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Tiffany Haddish Is Unarguably Declared 'Hollywood’s New Comedy Queen'

Tiffany Haddish

Since her scene-stealing performance in Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish has been running comedy and it doesn't look like she plans on stopping any time soon. She's everywhere you turn, from starring alongside Tracy Morgan in FX's The Last O.G. to having two summer blockbusters under her belt with Night School and Uncle Drew. This is far from an overnight success story, but rather the story of a girl from South Central Los Angeles with the gift of comedy now at 38 fully living out her purpose. In her cover story with The Hollywood Reporter, Tiffany shares her journey of being homeless, her multiple auditions for Girls Trip, and even more crazy celebrity stories including Leonardo DiCaprio and Roseanne Barr.

Miller Mobley/The Hollywood Reporter

Tiffany started comedy as a way to defuse her mother's anger, who had been in a car accident that resulted into a brain injury. The injury turned her mother into an abuser and cracking jokes was the only defense Tiffany had. It also served as a coping mechanism to keep her sanity in tact.

Her and her younger half-siblings found themselves going from one foster home to the other, and hustling became Tiffany's game. She worked various jobs such as being a pimp and a sex phone operator, but lack of finances had her homeless at times. Fellow comedian and now co-star Kevin Hart was one of her angels that helped her have a place to lay her head, keep her mind focused on building her career, and began the turnaround of her becoming a comedian that now everyone is fighting to work with. Tiffany became fully aware of that fact after Girls Trip opened at $31.2 million and wanted what she deserved for shows booked prior to the summer hit.

"I could've been paid $80K, probably $90K, a show, but because we booked those before 'Girls Trip' came out, I was getting paid like $20K, $15K, and it f-cking sucked. I said to my manager, 'I think we should just cancel them all, and then if they want to reinstate them, they gotta pay us this much money.' He's like, 'Tiffany, that's not a good way to do business.' He said that's like being a scoundrel, and I was like, 'No, I'm being a pirate. I want all the booty.'"

Anyone who has watched Girls Trip feels as if the character of Dina was created just for Tiffany, but the role wasn't secured after her first audition. Director Malcolm D. Lee and his team were looking for another Hollywood star to complete the main cast, but there was no getting closer to Dina than Tiffany.

Along with being a comedian, Tiffany is also a natural storyteller and the kind that leaves no details behind. She made headlines after telling GQ the shocking story that an actress bit Beyoncé's face at a party last December. The hashtag #WhoBitBeyonce stormed social media. Tiffany has put an end to the mystery actress: it's Sanaa Lathan. She further addressed to The Hollywood Reporter the aftermath of her story:

"I'm super good friends with her stepmom and her dad [Stan, a producer-director], and they were mad at me," she reveals. "They were like, 'Why would you do this to the family? You know, black actresses, you guys have to stick together, it's so hard for you guys to get work as it is, why would you try to ruin her career?' But I didn't try to ruin her career. I never said her name! I was just trying to say how Beyonce kept me from goin' to jail that night. I coulda just shut my whole career down."

There were critics that expected a downfall of Tiffany's career, but the chaos only led to even more of a spike in her popularity.

"The other day, someone was saying, like, 'Oh my God, you should keep your mouth shut 'cause now you're never gonna be invited to parties,' but I got invited to way more parties after that. It's ridiculous how many parties. 'Can you come to my party?' 'Can you come to my thing?' They want me to talk about something at their thing 'cause they think, like, 'This is gonna put me back on if Tiffany says something.'"

Tiffany has a lot lined up on her plate with filming the mob drama series The Kitchen with Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Moss, stand-up gigs, more promo, and hosting this year's MTV Awards. But the grind and chasing dreams never stop and just as her catchphrase goes, "She ready!"

"I want to make a cookbook. I wanna make a gardening book. I want a clothing line. I want a jewelry line. I want a perfume. And then I want to buy two streets that intersect, Tiffany and Haddish, and I'm gonna build a big youth center, a mental health center, I might do some transitional housing, too. But I'm gonna own it. And I'm gonna have music and all the other stuff they're taking out of schools. Right now, my mind's on one street, but it might be in every city, every metropolis, and it might turn into a big thing. It's gonna be amazing."

Read Tiffany's full feature story with THR here.

Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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