Connect with us

Entertainment

Why Iman Vellani’s Casting as Ms. Marvel Is Groundbreaking For the Pakistani Community

Published

on

I felt Kumail Nanjiani’s pride when he tweeted about being “teary-eyed” following news that Pakistani-American Muslim teenager, Iman Vellani, had been cast in the title role of MCU’s, “Ms. Marvel.” As a woman of Pakistani descent born and raised in the UK by immigrant parents, let me tell you what it feels like to grow up with limited mainstream film and television representation: alienating, unjust, and confusing.

“There was a tremendous sense of feeling that the stories of my community were not important, gracious, glamorous, or even family-friendly enough for Hollywood.”

Yes, I spent my early years living in a predominantly South Asian London town where people who looked like me were plentiful. But even at the tender age of 5, I remember feeling like that wasn’t enough. Where were all those people who looked like me on television or the big screen? Looking back, I’m grateful that my childhood memories center on classics such as “Matilda” and “Jurassic Park,” but there was a tremendous sense of feeling that the stories of my community were not important, gracious, glamorous, or even family-friendly enough for Hollywood.

I turned to Bollywood to combat the visual void before naturally growing out of the genre’s overly stimulating song, dance, and dramatic dialogue during my teen years. I had also realized that the Indian film industry still wasn’t an accurate portrayal of my Pakistani heritage and culture, and the years that followed did little to satisfy my quest for representation.

So you can imagine, I was expecting continued disappointment when I saw the casting notice emerge for “Ms. Marvel” in 2019. Dubiously, they wanted the lead to be “authentic.” An actual Pakistani-American Muslim teenager? Yeah right, I thought with an eye-roll. Any brown-eyed, black-haired actress who vaguely fit the bill of “Kamala Khan” would be given the gig, I assumed. (I also fumed that I fell outside the age bracket and couldn’t audition myself).

So with my abysmal expectations of Marvel’s first Muslim superhero venture, the news of Canadian-born Vellani’s casting has been, needless to say, surprising, fulfilling, and profoundly celebratory for my community in three key ways.

First, we have been delivered what we have been promised: an actual Pakistani-American Muslim is taking on the role of a Pakistani-American Muslim. Who would have thought? Secondly, with a young female now in the mix, we will not have to attribute the rare success that Pakistanis have in Western media to only (brilliantly talented) men such as Kumail, Riz Ahmed, and Zayn Malik, etc. Thirdly, she is a complete newcomer given the rare opportunity to infiltrate the movie industry at a high-profile, coveted level.

“Imagine finally being able to realize that you can break through racial and gender boundaries to achieve anything you want, no matter how far-fetched it may seem.”

Vellani’s groundbreaking foray into Hollywood will undoubtedly hold significant weight for thousands of little Pakistani girls across the globe. Imagine finally having the mainstream representation that tells you that you matter. And imagine finally being able to realize that you can break through racial and gender boundaries to achieve anything you want, no matter how far-fetched it may seem. Seriously, what an astounding accomplishment, and what a long time coming.

Sure, representing an entire community in mainstream media is a lot of pressure to bestow on an 19-year-old thrown into the big, bad world of celebrity with little acting experience under her belt. Hopefully, I’m sure Vellani realizes that with pressure comes stratospheric support. Furthermore, she is also in the capable hands of two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who as a Pakistani-Canadian herself is the perfect (and crucial) person to bring the series to life. Double whammy!

To be completely honest, I’m not the biggest Marvel fan. However, I haven’t failed to realize that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has furthered the careers of minority stars such as Zoe Saldana, Zendaya, Letitia Wright, Tessa Thompson, and others. With the movie franchise boasting some of the most famous alumni ever, I’m sure Vellani is excited to add her name to the list. And I hope that once we are gifted with the Disney +’s “Ms. Marvel,” we can all simply enjoy and celebrate the series for its cultural significance, rather than criticize and pull it apart.

“Ms. Marvel” premieres on Disney+ on June 8.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Entertainment

KAMAUU Reveals A Desire To ‘Share The Therapeutic Nature’ Of Music Drives His Artistic Journey

Published

on

What is happiness? And how does one achieve it? If KAMAUU holds the answers to both, expect him to share them, especially when he takes the stage during the Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health on Saturday, May 21. Taking place in Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City, the festival features KAMAUU, American Authors, Wrabel, Allison Russel, and Cold War Kids, with Outkast’s Big Boi headlining the event. “I think the name of it, in general, is very beautiful,” KAMAUU tells HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “It’s not ‘happy mind.’ It’s not ‘peaceful mind.’ It’s ‘Sound Mind.’ ”

“I think one thing that’s beautiful about martial arts, it’s not about violence or peace,” adds KAMAUU. “It’s about harmony preservation. And one of the goals of martial arts is to be able to create an inevitably sound mind. We can feel all the feelings, but can we have the mental clarity to see what the feelings are for, what they’re from, and how we can use them?

Megan Cencula/Shutterstock

“And so Sound Mind Festival, I think, there’s so many names that you could have used to talk about a festival that is promoting and spotlighting the importance of mental health, and a lot of the names that I think could have been used could have been well-intentioned, but not as effective,” he adds. “I think that ‘Sound Mind’ is very effective. So just in its name, I think this was really a well-articulated event.”

Well-measured in thought and verse, KAMAUU has infused his music with unparalleled levels of heart and soul. It’s hard not to come away from a KAMAUU song unchanged, as his voice alone summons a bevy of emotions in each song. Add the lyrics of a curious mind, one who is unafraid to show vulnerability and humility, and it’s easy to see why many consider KAMAUU to be a magnificent talent unlike any other.

One of his best songs – arguably the funkiest – is “MANGO,” his collab with Adi Oasis. While R&B is littered with songs about scornful rejection and tracks about winning a former lover back, “MANGO” sees KAMAUU respectfully move on from a relationship out of love for the other.  (“If he loves you truly / how could I not love him too / if he improves you / more than I used to.”) It’s a monumental statement not often found in song. Where exactly does this understanding, this healthy mind-frame, come from?

“I think, in general, culture is the connecting piece, and the function of culture is to preserve a people. So health is an essential function of culture,” KAMAUU tells HollywoodLife. “Obviously, a lot of culture, and the traditions that make up a culture, come out of those practices that, at least one point, were thought to have a beneficial impact on the practitioner. If someone’s throwing salt on a window sill, it’s because, at that time, they thought it was helping ward something off. So, in general, a massive underlying theme of culture is to preserve the people and encourage growth in that people.”

“A lot of the music that I think we find culturally around the world is, at least, not destructive, especially traditionally. I think that, let’s say, the common special understood necessity of… and that responsibility to maintaining your own wellbeing so that you can contribute to the communal wellbeing.”

“So health, more important than happiness is health and strength, because happiness is a bit of a feeling, and all the feelings are inevitable and necessary,” he shares. “And the point is not necessarily to experience happiness exclusively but to be able to move through all the emotions and be able to use the nutrients that we get from those emotions to make productive out of them so that we can grow from all of them. And I think music can be therapeutic for me.”

“There’s a big desire for me to share the therapeutic nature that I have listening to and creating music with other people,” he says. “So if I don’t know necessarily the exact right perspective to have, at least I could share the fact that it’s therapeutic and at least make music that is therapeutic.”

Connecting back to KAMAUU’s comments about balance, he points out that destruction is “necessary” as much as creation to achieve that balance, that harmony. “I think within health, all of that exists and has a place,” he explains. “I think destruction, to me, is necessary, as long as it’s not destroying the person. If it can be destroying something within the person, I think that’s okay. And I think that aggression, violence, and all of these things have a place.”

(Megan Cencula/Shutterstock)

“I think the danger comes when we’re dealing with an inability to cope, deal with, and make productive of these inevitable things,” he says. “I think that wanting to do more than anything is not necessarily a model of goodness or happiness or just creation, but at least I want to be productive. And I want to contribute to the health of the community of the people who are listening to my music.”

Speaking of which, what’s next for KAMAUU after the Sound Mind Music Festival? “A lot of new music,” he shares. “A whole album that we just finished shooting a crazy video that actually is very mental health-centered. The song itself is about intimacy and sex as escapism, how sometimes it’s used in place of legitimate mental therapy, and how unproductive it can be when things like that are used out of place. So you see a lot of that, and the spiral of that, in the video. It’s like a little story. So, I’m excited to share that. It’s called ‘Flings.’ But yeah, a whole album’s coming out.”

Expect to get a preview of “Flings” and the rest of KAMAUU’s music – along with his insightful perspective – when he plays the Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health on Saturday, May 21. Find information on that here.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Cannes 2022 Day 3 Roundup: From Deepika Padukone in red to Aditi Rao Hydari’s glam debut and more | Bollywood Life

Published

on

The ‘Cannes Film Festival’ has started. Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has also reached Cannes as a jury member for the first time .From Deepika Padukone to Aishwarya Rai, all the Bollywood actresses have spread their flames. Watch the Cannes Day-3 look of Indian stars in this video.

Cannes 2022 Day 3: The ‘Cannes Film Festival’ has started. Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has also reached Cannes as a jury member for the first time. Indian stars were also seen on the third day of Cannes. From Deepika Padukone to Aishwarya Rai, all the Bollywood actresses have spread their flames. If we talk about TV actress Hina Khan, then the discussion of her beauty is in full swing. The actress has killed everyone with her performance at the 75 Cannes festival. Hina Khan is seen wreaking havoc on the hearts of fans with her latest look. Hina grabbed all the attention from her look wearing an off shoulder lilac gown on the Cannes red carpet. Apart from this, Aditi Rao Hydari is also ready to stun the Cannes red carpet. The actress is about to make her debut in Cannes. Watch the Cannes Day-3 look of Indian stars in this video.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez Recalls Emotional ‘Hustlers’ Oscar Snub in ‘Halftime’ Trailer

Published

on

One of the most headline-making Oscar snubs in recent years occurred when Jennifer Lopez failed to secure her first-ever nod, for best supporting actress in Hustlers. Lopez had been considered a favorite for Academy recognition that season after her showstopping turn as enterprising stripper Ramona, but came up empty-handed on nominations morning. The omission was painful for J.Lo, as seen in the first trailer for her upcoming Netflix documentary, Halftime.

Content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

In the preview, Lopez talks about her struggle “to be heard, to be seen, to be taken seriously” in Hollywood. “It was hard. I just had very low self-esteem,” she says in a voiceover as footage of her crying while looking at her phone in bed is shown. “I had to really figure out who I was and believe in that, and not believe in anything else.”

Lopez was snubbed in favor of Florence Pugh (Little Women), Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), Margot Robbie (Bombshell), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), and eventual winner Laura Dern (Marriage Story). But she had little time to lick her wounds before co-headlining the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira. “I do this, not for an award,” Lopez says in the trailer as her performance looms. “No, I do this to connect with people and make them feel things because I want to feel something.”

Ben Affleck, Lopez’s now-fiancé after a twenty-year break, is also featured in the trailer talking about negative press coverage of his partner: “I said to her once, ‘Doesn’t this bother you?’ And she said, ‘I expected this.’” At the time of her snub, Affleck—who had not yet reunited with Lopez—criticized the Academy for its oversight. “She should have been nominated,” he said then. “She’s the real thing…. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50? That’s fucking baller.”

Lopez first opened up about her Oscar nomination that wasn’t to Oprah Winfrey, telling the mogul that she “felt like I let everyone down a little bit.” J.Lo admitted, “I was a little sad because there was a lot of buildup to it. There were so many articles. I got so many good notices—more than ever in my career—and there was a lot of ‘She’s going to get nominated for an Oscar. It’s going to happen; if she doesn’t, you’re crazy.’ I’m reading all the articles going, Oh my God, could this happen? And then it didn’t and I was like, Ouch. It was a little bit of a letdown.” Still, she maintained, “I don’t need this award to tell me I’m enough.”

Her Netflix documentary Halftime will premiere on the opening night of the Tribeca Festival on June 8, before debuting on the streamer on June 14.

This Article was first live here.

Continue Reading

Trending