Costumed Characters Brawl On Hollywood Boulevard As Mr. Incredible Fights With Batgirl

A woman dressed as Batgirl was allegedly attacked on Tuesday by a man dressed as Mr. Incredible. The incident, which occurred on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, was apparently about a turf war, and part of the brawl was caught on video.

The footage shows Freddy Krueger, Chewbacca and Waldo trying to break up the fight, which eventually spills out into the street. At one point, Mr. Incredible breaks free and appears to slam Batgirl to the ground in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre.

The production company was shooting nearby and caught some of the attack on video.

The fight continued until passersby intervened.

A man dressed as Spider-Man told KTLA that the fight began when Mr. Incredible accused Batgirl of standing too close to him.

The costumed characters often compete for tourists’ attention — and tips — on the crowded sidewalk.

The good ones, we’re stationary, we’ll stand against the curb, people come to us,” a Batman told CBS Los Angeles. “But the bad ones they roam up and down, so they cross paths or they target the same people, and then they get into each other. It’s less now because we have a lot more police presence here since last year, and it has made a difference. It’s not cleaned up yet, but it is getting better.”

The Los Angeles Times said police reported no arrests or injuries when called to the scene. However, police told CBS that after seeing the video they may follow up.

The fight has a Los Angeles city council member considering a push for new regulations on costumed characters, according to Westside Today.

Some of the other costumed characters told KTLA that Mr. Incredible is no longer welcome in the area.

Still They Rise Against the Machine

For the last 15 years, Chicago’s Rise Against has been bringing a fury and thunder to punk and rock and roll. This past year, the band released seventh album, The Black Market to critical and commercial acclaim and scored their second No. 1 Billboard T…

Open Letter to Kanye West: Ferguson Is Happening. Where Are You?

Dear ‘Ye,

You have spent much of your career defying naysayers and the standards people have set for you. You refused to be intimidated by guys on the South Side of Chicago for your creativity. You broke free of being only a producer when you proved Jay Z wrong and became one of the biggest names in rap music. When music executives tried to control the content of your music, you released the now-infamous “Jesus Walks.” When Nike would not give you creative control over Yeezys, you took a deal with Adidas instead.

You are, by definition, defiant. And I love that about you.

Many in our community applauded your gall to stand on national television next to Mike Myers and utter seven words that shook the nation: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” We praised your courage in the wake of the United States’ failed response to Hurricane Katrina that ultimately resulted in the loss of many lives. You articulated the pain behind the tears many of us cried.

Despite criticism of your “Kanye rants,” people listen when you speak. Regardless of your delivery, many of us find value in your statements on classism and institutionalized racism. Your voice elicits responses from fans and critics alike.

Having said that, Ferguson is happening. Where are you?

I am deeply troubled by your sudden quietness in the midst of such powerful youth activism against police brutality and state violence. The killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has awakened a movement that even garnered responses from protesters in Palestine and Hong Kong, protesters who are fighting for their own just causes in their homeland but found a connection to the injustices that blacks face in the United States.

Yet you are silent.

Other members of the black entertainment industry have contributed in various ways to support the social movement that has erupted in Ferguson. John Legend, Jesse Williams, David Banner, Lupe Fiasco, Killer Mike, Outkast, J. Cole, Pharrell, and Tef Poe, to name a few, have voiced concerns and offered solutions and words of encouragement, and some have even participated in protests. Common, during a performance of his song “Kingdom” on the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards, was joined onstage by Mike Brown’s parents, provoking deafening silence in the venue, and Talib Kewli protested in the streets of Ferguson alongside other activists.

Yet you are ghost.

Fans have waited to hear from two of music’s biggest stars, Jay Z and Beyoncé. Unfortunately, I do not expect them to use their success as a platform to overtly address current prejudicial injustices in the black community. It would be uncharacteristic of them to suddenly staunchly shoulder this responsibility, given the cowardice with which they have broached the subject in the past.

You are different. You have set a precedent onstage and in interviews on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Breakfast Club, and let us not forget the “How Sway” moment on Sirius XM, when you unpacked being a black face in the white space of the fashion industry. I commend your work with Donda’s House and the Common Ground Foundation in addressing the challenges and violence that Chicago youths face, but you appear to have lost your voice on this rather grand social movement around Ferguson.

But this is not only about you, ‘Ye, or your absence from the discourse on Ferguson as some of your peers rise to the occasion. This is about the fact that without Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Sidney Portier, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, and so many other black entertainment activists, you, Jay Z, Beyoncé, and other black entertainers today would have likely fallen particularly short of your success.

Last year Harry Belafonte made this statement about today’s black entertainers and their participation — or general lack thereof — in the struggle for justice in black communities:

I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

There was a more noble time when, among black entertainers, the label of “activist” was not only embraced but expected. Celebrities did not appear to be more concerned with keeping endorsement deals than addressing the chokehold of white supremacy on black lives. Black entertainers did not possess the privilege of ignoring community problems, because they were equally susceptible to brutalization, marginalization, and discrimination. Black entertainers did not use economic privilege to distance themselves from plight in the black community; instead, it was a powerful instrument in political agenda-setting and the initiation of change.

Action by black entertainers should in no way be mistaken for a substitute for the fervor needed from the masses to carry out the arduous task of combating institutionalized racism and discriminatory barriers. But I challenge black entertainers to join us in shouldering the responsibility of mobilization for social justice — the way civil-rights activists of the past feverishly did, setting the tone for us.

You said, “No one man should have all that power.”

I believe no one man should waste all that power.

With love,

Janessa E. Robinson
A fellow Chicagoan — “till Chicago ends, till we blow like Chicago wind”

This Viral Short Film In India Makes A Strong Statement On Women’s Safety

WASHINGTON — Can India, a country struggling to combat an increasingly high-profile rape culture, envision a society where women feel safe in the company of unknown men?

A new short film on women’s empowerment, “Going Home,” urges its audience to imagine such a place, focusing on a young woman who stumbles upon a group of men after her car breaks down late at night. Starring Alia Bhatt, a rising actress in India’s film industry, the video was posted to YouTube last week and has since gone viral with nearly 2 million views.

The film opens with Bhatt driving alone at night on a deserted road. Moments after she tells her concerned mother over the phone that she will be home in 10 minutes, Bhatt’s car breaks down. As she vainly tries to restart the car, an SUV with five men lurks in the distance and eventually pulls up next to her.

Bhatt approaches the men herself to ask for help. Unable to resolve the issue with her car, she asks the men for a ride home. She makes it unscathed, even though the tension in the five-minute film suggests the men might attack her at any moment.

The film closes with the text, “Can we give her the world that she believes exists?”

Watch the film above.

It’s a simple question fraught with complications in India, where the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus in 2012 sparked a national outcry and protests demanding an overhaul of the country’s sexual assault laws. Frustration over politicians’ refusal to take action appeared to reach a fever pitch this year, when rape emerged for the first time as a wedge issue in India’s general elections.

Although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to make violence against women a core piece of his agenda, women’s rights advocates have launched a series of campaigns to ensure that the issue is not forgotten.

“Going Home” was released in collaboration with #VogueEmpower, a social awareness initiative launched this month by Vogue India to place a national spotlight on women’s empowerment. The film’s director, Vikas Bahl, said he wanted the audience to “visualize a utopia for women, where, unlike today, mistrust and fear don’t dictate actions and decisions.”

For that reason, it is Bhatt in the film who seeks help from the men on her own terms. She hugs the strangers goodbye when they drop her home, thanking them profusely and even blowing them a kiss. The men, for their part, say nothing — although they appear to be gesturing among themselves about the attractive, young woman they’ve stumbled across. They certainly ogle at Bhatt, who is wearing a leather skirt, tank top and heels.

The men almost seem dumbfounded that Bhatt is so trusting of them, but that drives home the director’s point. A woman’s actions, or what she is wearing, should simply not be up for debate when the subject is sexual assault. It’s the behavior of men, particularly in a country inclined to blame the victim at the highest levels of authority, that should be scrutinized and reformed.

The same approach drives another short film under the #VogueEmpower campaign, “Start With The Boys,” released on Tuesday. It features an endless series of adults scolding boys, from the moment they are born through adolescence, for crying.

“Boys don’t cry” and “stop crying like a girl” are common phrases in India, and according to the film, render women inferior in the minds of young boys. The film closes with a man suppressing his tears and taking his anger out on a battered woman. Alex Kuruvilla, managing director of Condé Nast India, said the film was inspired by actress Susan Sarandon’s comments to “start with the boys” at an Indian film festival last year.

“The idea of the film is centered around the fundamental truth that women’s empowerment is not about women alone, which is why I pledged to create a short film that communicates clearly the need to change the mindset of boys before they become men,” Kuruvilla said.