Questions, Comments, Concerns: The Lion King feat. Beyonce

Welcome back to Questions, Comments, Concerns, a feature we usually reserve for Lifetime movies we’ve seen instead of Disney movies we haven’t. Ready?

Comment: NAAAAANTS ingonyamaAAAAA.

That feels better.

[Thing REAL 90s kids will remember: Having made-up nonsense that you thought were the real Lion King lyrics for decades. I’ll admit it. I did think it was Naaaaa S’ven’yahhh for a long time. And I do have a friend who thought the part a little later in the song was ‘Pink Pajamas Penguins On The Bottom.’]

Comment: I want to go to a mountaintop and triumphantly raise this cast listing into the air in front of awed wildlife.
Question: Can we get more Adult Nala?

It’s Beyonce, and doesn’t it feel like Adult Nala doesn’t get to do much except playfully wrestle near a waterfall and make bedroom eyes at Simba? The point is I want a new song.

Concern: I hope the new songs are good.

I want a new song, but I want it to be really good and fit in well with the Lion King vibe. I’m sure it will, because they need a new number for Oscar eligibility, anyway.

Comment: Good on them for keeping James Earl Jones as Mufasa.

Can you imagine anybody else as Mufasa?

Question: But can we get some more of the original cast back, too?

What I’m saying is, I want JTT to have a cameo as a zebra or flamingo or whatever.

Comment: These children are amazing!

When we tweeted Hairspray Live, I remember commenting that Shahadi Wright Joseph has the world in her pocket. In addition to Hairspray, she has appeared in the OBC of School of Rock and was the youngest Broadway Nala in, you guessed it, The Lion King. Kid’s going places fast.

As for JD McCrary, this isn’t his first collab with Donald Glover. He’s the kid on Childish Gambino’s Terrified and has racked up a nice number of TV credits. He also does a more-than-good M.J.:

Question: How would a live-action Lion King work??

Short answer: it’s not really live-action. I’m sure I’m not the only person who was super-confused on this point. Like, humans in costumes a la the Broadway production? I love Julie Taymor, but that sounds distracting. Living animals? Bloodbath. After some searching, the answer is that it will be realistic CGI, like the Jungle Book remake that came out not too long ago.

Concern: I love that this is happening but I’m greedy and I also want all of these actors to appear together in a film where we actually get to see them.
Comment: LEADING MAN DONALD GLOVER.

We’re both longtime fans of both Donald Glover and his rap alter-ego Childish Gambino, and in the Beyonce of it all it took me a few hours to realize that Donald Glover is the lead in a major motion picture – with many more to come, if there’s any justice in the world.

Question: Who the heck is Kamari?

I can see that it’s Keegan Michael Key (love!) but I mean as a character, I have zero recall of ever seeing a Kamari.

Comment: Banzai and Ed are still up for grabs.

Whoever it is, it’s going to be good.

[Edit: I hear that Kamari and Azizi are the new Banzai and Ed? OK.]

Comment: THE PRESS TOUR.
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11 VMA Moments That Shaped My Adolescence

OMG U GUYZ THE MTV VMAS ARE THIS SUNDAY WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!

Not me. But there was a time when that was me. When I was prime MTV target demographic, when I was impressionable and bought any artist that made it to the top 10 on TRL (see: Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. CDs in my childhood bedroom). Those formative years when I was a tween and eventual teen who was thriving at Backstreet Boys concerts and making websites on Geocities. Growing up, I was a teenybopper. I’m not gonna be ashamed about it. That’s just who I was. I was the girl who thought MTV was the coolest, the mecca of where all the celebs and musicians were featured. And the VMAs were my Super Bowl.

Back then, all my faves were either nominated, performing, or presenting, so it made sense that I was tuning in like a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF every year. And there were plenty of popcorn-GIF worthy moments that happened on the VMAs when I grew up. These are iconic and unforgettable performances – clips that takes me back to that time in my life when superstardom was out of reach and not a tweet away. Here are some of the MTV VMA moments that shaped my childhood. It’s crazy to think that Katy Perry and co. might have that same effect on tweens at this year’s ceremony. Guys, we are so old.

1994 ♦ Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Make Out

Isn’t it weird to look back and think that the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s daughter was married to the King of Pop? Like, what even did they pay the music gods to get that love connection? Apparently not enough since their marriage didn’t last that long. However, this kiss is burned in my brain for eternity.

1995 ♦ Courtney Love bombs Madonna’s interview

I remember watching this live and having NO IDEA what was going on. But I don’t think Courtney Love did either. She wasn’t doing great at the time, but nevertheless, this is still rude. But alas, makes for great TV. Remember Kurt Loder? He is also part of my adolescence, which would be a weird thing to say to him IRL, I think.

1998 ♦ Mariah and Whitney Double Up

At the time this aired, I legit thought this was real. Like they definitely accidentally wore the same dress to the VMAs. I was concerned. Of course, it’s just a bit. I love bits. And I love Whitney Houston. Prince of Egypt forever.

1999 ♦ Diana Ross, Lil’ Kim and Lil Kim’s Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim’s outfit was outrageous then, and it continues to be even to this day. The 1999 VMAs were (and maybe continue to be?) my favorite VMAs ceremony of all time, and this is definitely one of the reasons why. I admit, I barely knew who Diana Ross was at the time, despite being obsessed with Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. I didn’t know it was the same person! Anyways, I my mouth was agape when Diana bounced Lil’ Kim’s boob, and hoped that neither of my parents saw what had just happened as I watched the VMAs in our living room.

1999 ♦ Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC Take It Back To School

As I mentioned, 9.9.99 (it was on September 9th obvs) was a big year, particularly for pop music. It felt like it was at its height again, thanks to my boys BSB, Christina Aguilera, Britney, ‘N Sync, all the other boy bands, etc. This was one year after Tearin’ Up My Heart was released, but right around the time …Baby One More Time was becoming super popular. We all know the Britney/’N Sync relationship, but this was everything you could’ve wanted in a pop music performance on the VMAs. Singing, dancing, a school story, a surprise element of the ‘N Sync boys at the desks! As a BSB fan, I willingly admit this is and forever will be one of the best VMA performances in the show’s history.

1999 ♦ Backstreet Boys win the Viewer’s Choice VMA

As I mentioned, I am a BSB fan til the day I die, and 1999 was the height of BSB mania. Millennium had been released earlier that year, and the boys had basically shut down Times Square during their MTV special on release day. I was also at the height of my BSB mania, and voted non-stop in hopes they would win the Viewer’s Choice award against their rival (and mine), ‘N Sync. I remember jumping up and down, so ecstatic that “my” hard work paid off, and that my boys earned the much-deserved moonman. And yes, that white dude in the beginning pulled a Kanye before Kanye.

2000 ♦ Eminem and A Fuck Ton of Real Slim Shadys

Eminem also was a hot commodity in this era, releasing hit after hit after hit, including The Real Slim Shady. The song posits that there are many wannabes but only one Marshall Mathers, and because of that, he invited a whole lot of white guys in white t-shirts and jeans to be extras in his performance. Is this where my real fear of white men started? JK. A little.

2001 ♦ Britney and the Snake

I mean, obviously, right?

2002 ♦ Eminem vs. Moby and Christina Aguilera

Eminem wasn’t necessarily known to be a congenial person that got along with every artist that came across his path. He had beef with DJ Moby, which is why this awkward exchange with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog happened – right before Eminem won a moonman. Which as you can see from the clip, was handed to him by Christina Aguilera. If you recall, Em name-dropped Xtina in The Real Slim Shady, saying:

“Yo Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs
So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst
And hear ’em argue over who she gave head to first
Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV
“Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”
I should download her audio on MP3
And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”

Which makes this clip even more memorable (and chilly) thanks to the shade from Ms. Aguilera herself.

2003 ♦ Britney, Madonna and Christina, You Know

The Mickey Mouse Club Was nothing but a memory after this performance.

2011 ♦  Beyonce and Blue

This did not have a hold on my adolescence, but I was still very much awakened when B revealed she was preggo with Blue after singing Love on Top.

Celeb Kids I’d Like To Be On Take Your Kid To Work Day

25 years ago, parents started bringing their daughters to the one place they went to get away from their kids – work.

Take Your Daughter To Work Day started in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation for Women, in an effort to expand young girls’ career horizons and increase visibility of adult women in the workplace. In 2003, they expanded the day to include boys, officially renaming it Take Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, because #MensRights.

Growing up, I’d spend a number of days in my mom or dad’s office (official holiday or not), and because I was a nerd, I liked playing with office supplies and drawing on that old school green and white striped printer paper. Playing “office” in an office was some next level shit. But sitting in the corner of a cubicle listening to the soft rock radio station is nothing compared to going to work with people who have much more “interesting” jobs than my parents. Here are just some kids I’m jealous of, whose day probably won’t include playing with a printing calculator.

Blue Ivy Carter {Daughter of Beyonce and Jay Z}

🐰🐰💙

A post shared by Beylite (@beylite) on

Blue already seems like the type of kid who goes to work with her parents on the daily anyways, but to get an all access pass to Jay and Bey’s work life? Sign me up. Get up, work out in Ivy Park gear, lay down a track in the studio, rehearse for the upcoming tour, have a meeting with a top Hollywood executive, then attend the Met Gala at night? Yes. But let’s be real – I would go to work with Blue Ivy any day of the week.

Hazel and Violet Krasinski {Daughters of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski}

You know how you just know people are going to be good parents? Like they were always meant to be parents, but they just didn’t have the kids yet? That’s how I feel about Emily and John – two people I do not know personally. They both seem like warm, loving people who are good humans, and therefore would raise good humans. Bonus: I wouldn’t be surprised if John willingly plays dress up and tea with his two daughters with no shame at all.

Sebastian Miranda {Son of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Vanessa Nadal}

We haven’t even seen Sebastian Miranda’s face, but if you follow Lin at all, it’s pretty clear their tot is a genius. Which makes sense given his dad is a Tony/Grammy/Emmy/Pulitzer winner and his mom is a scientist who got bored so she decided to get her law degree. What is it like to have such smart parents? I’d love to get a glimpse of Lin’s creative process then follow him on set with Emily Blunt on Mary Poppins Returns (DOES SEBASTIAN PLAY WITH HAZEL AND VIOLET?), and then shadow Vanessa and understand absolutely nothing about the law? That would be a bit of a day.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte {Royal kids of Prince William and Princess Kate}

As Americans, part of the reason why we obsess so much over the royals is because we don’t really have the equivalent of them here. Maybe Jay and Bey? But it’s not the same. So the fascination with Wills and Kate and their two offspring is astonishing. I get that they do a lot of humanitarian work and travel all over the UK and the rest of the world, but just to see what a normal day in the life of a Princess would be an American girl’s dream.

North and Saint West {Kids of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West}

Kim Kardashian has such a public profile that you’ve got to wonder if there’s anything she keeps to herself, or if her personality among friends and family is the same that you see on TV. Meanwhile, her husband may shy away from the reality TV show cameras and in-depth interviews about the details of his life, but he’s obviously not afraid of going on long-winded Twitter rants or IRL rants. Sure, going to the studio with Ye or a photo shoot with Kim would be fun, but honestly, what are they like as parents without the cameras around?

Luna Legend {Daughter of Chrissy Teigen and John Legend}

the never-ending song

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The opportunity to have John Legend sing to me all day while Chrissy works on recipes for her new cookbook in the kitchen? You’d have to be nutso to decline that.

Alice and Penelope Richmond {Daughters of Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond}

TBH, I’d hang out with Alice and Penelope without Tina and Jeff, but in terms of a workload, I imagine both of their schedules are insane. Tina’s working on the upcoming season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and she’s executive producing new sitcom from 30 Rock/The Mindy Project alum Tracey Wigfield Great News, and also a pilot (starring Casey Wilson & Busy Philipps!), while she and Jeff are working on adapting Mean Girls into a musical – due to hit the stage this fall in D.C. I just want a sneak peek of the musical.

Sasha Obama {Daughter of Michelle and Barack Obama}

Sure, would it have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to work with your dad at the White House when he was still the leader of the free world? Yeah. But post-presidency Barack – the most low key Barack of them all – is the one I want to know all the things about. He’s technically not working, but it seems like he’s living his best life kitesurfing with millionaires, attending Broadway shows with Malia, and hanging out on yachts with other millionaires like Oprah and Tom Hanks. Maybe it’s just because I miss him and Mich a lot. Maybe it’s both.

Baron Trump {Son of Melania and Donald Trump}

Barron Trump is an enigma. But I just want to see for myself exactly how much (how little) work his dad is doing. Then get out of there ASAP.

Things We Need To Revisit From The 2017 Grammy Awards

It’s 2017, and we’ll take our heroes where we can find them. We love all our feet-on-the-ground workers and thinkers and doers, but even the Grammy Awards had their slate of performers and guests who saved the show from being a hum-drum night of pop hits and elevated it to the next level. Picks are in no particular order and there’s gonna be a lot of Beyonce. Just so you know.

Beyonce

My explanation for Beyonce’s performance: when you’re in an art museum, and you’re expecting to walk into another gallery room, but it’s actually a video installation and there’s movement, light, color and sound all around you.  Just a few of the amazing features of this performance, because we all know that YouTube video isn’t staying up:

  • Beyonce looking like some kind of pregnant Renaissance painting subject
  • Beyonce also looking like some religious fresco subject
  • Hologram Tina, Bey and Blue
  • That crown. Statue of liberty? Space queen? Egyptian deity? Halo? All of the above?
  • Every single one of those dancers
  • That kind of last supper thing.
  • Bey reenacting the move that always made our teachers tell us that we’d crack our head open if we leaned back in our chair like that.
  • My realization that almost 4 minutes passed before Bey even sang.
  • That time she sang right into all of our souls, personally and individually, all at the same time.
  • Jay-Z’s look of pride and adoration.
Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest is exactly the group we need, back exactly when we need them. This video’s going away soon too (we are waiting and hoping for an official, sanctioned vid), so here’s what we love:

  • The fact that they performed We The People, the same fantastic song they did on SNL just days after the election, which came true in the intervening months.
  • The moniker “President Agent Orange”
  • That classic throwback with Award Tour
  • When the wall broke down
  • The fierce looking hijabi standing center stage
  • Everyone processing down the aisles
  • The raised fist
  • The presence of Phife Dawg so strong it was almost like he was there
Chance The Rapper

Both his win and his performance. I included one of Lil Chano’s Acid Rap songs on our summer 2013 playlist. For a few years after, I was worried that one of the most promising and talented new rappers was out of the scene. Lucky for all of us, Coloring Book is making huge waves. These wins – Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album – aren’t JUST huge for Chance’s career, they’re a huge moment for indie rap in general.

“I’m gonna talk. Y’all can play the music if you want. I want to thank God for my team. I know a lot of people think independence means you do it by yourself, but independence means freedom. I do it with these folks right here. Glory be to God, I claim the victory in the name of the Lord, let’s go!”

Adele

I think Adele is incredibly talented. I mean, we’re past objectivity with her: there’s no ‘I think’ about it; Adele IS incredibly talented. That said, I was pulling for Lemonade for the Album Of The Year win. Of all the nominees, I thought it was the best-crafted and most innovative: it was the album that would define 2016, above the others. Still, Adele seems like such a genuine and kind person that I can’t help but be happy for her good fortune. Besides, she was pulling for Lemonade too. She pulled a Cady Heron and broke up her award:

“My artist of my life is Beyonce and this Lemonade album is just monumental. It was so monumental and so well thought-out and soul-baring, and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let you see. And all of the artists here, we all fucking adore you. You are our light. And the way you make me feel, the way you make my Black friends feel, is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves. I love you, and I always will.”

It’s 2017, we’ve come a long way as a people, and Adele just “I’m’a let you finish”-ed herself.

Blue Ivy

Blue Ivy in a pink Gucci power suit with a black panther on the back, because she’s Beyonce’s girl already and you can be adorable and make a statement at the same time.

Blue Ivy cheering for her mother’s win.

Hologram Blue Ivy.

Blue rushing in to the Carpool Karaoke car to save a failing bit.

Blue showing her purse to her bestie during Bey’s speech.

Blue Ivy Carter is our future. It’s her world, and we just live in it.

Blue Ivy’s Friend Madison

This woman of mystery is so enigmatic that I found myself searching “2017 Grammys seating chart,” “Jay Z niece” and “does Beyonce have a cousin.” It took days to learn that Blue’s gal pal is Madison Brown, daughter of Roc-Nation co-founder Jay Brown. Blue Ivy gets a front row guest when half of the entertainment industry can’t even get a ticket (okay, I GUESS Madison was there with her dad), and Madison was living her best life and making the most out of this awesome school night outing. I’d never really want to be famous,  but Blue’s mystery friend proves that having a famous bestie might be the best gig of all. Madison mugged for the camera and, wither her impeccable white-silver dress, proved that she won’t just be singing backup.

Drunk Chrissy Teigen and Helpful John Legend

Chrissy Teigen is hilarious, fun, and exactly the kind of person I would like to have in all of my group texts. She’s also one of my favorite famous people because she DOES.IT.RIGHT. Like, she really enjoys the perks and parties that go with her lifestyle instead of appearing blase or too cool for it. John Legend is every guy trying to figure out how girl clothes and jewelry work, and earned himself an internet Relationship Goals badge in the process (“why would I be mad at you? You’re perfect.” Cherish him, Chrissy. I mean, we know you do.)

True, but unfortunately when you’re single and drunk you have to take off all of your own jewelry, and it’s HARD.


In conclusion, the Grammys were great, A Tribe Called Quest just might save us, Blue Ivy is a blessed child of the light, and Chrissy Teigen is invited to all of my texts forever.

Beyonce Is Here To Save 2017

Call it divine intervention. Call it Destiny’s Child(ren). But for sure call it TWINS.

Yesterday, February 1st, Beyonce dropped not a new album, but rather baby news that made the world stop…

CARRY ON.

Actually, no. We, as a world, could not carry on. I will forever remember today as one of the most important days of my life. I work in a newsroom specifically for entertainment and we have one of those open floor plans where you can basically hear and see everyone. Someone sent through an email with the subject line: “Beyonce is Pregnant” along with the link to her Instagram picture. Sure enough, you could hear gasps and screams from throughout the office  – did I mention it’s a predominantly young-ish female environment? About 30 seconds later, someone said, “Wait did you guys notice she’s having twins?” UM NO, WE DID NOT SIR, WE WERE DISTRACTED BY THE BELLY BUMP, FLOWER WALL AND MESH VEIL PLACED UPON HER HEAD. TWINS?! WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED TWO TIMES OVER. What happened next was something I wish I had on camera (but I was still too shook to do anything). The screaming continued, people were congratulating and hugging each other as if we ALL were pregnant with twins.

meeting cancelled

And you know what, this is the type of communal excitement we need with this sham of administration tearing the country apart. Each morning, I wake up thinking, “Ah, what fresh hell is awaiting me today?”. But on this first day of Black History Month, Beyonce reminded us that despite the fact we’re surrounded with dumpster fires, the world is still spinning and new life is created, just like it did pre-January 20th (November 8th).

So now that Bey is prepping for The Carter 5, I feel like we as a society are a little bit better in the state of the world knowing that love is still on top. Yes, she’s a celebrity that a majority if not all of us will never be BFFs with, but in dire times like these, it’s exactly why the idea of stardom and artistry are important. It gives us a moment of distraction away from the insanity happening in politics and lower our blood pressure just a tad knowing new, talented life is being made. Just how will she save 2017? Here’s what we’re hoping Bey & these two little nuggets will do for all of us in the coming year:

  • She’ll have two more girls and start Destiny’s Child: Part II
  • DC:P2 will wear matching/coordinating clothes designed by Beyonce, just like Miss Tina designed for DC3
  • She’ll have a boy and a girl, and they becoming mini-Bey & Jays doing a rap/sing combo
  • She’ll have two boys and they’ll only wear the RocaWear baby collection Jay has secretly been hiding in their underground bunker for years
  • Bey’s mere appearance at the Grammys next Sunday will show off her belly and give us VMAs 2011 feels all over again
  • Bey starts a new trend of pregnancy announcement photos in lingerie, a veil and a flower wall. (It gets old fast)
  • She’ll be the fiercest pregnant performer ever to take the Coachella stage
  • But she could also lit’rally sit on a folding chair in the middle of the stage and it would be the best thing the world has ever seen
  • Bey letting us in on how Blue will be as a big sister
  • Blue wearing a “Big Sister” shirt
  • Bey and Jay have dinner with Mariah and Nick Cannon for advice on parenting twins
  • Instead of Who Is Becky With The Good Hair, B’s biggest mystery is WHY THE VEIL
  • Jay drops a surprise album on Tidal the day the twins are born all about his kids
  • Makes Tidal free. For one day.
  • Beyonce drops another surprise 5 track EP, one song is just the twins cooing
  • Just all the maternity outfits. All of them.
  • Anything Taylor Swift tries to do in 2017 will never be as good as this
  • To reiterate, this is not just one child, it’s TWO. TWO MORE BEY/JAY BABIES THIS IS A MIRACLE AND SHOULD BE REASON ENOUGH

One Last Time: Obama and Celebrities

It’s been an emotional week, and tomorrow’s going to be even rougher. That’s why today we’re taking a break for a bit of fun. We always get a kick out of celebrities meeting a well-liked president, if only because sometimes it’s hard to guess who’s more excited. Getting to meet the president can be a major perk of success in athletics or the entertainment industry, but it’s got to be a blast for the president, too: you signed up to lead a nation, but you also get to meet all of these varied, talented, fascinating people. Whether he’s cracking up with Olympians or welcoming Broadway actors into his home, it’s a real ‘presidents – they’re just like us!’ feeling. Get ready to smile and relive some of the fun times from the past 8 years!

Barack Obama shed his Obama mask on “Saturday Night Live.” Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler were the Clintons. November, 2007.

Barack Obama shed his Obama mask on “Saturday Night Live.” Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler were the Clintons. November, 2007.

President Obama, Amy Poehler and Saturday Night Live – talk about three beautiful, cherished American institutions, all in one picture.

Usher and Kerry Washington campaign for President Obama during a rally in South Carolina. January, 2008.

Usher and Kerry Washington campaign for President Obama during a rally in South Carolina. January, 2008.

There were a number of early Obama adapters during his first presidential campaign, namely because he had a lot of buzz as a senator in Illinois. Among them were Usher and pre-Scandal Kerry Washington, who campaigned for him in 2008. These folks ain’t bandwagon supporters.

Barack and Michelle embrace next to Oprah during a campaign rally. December, 2008.

Barack and Michelle embrace next to Oprah during a campaign rally. December, 2008.

Oprah is all of us. Also, remember that shining era when we had Obama in the White House AND Oprah on TV? I swear these are the things we’ll be telling our grandkids about.

Two days before the inauguration in 2009, musicians and actors came together for the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, performing songs and reciting pieces for the Obamas, Bidens and 400,000 people in attendance. Among those who took the stage were U2 (as seen above), Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as collabos between James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles, Josh Groban, Heather Headley, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of D.C.,Herbie Hancock, will.i.am, and Sheryl Crow, and Usher, Stevie Wonder, and Shakira. Not to mention the other stars like Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Carell, Queen Latifah, Forest Whitaker, and Martin Luther King III and more reading historical passages. You can watch the two hour concert here!

Aretha Franklin sings My Country, 'Tis of Thee at the inauguration. January, 2009.

Aretha Franklin sings My Country, ‘Tis of Thee at the inauguration. January, 2009.

For the actual inauguration, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill collaborated on a piece by John Williams called Air and Simple Gifts, and although that was lauded, it was Aretha Franklin who really stole the show as she sang My Country, ‘Tis if Thee. Sure, we all know how great of a singer she is but it was the hat – a grey, Swarovski crystal-studded bow hat, that sparked conversation and memes all over the world. Also getting to see the hat IRL at the ceremony were

That night, the Obamas attended 10 official inaugural balls, where even MORE celebrities attended like Jennifer Aniston, Rihanna, Will Smith – legit the list is too long to type out so read all of them here – and Beyonce showed up again in her iconic romantic serenade of At Last.

Miranda Cosgrove, Matthew Morrison, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Maxwell, and Annie Lennox at the WH Christmas special. December, 2010.

Miranda Cosgrove, Matthew Morrison, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Maxwell, and Annie Lennox at the WH Christmas special. December, 2010.

This is just a sample of their annual holiday concert. Just imagine this times 8.

Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca, laughed with President Obama in the Oval Office. Oct. 2011.

Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca, laughed with President Obama in the Oval Office. Oct. 2011.

My favorite is that Will Ferrell and his wife – a person who lives with Will Ferrell – appear to be laughing at whatever OBAMA said.

President Obama meets with over 20 actors for a private Young Hollywood event. June, 2012.

President Obama meets with over 20 actors for a private Young Hollywood event. June, 2012.

Usually the President’s activities during a trip are explicit, but there was no mention of this secret meeting at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where Barack asked 25 of Hollywood’s hottest stars to get involved in his re-election campaign. Among them were Anna Kendrick, Zach Braff, Jeremy Renner, Zachary Quinto, Jessica Alba, Jared Leto, Kal Penn and Sophia Bush. Obviously, these folks put their photos on social media later for all of us to be jealous of.

May 11, 2012

President Obama takes a break during a basketball game in Los Angeles with some A-list teammates and competitors – Don Cheadle, Tobey Maguire, and George Clooney. Plus two of Clooney’s long-time friends and now ex-girlfriend Stacy Keibler. September, 2012.

Find yourself someone who looks at you like George Clooney is looking at POTUS.

November 15, 2012

President Obama poses with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney. November, 2012.

I love that Obama fangirled over the 2012 Olympics as much as the rest of us, and also that he’s clearly up on his memes.

Beyonce is greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama after her performance during inauguration ceremonies. January, 2013.

Beyonce is greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama after her performance during inauguration ceremonies. January, 2013.

Obama’s second inauguration was a star-studded event, and by this point Beyonce was an established White House favorite. Really makes me proud to be an American!

President Obama greets Kelly Clarkson after her performance at his second inauguration. January, 2013.

President Obama greets Kelly Clarkson after her performance at his second inauguration. January, 2013.

Like we said, really fun inauguration. In this photo, Kelly Clarkson is looking at Obama exactly how I would, AND Obama is looking at Kelly Clarkson exactly how I would.

Singer Stevie Wonder is honored Monday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, who said the first record he ever bought was by Wonder.

Singer Stevie Wonder is honored Monday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, who said the first record he ever bought was by Wonder.

The Obamas danced to Stevie Wonder at their wedding and all these years later he’s a regular guest in their home, playing POTUS’s birthday party and getting awards from him. If you look closely you can see all of Barack’s dreams coming true.

Justin Timberlake greets President Obama (with Queen Latifah in the background). May, 2013.

Justin Timberlake greets President Obama (with Queen Latifah in the background). May, 2013.

JT posted the above photo on Obama’s birthday and captioned it “Just showing The Prez how I made a half-court shot on his hoop while he was leading the free world and stuff… No big deal. Happy Bday, Mr. President!!”

They have inside jokes, it’s fine.

This is an Emmy-winning video.

The President and the First Lady meet the President and the First Lady. White House Correspondents Dinner. May, 2014.

Mellie/Michelle 2020?

POTUS strikes a pose with Usain Bolt. April, 2015.

POTUS strikes a pose with Usain Bolt. April, 2015.

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how happy Barry looks? That is pure joy right there.

After Cecily Strong's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. April, 2015.

After Cecily Strong’s speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. April, 2015.

Remember how Cecily Strong absolutely crushed it at the WHCD?! Then, even though he was the butt of some of the jokes, POTUS also acknowledged that she was absolutely hilarious and all of the hits were totally fair. Also, this happened to be the same WHCD where Obama’s Anger Translator Luther (Keegan-Michael Key) showed up.

July 18, 2015 “The President greets the cast and crew of ‘Hamilton’ after seeing the play with his daughters at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

July 18, 2015 “The President greets the cast and crew of ‘Hamilton’ after seeing the play with his daughters at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I like to think that this is how everyone looks at you when you get to heaven.

We consider Hamilton a true musical of the Obama era and we get such a kick out of the mutual love between the cast, creatives and POTUS.

Dec. 7, 2015 “Comedian Jerry Seinfeld knocks on the Oval Office window to begin a segment for his series, ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.’” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Jerry Seinfeld knocks on the window of the Oval Office. December, 2015.

I’m not one who particularly *loves* Jerry Seinfeld, but I do enjoy Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and this one with President Obama is no different. Well, actually it was. Since the Pres has limited ability to drive around in a vintage car with a guy who makes jokes for a living, they could lit’rally only make a loop in front of the White House and the coffee was in some WH bunker. That’s exaggerating – just watch it.

President Obama joined Jimmy Fallon for a second installment of Slow Jam the News. June, 2016.

Since Jimmy had a talk show, the Obamas have been happy to play along with his bits, including Slow Jam the News, which is another reason why President Obama is the coolest. Slick Willy Clinton could probably get away with doing this but can you imagine Dubya saying “Oh yeah” then dropping the mic?

President Obama serenades daughter Malia with 'Happy Birthday.' July 4, 2016.

President Obama serenades daughter Malia with ‘Happy Birthday.’ July 4, 2016.

The 2004 films Chasing Liberty and First Daughter taught me that it can be hard to be the child of the American president … but if your 18th birthday involves Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae singing you Happy Birthday on the White House lawn, it sounds pretty OK.

Sept. 12, 2016 “After a meeting with actor and human rights activist George Clooney, the President invited him and three of his colleagues to shoot hoops on the White House basketball court. This photo garnered a lot of attention when it was hung on the walls of the West Wing.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

George and Barack back on the basketball court after they met to discuss some human rights policies. September, 2016.

This is also the poster of the 2018 film where Clooney & Obama lead a rag-tag group of international figures in some kind of witty heist.

Oct. 21, 2016 “Bill Murray stopped by the White House to be honored as the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. When the President opened the door to the Oval Office, he laughed that Bill was in full Chicago Cubs regalia just before the Cubs were to begin the World Series. After the presentation, Murray demonstrated his prowess in putting, ‘sinking’ several putts into a White House drinking glass, all while doing a public service announcement to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Bill Murray shows off his putting skills in the Oval Office while filming a PSA to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. It was also just before he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. October, 2016.

Just two Chicago boys casually putting into glass in the Oval Office.

Nov. 22, 2016 “Bruuuuuce! The President reaches out to shake hands with Bruce Springsteen in the Blue Room of the White House prior to the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. I’m so happy for Bruce, having been a fan of his for almost 30 years during which I’ve seen at least 35 of his concerts.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets Bruce Springsteen before he received the President Medal of Freed. November, 2016.

I don’t think you know how many Bruce Springsteen pictures we had to choose from. There’s probably a small, dedicated guest room where Bruce stays and they’ll have to forcefully remove him on 1/20.

Rather than a photo, just watch the whole video of Obama awarding Ellen Degeneres the Medal of Freedom. It’s definitely a two-kleenex moment.

That face when the President drops by for a visit. Today, the cast of Hidden Figures visited the White House to highlight the stories of Americans who defied stereotypes and broke glass ceilings to advance human space flight, science, and innovation. December, 2016.

That face when the President drops by for a visit. Today, the cast of Hidden Figures visited the White House to highlight the stories of Americans who defied stereotypes and broke glass ceilings to advance human space flight, science, and innovation. December, 2016.

Octavia Spencer, somehow simultaneously so adorable you could imagine being BFFs with her and so talented that it’s intimidating, is the face of America.

WHEN THE WHITEHOUSE BECAME THE BLACK HOUSE. #THEUNION #ORGANIZE

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When your favs are each others favs: I’ve heard that Janelle Monae has been invited to/performed at the White House more than any other musical artist. Also just this whole crowd, in general.

Kendrick Lamar meets President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House. January, 2016.

Kendrick Lamar meets President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House. January, 2016.

Do yourself a favor and run a search of Kendrick Lamar and President Obama at the White House. All of the photos are absolutely delightful.

President Obama teaches Steph Curry a few things about shooting. April, 2016.

 

Y’all – do yourself a favor and watch this entire concert of BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration. Partly because BET isn’t going to present a damn thing for the next administration, but mostly because there are star-studded performances from Jill Scott, BFF Janelle Monae, smokeshows Common, Usher and Leslie Odom, Jr. and Bradley Cooper is also there to fill a quota.

Going away party. January, 2017.

What better way to end eight years in a mansion than with your famous friends? The Obamas held one last bash at the White House earlier this month, with a bunch of celebrities who have supported the administration throughout their tenure. Guests weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the party that lasted until 4am, so all the available photos are from the outside, or in performer Solange’s case, during soundcheck. Among those who danced alongside Barry and Michelle were Amal and George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Nick Jonas, Kelly Rowland, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, Chance the Rapper, Jay Pharoah, Usher and Billy Eichner. AND MORE.

Finally, cry your eyes out as you watch celebrities thank the Obamas for their years of service.

Best ___ Of 2016: Some Really Specific Superlatives

Well folks, here we are. The flaming dumpster fire that was 2016 is over, and we’re all here in 2017 hoping it can’t get worse than last year. But there were some good things that come out of 2016, and just like last year, we’re highlighting a few super specific things we loved from 2016, that don’t necessarily fit into any general Best of categories.

Best 2000s television reunion of 2016: Gilmore Girls

Ironically, Gilmore Girls also made our Best of 2015 Superlatives list, but this time it’s for an entirely different reason. The show made a big splash in pop culture ever since the revival was announced back in 2015, and the hype was at a high this year, crawling back into the zeigesit in the weeks leading up to ThanksGilmore (we were guilty too). But as OG Gilmore fans, we had been waiting nine years to find out how Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted to end her series the way she truly wanted. When the four episodes dropped that fateful Friday, we were transported back into the world of all things Gilmore – where the town weirdo runs a janky Ooober service, the locals have to hide a secret bar from the selectman, and the phrase “I smell snow” elicits very real emotions that induce crying. For us, this feeling of comfort – of feeling back how in Stars Hollow – was what we wanted from the revival. While it did produce the perfect example of Your Fave Is Problematic #RoryGilmore, overall, we were so glad to have those adorable Gilmore girls back in our lives once again.

Best Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Cameo of 2016: Parenthood Cast (as a whole)

Speaking of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, there were many a cameo throughout all four mini-movies that made me squeal with glee. But none more so than three very special appearances from Lauren Graham’s other TV family, the Bravermans. First, we knew her Parenhootd daughter Mae Whitman was going to be in the revival, but seeing her interact with Lorelai Gilmore and not Sarah Braverman made our hearts explode, but the fact that she always interacted with Rory?! Our brains explode too. And then came summer, when I lit’rally screamed out loud after seeing Jason Ritter pop up as the park ranger. MARK CYR FOREVER AND ALWAYS. And THENNN Peter Krause aka Adam Braverman aka Mr. Lauren Graham as park ranger two?! I DIE. I DIED. Thanks, 2016.

Best Ham4Ham performance of 2016: The Hamilton Mixtape

I feel like it’s unfair to call this a #Ham4Ham, but the Hamilton officials called it that, so we’ll go with it. HamFams have been waiting about a year to hear the mixtape that Lin had been promising, and boy it did not disappoint. In the most epic release party, they held a #Ham4Ham inside the Richard Rodgers, with a few artists from the mixtape doing live performances of their Hamilton covers. AND it was live streamed for the interwebs. The Roots, Regina Spektor, Andra Day and Ashanti and Ja Rule + more – it was “LIT AF” as the kids say. I got emotional (like I usually do) watching it, realizing that this joining of forces between contemporary artists singing Broadway covers on a Broadway stage opens the doors for so many more people to be introduced to theater in a brand new way. It’s the way life and art should be – accessible and enjoyed by every one.

Best Hamilton Happy Trails of 2016: July 9th, 2016

Hamilton may have opened in 2015, but it reached a fever pitch in 2016. A month after winning 11 Tonys, four of the OG cast members, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Ariana DeBose and the maestro himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda, took their final bows. Saying goodbye to one OBC actor is hard enough, but four is even more difficult if you’re HamilTrash. Luckily, a live stream was provided and we were able to watch as their tears synced with our own. The kicker? Alex Lacamoire stealthily adding in The West Wing theme for number one fan Lin (I lit’rally just rewatched that on mute and I’m STILL crying over Chris Jackson pushing Lin back out to take his own bow).

Best Beyonce Live Performance of 2016: MTV VMAs

Beyonce was one of the shining lights of 2016 thanks to her kind of surprise album drop with Lemonade, but what made it epic was the entire HBO movie special she made as a vehicle for the new music. After going on her Formation tour (equally epic), she blessed us with a 20 minute performance of Lemonade on the VMAs. God. Is. Good.

Best Michelle Obama Speech of 2016: Democratic National Convention

We’re really going to miss all the Obamas, but Michelle has been such an inspiration to all women (and humans) during her reign as first lady. She is poised, classy, articulate, smart, compassionate, caring, funny, etc. etc. And while giving her speech at the DNC this summer to show support for HRC, she yet again left us in awe and tears, but mostly left us with something to aspire to – when they go low, we go high.

Best Carpool Karaoke of 2016: Adele

In what is arguably his best carpool karaoke yet, James Corden’s ride along with Adele has raked in over 143 million views since it was released last January, and it’s obvious why. Maybe because I’ve accounted for at least 43 million of those? Nah, probs because Adele is a badd ass bitch who raps Nick Minaj better than Nicki Minaj.

Best Political SNL Sketch of 2016: Hallelujah

The Worst Week of 2016 aka Election Week ended with the great Leonard Cohen dying (because #2016), and in what was reminiscent of the way they handled the first ep back after 9/11, SNL knew exactly how to bring meloncholy and levity to homes across the U.S., by having the wonderful Kate McKinnon, as Hillary Clinton, sing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Cue the tears.

Honorable MentionsMelaniade, Hillary Actually, Voters for Trump, Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks, A Day Off (KellyAnne Conway)

Best SNL Non-Political Sketch of 2016: Haunted Elevator

Any questions?

Honorable Mentions: Christmas Candle, Crucible Cast Party, Wells for BoysTidal, Supermarket Spree (Cut for Time – ft. host Melissa McCarthy)

Best Mannequin Challenge of 2016: Black Lives Matter

I’m over the mannequin challenge (I was never under it), but this one was worth all the other silliness from everyone else.

Best Obama Girls Moment Of 2016: The Ryan Reynolds Double Thumbs Up

In this moment, I am somehow able to imagine what it would be like to be both a teenager attending my first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movie star, and the big sister of a teenager attending her first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movies star. Meet our era’s Schuyler sisters.

Best Bill Clinton Moment of 2016: Bill and Balloons

Forget what came after for a moment and just focus on Bill Clinton, the man who served as leader of the free world for eight years, still getting a kick out of balloons … and even more of a kick out of his wife’s presidential bid.

Honorable Mention: When you could see Bill mouth the words “that’s my girl” during Hillary’s concession speech, or his death grip on Chelsea’s husband during Chelsea’s speech at the DNC. You know what? They’re all winners.

Best Olympics Moment of 2016: Michael Phelps’ One Last Timerio-olympics-michael-phelps-39d4425bd7852cb5

It feels like so long ago now, but 2016 was a Summer Olympics year, our favorite TV/sporting spectacle and feel-good obsession. Nobody made us prouder to be Americans that golden boy Michael Phelps, who did his last Olympics right by earning his 23rd gold medal.

Honorable Mentions: So many! The Final Five’s overall brilliance – how much do we love Simone and Laurie?! – and Katie Ledecky’s astonishing performance, and the US and NZ runners who helped each other finish after crashing on the track … we could keep going.

Best children’s movie for adults of 2016: Zootopia

Zootopia was great: funny, clever, touching, and with a really beautiful and necessary message. I went with kids, but I would have gone as a single adult just as proudly.

Honorable Mention: The Secret Life Of Pets

Best new Netflix series – drama of 2016: Stranger Things

Stranger Things gripped audiences nationwide with its loving tribute to the 80s horror/children’s adventure film, but it did it in a singularly modern way as a short, streaming series. The series spawned memes, catchphrases, national sweethearts (Barb!), a whole lot of Halloween costumes, and the coolest troop of child actors around.

Honorable Mentions: The OA (possibly my best, but I’m only halfway through it); The Get Down

Best new Netflix series – documentary of 2016: 13th

It’s not exactly a secret that Ava Duvernay is a fantastic filmmaker, but she did something really special with 13th. She took an issue most Americans who are paying attention already knew about – the consistent and disproportional incarceration of black men used as a type of modern servitude in the prison industrial complex – and presented it in a clear, gripping, impossible-to-ignore way.

Best New TV Series That Your Mom Would Like Too of 2016: This Is Us

We love This Is Us. So do most of our friends (30-somethings). So do a lot of older baby boomers we know. This series appeals to the nostalgia of young(-ish) adults who grew up in the 70s –  90s, as well as their parents who were raising kids at that time. It’s not a cheap nostalgia trip, though. This Is Us is a relatable and incredibly touching family story for anyone who has siblings, or parents, or feelings. Plus, let’s not forget how they hooked us all in with that twist in the pilot.

Best Silly Meme of 2016: Arthur Fist 

Speaking of relatable, Arthur’s balled-up fist is relevant to as many life situations in 2016 as it was when you were 10.

Watch the Brangelina Throne

Our long national nightmare is over Love is Dead! Ok, on the real, how are we all feeling about the Brangelina split a week later? Did we see this coming? Or were we completely blindsided? Are you choosing a team? Do you even care? I’m personally on the side of, *meh*. Is it because Friends is one of my all time TV shows and I spent some of my formative years seeing Brad and Jennifer as the Hollywood ‘IT’ couple then he made a movie with the sexiest woman alive and did an oddly cozy faux family magazine shoot pre-Jen divorce? Perhaps. But I know for a lot of people, Brangelina was one of the last A-list couples still left standing. So who can replace them? If you fall in the latter category, the answer is ‘no one’, but if you’re willing to open your heart and let in another couple to be the next Brangelina, I’ve got a few suggestions.

Chrissy Teigen + John Legend

If you don’t follow these two on social media, do so now. It’s one thing when they take the red carpet (looking smokin’ hot all the time), but it nudges them up a bunch of notches when you see them interact on social media, as seen in the above Twitter exchange. Plus they’ll post cute and not annoying PDA pix and vids, and share posts of their adorable baby daughter Luna. They’re hilarious, smart, and socially active – in the way they speak out about social issues and politics, not necessarily social media. And again, they’re nice to look at, which doesn’t hurt.

Ellen DeGeneres + Portia DeRossi

I feel like every two and a half months, there are rumors these two are breaking up. I never believe the gossip – BECAUSE THESE TWO ARE NEVER SPLITTING UP. NOT ON MY WATCH. Ellen always speaks the loveliest words about Portia in a way that makes me think I, TOO, am in love with Portia. Also, Portia’s wedding dress continues to be one of my favorite celeb dresses ever.

Emily Blunt + John Krasinski

Preface: John Krasinski is my boo. He has been my boo since The Office, and when he started dating Emily Blunt, I was all, ‘yeah, that makes sense’. They seem so compatible with each other and just laid back and not all about the fame. So I guess if you liked Brangelina for the movie star/untouchable quality, Emily and John may not be your cuppa tea. I like that they’re open about their relationship and family, yet secretive in the sense they’re not pushing it into our faces like Kimye is wont to do. Plus they just seem like good people.

Beyonce + Jay Z

In terms of superstar quality and elusiveness, I think Bey and Jay are the closest thing to Brangelina. They don’t share too much of their personal lives online and social media, but B will occasionally post a few sweet snaps of them together. She’s certainly gotten more lax with it over the years (see: Lemonade) but they still have an air of mystery to them that leaves you wanting more. Even the On The Run tour was a lot for me to handle – so much Bey and Jay time I didn’t know what to do with myself. And this Forever Young/Halo video montage FORGET IT.

Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard

If you’re looking for a couple that you most relate to, it’s probs KBell and Dax. They’re just two Michigan kids who found love in Hollywood, but continue to be sweet and strong midwesterners (is Michigan the midwest?). From this Africa video to their Samsung commercials to the famous sloth surprise video, they are one of the most laid back couples in La La Land.

Rita Wilson + Tom Hanks

Do I really need to explain this? Well, Rita may need to explain her wedding dress, but other than that, you get it.

Lin-Manuel Miranda + Vanessa Nadal

If you aren’t #HamilTrash like us, you probably don’t know how much Lin-Manuel (the creator/star/writer/literal genius behind Hamilton) loves his wife. Like truly is in love with his wife in a poetic way. And we might be too. She’s gorgeous, witty (per Twitter) and equally as smart as Lin – she has a chemical engineering degree from MIT, and when she got bored with that, decided to get her law degree from Fordham. When I’m bored, I stalk the Kardashians on Instagram. Anyways, when he gets the chance to gush over Vanessa, Lin jumps at the opportunity. It’s probably because he’s a master of words, but he makes it seem like their relationship is a great love that cannot be compared. I believe it.

Michelle Obama + Barack Obama

Do I really need to explain this? Part two.

Graduation Caps On Fleek

When we graduated high school 12 years (!!!!) ago, we didn’t have the option – or maybe didn’t even know there was the option – to decorate the tops of our caps. By college, I think the trend was still out there, but people at my school didn’t delve into their arts & crafts side, despite being an arts school. But now that it’s graduation season again, I am constantly seeing more and more elaborately decorated caps that are more exciting than any commencement I’ve ever attended.

And of course, there’s a good chunk out there that were inspired by pop culture, so here are some of the best from the Class of 2016 and their graduation caps on fleek*.

*I’m too old to be saying that they’re not “on fleek” I take that back.

Where is the lie?

Queen B for those Queens, B.

OMG!!!! 🎓❤️💛💙🎓

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And of course the wise words of Michael Scott…

Some call it the Hamilton Effect (we do. we call it that.)

Woman Crush Wednesday: Cynthia Erivo

Happy June, friends! I’m following up Motivation Monday with another installment of Woman Crush Wednesday, and this one goes to the fabulous Cynthia Erivo, who has become a breakout star in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. So much so that she’s earned her first Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical (and won a couple awards for it too). What that means is that you should probably be paying attention to her. She’s out of this world. And here are just a few reasons why:

The Color Purple

Let’s start with her current job, shall we? Cynthia plays Celie, the main character of The Color Purple (played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie). If you’ve never seen the musical, just know it’s V emotional, and Cynthia recently performed one of the most heart-wrenching numbers in the show called I’m Here on Stephen Colbert. You should probably grab some tissues before clicking play on this one.

RIP Prince

Cynthia is part of an amazing cast which includes Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) and Jennifer Hudson (who’s since left), so when the holy trinity and the rest of the stellar cast took the stage the night Prince died, it was only fitting for a show titled The Color Purple sing Purple Rain in the best way they knew how. Take ’em to church, fam.

JHud’s Successor

Speaking of Jennifer Hudson… I don’t think you’re allowed to become a Broadway diva or true belter if you don’t sing your own version of And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls. This was pre-The Color Purple on Broadway (Cynthia played Celie in the 2013 production of the show), but months later, she was sharing the stage with the same woman who won an Oscar for this role in the movie. And now they’re besties (just watch this tribute song to Jennifer for her last show). It’s cute. This video, however – is fierce.

Following in Whoopi’s Footsteps

Although she’s been an actress/singer for years, her big break didn’t come until 2011, when she played Delores VanCartier/Sister Mary Clarence in the UK tour of the Sister Act musical. If you’re thinking a Sister Act musical would be no bueno, I assure you it’s more entertaining than you think, and the score is delightfully delightful. Just like the movie, Delores is the main character of the story, and in the musical, her songs are infused with a lot of gospel-tinged tracks. Like this finale number which looks ridic out of context but is better in the show itself. Cynthia werks those runs like no one’s business.

She’s Superwoman, It’s Fine

If you go through Cynthia’s Instagram, the ratio of gym to regular pix is like 4 to 1. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s #goals. Woman is not messing around. Her tickets to the gun show sell out faster than to The Color Purple. She recently ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. And then went off for a two show day. SHE RAN 12.1 MILES THEN SANG AND DANCED AND ACTED FOR TWO SHOWS WHAT EVEN. I can’t even run a single mile then be expected to work at a desk for the rest of the day my GOD.

She’ll Out Sing You At A Bar

Just once I’d like to be in a bar where Cynthia Erivo decides to randomly belt out a tune in front of all the people. Here she is singing a song from one of my favorite shows, The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. JRB’s music isn’t the easiest to sing, but she makes it seem like she’s effortlessly belting the ABCs or something. For you JRB-heads out there, Cynthia was also in another one of his shows, Songs for a New World, along with her boyfriend Dean John-Wilson (who is legit Aladdin. in London).

She Slays

If you weren’t left impressed with the Jason Robert Brown, maybe a Beyonce cover will help? We all know Beyonce kills her vocals, and there are millions of people on YouTube who try to do as well as her. But when Cynthia does it, she makes me believe the song was meant for her (no disrespect to my queen B). But simply put, Cynthia slays.