraged as Finn deserves to have a happy and fulfilling life far away from war and the painful childhood he had. Second of all, I guess this means we can say goodbye to many hopes of the Skywalker Saga continuing past this particular film. It might be easy to assume that Lucasfilm is lying to drum up speculation and publicity, but this might really be it.

I’m not emotionally ready to say goodbye to my sequel trilogy trio, so if you need me, I’ll be crying until December, when I’ll cry some more.

(image: Lucasfilm)

  • Multiple films at Fox are now getting the axe after Disney took over. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Captain Marvel gets a box office surge from pre-Endgame viewings. (via ComicBook.com)
  • Britney Spears says all is well amidst rumors of a crisis. (via Jezebel)
  • We’re obsessed with this Captain Marvel purse. (via GameStop)

 

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Going #HigherFurtherFaster. Shop the link in our bio. #CaptainMarvel #AvengersEndgame #Avengers #StyledByMarvel #Marvel

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  • The first reactions to Detective Pikachu are in! (via Comic Book Movie)
  • Netflix takes a victory as Academy rules on eligibility. (via Deadline)

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Dear Disney, Please Do Not Make a Live-Action Hercules

Disney's Hercules and Megara talking.

With the recent news announcing that The Hunchback of Notre Dame will get a live-action makeover (and Lady and the Tramp, as well, through the impending Disney+ streaming service), I’m starting to worry that you will go there, Disney. So, I’m asking now: Please, just leave it alone. Do not make my favorite movie into a live-action adaptation.

When Disney’s live-action remake machine first started, I had many friends ask how I felt about Hercules not being included. I think and write about Hercules often. In 2017, I detailed my obsession with the film’s true protagonist (and true villain) Megara for Entropy Magazine. I’m always down to talk about this movie because of its complexity and layers, a quality that has deemed it weaker, the eyes of many, among the traditional Disney canon.

The film, admittedly, tries to do too much at times, with its heavy-handed humor, sophisticated language, and the mutable tone from scene to scene. Hercules attempts to be a fun, light-hearted kids’ movie while also examining mature themes of healing and redemption (that’s the part of the movie I like best). Hercules takes risks and breaks the traditional Disney formula; it’s a complicated film, but that’s the very reason I love it.

My brain loves it, thinking through all the choices that went into its making. (Most recently, I was mulling over the reference to Oedipus in the garden scene, the play that Meg and Hercules see on their first date. Disney, that is so dark!) I’ve been thinking about this movie for over twenty years, since I first saw it at six years old, in a small theater in northern Michigan. I don’t really adhere to fandoms, but this is the hill I want to die on.

With the ever-growing list of remakes in your queue, with Aladdin and The Lion King on deck for this summer, I implore you, Disney: Leave Hercules alone. I strongly agree with Sam Barsanti from The A.V. Club when he says, “We just hope nobody touches Hercules, because it’s secretly the best animated Disney movie and it’s already perfect.” The charms and depth and intricacies of Hercules, the aspects that make it rich and interesting, all of this would vanish in a live-action adaptation.

Belle and the Beast dance in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Take, for example, Bill Condon’s live-action treatment of Beauty and the Beast (2017). These live-action remakes are marketed as event movies (akin to Avengers: Endgame), but suffice it to say, I did not go the theater to see Beauty and the Beast. My mom, sister, and I rented it at home, many months after its theatrical release. When the credits rolled, I was crying and also confused—confused as to why I was crying.

Clearly, I had been made to feel something, watching this overly ornate update of a childhood classic. Where did that feeling come from? I suspect where it really came from was the original, the beloved nineties film that populated my daily life as a kid. The emotion that overpowered me—hearing Alan Menken’s unmistakable score or seeing Belle’s golden ballgown—these were just shadows of feelings, echoes of the original masterpiece. As David Sims wrote in his review for The Atlantic, “With the new Beauty and the Beast, Disney has ripped a jewel out of its casing.”

Sims also describes this safe-bet formula you’ve landed on: “Take a beloved animated tale, …cast some big-name celebrities, and then dial the opulence factor up to 11, turning a film everyone remembers into a grand, if somewhat hollow, homage for a new generation.” You’ve chosen to recreate your old canon, shunning the opportunity for new narratives, new characters to explore. If that’s want you want to do, by all means, knock yourself out. Just stay away from Hercules.

Hercules is untouched, in many ways, by the Walt Disney Company’s need to milk its movies for every dime. With the sole exception of Hercules, every single Disney Renaissance film—The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocohontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), and Tarzan (1999)got cringe-y, direct-to-video sequels. While Hercules did get an animated TV show on the Disney Channel, it was never spoiled by a terrible Disney sequel, movies which were often poorly-animated, unwanted, and unnecessary.

In 2017, a stage-musical adaptation of Hercules was announced as being in the works. Part of me is genuinely delighted that this story will be brought to life in a new medium. Part of me is skeptical. I mean, who could match Susan Egan’s (Meg) sultry voice? Or Tate Donavan’s (Hercules) earnestness? How could you reproduce the enormity of the Hydra and the Titans, or the blue flame of Hades’s hair?

I’m happy with my 1997 animated film, as is. No live-action remake could ever honor the original Hercules, or any Disney classic, for that matter, because I—and many Disney lovers, I imagine—want and deserve more than shadows of feelings.

P.S. If, however, you insist on making it and nothing will stop you, might I suggest casting Samantha Robinson from The Love Witch (2016) as Megara? I think her aesthetic and energy would be apt for the role. Just something to think about.

Sincerely yours,

Emily

(images: Disney)

Emily Corwin is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Indiana University-Bloomington and the former Poetry Editor for Indiana Review. Her writing has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, New South, THRUSH, and elsewhere. In 2018, her first book, tenderling was released from Stalking Horse Press and her second book, Sensorium is forthcoming with the University of Akron Press. You can follow her online at @exitlessblue.

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A Talking Raccoon Is Taken More Seriously Than Women by Male MCU Fans

Rocket Raccoon in Avengers: Infinity War

I don’t think that men realize just how much it sucks being a female fan of superheroes. I’m not saying they don’t understand being “mocked,” because they’re nerds. They do, but even that nerddom is more universally accepted than a girl who likes the MCU.

So, imagine my shock, as I listened, on a radio show, while a man praised Marvel for pushing boundaries and being innovative by having a star like Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. While it was being used to mock DC’s lack of faith in a female-led movie, the comment also put into focus the fact that many male fans don’t seemingly see a problem with Marvel’s lack of female representation. A talking raccoon? That’s genius and innovative and shows how Marvel was willing to do anything in 2014! … Anything except have a female-led film. Or LGBTQ+ characters. Or, really, anything that would be outside the status quo in a truly meaningful way.

To this day, I can count the number of female-led action films without needing to pull up IMdB. I know all of them because there aren’t that many out there in the world, so the idea that Marvel should be praised for a talking raccoon when they still didn’t have a female-led film is laughable. That was in 2014. Marvel wouldn’t release Captain Marvel until 2019. So … a talking raccoon, let’s praise that, but women can continue to take a back seat. Right?

I’m sorry, maybe I’m being oversensitive but then again, female comic nerds have the right to be. We’re consistently questioned about our knowledge. Even Gail Simone, who is literally a comic book writer, is constantly questioned about her knowledge by male fans.

This isn’t to say that all male fans are this way. I learned about comics through my older brother, and I thank him constantly for my knowledge, mainly because I love talking about superheroes, but also whenever a man feels the need to question me, I can school him, which, honestly, shouldn’t be how we function. I shouldn’t have to have a bunch of knowledge about something just so when a man feels like he knows more, I can defend myself.

Was the comment about Rocket Raccoon harmless? Yes, but it showed that many fans (particularly men) don’t care about the lack of female representation in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DCEU. So, I guess we just have to fight for our own rights over a talking raccoon, right? (And this hurts me to write, because Rocket Raccoon is one of my favorite characters. I hate that men have made me do this!)

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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NBC’s Good Girls Absolutely Nailed Its Trans Coming-Out Scene

Annie (Mae Whitman) hugs her son Sadie (Izzy Stannard) after the character comes out as transgender on NBC's Good Girls.

Spoilers for season 2, episode 8 of Good Girls.

Over the course of Good Girls’ two seasons on NBC, the character of Sadie has quietly been having one of the best arcs on television.

Sadie, played by Isaiah Stannard, is the 11-year-old child of Mae Whitman’s Annie, one of three women who turn to armed robbery and laundering money when their lives as stay-at-home moms and minimum wage workers just aren’t cutting it. Until now, Sadie used female pronouns and hadn’t identified as non-binary or trans, though his exploration of his gender expression had been tacitly acknowledged. (Annie once described Sadie as “enjoy[ing] a janty bowtie” and Annie’s ex, Greg, wanted Sadie to go to therapy, though that seemed to be more about coping with bullying than changing Sadie in any way.)

But on the latest episode, Sadie (who hasn’t yet announced his new name) came out to his mother as transgender, and the scene is being hailed by LGBTQ media and advocacy groups as one of the best coming out scenes ever written.

In that scene, Sadie’s stepmother has just given birth, and Annie’s declaration of “It’s a boy” prompts him to reveal his truth: “So am I.”

What makes the scene so beautiful is not just Sadie’s courage and the trust and comfort he and his mother have between them, but Annie’s reaction to the news. The scene is brief and her acceptance is immediate and wholehearted. She responds with love and with humor, saying she “always wanted a boy” anyway.

Stannard’s own story is really interesting as well. The character of Sadie was initially written as a cis boy named Ben. The show’s casting director reportedly asked its creator, Jenna Bans, if she’d be open to other types of actors and brought in Isaiah, who at the time was presenting as female and using she/her pronouns. By the time the show went to air, though, he had come out as trans.

Last year, Variety quoted Bans in a profile of young trans and gender non-conforming characters,

“We realized we had a really great opportunity to tell a story about a character who was gender non-conforming, but at the same time not necessarily have that be what leads the story,” says Bans, who also did her due diligence and consulted GLAAD’s Adams. “What’s most important to the character and the story we’re telling between Sadie and Annie is really about the bond between Sadie and her mom. We liked the idea that the character of Sadie was exploring her gender [expression] in the show, but I think what we responded to more was that the Mae Whitman character just couldn’t care less.”

So not only did the show do justice to Sadie’s coming out, but there is a young trans character being played by a trans actor on network television. That’s truly groundbreaking.

(image: Gilles Mingasson/NBC)

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