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Oscar Nominations Announced: Beyoncé Receives Her First Nod, Will Smith, Denzel Washington & More

The most nominated Black actor in Oscar history is in the mix.

Culture & Entertainment

The Oscar nominations are in and some of our faves have been nominated, some even in the same category. The list went out this morning and it included Beyoncé, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the Black excellence that was nominated.


King Richard has received a total of six nominations. The film starring Will Smith as Richard Williams is based on the life of Richard and how his dedication to his kids' futures helped him produce two of the most talented tennis players in the world Venus and Serena.

The nominations included Best Picture, Best Original Screen Play, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Song. Will has been nominated for Best Actor and Aunjanue Ellis, who played Richard’s wife Brandi, is up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Beyoncé, who sings the film’s song “Be Alive” received a nomination for “Best Original Song” making it the first time the hitmaker has ever been nominated for an Academy Award.

But Will isn’t the only beloved Black actor nominated for Best Actor. Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington is also up for the golden trophy in the same category for his portrayal as Macbeth in The Tragedy of Macbeth. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this is Denzel’s 10th nomination making him the most nominated Black actor in the history of the Academy Awards.

It’s been 20 years since Denzel and Will faced off in the same Oscar’s category. In 2002, the two were competing for Best Actor with Will for his portrayal as Muhammad Ali in Ali and Denzel in Training Day. Denzel took home the win, but some fans are predicting that Will may beat out the Hollywood heavyweight this time.

Another face-off between Black actors is in the Best Supporting Actress category. As we mentioned, Aunjanue is nominated in the category, but so is Afro-Latina actress Ariana DeBose.

Ariana is nominated for her role in West Side Story. However, if she wins, she would reportedly join an exclusive club of people who have won an Oscar for playing the same role in different films, such as the person in the role before her, Rita Moreno.

The Roots’ bandmember Questlove also received a nod for Best Documentary Feature for Summer of Soul.

While there is much excitement surrounding this year’s nominees, there are also some disappointments. Many fans are outraged over Jennifer Hudson not being nominated for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in Respect.

This year, the Academy Awards will be produced by Will Packer and xoNecole parent company, Will Packer Media. It takes place Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

Featured image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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I was determined to set the mood and engage in some erotic self-focus by way of masturbation, and I wanted to do so with a little more variety than my wand vibrator provides. My commitment to almost daily masturbation was affirmed even further with the arrival of what would become my new favorite sex toy, the viral Lovers’ Thump & Thrust Dual Vibrator.

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If there is one artist who has had a very successful and eventful year so far it’s Mary J. Blige. The “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” shut down the 2022 Super Bowl Half-time show along with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Eminem, she also performed at NBA All-Star weekend and now she is being honored as one of Time's most influential people of 2022.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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