Raúl Yzaguirre to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Raúl Yzaguirre is being feted by the White House

The 82-year-old Mexican America civil rights activist is among this year’s 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House has announced.

Raúl YzaguirrePresented to individuals who have “made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” the Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Yzaguirre served as the Chief Executive Officer and president of the National Council of La Raza for 30 years. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.

Former The University of Texas at Brownsville president Dr. Julieta García is also being honored.

The Mexican American education executive was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. García was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.

Other recipients this year include Denzel Washington, Simone Biles, the late Sen. John McCain, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe.

The awards will be presented at the White House next Thursday, July 7.

Here’s a look at the individuals who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

  • Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.
  • Sister Simone Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service and former Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. She is also a prominent advocate for economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.
  • Dr. Julieta García is the former president of The University of Texas at Brownsville, where she was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. García was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.
  • Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, serving first in the Arizona legislature and later in the U.S. Congress. A survivor of gun violence, she co-founded Giffords, a nonprofit organization dedicated to gun violence prevention.
  • Fred Gray was one of the first black members of the Alabama State legislature since Reconstruction. As an attorney, he represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King, who called him “the chief counsel for the protest movement.”
  • Steve Jobs (died 2011) was the co-founder, chief executive, and chair of Apple, Inc., CEO of Pixar and held a leading role at the Walt Disney Company. His vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates, as well as transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.
  • Father Alexander Karloutsos is the former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After over 50 years as a priest, providing counsel to several U.S. presidents, he was named by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as a Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • Khizr Khanis a Gold Star father and founder of the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Center. He is a prominent advocate for the rule of law and religious freedom and served on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom under President Biden.
  • Sandra Lindsayis a New York critical care nurse who served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. She was the first American to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials and is a prominent advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.
  • John McCain (died 2018) was a public servant who was awarded a Purple Heart with one gold star for his service in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. He also served the people of Arizona for decades in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee for president in 2008.
  • Diane Nash is a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century. Nash worked closely with Martin Luther King, who described her as the “driving spirit in the nonviolent assault on segregation at lunch counters.”
  • Megan Rapinoeis an Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion. She also captains OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. She is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.
  • Alan Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming for 18 years. During his public service, he has been a prominent advocate on issues including campaign finance reform, responsible governance, and marriage equality.
  • Richard Trumka (died 2021) was president of the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO for more than a decade, president of the United Mine Workers, and secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Throughout his career, he was an outspoken advocate for social and economic justice.
  • Brigadier General Wilma Vaughtis one of the most decorated women in the history of the U.S. military, repeatedly breaking gender barriers as she rose through the ranks. When she retired in 1985, she was one of only seven women generals in the Armed Forces.
  • Denzel Washington is an actor, director, and producer who has won two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, two Golden Globes, and the 2016 Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also served as National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.
  • Raúl Yzaguirre is a civil rights advocate who served as CEO and president of National Council of La Raza for thirty years. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.

Producers Guild to Honor Rita Moreno with Stanley Kramer Award

Rita Moreno is earning yet another honor…

The Producers Guild will present the 90-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer with the 2022 Stanley Kramer Award at the 33rd annual PGA Awards, set for March 19 at the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Rita MorenoThe honor goes to a production, producer or other individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.”

Moreno, an EGOT winner, will join previous recipients including Jane Fonda as well as Get Out, Loving, Fruitvale Station, The Normal Heart, Bombshell, The Hunting Ground, An Inconvenient Truth and Hotel Rwanda.

Kramer’s work included such iconic films as Inherit the Wind, On the Beach, The Defiant Ones and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

“With grace, intelligence, charisma, and kindness, Rita Moreno made her mark in history as a brilliant entertainer and leveraged that star power to shepherd stories that tap into the human experience and represent people and communities we rarely see celebrated in film and TV,” PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said Wednesday. “Beyond her on-screen contributions, she has used her unmistakable voice to hold a mirror to the prejudices and inequities that she so often experienced throughout her career. Her activism, strength, and artistic contributions set the precedent for how to be a changemaker in Hollywood, and it is our great honor to present Rita with the Stanley Kramer Award this year.”

Moreno most recently appeared and executive produced Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story after winning an Oscar for the original film, the latest in a seven-decade career that began with her Broadway debut at 13. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films and countless TV series including most recently Norman Lear’s remake of One Day at a Time. Her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world debut at Sundance Film Festival last year.

Moreno previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, the SAG Life Achievement Award, the Peabody Career Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.

“The last thing I ever dreamed of in my young life was being honored in any circumstance,” Moreno said. “That the Producers Guild of America has chosen to honor me not only for my work but for the principles I have tried to uphold and live by throughout my life is so gratifying. I am thrilled.”

Angélica Garcia to Appear at Next Year’s SXSW Music Festival

Angélica Garcia is heading south (by southwest)

The Mexican and Salvadoran American singer is among the second round of showcasing artists set to perform at the 36th Annual SXSW Music Festival.

Angelica GarciaGarcia, who became widely known when her song “Jícama” was named to Barack Obama’s 2019 year-end music list.

Garcia joins a roster of new additions that includes the Black LipsKT Tunstall, Desire, Shamir, Alex the AstronautThe Dream SyndicateCharlie Hickey and many more.

The festival, which was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will return live and in-person March 14-20, 2022 at dozens of venues around Austin, Texas.

The new list, which follows an initial lineup released in October, includes a typically wide-ranging collection of U.S. and international artists from countries including Argentina (Isla De Caras), Japan (4s4ki), Turkey (Affet Robot), Scotland (Joesef), Ireland (Just Mustard), Australia (Phebe Starr), Brazil (Tuyo), France (The Blind Suns) and China (Sophia Shen).

Joining the previously announced showcase presenters are Italians Do It Better, Luminelle Recordings, Gorilla Vs Bear, Domino Recording Company, Qobuz, City Slang, Bushwig, Initiative Musik, POP Montreal, M for Montreal, Sounds from Spain, Traffic Music, Devil In The Woods, Atomic Music Group, Music from Ireland, End of the Trail Creative, Fierce Panda Records, LICKS Magazine, The Color Agent, Exploding in Sound, Care Free Black Girl, Chicken Ranch Records and Modern Sky UK.

All showcasing artists at SXSW 2022 can be heard by subscribing to the festival’s official Apple MusicSpotify and YouTube Music Video playlists. The complete list of programming, which gives festivalgoers the option of building a customized schedule, can be found here.

All artists announced in the second round can be found below. The list is subject to change; additional artists will be announced later.

4s4ki (Tokyo JAPAN)
A-Wall (Dallas, TX)
a/lpaca (Mantua ITALY)
Ada Lea (Montreal CANADA)
Affet Robot (Istanbul TURKEY)
Alex The Astronaut (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Allegra (New York NY)
Altameda (Toronto CANADA)
Amber Van Day (London UK-ENGLAND)
Andrea Magee (Austin TX)
Angélica Garcia (El Monte CA)
Anna B Savage (London UK-ENGLAND)
Anna Fox Rochinski (New York NY)
Annie Blackman (Brooklyn NY)
Aoife Nessa Frances (Dublin IRELAND)
ÄTNA (Dresden GERMANY)
Ayoni (Los Angeles CA)
Baba Ali (London UK-ENGLAND)
BABii (Margate UK-ENGLAND)
Bad Bad Hats (Minneapolis MN)
bad tuner (Brooklyn NY)
Bad Waitress (Toronto CANADA)
Baiuca (Galicia SPAIN)
Balto (Los Angeles CA)
BBY Kodie (Houston TX)
bbymutha (Chattanooga TN)
Beachtape (London UK-ENGLAND)
Beat Root Revival (Austin TX)
BELAKO (Mungia SPAIN)
Bess Atwell (Brighton UK-ENGLAND)
BESTIAL MOUTHS (Los Angeles CA)
Black Lips (Atlanta GA)
Blondes (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
BORAJ (Pucón CHILE)
Boy Scouts (Oakland CA)
Boyish (New York NY)
Bradley Zero (London UK-ENGLAND)
Broadside Hacks (London UK-ENGLAND)
Brother. (Salt Lake City UT)
Brown Penny (London UK-ENGLAND)
Buenos Diaz (Austin TX)
Cadence Weapon (Toronto CANADA)
Capsula (Bilbao SPAIN)
CARYS (Toronto CANADA)
Cedric Noel (Montreal CANADA)
Charlie Hickey (Pasadena CA)
Chateau Chateau (Tucson AZ)
Chela (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)
CHERISE (London UK-ENGLAND)
CHERYM (Derry UK-N. IRELAND)
Children Collide (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Christina Wheeler (Berlin GERMANY)
Circuit Des Yeux (Chicago IL)
Cítrico (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Ciudadanos (Santiago CHILE)
Clarissa Connelly (Copenhagen DENMARK)
Clementine & Valentine (Christchurch NEW ZEALAND)
Club Intl (New York NY)
CMAT (Dublin IRELAND)
Coach Party (East Cowes UK-ENGLAND)
Colectiva (London UK-ENGLAND)
COMMANDO (San Francisco CA)
COSBY (Munich GERMANY)
Cruz Cafuné (Tenerife SPAIN)
dal:um (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)
Daniel Casimir (London UK-ENGLAND)
Danielle Durack (Phoenix, AZ)
Danny B. Harvey & Annie Maire Lewis (Austin TX)
daysormay (Vancouver CANADA)
Dead Horses (Milwaukee WI)
Deap Vally (Los Angeles CA)
Dende (Houston TX)
Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba (Sevilla SPAIN)
Desire (Los Angeles CA)
Discovery Zone (New York NY)
DJ SHANI (Austin TX)
Donzii (Miami FL)
Dreamgirl (Kansas City MO)
Duquette Johnston (Birmingham AL)
Easy Wanderlings (Pune INDIA)
Eddie 9V (Atlanta GA)
El Shirota (Chiluca MEXICO)
Eli Fola (Arverne NY)
Eliza Hull (Castlemaine AUSTRALIA)
ELLEVATOR (Hamilton CANADA)
Enamorados (Barcelona SPAIN)
Enrique Campos (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Eric Tessmer (Austin TX)
exociety (Rav / Kill Bill: The Rapper / Airospace / Scuare) (Austin TX)
Farah (Dallas TX)
Fears (Dublin IRELAND)
Ferdinand the Bull (Pittsburgh PA)
Ferris & Sylvester (London UK-ENGLAND)
Fieh (Toten NORWAY)
Film School (Los Angeles CA)
Flasher (Washington DC)
flipturn (Fernandina Beach FL)
Flower Face (Windsor CANADA)
Foxx Bodies (Los Angeles CA)
FRANKIIE (Vancouver CANADA)
Free (Grand Prairie TX)
FUR (Brighton UK-ENGLAND)
Gallus (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Gamma Vibes (Bucheon SOUTH KOREA)
George O’Hanlon (Dorking UK-ENGLAND)
George Riley (London UK-ENGLAND)
Georgia Cécile (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Glüme (Los Angeles CA)
Godcaster (New York NY)
Good Dog Nigel (Richmond VA)
Good Looks (Austin TX)
Grandmas House (Bristol UK-ENGLAND)
Gus Englehorn (Montreal CANADA)
Hamzaa (London UK-ENGLAND)
Hanita Bhambri (Delhi INDIA)
Haviah Mighty (Toronto CANADA)
Hayfitz (Brooklyn NY)
Heavy Salad (Manchester UK-ENGLAND)
Her Skin (Modena ITALY)
Hera (Reykjavík, ICELAND)
Hēran Soun (Oakland CA)
Hope (Berlin GERMANY)
Hot Garbage (Toronto CANADA)
Hotel Lux (London UK-ENGLAND)
Igor Grohotsky (Kyiv UKRAINE)
Ilira (Berlin GERMANY)
Indigo Sparke (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Isla De Caras (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Ivypaint (Orlando FL)
jackie (Toronto CANADA)
Jake Etheridge (Nashville TN)
Jake Lloyd (Austin TX)
James Holt (Manchester UK-ENGLAND)
Jamie Webster (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
Jan Verstraeten (Oostende BELGIUM)
Jas Kayser (London UK-ENGLAND)
jazz re:freshed DJs (London UK-ENGLAND)
Jelani Blackman (London UK-ENGLAND)
Jenny Owen Youngs (Kittery ME)
Jerry Paper (Los Angeles CA)
Jess Williamson (Los Angeles CA)
jéTexas (Austin TX)
JM Stevens (Austin TX)
Jodi (Chicago IL)
Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre (Memphis TN)
Joesef (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
John The Martyr (Brooklyn NY)
Johnny Jewel (DJ Set) (Los Angeles CA)
Jon Muq (Austin TX)
Josh Fudge (Oklahoma City OK)
Juni Ata (Cuyamaca CA)
Just Mustard (Dundalk IRELAND)
Kainalu (Madison WI)
Kareem Ali (Phoenix AZ)
Katerine Duska (Athens GREECE)
KAVYA (Delhi INDIA)
KAZKA (Kyiv UKRAINE)
King Hannah (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
Kiwi Jr. (Toronto CANADA)
KOKO (Pesaro ITALY)
KT Tunstall (Edinburgh UK-SCOTLAND)
Kwesi Arthur (Accra GHANA)
Kydd Jones (Austin TX)
Kylie Price (Dunedin NEW ZEALAND)
La Sra. Tomasa (Barcelona SPAIN)
Laurence-Anne (Montreal CANADA)
Lavender Thug (El Paso TX)
Le Pain (Los Angeles CA)
Leif Vollebekk (Montreal CANADA)
Leon III (Houston TX)
Leon of Athens (Athens GREECE)
Ley Line (Austin TX)
LEYA (New York NY)
Lie Ning (Berlin GERMANY)
Lil Texxan (Plano TX)
Lisa Morales (Austin TX)
Little Quirks (Central Coast AUSTRALIA)
Liz Lawrence (Stratford Upon Avon UK-ENGLAND)
Lofi Legs (San Francisco CA)
Los Bitchos (London UK-ENGLAND)
Low Girl (Hemel Hempstead UK-ENGLAND)
Low Hummer (Hull UK-ENGLAND)
Lowertown (Atlanta GA)
Luther & Lamar of North Mississippi Allstars (Hernando MS)
Macy Rodman (New York NY)
Mae Powell (San Francisco CA)
Malin Pettersen (Oslo NORWAY)
MAN ON MAN (New York NY)
MANE (Adelaide AUSTRALIA)
Marina Herlop (Barcelona SPAIN)
Marion Raw (Mexico City MEXICO)
Marta Knight (Barcelona SPAIN)
Mauskovic Dance Band (Amsterdam NETHERLANDS)
MELTS (Dublin IRELAND)
Meltt (Vancouver CANADA)
MEMES (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
MENGERS (La Magdalena Contreras MEXICO)
Mini Trees (Los Angeles VA)
Mint Field (Ciudad De México MEXICO)
Mise en Scene (Gimli CANADA)
MLE (Berlin GERMANY)
MØAA (Venice ITALY)
moistbreezy (New York NY)
Molly Payton (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Moor Mother (Philadelphia PA)
MOTHERMARY (New York NY)
Mulay (Berlin GERMANY)
My Expansive Awareness (Zaragoza SPAIN)
Natalie McCool (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
Necking (Vancouver CANADA)
Nemegata (Austin TX)
Ness Heads (Chicago IL)
New Candys (Venice ITALY)
Nicolás Molina (Aguas Dulces URUGUAY)
Night Palace (Athens GA)
NOCONA (Los Angeles CA)
Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band (Austin TX)
Nova Twins (London UK-ENGLAND)
Núria Graham (Vic SPAIN)
Orion (Providence RI)
Pacific Jam At My Apartment (Saltillo MEXICO)
Page 9 (Dallas TX)
Parliamo (Perth UK-SCOTLAND)
Pearla (New York NY)
Phebe Starr (Dorrigo AUSTRALIA)
Pip Blom (Amsterdam NETHERLANDS)
Pleasure Venom (Austin TX)
Poppy Jean Crawford (Los Angeles CA)
Population II (Montreal CANADA)
Psymon Spine (Brooklyn NY)
Qarabagh Ensemble (Baku AZERBAIJAN)
Qlowski (Bologna ITALY)
Rachika Nayar (Brooklyn NY)
Raffaella (New York NY)
Rakky Ripper (Madrid SPAIN)
Randy Randall (Los Angeles CA)
Red Rum Club (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
Reserva Fantasma (San José COSTA RICA)
Revii612 (St. Paul MN)
Rianne Downey (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Rikas (Stuttgart GERMANY)
Robin Kester (Rotterdam NETHERLANDS)
Robynn Shayne (Austin TX)
Rock Eupora (Nashville TN)
Russian Baths (Brooklyn NY)
Ruth Lyon (Newcastle Upon Tyne UK-ENGLAND)
Sarah Mary Chadwick (Melbourne AUSTRALIA)
School of X (Copenhagen DENMARK)
Scrounge (London UK-ENGLAND)
SELF ESTEEM (London UK-ENGLAND)
Sgt. Papers (Hermosillo MEXICO)
Shamir (Philadelphia PA)
Shovel Dance Collective (London UK-ENGLAND)
Shutups (Oakland CA)
Sinead O’Brien (Limerick IRELAND)
Skiifall (Montreal CANADA)
Smoothboi Ezra (Greystones IRELAND)
Snapped Ankles (London UK-ENGLAND)
Sofía Campos (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Sofia Talvik (Gothenburg SWEDEN)
Sophia Kennedy (Hamburg GERMANY)
Sophia Shen (Zhangzhou CHINA)
Status/Non-Status (Toronto CANADA)
Steam Down (London UK-ENGLAND)
Steven Bamidele (Brighton UK-ENGLAND)
Stuck (Chicago IL)
Sue Foley (Austin TX)
Suenatron (San Jose CA)
Sunflower Bean (New York NY)
SUSTO (Charleston SC)
SUU (Barcelona SPAIN)
Sweeping Promises (Austin TX)
Sweet Spirit (Austin TX)
Talk Show (London UK-ENGLAND)
TC Superstar (Austin TX)
Teagan Johnston (Whitehorse CANADA)
the 4onthefloor (Minneapolis MN)
The Blind Suns (Angers FRANCE)
The Bots (Los Angeles CA)
The Dream Syndicate (New York NY)
The Garrys (Saskatoon CANADA)
The HawtThorns (Nashville TN)
The Institutes (Coventry UK-ENGLAND)
The Lathums (Wigan UK-ENGLAND)
The Lottery Winners (Manchester UK-ENGLAND)
The Lounge Society (Hebden Bridge UK-ENGLAND)
The Pine Hill Haints (Florence AL)
The Prescriptions (Nashville TN)
The School (Cardiff UK-WALES)
The Shivas (Portland OR)
The Texas Gentlemen (Dallas TX)
The Thing With Feathers (Nashville TN)
The Waymores (Atlanta GA)
The Wood Burning Savages (Derry UK-N. IRELAND)
Thee Unemployed (Austin TX)
THELIMITDOESNOTEXIST (Brooklyn NY)
Tisakorean (Houston TX)
Tom West (Adelaide AUSTRALIA)
Tomás del Real (Santiago CHILE)
Toya Delazy (London UK-ENGLAND)
Tres Leches (Seattle WA)
Tufan Derince (Diyarbakir TURKEY)
Tuyo (Curitiba BRAZIL)
VALERAS (Reading UK-ENGLAND)
Van Mary (Austin TX)
Vaya Futuro (Tijuana, MEXICO)
Velvet Starlings (Los Angeles CA)
Vera Di Lecce (Lecce ITALY)
Vision Video (Athens GA)
Volk (Nashvillle TN)
W. H. Lung (Manchester UK-ENGLAND)
Warren Hood (Austin TX)
We Were Promised Jetpacks (Edinburgh UK-SCOTLAND)
Weakened Friends (Portland ME)
Western Youth (Austin TX)
Whitney K (Montreal CANADA)
Whitney Rose (Austin TX)
Wiley From Atlanta (Atlanta GA)
Wired Sessions (Santiago CHILE)
Xcelencia (Caguas PUERTO RICO)
Yoo Doo Right (Montreal CANADA)
zannie (New York NY)
Zoon (Toronto CANADA)

Colman Domingo to Star as Gay Rights Activist Bayard Rustin in “Rustin”

Colman Domingo is bringing the story of a gay rights activist to life.

The 51-year-old Guatemalan American actor will star as activist Bayard Rustin in Rustinthe first film production from Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground, which has a deal at Netflix.

Colman Domingo

Along with Domingo, the film will also star Chris Rock, Glynn Turman and Audra McDonald.

Turman previously starred alongside Domingo in the Oscar-nominated  film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The George C. Wolfe directed film, which he co-wrote with Milk‘s Dustin Lance Black, tells the story of how Rustin overcame an onslaught of obstacles, and altered the course of American history by organizing the 1963 March on Washington.

Domingo’s previous credits include appearances on HBO’s Euphoria, and the films Selma, If Beale Street Could Talk and Zola.

Anitta to Appear in the YouTube Originals Special “Dear Earth”

Anitta is celebrating the planet…

The 28-year-old Brazilian singer, songwriter, actress and dancer will be featured in an upcoming YouTube Originals special titled Dear Earth.

Anitta

Anitta will appear alongside BLACKPINKBillie EilishJaden Smith and more in the special premiering in October.

Dear Earth is part of YouTube Originals’ October sustainability-centered programming.

Former President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Desmond Tutu and Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai are among the global leaders presenting during the multi-hour celebration of the planet.

It will follow a similar format to YouTube Originals’ Dear Class of 2020 all-star commencement special during the pandemic last year, with keynote addresses, musical performances, special appearances and comedic shorts.

Dear Earth will “inspire and motivate audiences to create a better, healthier, existence for the planet through contributions from a wide range of global leaders, creators, celebrities and musicians,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, told reporters during the Summer TCA press tour.

Lil Dicky and GaTa as well as Tinashe will also be featured, as well as Marsai Martin, The Muppets, SpongeBob SquarePants and YouTube creators AsapSCIENCEBrave WildernessBretman Rock, DreamJack HarriesTheOdd1sOutPhysicsGirl and ZHC.

Dear Earth will premiere on YouTube on October 23.

The special is produced by Done + Dusted, Strong Brew and Silverback Films.

Rita Moreno to Star in the Feature Film “The Prank”

Rita Moreno is pranking around…

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award winner) has landed a starring role in the feature film The Prank, which will be directed by Maureen Bharoocha.

Rita Moreno

Moreno will star opposite Connor Kalopsis and Ramona Young.

The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test; they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.

Other cast in The Prank includes Keith David, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak and Kate Flannery.

Filming begins this month in and around Los Angeles.

The dark comedy is written by Rebecca Flinn-White & Zak White.

“Rita Moreno is a force of nature and an icon who continues to redefine herself,” said Bharoocha. “Her brilliant comedic mind lends itself to the perfect ‘Mrs. Wheeler’, a character we have never seen her play, and one that will no doubt surprise audiences.”

Moreno has won an Oscar (West Side Story), a Tony (The Ritz), two Emmys (for her turns respectively in 1977 and 1978 on The Muppet Show and Rockford Files), and a Grammy (Best Children’s Album for The Electric Company).

Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films and has performed in numerous regional theaters, including her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day At A Time.

Her documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, produced by Lear, Lin Manuel Miranda and Brent Miller had its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film, which was met with acclaim from critics and audiences alike, will have its television debut on PBS’ American Masters nationwide on October 5.

Moreno also co-stars and is an executive producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, set to open on December 10.

The recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Moreno’s all-Spanish-language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend Emilio Estefan, and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Julian Castro to Serve as Political Analyst on NBC News & MSNBC

Julian Castro is ready to examine our political landscape…

The 46-year-old Mexican American lawyer and politician, who was the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s cabinet when he served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a political analyst.

Julian Castro

Castro ran for president in the 2020 cycle. Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski announced his new role in an appearance on the show on Monday, as Castro joined to talk about voting rights and the debate over amending the filibuster.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) has called on President Joe Biden to support changes to the U.S. Senate rule.

“The problem is that we really haven’t seen any activity. We haven’t seen any push from the Oval Office on this issue, and you can see that, you know, that the impatience is growing among Democrats,” Castro said on Morning Joe.

Castro served as HUD secretary from 2014 to 2017, after serving as mayor of San Antonio. He launched his presidential campaign in January, 2019, one of the first candidates to get in the race, but dropped out almost a year later. He went on to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Castro is one of the few 2020 presidential contenders to go on to cable news gigs, given the sheer number of candidates who still hold elective office. After he dropped out of the presidential race, Andrew Yang joined CNN as a political commentator, but he then went on to run for mayor of New York.

Sabrina Claudio’s “Frozen” Among Songs Featured on Barack Obama’s Official Summer Playlist

Sabrina Claudio has received the (former) presidential seal of approval…

In keeping with past tradition, Barack Obama is sharing some of his favorite summer jams, with the 24-year-old Puerto Rican & Cuban American singer/songwriter making the list.

Sabrina Claudio

Claudio’s single “Frozen,” featured on her album About Time, is among four singles featuring Latinx artists to make the former U.S. president’s summer playlist.

Leave the Door Open,” the chart-topping single from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak‘s new duo Silk Sonic; “Águas de Março” by Elis Regina and Antônio Carlos Jobim; and Rochy RD, Myke Towers and Nicki Nicole’s “Ella No Es Tuya (Remix)” also made the list.

“With so many folks getting together with family and friends, there’s a lot to celebrate this summer,” Obama captioned his tweet. “Here’s a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to lately—it’s a mix of old and new, household names and emerging artists, and a whole lot in between.”

It’s no secret that Obama is a huge lover of music. Over the years, he has shared numerous music playlists, including his recent shower-themed list on Spotify, which features Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born in the U.S.A.

“I sing in the shower, I sing outside of the shower. I am unembarrassed about singing,” Obama said during his Renegades: Born in the USA podcast with The Boss in March. “My daughters and my wife sometimes roll their eyes.”

Last December, the former president also shared his “Favorite Music of 2020” list — featuring picks from Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa, Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion — as well as a playlist of music that inspired him throughout his presidency.

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Artists Offering Civic Lessons in Netflix’s Animated Series “We the People”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is giving a civics lesson…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and playwright, the mastermind behind the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, lends his voice to the new animated Netflix series We the People.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

Created by Chris Nee and produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, the 10-part series provides a range of civics lessons through three-minute music videos on topics that include the Bill of Rights, immigration and the courts.

In addition to Miranda, the series also features award-winning artists H.E.R., Brandi CarlisleBebe Rexha and others.

Miranda took on the topic of “The Three Branches of Government” episode, writing and performing the song “Checks and Balances,” alongside Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Daveed Diggs, Brittany Howard and Robert Lopez.

With its light hip-hop bear, the catchy number explains the checks and balances of the United States government.

Meanwhile, Jorge R. Gutierrez directs the immigration-themed episode, which features the track “American Citizen,” performed by Bebe Rexha.

The 46-year-old Mexican animator, painter, writer, voice actor, and production designer helms Rexha’s pop message that lets everyone know from the second they are born, they are an “American Citizen.”

The episode is full of visual treats showing how the country is one built from a nation of immigrants, as animated versions of Sofia Vergara, Steven Chen, Anousheh Ansari and Padma Lakshmi are all featured to illustrate the point.

We the People premiered on Sunday, July 4 on Netflix.

George P. Bush Announces Bid for Texas Attorney General

George P. Bush is lookin’ to move up in Texas politics….

The 45-year-old half-Mexican American politician, currently serving as Texas Land Commissioner, has announced that he’s running for attorney general in the Lone Star State, setting up a GOP showdown with one of the most high-profile Republican attorneys general in the country, Ken Paxton.

George P. Bush

“I am proud to announce I am a Republican candidate to be the next Texas attorney general,” he said before supporters in Austin.

Bush came out swinging in his campaign announcement, taking shots at Paxton, who is currently under indictment for securities fraud and, separately, facing an FBI investigation for abuse of office.

“Enough is enough, Ken. You’ve brought way too much scandal and too little integrity to this office,” Bush said. “It’s time to go.”

Bush — the son of former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush — is running as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, despite the at-times blistering feud between Trump and the Bush family.

At a campaign kickoff event in downtown Austin, supporters praised Bush as the future of the Republican Party in Texas and highlighted his support of Trump as a key credential.

“I think we can all agree that President Trump was one of the best things to happen to this country,” Karen Newton, immediate past president of Texas Federation of Republican Women, said onstage as one of the introductory speakers before Bush.

Joacim Hernandez, vice chair of the Texas Young Republican Federation, argued Bush is uniquely positioned to unite the GOP. “He has a track record of support for President Trump and his America First policies, but he also has a track record of character and integrity.”

As land commissioner since 2015, Bush has long been viewed by political observers as a rising star in the GOP. He speaks Spanish and was involved in the founding of the political group Hispanic Republicans of Texas. He was also an officer in the Navy Reserves and a former businessman, with a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Paxton, meanwhile, has been state attorney general since 2015 after serving in the Texas Legislature for more than a decade as both a state representative and state senator. He was highly active in filing federal lawsuits during the Barack Obama administration — most notably, he led a 20-state challenge against the Affordable Care Act — and has filed multiple suits against the Joe Biden administration over a range of issues from immigration to Medicaid.

A staunch ally of Trump, Paxton also led the lawsuit contesting election results in four states that Trump lost in November. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit.

Clouding Paxton’s run for reelection will be the FBI investigation and separate indictment. Paxton vehemently denies the charges and allegations.

Bush has made it clear he won’t be shy in going after Paxton’s legal issues.

“We have a web of corruption and lies that affect one of the highest offices in our land and it’s time for a change,” Bush said.

Bush will make South Texas — where Trump made heavy inroads in November — a key part of his strategy, and he plans to make his first official campaign trip to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday.

Given his political connections and Paxton’s legal troubles, Bush is expected to raise significant cash for the race.