Ellie Kemper was trending recently on Twitter, but not because people were having a flare-up of nostalgia for The Office or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

No, she was trending because news surfaced that Kemper had once been crowned Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball — an exclusive St. Louis party hosted by an organization that has historically been accused of upholding racist power structures.

Yesterday, Kemper finally addressed her participation in the event in an Instagram post that is surprisingly well thought out as far as celebrity apologies go.

"When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown," she wrote. "The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past. I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved. I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy," she continued. "At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards."

Kemper added, "I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness. I try to live my life in accordance with these values. If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light."

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Culture News

Eric Andre Says He Was Racially Profiled at Atlanta Airport

"They stopped me on the way down the bridge to the plane for a "random" search and asked [if] they could search me for drugs," the comedian wrote on Twitter.

Eric Andre said that he was racially profiled at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

The comedian and Bad Trip star detailed his experience on Twitter Wednesday morning, adding that he was looking to file a complaint. "I was just racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in @Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport," Andre wrote in a tweet directed at the Atlanta Police Department.

"They stopped me on the way down the bridge to the plane for a 'random' search and asked [if] they could search me for drugs. I told them no. Be careful."

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CULTURE

The Sad, Strange Saga of "Papa John" Schnatter

"40 pizzas in the last 30 days," is just the latest twist

Update 3/8/2021: While "Papa John" Schnatter pushed the bounds of human achievement when he announced that he had eaten 40 pizzas in 30 days, it turns out that not everything comes so easy to him. In an interview with One America News Network, Schnatter claimed that over the last 20 months — a time period during which he could presumably have consumed 800 Papa John's pizzas — one of his primary focuses has been removing a single word from his vocabulary.

If you haven't already guessed which word that is — the "N-word" — you just don't know John Schnatter. His other two goals in that time period were to "figure out how" the Papa John's board of directors had managed to paint him as a racist, and to "get on with [his] life." Well, he should be in the clear as long as he avoids saying anything that makes him sound like an absurd caricature of a bigot who compulsively spouts racial slurs. Oh wait...

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In February we celebrate Black History Month in America.

For the entire month, we commemorate the vast contributions from Black people who have impacted society here and abroad. After all, we are responsible for countless inventions and innovations in art, science, athletics, business, and activism, contributions that often get overlooked because of our country's pervasive legacy of racism.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy is defined by his pursuit of equal rights for Black Americans through unity and peace.

He is canonized in American history as the patron saint of change through passive measures.

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Jolene and Beth

Netflix

"You're all a bunch of f**king c*cksuckers!"

That's how we're introduced to Jolene, a Black girl living at Methuen Home where Beth—the main character—is taken after surviving the car crash that killed her mother. She doesn't get nearly enough attention in The Queen's Gambit, appearing only in the first two and last two episodes to bookend Beth's life as a famous chess player, but she is critical to the plot.

The treatment of Jolene in The Queen's Gambit is quite similar to treatment of Black women in the social and political arenas: only acknowledged when useful in ways that can no longer be ignored.

Jolene, though older than Beth, proves to be more savvy than anyone would expect of a girl her age. In line to get "vitamins," she advises Beth to save the green pills to take at night when they work best.

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