This Week In Culture: June 27–July 3, 2020

June 30, 2020
Culture never sleeps — even during a pandemic — and these timely words from a variety of entertainment and sports stories show how much is still happening.
a cappella
Michelle Obama presented Beyoncé with a humanitarian award at the BET Awards. In her speech, Knowles said, "We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does." The awards show, which took place online, featured performances that highlighted the extensive and ongoing protests against police brutality. A cappella is Italian, meaning "of the chapel," referring to liturgical chanting and other vocal music without instrumental accompaniment.
Twelve-year-old Keedron Bryant, who went viral on social media with a song about his fears of being a young African-American, opened the show with an a cappella performance of the poignant track, I Wanna Live.
BBC (June 29, 2020)
Kanye West released a new track, titled Wash Us in the Blood. The accompanying video, made by artist Arthur Jafa, is a collage of mostly found footage taken from news reports, including images of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, interspersed with West's digitally-altered face. Audacious comes from the Latin root audaci-, meaning "daring."
It had such operatic audacity and brilliant production that Kanye arguably carried it off, though many are still not convinced.
Guardian (June 30, 2020)
Since Mike Henry announced that he would no longer voice the Cleveland character on Family Guy, Wendell Pierce has begun to campaign for the job. Henry is one of several white actors who have stepped away from voicing characters of color in recent months. Pierce is well-known from shows like The Wire, Treme, and Jack Ryan as well as the recent films Clemency and Burning Cane.
Pierce mentioned “The Cleveland Show,” the “Family Guy” spinoff centered around the eponymous character that aired from 2009 to 2013.
IndieWire (June 29, 2020)
LeBron James founded More Than A Vote, an organization dedicated to fighting voter suppression and misinformation in Black communities. James recently announced a partnership with Coach, one of four Fortune 500 companies with a Black CEO. James and his partners, as well as other highly visible and influential figures, will lend their voices to spreading the message that the right to vote is an essential component of freedom and democracy.
James and the other members of the coalition also plan to use their high-profile to call out any attempts to deter, hobble or restrict voting access or rights in Black localities.
Ebony (June 27, 2020)
Comedian Carl Reiner died at 98. The legendary writer-director-performer became famous on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows in 1950, and remained a hilarious creative force until the end of his life. He created the Dick Van Dyke Show, made movies with Mel Brooks, directed a number of classic Steve Martin films, starred in the Ocean's films, did voice work in Family Guy and Bob's Burgers, and played the stepfather on Two And A Half Men.
Tall and physically imposing, yet more put-upon than threatening, Reiner’s gifts as a comic actor were probably most fully exploited in his decade-long stint with Caesar.
USA Today (June 30, 2020)
The Dixie Chicks changed their name to The Chicks, reflecting the widespread national move to take Confederate imagery and monuments out of American public life. The group's political stances have cost them dearly in the past, particularly in 2003 when they publicly criticized George W. Bush for the Iraq war. But times have changed, and this move is likely to lose them few fans while earning them still more. Lucrative comes from the Latin verb lucrari, meaning "to gain."
Fans were incensed, and the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted from thousands of radio stations across the country and lost lucrative partnership deals and sponsorships.
Glamour (June 29, 2020)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the list of this year's invitees, and it's the most diverse group ever. Nearly half are women, over a third are people of color, and half live outside the United States. This represents an attempt for the Oscars to shed the image of being behind the times and biased in terms of which films are nominated for awards. A few years ago, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite drew widespread attention to this.
Notables tapped in other areas include directors Ari Aster (Midsommar), Kat Candler (Hellion), Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and celebrated veteran Terence Davies (The House of Mirth)...
Hollywood Reporter (June 30, 2020)
While the NBA season is scheduled to begin on July 30 in Orlando, the worsening pandemic continues to complicate any moves in that direction. The Denver Nuggets had to close their training facility after several members of the organization tested positive. This happened the day after two players also tested positive. Because Florida is currently one of the country's worst hotspots, people are wondering if the season can happen at all.
Players and employees around the league have raised concerns about the league's resumption of play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sports Illustrated (June 30, 2020)
Milton Glaser, the most influential graphic designer of his generation, died at 91. Most famous for the "I ♥ NY" logo, he also designed countless ads, albums, product labels, and other images. A Bob Dylan poster from 1966 was his first iconic work, and he co-founded New York magazine in 1968. He continued working until recently. Ubiquitous comes from the Latin ubique, meaning "everywhere," anywhere," or "wherever."
Glaser is perhaps best known for designing the iconic and ubiquitous "I ♥ NY" logo.
CNN (June 29, 2020)
Films of Broadway shows have come a long way, and the film version of Hamilton is getting excellent reviews for its effectiveness at conveying the energy and drama that made the live show such a massive hit. Directed by Thomas Kail, the film was made from footage shot during two full live shows with the original cast in 2016, plus thirteen songs filmed without an audience using more elaborate camera supports like Steadicams, cranes, and dollies.
While there will be no shortage of Hamilton devotees lining up for repeat viewings of this film, what's most exciting is the potential for discovery by audiences new to its masterful storytelling and eclectic musical vernacular.
Hollywood Reporter (June 30, 2020)

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