America Ferrera Signs Open Letter Urging Local Governments to Decrease Police Budgets

America Ferrera is calling for decreased police funding…

The 36-year-old Honduran American actress and activist has joined the likes of John LegendCommon, the WeekndLizzoJane Fonda, and others to signed a new open letter urging local governments to decrease police budgets in favor of spending more on health care, education, and other community programs. 

Others to sign the letter include Megan RapinoeYada Shahidi, and Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU.

The letter was released by activist Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of more than 100 black-rights organizations. 

The letter arrived in conjunction with #BlackOutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused, a grassroots campaign within the music industryto pause work today, June 2nd, and “reconnect with our community.” 

Talib KweliNatalie PortmanBrie Larson and Taraji P. Henson also signed the letter.

The open letter ties the deaths of unarmed black people like George FloydAhmaud ArberyBreonna TaylorTony McDade, and others to the disproportionately devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on black communities. 

“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other,” it states. “The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too. Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.’”

Noting, for instance, that state and local government spending on police and corrections jumped from $60 billion to $194 billion between 1977 and 2017, the letter lays out an array of different ways that money could be used. “It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.”

At the end, the letter lays out its three demands and asks all signees to encourage their local officials to take the pledge as well: “Vote no on all increases to police budgets. Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets. Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep us safe.”

Bad Bunny to Take Part in LeBron James’ “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” Special

Bad Bunnyis celebrating the Class of 2020

The LeBron James Family Foundation announced that it’s paying tribute to the class of 2020 with a one-hour multimedia event called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, with the 26-year-old Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trap singer joining the roster of participating artists.

Bad Bunny

James’ virtual graduation party for this year’s graduation class, who’s seen their school year cancelled because of the coronavirus, will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 pm ET simultaneously on NBCABCCBS, and Fox— as well as on the streaming platforms Complex NetworksFacebook app, InstagramPeople TVSnapchatTikTok and YouTube.

In addition to Bad Bunny, the lineup includes Kane BrownLana CondorDavid DobrikDolan TwinsKarol GLiza KoshyMaren Morris, National Teacher of the Year Rodney RobinsonOlivia WildeZendaya, Charli D’AmelioDixie D’AmelioChika, YBN Cordae, Loren GrayH.E.R., the Jonas BrothersBrandan Bmike Odums, Ben PlattHenry PlattJonah Platt, Megan RapinoeYara ShahidiLena Waithe, Pharrell WilliamsMalala Yousafzaiand many more.

Working with the XQ Instituteand The Entertainment Industry Foundation, the show will allow the companies to honor the more than three million high school seniors who’ll miss out on the annual rite of passage due to the national shutdown caused by the COVID-19pandemic.

“We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics,” said James in a statement.

“It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together—students, parents, educators, community members, and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time. These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it.”

The commercial-free show will be curated by high school students and educators from across the country, with support from the American Federation of Teachers, highlighted by a collection of commencement addresses, celebrity performances and inspirational vignettes.

Students, educators, and families are encouraged to submit their videos and photos online for consideration to be included in the telecast using #GraduateTogether. Artist JR is also inviting seniors to share their portraits for a national virtual yearbook celebrating the entire Class of 2020

Local TV stations will feature custom breakaways to celebrate the achievements of high school students in their communities.

Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020will be broadcast commercial-free on May 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.

Showtime Renews Arienne Mandi’s “The L Word: Generation Q” for Second Season

There’s more Word play Arienne Mandi’s future…

Showtime has renewed The L Word: Generation Q, starring the Latina actress, for a second season.

Arienne Mandi & Rosanny Zayas The L Word: Generation Q

The renewal comes ahead of the season finale of the reboot of the classic drama on January 26. The show, which launched on the ViacomCBS-owned premium network on December 8, has been handed another 10-episode run.

Showtime Networks President of Entertainment Jana Winograde revealed that the launch of The L Word: Generation Q drove the network’s biggest weekend of subscribers sign ups in 2019.

Season one has followed the intermingled lives of Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals), Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig) and Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey), along with new characters Dani Nùñez (Mandi), Micah Lee (Leo Sheng), Finley (Jacqueline Toboni), Sophie Suarez (Rosanny Zayas) and Gigi (Sepideh Moafi), as they experience love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success in L.A.

Based on The L Word, which aired on Showtime between 2004 and 2009, the reboot moved from West Hollywood to Silver Lake.

The show follows Bette weaving her way through a contentious mayoral run while co-parenting her and Tina’s teenage daughter; Shane returning to L.A. and embarking on her new career as owner of a lesbian bar while trying to save her marriage; and Alice stepping into the spotlight as host of her own queer-focused talk show.

Meanwhile, PR pro Dani is running communications for Bette’s campaign while balancing her relationship with fiancée Sophie, a producer for Alice’s show. Production assistant Finley and professor Micah are finding their footing in the L.A. dating scene, while Gigi navigates family dynamics with her ex, Nat, played by guest star Stephanie Allynne, who is Alice’s current girlfriend. Other season one guest stars include Megan RapinoeBrian Michael Smith, Olivia ThirlbyFortune Feimsterand Latarsha Rose.

 “The L Word: Generation Q took our original series that was revered and reinvigorated it for a new generation and a new era,” said Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. “The result has been a show that appeals to all generations for its relevance, its fearlessness, its emotion and its fun. I can’t wait to see what Marja, along with Ilene and this talented ensemble, will deliver for season two.”

Lionel Messi Wins Record Sixth Ballon d’Or

Make that a whopping six for Lionel Messi

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star became the first men’s footballer to win the Ballon d’Or award for a sixth time, taking the award for the world’s top men’s player on Monday at a Paris gala.

iLionel Messi

Messi scored 46 times for club and country in 2019 — including the only goal in FC Barcelona‘s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped the Camp Nou side win La Liga.

Messi beat out Liverpooldefender Virgil van Dijk, who was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the Champions League, for the award voted on by a panel of international journalists.

“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire.

“It will be tough, but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies, so I will enjoy football and my family.”

Messi also came out on top in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and he is now one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane finished fourth behind Ronaldo in the final voting.

“It was amazing,” Van Dijk said. “There are a couple of players like him [Messi] who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough [to win the award] when these guys are around.”

Messi’s and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the award organized by France Footballmagazine was ended last year by Luka Modric.

But Messi was back on top of his game over the past 12 months. He scored 36 times last season en route to a 10th Spanish La Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer. His goals in La Liga also made him the top scorer in Europe’s biggest leagues, earning him the Golden Shoeaward.

“A few years ago, I received my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris,” Messi said. “I was 22 years old. It was something unthinkable at the time. Today is my sixth Ballon d’Or. As my wife used to say, you should never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy yourself.”

United States soccer star Megan Rapinoewon the Women’s Ballon d’Oraward after being voted the tournament’s best player and joint top scorer as the USWNTwon the 2019 World Cupin France.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was the first-ever recipient of the Yachine Trophy, given to the best goalkeeper. The 27-year-old Brazilian international beat out Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and countryman Ederson of Manchester City.

Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam‘s thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa Trophyfor the best under-21 male player in the world.

Selena Gomez Signs On as Co-Chair of When We All Vote Organization

Selena Gomez is getting out the vote…

The 27-year-old Mexican American singer/actress has signed on as a co-chair of the national organization When We All Vote.

Selena Gomez

Gomez joins a roster of new co-chairs that includes Liza Koshy, Shonda RhimesMegan Rapinoe,Tracee Ellis Rossand Kerry Washington.

The organization was launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle ObamaTom Hanks ,Lin-Manuel MirandaJanelle MonaeChris PaulFaith Hill and Tim McGraw.

When We Vote bills itself as a nonpartisan group dedicated to increasing voter participation. The announcement marks a year until the date of the 2020 elections, which includes the presidential race.

Hanks said “registering new voters is an act of hope and taking part in the American idea.” He added that voting guarantees the blessings of “liberty for the grandkids.”