Lena Waithe, Vanity Fair, Trump Biden Fight: Broadsheet March 23
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Most Americans can’t name a single female tech leader, Sister Jean steals the hearts of college basketball fans, and Vanity Fair‘s new Lena Waithe cover blows up my Twitter feed. Have a rejuvenating weekend.
• Welcome, Waithe! Radhika Jones, the new editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, is sending a clear message to readers: Say goodbye to the overwhelmingly white, straight, and male ethos that's long ruled who and what gets covered in Hollywood.
The magazine's April cover story is a profile of writer and actor Lena Waithe, written by author Jacqueline Woodson and photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Yep, that's three queer women—two of whom are women of color—collaborating on the cover of a publication better known for featuring white starlets in their underwear.
Waithe, who won an Emmy for her writing on Master of None, is a rising force in the entertainment world. The Chi, a Showtime hit that she created and executive-produced, was just renewed for a second season, and she's flexing her acting muscles in the new Steven Spielberg movie, Ready Player One. "For so many of us who have not seen an out Black lesbian front and center this way, her arrival is a small, long-awaited revelation," writes Woodson. "Her arrival is our arrival."
The cover's Twitter reception was equally rapturous, with my favorite take coming from director Ava DuVernay: "Dear @RadhikaJones. You’re changing the game by centering this game-changer on the @VanityFair cover. You’ve done something big here. Something bold. I’m excited by you. And grateful for this powerful image of our sister warrior, the great @LenaWaithe. Who we hold so dear. Brava." Vanity Fair
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Representation reminder. This piece was published earlier in the week, so apologies if you're already seen it, but I couldn't let it go by without comment. A recent survey asked 1,000 American consumers whether they could name a famous woman leader in tech—only 8.3% said they could. But here's where it gets really bad: Of that 8.3 %, only 4% actually could—and a quarter of those respondents named “Siri” or “Alexa.” Meanwhile, more than half of the survey respondents were able to correctly identify a male leader in tech. If you've ever wondered, "Eh—does it really matter how many women are CEOs?" Here's your answer. Fast Company
• Men will be boys? President Trump and former Veep Joe Biden got into a public tussle that had both men talking about their fighting prowess and threatening to duke it out. (It started with Biden's understandable disgust over Trump's "grab them by the pussy" remarks.) To me, this is yet another reason why we need more women in office. Can you imagine two 70-something female politicians threatening to beat each other up? Fortune
• Not everyone's happy with Hyde-Smith. As predicted earlier this week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed state Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill outgoing Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) seat. Interestingly, Hyde-Smith has not received support from the Trump administration, which is reportedly concerned that her appointment could make the seat vulnerable to a Democratic challenger in the November election. Fortune
• Sister Jean wins all the pools. Not to shade any of the talented basketball players in this year's NCAA championship, but the real star of the 2018 tournament is Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old nun who serves as the team chaplain for the Loyola men’s basketball team. This profile, like Sister Jean herself, is a joy. New York Times
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• All-male meeting. Photos from President Trump's Tuesday meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia reveal that not a single woman was at the meeting. "After years of American foreign policy that has pushed for human rights, such a stark absence of women — and minorities — could send a symbolic message to the ultraconservative country known for its oppression of women and religious minorities," writes the New York Times' New York Times
• A Hollywood tragedy. Following up on their survey that found that a staggering 94% of women working in Hollywood said they'd been harassed or assaulted, USA Today is launching a series to dig into the problems that plague the entertainment industry. This story looks at how Hollywood power differentials empower men to demand sex—and discourage women from reporting those demands. USA Today
• Sweating with RBG. Kick off your weekend with this delightful video of Stephen Colbert struggling to keep up with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her notoriously hardcore workout. Where did she get that "Super Diva" sweatshirt? I need it! YouTube
ON MY RADAR
Trust betrayed: Wives of white-collar criminals share their stories New York Times
There’s an online harassment campaign underway against people advocating for diversity in comics called #Comicsgate Buzzfeed
At a moment of crisis, Facebook needs Sheryl Sandberg out front Fast Company
Sex trafficking bill heads to Trump, over Silicon Valley concerns New York Times