• Women in the music industry shined at the Essence Festival, where Queen Latifah used her debut performance to celebrate "Ladies First" and her 30 years in the trenches. Latifah was one of the headliners on the festival's main stage Saturday and was joined -- to the delight of the crowd -- by hip-hop legends MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, Salt-N-Pepa, Missy Elliott and Monie Love as well as rapper Remy Ma and R&B singer Brandy. Latifah entertained the audience with her vocal skills, showcasing her love of jazz with a rendition of Phoebe Snow's "Poetry Man," which she dedicated to her mother, who died this year of a heart condition. The festival closed Sunday with a much anticipated performance by megastar Janet Jackson, who touched the lives of four single mothers from New Orleans with a surprise Mother's Day gift that culminated this weekend. The women were to receive makeovers from Jackson's personal make-up artist, Preston Meneses, and tickets to her performance. Others scheduled to perform Sunday included Fantasia and a New Jack Swing reunion featuring Teddy Riley, SWV, Blackstreet and Guy.
• Scarlett Johansson's plans to portray a transgender man have sparked a backlash from many who object to cisgender actors playing trans roles. Johansson was announced to star in Rub & Tug, a film about prostitution ring leader Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man. Since the announcement, transgender actors and advocates have criticized the production for not casting a transgender actor in the role. Johansson, who's also producing the film, further inflamed critics with a statement to the website Bustle, via her representative, that said criticism "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." Tambor, Leto and Huffman are all cisgender actors who received acclaim for playing transgender characters. Transgender actress Trace Lysette was among those who disapproved of Johansson's intentions. On Twitter, she wrote: "So you can continue to play us but we can't play y'all? Not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived." Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress who stars in Netflix's Sense8, dared Johansson and the filmmakers to cast transgender actors in non-transgender parts. "Actors who are trans never even get to audition for anything other than roles of trans characters," Clayton said in an all-caps tweet. "That's the real issue. We can't even get in the room." Representatives for Johansson didn't respond to messages for comment.
FILE - In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Scarlett Johansson arrives at the world premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War" in Los Angeles. Johansson’s plans to portray a transgender man has sparked a backlash from many who object to cisgender actors playing trans roles. Earlier this week, Johansson was announced to star in the film “Rub & Tug,” about prostitution ring leader Dante “Tex” Gill,” who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man. Since then, many transgender actors and advocates have criticized the production for Johansson’s casting. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
A Section on 07/09/2018
Print Headline: Names and faces