Good neighbors are hard to come by. It's one thing to live next door to someone, but to get close enough to them that you essentially become a family is another. This is a common theme that is revisited in Black television sitcoms.

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CULTURE

Natalie Portman Had the Perfect Response to Rose McGowan's Criticism

Rose McGowan had harsh words for Natalie Portman this week, but Portman channeled the drama into a message of solidarity

Rose McGowan came at Natalie Portman hard on Wednesday, saying that her Oscar's dress was "deeply offensive."

The dress in question featured a Dior cape that had been specially embroidered with the names of prominent female directors who didn't receive nominations that many people feel they deserve. The names included Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), and Lulu Wang (The Farewell).

Calling out the Academy for overlooking female talent has been a popular theme this year, from Issa Rae's "Congratulations to those men," while announcing the nominations, to Chris Rock and Steve Martin's onstage joke that there's something missing—va*inas. All of which could be seen as callbacks to Natalie Portman's 2018 comments at the Golden Globes, when she introduced the directing category by saying, "here are the all-male nominees."

Natalie Portman at the Golden Globes

But apparently this sort of "activism" does not exactly impress Rose McGowan—at least not on its own. It's understandable that McGowan—whose 2018 memoir Brave detailed her experiences of sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and others—would have some strong opinions on how to fight back. She attributes the decline of her acting career to her efforts to resist Weinstein's attacks—after he (allegedly) raped her in a hotel room in 1997.

She also names several other women whom she claims were similarly punished and is working on a follow-up memoir, Trust, about learning to move forward. She has championed the #MeToo movement and made it her mission to change the toxic misogyny within Hollywood—that uses and abuses and discards talented young women. In that light, her problem with Portman's fashion choice was not so much with the cape itself, but with Portman failing to back up the sentiment in her professional life.

In a post on Facebook, McGowan made her point clear, accusing Portman of being "an actress acting the part of someone who cares." She decried the idea that members of the media would refer to such a superficial expression of solidarity as "bravery" and addressed Natalie directly, saying, "Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career-one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you… You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem."

Rose McGowan Rankin

While McGowan's claim overlooked some shorts and anthology movies, others have noted that of the seven feature-length films that Portman's production company, Handsomecharlie, has been involved in, only Portman's own directorial debut, 2015's A Tale of Love and Darkness, was directed solely by a woman. That paints a pretty clear picture of a problem, and it would obviously be hard for Portman to deny it. Fortunately, she didn't. She didn't go on the attack or get defensive. She came out with a statement on Thursday striking a tone of hope and solidarity.

She started out by agreeing with much of McGowan's criticism, saying, "I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me 'brave' for wearing a garment with women's names on it. Brave is a term I more strongly associate with actions like those of the women who have been testifying against Harvey Weinstein the last few weeks, under incredible pressure." She then went on to acknowledge that she hasn't worked with as many female directors as she would like, while also calling out systemic issues that prevent female-helmed projects from getting made and taking the opportunity to name check a host of talented female directors who deserve more work:

"In my long career, I've only gotten the chance to work with female directors a few times—I've made shorts, commercials, music videos and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat and myself. Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history… I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work… So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have not yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day."

Natalie Portman We Should All Be Feminists A pregnant Natalie Portman speaking at the Women's March 2017

While McGowan's anger is understandable, Portman handled the situation perfectly. She took the energy of that discontent and the criticism and channeled it toward opening the conversation to the larger issues that prevent female directors from getting work—issues that one small production company can only do so much to address. With luck maybe this conversation will begin to push Hollywood institutions to rethink the sexist calculus that robs so many talented women of work.

TV

Leslie Jones Shines in "Time Machine"

In her Netflix special, the "Saturday Night Live" alum calls on twentysomethings to have more fun—for America's sake

Leslie Jones performs at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. for her Netflix special "Leslie Jones: Time Machine."

Netflix

Leslie Jones has zero chill. That's what makes her such a thrill to watch.

On her new Netflix special Leslie Jones: Time Machine, the raucous Saturday Night Live alum uses equal amounts of joy and rage–sometimes simultaneously–to show how tough it is to always be on the edge of laughing or screaming, especially in these extremely stressful times.

At the start of what will likely be a breakout year, thanks to a role in the upcoming Coming 2 America and a gig as the host of the Supermarket Sweep reboot for ABC, Jones doesn't just embrace intensely living life to its fullest—she wants more people to do the same.

"Twenty-year-olds, y'all suck," Jones says, adding that if 20-year-olds are still having fun during tumultuous times, the rest of the nation finds it comforting. "You better enjoy your damn 20s."

These days, too many twentysomethings aren't enjoying themselves, Jones says. She jokes about how so many in that age group are stressed and talk about being offended, teasing the twentysomethings in the audience about making serious choices and dressing appropriately. "You literally only been through high school," she says. "What's wrong, boo, you didn't catch Pikachu?"

What goes unsaid, though, is that the youth have plenty of reasons to worry about their futures. Legitimate unease hangs over Time Machine, symbolized by Jones' Nipsey Hussle t-shirt—which she never comments on, but which makes a similar point in almost every frame: All is not well.

For Jones, one major reason times are tougher is texting. "Who invented texting?" she screams after admitting that texting led to a recent breakup. "It wasn't a woman... Texting shows you exactly how crazy a b*tch really is. Yeah, ladies, it's in writing now."

Her dramatizations of some of her one-sided text conversations show Jones at her best. They start out with rage and declarations of "You need to respect me," which quickly turn into: "I am so sorry about that text. It was unnecessary and immature. But that's why I love you, bae. You know that I'm passionate."

Jones proposes an app that will judge your texts and ask if you are sure you want to send them. "You are at 85 percent crazy right now," she imagines the app would say. "While you're texting the one that you love, your face is not supposed to look like that."

She offers a few moments of fleeting seriousness, from cutting women some slack for sometimes cracking under societal pressure to calling for more than six weeks off for maternity leave.

To pull the whole show together, Jones wishes she could tell her younger self not to worry. "I wish I had a time machine to go back and tell my 20-year-old self it's going to be OK," she says, before imagining a conversation between her current, successful 52-year-old self and the 21-year-old version struggling to make ends meet in Compton, California.

Is it a heartwarming moment? Sort of. It doesn't quite go as planned, and Young Leslie doesn't understand her older self's warning to stop Aaliyah from sleeping with R. Kelly.

In the end, it does reinforce her message–the same one she screams at the twentysomethings wearing sensible sweaters to her show: We all need to enjoy ourselves more. We can start with Leslie Jones' morale-boosting and laugh-out-loud funny Time Machine.

MUSIC

The Top 10 Most Influential Albums of the 2010s

These albums not only shaped the past decade: they'll determine what music will be in the coming one.

Music has never been extricable from culture, but in the 2010s, it became crystal clear that music has the ability to shatter norms and reshape the world.

Take a moment and think back to the albums that changed your life over the past decade. Most likely, they altered your worldview on a fundamental level, reshaping the way you saw yourself and your life. Some albums are capable of doing that on a massive scale, and that's what this list is intended to highlight: Albums that managed to shift the way people saw music, culture, and themselves, and that paved the way for what music might become.

10. Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - Alright www.youtube.com

Poet and firebrand Kendrick Lamar creates music that's both timeless and entirely of its time. To Pimp A Butterfly was Kendrick at his most inspired and radioactive. It cut into the pain and rage and hope of an era and a community and a person, and collapsed time into a tangle of sound and memory that reviewers and listeners will be playing and attempting to understand for decades.

It made an indelible impact, becoming a juggernaut and an easy name-drop, but fortunately, To Pimp A Butterfly searingly addresses all the trappings of fame, shallow understanding, and commodification that follow it, retaining an indomitable inner life.

9. BTS — Map of the Soul: Persona

BTS (방탄소년단) MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA 'Persona' Comeback Trailer www.youtube.com

The 2010s were the era that K-pop entered the global theatre, and nobody dominated more than BTS. Their album Map of the Soul: Persona may not have been critically lauded, but it was legendary in the hearts and minds of their fans.

Map of the Soul: Persona was glittery boy-band pop, pristine and starry-eyed. Rolling Stone described it as "harmless" and "impregnable," but BTS fans are not harmless, and neither is K-pop, but what this band is is unavoidable, pervasive, and larger-than-life. To ignore the impact of BTS would be to miss a massive portion of the 2010s and to remain blind to what the 2020s will hold, which is a far more globalized music industry that, no matter what, will always, always have its beloved boy bands.

8. Carly Rae Jepsen — E•MO•TION

Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away With Me www.youtube.com

Jepsen's seminal debut album gained her a cult of devoted fans and spread a wide-eyed sense of pop optimism across the 2010s. Just what about E•MO•TION was so singular, so moving, so unforgettable? As Jia Tolentino wrote, "Carly Rae Jepsen is a pop artist zeroed in on love's totipotency: the glance, the kaleidoscope-confetti-spinning instant, the first bit of nothing that contains it all." As one Twitter user insinuated, "Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION is for all the gays in a healthy relationship for the first time."

Electric Lit argued that with E•MO•TION, Jepsen ushered in a "queer renaissance," one that exists because her music occupies a familiar feeling: "the struggle to express a desire that isn't supposed to exist." From the raw ecstasy of "Run Away With Me" to the dreamy chaos of "LA Hallucinations," Jepsen's music is desperate to bridge the gap between the self and others, to leave behind loneliness, to cut straight to the feeling; and in that, it left an indelible impact for those who were there to experience its majesty.

7. Lana Del Rey — Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Lana Del Rey is, rightfully, credited with ushering in the wave of sad-girl pop that is still going strong, thanks to artists like Halsey, Billie Eilish, and of course, Del Rey herself. The artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant emerged onto the scene as a cyborgian, hyper-manufactured industry plant refracted through a vintage DIY filter, and now she's one of the voices of her generation, whispering platitudes on America and sex and sadness in the same breath.

Born To Die was Del Rey at her most manufactured, her most glittery, her must luxurious and opulent and depressed, and it's beautiful in its decay. Its kitschy Americana held no bars, and from its nihilistic title track to the sultry "Blue Jeans" to the weird glamour of "Off To the Races," it effectively spawned an entire generation of flower-crowned teens who are now sad Trump-hating adults.

6. Lady Gaga — Born This Way

Lady Gaga - Born This Way www.youtube.com

Lady Gaga might not have the clout she did at the beginning of the 2010s, but back in the day, Gaga was a wild card and game-changer, crushing norms, changing fashion, and standing up for the LGBTQ+ community. She was proudly weird and always daring, and she created a whole space for weird pop stars after her. She blended drag, burlesque, and shock-factor performance with genuinely catchy pop, and created a new blueprint for stardom in the process.

Born This Way was arguably her crown jewel, the point where she blossomed into the true freak she'd been waiting to become. It had the ecstatic "You and I" and "Edge of Glory." It marked an era where pop music became inextricable from its visual component and political implications—not that it ever really was.

5. Lizzo — Cuz I Love You

Lizzo - Truth Hurts (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Most likely, Lizzo will be even bigger in the 2020s; after all, she only just released her major label debut album. But Lizzo has already changed the game, creating space for a type of beauty and confidence that pop stars before her have only played at or insinuated. From her refusal to tolerate inadequate men to her willingness to rock thongs at baseball games and her decision to pay tribute to the great women who paved the way for her, at this point, Lizzo might be our best hope for the future.

Cuz I Love You synthesized the hits Lizzo had been building up for years, twining them into a euphoric testament to self-love in spite of a world that teaches you to hate yourself. From the celebratory "Good As Hell" to the buoyant mic-drop that is "Truth Hurts," the album is a gift to us all.

4. Lil Nas X — 7 (EP)

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus www.youtube.com

Lil Nas X's fantastic "Old Town Road" was the perfect conflagration of factors that hit at exactly the right time. It was also supremely, unbelievably catchy. Using memes, blurring genres, buying beats off SoundCloud, coming out on Twitter and being open about how he made "Old Town Road" while sleeping on his sister's couch, Lil Nas caught us all in our heartstrings and created a blueprint for music's undeniably post-genre and multimedia future.

X's EP, "7," wasn't a high-quality work so much as it was a cultural flashpoint, an inspiration that no doubt has marketing executives scrambling to replicate it.

3. Billie Eilish — when we all fall asleep, where do we go?

Billie Eilish - bad guy www.youtube.com

Billie Eilish is changing the game in terms of what pop music can sound like and how pop stars should act. Any producer who attempts to drag pop songs into clear-cut and old-fashioned forms involving high notes and beat drops will find themselves challenged by the innovative, glitchy, challenging tunes that Eilish creates with her brother in their childhood home. Her refusal to fit into gender norms and her insistence on standing up for things like climate make her emblematic of what a future of Gen-Z stars might look like.

when we all fall asleep, where do we go? is a peculiar album. A lot of its songs don't even try for radio play, and some are so sad they can take your breath away. Some are barely whispers, like the moody "when the party's over," while others are cracked and angry and challenging, like the smash hit "bad guy," but all of it's undeniably unforgettable and boundary-breaking.

2. Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West - Runaway (Full-length Film) www.youtube.com

Provocative, raw, and almost bloody with emotion, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy continues to reverberate nearly 10 years after it was released. West's album is full of unexpected dips into guitar solos and alien sounds that draw it into new dimensions; it's peppered with cheesy lines, dirty jokes, and shockingly confessional lyrics; and no matter how far West has gone into Christianity, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an enduring ode to the devils we all know.

Its best songs, "All Of the Lights," "Devil In A New Dress" and "Runaway," explore what West has always been working through—the ragged edge where sin meets faith, and where success meets corruption. MBDTF sinks its teeth into the rough, infected parts of the world and creates something great out of them. Though we might not see West exploring this territory again, his work sparked an entire generation of artists looking to dive into the world he created.

1. Beyoncé — Lemonade

Beyoncé - Formation www.youtube.com

Beyoncé's brilliant Lemonade has yet to be surpassed, even as other artists try to mirror her surprise video-drop format. Lemonade mixed poetry, visuals, and beautiful, kaleidoscopic music to form a treatise on freedom, love, black women's power, and of course, Jay-Z. It made an indelible impact on all the music that came after it, setting the standard for what a truly creative release could look and sound like.

From the harmony-laden "Pray You Catch Me" to the gritty Jack White duet "Don't Hurt Yourself" to the triumphant, anthemic "Freedom," Lemonade changed everything. We can only hope we'll see more like it in the 2020s.

Lizzo dazzled on her SNL debut this weekend, but fans might have noticed another source of energy and talent emanating from next to the "Truth Hurts" singer as she belted out her tunes.

That would be Celisse Henderson, who shredded on guitar as Lizzo sang.

Lizzo: Truth Hurts (Live) - SNL www.youtube.com

Henderson is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who is a member of the band Ghosts of the Forest. She took center stage during Lizzo's performance, adding a layer of gritty, bluesy rock to the unbelievably catchy song about getting over a man who doesn't deserve you.

Henderson styled her look and guitar after the legendary Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose gospel and blues recordings were instrumental in shaping rock and roll. As one of the first guitarists to use distortion, she inspired many blues and rock players, and her voice and stage presence helped make her a star.

Seeing Lizzo's pristine, very 21st-century pop mixed with a tribute to one of the greatest rock and roll guitarists of all time gave scope and depth to the performance and helped make it the unforgettable showstopper that it was.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head www.youtube.com






Celisse Henderson - Stuck On You Blues | Sofar NYC www.youtube.com


Lizzo, who took to the stage covered in head-to-toe Gucci and hit stratospheric notes from start to finish, also posted a heart-warming tribute to her journey.

Between Henderson's masterful guitar playing, Lizzo's unbelievable pipes and stage presence, and the dancers that lit up the stage, it was a performance to remember.

Lizzo's sets were highlights of Eddie Murphy's star-studded, highly acclaimed, and hilarious SNL episode, which also braided tributes to icons of the past (like Gumby, dammit) with very modern humor.

Eddie Murphy Monologue - SNL www.youtube.com