Cristela Alonzo to Take Part in “America’s Changemakers” Event to Kick Off Five Nights of Presidential Inauguration Festivities

Cristela Alonzo is preparing for a presidential presentation…

The Biden/Harris Presidential Inaugural Committee announced additional programming in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, with the 42-year-old Mexican American comedian/actress taking part in the festivities.

Cristela Alonzo

The theme of the now five consecutive nights of events is “America United.”

On Saturday, January 16, Alonzo will take part in America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers.

The event will “celebrate America, reflect and honor our history, and highlight the incredible diversity of the nation” and kick off the five days of programming.

In addition to Alonzo, the roster of participants includes Whoopi Goldberg, actor Nik Dodani, musician Darren Criss, Representative Grace Meng, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Resistance Revival Choir will participate. The Welcome Event will feature a special performance by Adrian Quesada and his Grammy-nominated Black Pumas. It’ll stream live from 7:00-8:30 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on Presidential Inaugural Committee social media pages.

Also announced is United We Serve: A Celebration of the National MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 18. According to the news release, thousands of volunteers across the country will participate in the National Day of Service, which will then be celebrated by entertainers and inspiring speakers like Aloe Blacc, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Chesca, Rep. Sharice Davids, Rosario Dawson, Andra Day, Yo-Yo Ma, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Diane Warren, Lynn Whitfield and Bebe Winans. The event will stream live from 8:00-9:00 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on the inaugural committee’s social media pages.

Other events include the Memorial and Nationwide Tribute to Remember and Honor the Lives Lost to Covid-19 on Tuesday the 19th. At 5:30 pm ET, a D.C. ceremony will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The inaugural committee has invited cities and towns around the country to join in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells.

Inauguration Day events include President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and the former First Ladies in attendance.

Tom Hanks will host the primetime Celebrating America special that will culminate the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Along with appearances from the 46th POTUS and 49th VPOTUS, the Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss-produced 90-minute show will feature “The Star-Spangled Banner” courtesy of Lady Gaga; a “musical performance” by Jennifer Lopez, the details of which were not disclosed; and performances from Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and longtime Democrat supporter Jon Bon Jovi.

Celebrating America will air on multiple networks. Starting at 8:30 pm ET, the unity-aiming special will be carried by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN. Additionally, the Weiss-directed show will be seen on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse, as well as the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social media feeds.

Disney+ Announces “The Mandalorian” Spinoff Series “Ahsoka Tano,” Starring Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson is extending her Star Wars run…

The Mandalorian spinoff series Ahsoka Tano is in the works from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, based on the famed Clone Wars cartoon character brought to life by the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress this past season on the second season of the Disney+ series.

Ahsoka Tano x Rosario Dawson

Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy announced the spinoff news during Disney Investor Day.

No footage was shared for the series from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, but the show’s official logo was revealed.

The series, starring Dawson, is set within the timeline of The Mandalorian.

As for what Ahsoka Tano’s arc may be in the series, that remains to be seen. When she made her debut on The Mandalorian, she told Din Djarin she would not train Grogu in the ways of a Jedi.

Ahsoka’s timeline in the post-Return of the Jedi era is unknown, so this series will presumably fill out those details and potentially give Star Wars new territory to play with during the time between and during the events of the new trilogy movies.

HBO Max Gives Series Order to Rosario Dawson’s Futuristic Drama “DMZ”

Rosario Dawson is heading to the demilitarized zone

HBO Max has given a series order to Ava DuVernay and Roberto Patino’s DMZ, starring the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist.

Rosario Dawson

HBO Max ordered four episodes of the limited series, a futuristic drama set amid a second American civil war and based on the DC Comics series.

Production on the series is scheduled to start in 2021.

DMZ stars  Dawson and Benjamin Bratt in the lead roles, alongside Hoon Lee, Freddy Miyares and Jordan Preston Carter.

DMZ is set in the near future, when America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. It chronicles the harrowing journey of fearless and fierce medic Alma Ortega (Dawson) to find the son she lost in the evacuation of New York City at the onset of the conflict. Throwing gasoline on the flames of that conflict is Parco Delgado (Bratt), the popular, and deadly, leader of one of the most powerful gangs in the DMZ. He wants to rule this new world and will stop at nothing to secure that outcome.

The drama will examine the stark political and cultural divide in American society, where Alma must contend with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control this lawless no man’s land. In doing so, she becomes the unlikely source of what everyone there has lost…hope.

Patino, who will write all episodes and showrun the series, wrote the pilot episode, which was directed by DuVernay. Patino and DuVernay serve as executive producers on the series.

DMZ is produced by DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this epic to the screen with my boundary-pushing partners at WBTV and HBO Max, a sublime cast led by Rosario and Benjamin, and my partner and friend, the inimitable and ever-inspiring Ava DuVernay,” said Patino. “DMZ offers up an explosive playground which, more than anything else, exalts the resilience of community and the human spirit. I can’t wait to welcome the die-hard fans of the comic books and new viewers alike to this intoxicating, haunting and inspiring world.”

Dawson’s television credits include The Mandalorian, Briarpatch and Jane the Virgin. She’ll soon appear in the upcoming miniseries Dopesick.

Rosario Dawson to Star in Hulu’s Limited Series “Dopesick”

It’s a dope time for Rosario Dawson…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist has been cast as a series regular on DopesickHulu’s eight-episode limited series based on Beth Macy’s best-selling book.

Rosario Dawson

Written by Danny Strong and directed by Barry LevinsonDopesick is described as an ambitious, harrowing and compelling look into the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction. It takes viewers from a distressed Virginia mining community to the hallways of the DEA and the opulence of “one percenter” Big Pharma Manhattan. The unsparing yet deeply human portraits of the various affected families and their intersecting stories hold up a mirror to where America is right now, while shining a hopeful light on the heroes battling the worst drug epidemic in American history.

Dawson will play Bridget Meyer, a tough DEA agent who fights to curtail the use of OxyContin.

She joins previously announced Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Kaitlyn Dever, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, Philippa Soo and Jake McDorman.

The project hails from The Handmaid’s Tale executive producer Warren Littlefield and Touchstone Television.

Dawson most recently fronted the drama series Briarpatch, which aired for one season on USA Network. She also stars in the HBO Max/DC Comics pilot DMZwhich is being directed and EP’ed by Ava DuVernay and showrunner/writer Roberto Patino.

And she’ll soon appear on season two of Disney+’s The Mandalorian.

Disney+ Releases Sneak Peek at Season Two of Pedro Pascal’s “The Mandalorian”

Pedro Pascal is ready to blast off…

Disney+ offered a special sneak peek at season two of The Mandalorian, starring the 45-year-old Chilean actor as the title character, during ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian

The spot, which aired during halftime of the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, reveals a bit more detail of the plot for the new season, with The Mandalorian (Pascal) now seemingly on a mission to return The Child (aka Baby Yoda) “to his kind” while also searching out other Mandalorians who can help him.

“Wherever I go, he goes,” Mando says about his charge.

The upcoming season follows the successful Season 1 of the first live-action Star Wars spinoff series, which scored 15 Emmy nominations including for Outstanding Drama Series, and won seven. Shooting had already wrapped on the second season before the coronavirus-related production shutdown in mid-March. Work is already underway on Season 3.

The new season of the Lucasfilm-produced returns Pascal as The Mandalorian, aka Din Djarin, and The Child who continue to attempt to evade ruthless Imperial Remnant officer Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Gina Carano and Carl Weathers also return from Season 1, with cast newcomers including Rosario Dawson (reportedly as Ahsoka Tano), Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, Katee Sackhoff, Michael Biehn and Timothy Olyphant among others.

Directors for the new season include Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Weathers, Peyton Reed and Robert Rodriguez.

Season 2 of the series will debut on Disney’s streaming platform next Friday, October 30.

Selena Gomez Urges Facebook to Stop the Spread of “Hate, Misinformation, Racism and Bigotry”

Selena Gomez is going straight to the source in the fight against online misinformation and hate speech…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress shared on Instagram Stories a direct message to Facebook leaders Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, calling them out for their lack of accountability.

Selena Gomez

Gomez, who has 193 million followers on Instagram (owned by Facebook) and tops 77 million on Facebook itself, asked Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and CEO, and Sandberg, its chief operating officer, to start talking about misinformation and hate speech.

Gomez didn’t specify what information she classified as belonging to those categories, but called on Zuckerberg and Sandberg to shut down individuals and groups promoting it.

“Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry,” she wrote, days after a significant push by stars like Rosario Dawson, Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Ruffalo, Dwyane Wade and Katy Perry promoted #StopHateforProfit by blacking out their social media activities.

“I am calling you both to HELP STOP THIS. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it.”

Gomez also pointed to the national election in her message. She’s a co-chair of “When We All Vote,” a claimed nonpartisan organization that encourages voter participation. Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Shonda Rhimes are among its leaders.

“We cannot afford to have misinformation about voting,” Gomez said in her message. “There has to be fact-checking and accountability. Hope to hear back from you ASAP.”

Facebook has not yet publicly responded to Gomez.

Disney+ to Premiere Season 2 of Pedro Pascal’s “The Mandalorian” in October

Pedro Pascal is heading back to space next month…

Disney+ will launch the second season of The Mandalorian, starring the 45-year-old Chilean actor as the title character, on Friday, October 30.

Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian, set five years after the 1983 Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi, follows a bounty hunter (Pascal), who is protecting a highly coveted Jedi-powered being, simply called The Child, from falling into the hands of the villainous Imperial Empire. The bounty hunter is from the same rogue warrior class as legacy Star Wars character Jango Fett.

In addition to Pascal, the series also stars Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Ming-Na Wen.

New faces for Season 2 include Rosario Dawson, Michael Biehn and a recurring Bill Burr.

Shooting had already wrapped on the second season before the coronavirus-related production shutdown in mid-March. And work is already underway on Season 3.

The series is nominated for 15 Primetime Emmy awards, including outstanding drama series.

Vertical Entertainment Acquires Rights to Rosario Dawson’s Animated Action Comedy “Henchmen”

Rosario Dawson and her henchmen are coming to your home…

Vertical Entertainment has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Henchmen, the Bron Animation action comedy featuring the voices of the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress,  Thomas Middleditch and James Marsden.

Rosario Dawson

Adam Wood wrote and directed the film, marking his feature-length directorial debut.

Based on a story by Jay D. Waxman and Wood, the film will be available on digital platforms on October 9.

Henchmen

Here’s the synopsis: In a world of super-villains, evil schemes and global domination, someone has to take out the trash. Welcome to the world of Henchmen, third class. When Lester (Middleditch), a fresh-faced recruit, joins the Union of Evil, he is assigned to a motley crew of blue-collar workers led by fallen henchmen Hank. But when Lester accidentally steals a super-villain’s ultimate weapon, Hank must break his risk-nothing code to save the boy he’s befriended, even if it means becoming the one thing he has always avoided: a hero.

Additional voice performers include Nathan Fillion, Jane Krakowski, Rob Riggle, Bobcat Goldthwait and Craig Robinson.

Brenda Gilbert and Luke Carroll produced for Bron Animation.

“We loved the idea of exploring the fantastical world of superhero villains,” says Gilbert of the film. “We couldn’t be more thrilled for the film to have found a home at Vertical and we hope children and families will enjoy the imaginative story of the Henchmen.”

“There is a lot of heavy stuff happening in the world right now, so it’s exciting for us at Vertical to share a film that can provide some levity and laughs for everyone in the family” said Rich Goldberg, co-president of Vertical Entertainment. “Henchmen marries the fun of an animated movie with the excitement of superhero flick, and we think it’ll be a perfect movie for anyone to gather around safely at home.”

Dawson’s previous credits include Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, César Chávez and Zombieland: Double Tap.

Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Robert Rodriguez Directing Season Two of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian”

Robert Rodriguezis heading to a galaxy far, far away…

The 51-year-old Mexican American director/producer will serve as the director for Season 2 of Disney+’s The Mandalorian.

Robert Rodriguez

The Sin City and Spy Kidsfilmmaker tweeted a photo of himself with “the biggest star in the universe,” aka Baby Yoda.

“I am truly humbled to say I now have had the very rare privilege of directing the biggest star in the universe,” Rodriguez tweeted.

Production on the sophomore season of the Star Warsspinoff series already has wrapped. 

Among the new faces for Season 2 are Rosario DawsonMichael Biehnand a recurring Bill Burr. They join returning stars including Pedro Pascalin the title role, Gina CaranoGiancarlo EspositoEmily SwallowCarl WeathersOmid AbtahiWerner Herzog,Nick NolteJulia Jonesand Ming-Na Wen.

The live-action interstellar bounty hunter series premiered on November 12 on Disney+, the day the streaming service launched. Insiders have hinted that several established characters from the Skywalker saga’s feature films mythology will make appearances during the show’s sophomore season.

Season 2 of The Mandalorianwill premiere in the fall, but work already has begunon Season 3.