Serena Williams has signed on as the newest ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, the insurance company’s decade-old initiative to provide financial empowerment to domestic abuse victims. The pregnant tennis star takes over for Kerry Washington as ambassador of the organization, which says it has helped about one million women escape abusive relationships through a mix of financial education and job training.
In explaining her decision to sign on, Williams told Mic.com, “Not a lot of people really know about financial abuse. It’s an invisible but also really devastating form of domestic abuse that traps victims in these harmful relationships.”One reason financial abuse is so prevalent, Williams said, is because it takes many different — sometimes subtle — forms.
An abuser might contact their partner’s employer, for example, and undermine their ability to stay on the job. Or the abuser might take out and use credit cards in their partner’s name.“If a woman’s credit is ruined, she can’t get an apartment,” Williams pointed out. “Most of the time when people leave abusive relationships, they have this awful debt and that can take years and years to recover, especially if they have kids.”
Williams’s announcement on Thursday (June 22) came with a newly-released hidden-camera style video by Purple Purse — showing ride-sharing passengers who get into a car and discover a purse that has been left behind. Soon, a phone inside the purse begins ringing, and the passengers then see a series of alarming texts that indicate an abusive relationship. The video’s message? If you see something, say something, says Vicky Dinges, Allstate senior vice president for corporate responsibility, who heads the project.
The Screen Actors Guild‘s SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced today that Emmy®-nominated actor Rashida Jones will receive its Actors Inspiration Award, an honor recognizing artists who give back to the community by championing worthy philanthropic causes which make a difference in the world. On Monday, June 12th, the award will be presented to Ms. Jones at the Foundation’s 8thAnnual Los Angeles Golf Classic, an event benefiting its assistance and children’s literacy programs.
Rashida Jones is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, musician and activist. Her philanthropy includes work with the International Rescue Committee, traveling around the world as an advocate for the nonprofit which delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster; serving on the board and as a celebrity ambassador for Peace First, a youth organization that encourages the development of the world’s next generation of peacemakers; and supporting Oceana in its mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans. In addition, she lends her voice to several other important charities including Amnesty International, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and The Trevor Project. Ms. Jones is also a supporter of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s online children’s literacy program Storyline Online (storylineonline.net) and will be filming a new video for Storyline Online following the Actors Inspiration Award ceremony. She will join the ranks of actors Viola Davis, Lily Tomlin and Chris Pine as Storyline Online advocates. Rashida Jones’ commitment to supporting vulnerable populations around the world, the environment, and children’s literacy embodies the spirit of the Actors Inspiration Award. Continue reading →
Warner Bros. has optioned Brit Bennett’s debut novel and New York Times bestseller, ”The Mothers,” with Kerry Washington on board to produce. Washington will produce under the Simpson Street Banner, along with Natalie Krinsky. Bennett will write the script and executive produce.
Originally published in October 2016 by Riverhead, a division of Penguin, “The Mothers” is a story about young love, friendship, a big secret in a small community, and the things that ultimately haunt us most. At this time, Washington is just producing the project.
Simpson Street’s first production, “Confirmation,” earned critical acclaim as well as an Emmy nomination for best movie made for television. “The Mothers” will be their first feature project for Warner Bros. Washington also received an Emmy nomination for “Confirmation” and continues to star in the hit ABC series “Scandal.”
Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer has been named 2017’s Woman of the Year by Harvard University‘s Hasty Pudding student theatrical group. The Oscar winner and Hidden Figures actress will be honored — and roasted — Jan. 26 at the organization’s first-ever live-streamed ceremony.
The group stated in a release that they are “proud to honor an actress whose depth of talent has captivated audiences with her comedic wit and her graceful portrayals of the underrepresented.”
The Woman of the Year honor is given to performers who have made lasting contributions to entertainment. Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year has been given to Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes, Helen Mirren, Amy Poehler and Kerry Washington.
It seems as if last year’s #OscarsSoWhite backlash has had a marked effect on this year’s pool of projects and talent considered and honored as the 2017 awards season gets underway.
The 2017 Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, and nominees of color were found in the majority of film and television categories. Indie film sensation “Moonlight”not only garnered a nod for Best Motion Picture, Drama, but also for directing and screenwriting by Barry Jenkins, in the Best Actress category for Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali was recognized in the supporting actor category.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were honored for their performances in “Fences”, Ruth Negga was nominated for her leading role in “Loving,” and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer grabbed a nomination for her supporting role in the upcoming space race drama “Hidden Figures.” Additionally, Pharrell Williams is in the running for Best Original Score — Motion Picture, for his work on the music for “Hidden Figures.”
2017 Golden Globe nominees Donald Glover, Pharrell and Riz (photo via billboard.com)
On the television side, Donald Glover‘s “Atlanta” received nods in two categories; Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Anthony Anderson provides some competition for Glover in the acting category, and “Black-ish” is nominated for Best Comedy Television Series as well. Tracee Ellis Ross gained a nod in the Lead Comedy Actress category, as did “Insecure” star Issa Rae.
In limited series, actress Thandie Newton was nominated for Westworld, and Kerry Washington‘s portrayal of Anita Hill in “Confirmation” was also acknowledged. Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance gained a nod for his work as Johnny Cochran in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”and the series was nominated in the Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category alongside Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley’s “American Crime.”
ABC is developing a new drama with one of the networks most trusted stars, Kerry Washington. The “Scandal” star is on board to executive produce “Patrol,” a workplace drama about four female LAPD officers who attended the police academy together five years ago and are forced to reconnect after a high-stakes, traumatic secret returns to haunt them.
Washington is producing the potential series by way of her recently-launched production shingle Simpson Street. The actress has been expanding her behind-the-camera work lately. Simpson Street came fresh out of the gate with HBO’s “Confirmation,” in which Washington starred as Anita Hill, marking the company’s first project.
Chitra Elizabeth Sampath, who served as a writer/producer on the first season of ABC’s “Secrets and Lies,” wrote the “Patrol” script and will serve as a co-executive producer. Along with Washington, executive producers are Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams, plus Washington’s Simpson Street producing partner Sharla Sumpter Bridgett.
On the heels of announcing its overall pact with “Scandal” lead Kerry Washington, ABC is similarly vying more hits from Viola Davis — this time, with the Emmy winner stepping behind the camera. The “How To Get Away with Murder” star’s production company JuVee Productions has entered into an overall deal with ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios.
Under the new pact, JuVee Productions — which Davis founded with her husband, Julius Tennon — will develop new projects for broadcast, cable, streaming services and digital platforms.
Additionally, JuVee has also hired Bravo’s Andrew Wang to serve as the company’s head of television development and production. At Bravo, Wang was vice president of scripted television development and production and was responsible for the cabler’s first scripted series, comedy “Odd Mom Out,” drama “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” and the upcoming dark comedy “My So-Called Wife.” He was at Bravo for four years.
“We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multifaceted culture,” Davis commented. “We wanted to be a part of classic storytelling, and we didn’t want to wait.”