“Lynda Carter, Gal Gadot reflect on 75 Years of Wonder Woman at the U.N.”

“Not one but two Wonder Women assembled at the United Nations on Friday, as the iconic superhero was named an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.

Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter joined Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson at the U.N. for a special ceremony recognizing the 75-year-old superhero. As part of the U.N.’s sustainable development goal number five, which focuses on promoting gender equality, the U.N., DC, and Warner Bros. plan to use Wonder Woman’s image to raise awareness for gender-based issues around the world.

The U.N. ceremony marked the first joint public appearance of Gadot, who appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will star in next year’s Wonder Woman, and Carter, who starred in the long-running ‘70s TV show. Both women spoke at the ceremony about the longevity and cultural impact of Wonder Woman, who celebrates her 75th anniversary this year.

“In some magical and mystical way, there lies within each of us Wonder Woman,” Carter told the audience. “She is real. She lives and she breathes. I know this because she lives in me, and she lives in the stories that these women tell me, day in and day out. I see it in the letters and in the stories. I read it on social media. I see it in the tears that fall from the eyes of the women who say it saved them from some awful thing that they endured — because they saw that they could do something great.

The appointment of Wonder Woman comes as the U.N. is under increased scrutiny for its lack of female leadership. Earlier this year, current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would like to see a woman named as his successor, but former Portugal prime minister Antonio Guterres is set to succeed him instead…”


“‘Jessica Jones’ Hires All Women Directors for Season 2, Showrunner Says”

All 13 episodes of the second season of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” will be directed by women, according to executive producer and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg.

Rosenberg discussed the all-female directing roster during her panel at Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment, a conference held Friday at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Rosenberg said that in the second season of the superhero show, she had wanted to increase the number of female directors — a goal that Marvel was completely on board with, she noted. Given how in-demand many women directors are these days, she and her fellow producers had set their sights on booking women first, she said, and contracting male directors later in the pre-production process.

But then someone else involved in the production — she didn’t specify who — floated the idea of booking only women as directors. Rosenberg was honest about the fact that she hadn’t contemplated that concept prior to that conversation, but she said she quickly jumped at the opportunity.

When it comes to behind-the-scenes personnel, hiring an inclusive array of people was “a conscious decision and it’s very important that showrunners do that,” she said.

That directing roster puts “Jessica Jones” in very rarified company, as one of the few one-hour dramas to have an all-female list of directors. Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” which airs on OWN, also had only female directors during its debut season.

Rosenberg didn’t divulge any details about the second season of “Jessica Jones,” except to tellVariety before her panel that scripts were in the midst of completion and shooting was set for next year. With Henry Jenkins and Stacy L. Smith of USC, who moderated her panel, Rosenberg freely discussed drawing on a variety of perspectives when coming up with the story arcs of the New York-set Marvel drama…”


“Mulan, Whitewashing, and the Problem of Asian-American Representation in Hollywood”

“Disney’s animated Mulan peaks early. Like The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Frozen, the 1998 movie is emotionally front-loaded, gravitating around its “I Want” song. Belted by the Filipina Lea Salonga in the film, “Reflection” ignores the arguably far larger crises at hand — the impending war and the probable death of her aging-conscript father — to anguish about not living up to parental or feminine expectations. A different face painted over her own, Mulan sighs, “If I were truly to be myself, I would break my family’s heart.”

Read the original “Ballad of Mulan,” and you’ll see that Mulan’s need for authentic self-expression is Disney’s invention. For over a millennium, Mulan has been revered in China for her filial sacrifice, not her feminist critiques. The animated movie’s coming-of-age angst, hunky love interest, and princess-y happily-ever-after are American additions that help Mulan’s tale fit better into the Disney format. That doesn’t make the 1998 version any less meaningful; stories are often updated for new eras and audiences.

The powerfully distressed “Reflection” is the best example of why Mulan is beloved as an Asian-American movie — and also why it tanked at the Chinese box office upon release there. The girl-warrior stuff was progressive for the era, arriving 14 years before Katniss Everdeen hit the screen. But the rest of Mulan is never as forceful as “Reflection,” which speaks to the common growing-up-Asian-American experience of filial alienation, of being asked to conform to a set of standards that seems to have been created and make more sense elsewhere…”


“Diversity Sells, Sony and Viacom Executives Say”

“The idea that shows with a diverse cast cannot sell commercially is nonsense,” says Sony’s Keith Le Goy about international hits at the Cannes event’s first-ever Diversity Summit.

With Empire ruling the American airwaves and Shondaland shows staking out their ground internationally, diverse casts are now more marketable than ever, said panelists at MIPCOM’s first-ever Diversity Summit in Cannes on Tuesday.

“The idea that shows with a diverse cast cannot sell commercially is nonsense,” said Sony Pictures Television president, distribution Keith Le Goy, citing sales on Lethal Weapon, NCIS LA and its latest, Timeless, which just sold to more than 100 territories.

The international market has changed from the time when The Wire, widely considered one of the best shows ever made, couldn’t sell abroad when it aired 2002-2008, noted A+E Networks president, international Sean Cohan.

Now it would be viewed “simply as a great show, with great creators and great storytelling,” he argued.

Viacom executive vp international brand development Michael Armstrong went a step further. “I’d like to take the notion that we need to make the business case for diversity and bury that in the sand,” he said. “I’d say that making diverse content is the business case for being successful.”

In fact, “diversity is money” said All3Media senior vp international format production Nick Smith. Using U.K. numbers, Smith presented the data case for diversity in casting. The high-end dramas that define this “golden age of television” tend to underperform in minority communities, he noted, including prestige programming like The Night Manager, Mr Selfridge and Call the Midwife, which have predominantly white casts.

The drama that demographically over-performs in the U.K. is The Walking Dead, which boasts an almost incidentally diverse cast that is focused on fighting zombies.

While that affects advertisers, individuals are also willing to “pay up for people who look like them,” said Tonje Bakang, CEO of Afrostream, which collates black content from around the globe. “Programming is a business opportunity, not just marketing,” he said…”


“How The Women Of ‘Luke Cage’ Stole The Show”

“If you’ve seen the amazing Netflix Marvel series Luke Cage then you know that there are many things that make it awesome. It’s unapolegetically black, it has amazing fight scenes and the characters are truly dynamic. One of the best unspoken things about the show, however, is how the women stole the series from Luke Cage himself!

Dynamic And Bold Women

Luke Cage at times came across as your average reluctant hero, but what made him unique was the women surrounding him. All of the women in Luke Cage’s life are strong and bold enough to hold their own. None of them depend on a man to run anything. The men in their lives are important, but when things get tough, they are more than bold enough to go it alone.

Detective Misty Knight is never afraid to get to the bottom of things even when all the odds are stacked against her. Her character is often portrayed in male form, and it is nice to see a driven female detective beat the odds.

Claire Temple is smart and brave. She reminds you of the girl next door and she is just what Luke needs to remind him that he can make a huge difference in his neighborhood. Without Claire, it looks as if Luke would just give up on being a hero, but there is no way this fierce woman is going to allow that!

As evil as Mariah Dillard is, she goes through the biggest metamorphosis in the entire series. Mariah is a determined politician who depends on her criminal cousin to do the dirty work for her. Slowly but surely, she comes in to her own. Mariah ends up being one of the strongest characters in the entire show. (She may not be the most moral character, but she is certainly the strongest.)…”


“Ava DuVernay’s 13th Reframes American History”

“Ava DuVernay’s 13th is a documentary about how the Thirteenth Amendment led to mass incarceration in the United States, but it’s also a gorgeous, evocative, and maddening exploration of words: of their power, their roots, their permanence. It’s about those who wield those words and those made to kneel by them. Many Americans by now are familiar with the coded language of the country’s racial hegemony. Some shun certain words while others make anthems out of them.

The film opens with an analysis of the eponymous amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” 13th then spends over an hour and a half tracing the path from the clause between those two commas to the 2.2 million prisoners in the American justice system.

13th, out [recently] on Netflix, compels viewers to sit upright, pay attention, and interrogate words in their most naked form as they’re analyzed and unpacked by DuVernay’s subjects, who include Angela Davis, Charles Rangel, and Henry Louis Gates. Sometimes the film confronts words in seemingly contradictory pairs: person/property, slave/freed person, labor force/prison workers. At other times it wrestles with oxymorons that target black Americans: truth in sentencing, war on drugs, tough on crime, law and order, minor crimes.

Premised as a historical survey that maps the genetic link between slavery andtoday’s prison-industrial complex, 13th explodes the “mythology of black criminality” as The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb at one point in the film refers to the successive and successful measures undertaken by political authorities to disempower African Americans over the last three centuries. The academic and civil-rights advocate Michelle Alexander unpacks how the rhetorical war started by Richard Nixon and continued by Ronald Reagan escalated into a literal war, a “nearly genocidal” one. The Southern Strategy is unmasked as a political calculation that decimated black neighborhoods but won the southern white vote…”



“Novelist Walter Mosley Talks Luke Cage, Colorism, and Why Spider-Man Was the ‘First Black Superhero’”

“Whatever you think of Marvel’s Luke Cage, you can’t say it’s not literate. A bevy of books are either seen or name-checked throughout the latest Netflix superhero series, and one that gets a particularly bright place in the spotlight is Little Green, a novel by one of the most prolific and acclaimed living crime-fiction writers, Walter Mosley.

In the second episode, two of the leads debate the comparative merits of Mosley and fellow African-American crime novelist Donald Goines — and the one going to bat for Mosley is none other than the title character. As it turns out, the feeling of respect is mutual: Mosley is a longtime superhero-comics geek and grew up reading Luke’s initial comic-book adventures in the early 1970s. We caught up with the author to talk respectability politics, the thorny issue of colorism, and why he thinks Spider-Man was the first black superhero.

You were a big Marvel Comics fan growing up, right?
Listen, I bought Luke Cage No. 1 in the store. So, yes. I also bought X-Men No. 1 and ConanNo. 1. I didn’t quite get Avengers No. 1 — but close.

X-Men No. 1 came out in 1963, so we’re talking the mid-’60s, here?
Way back. ’63, maybe ’62. I had been reading DC [Comics] before, but I gave up.

Why’d you give up on DC?
In DC, everybody looked alike. Everybody looked white. Marvel, way back in the beginning, had a black character, in Sgt. Fury, Gabe Jones. Everybody’s powers were so funnily designed that it didn’t feel real. Marvel had things I hadn’t even thought of, like hero-villains. You had somebody like the Sub-Mariner, who is a hero to his people, but an enemy to ours. Or the Hulk, who’s a pure being, but his emotions make him a villain or a threat. And you kinda go, Damn, that’s real…”