January 22, 2020
“Have you seen those photos of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?” my sister asked me casually over the long weekend.
Why Do We Root For Celebrity Couples To Get Back Together?
Um, of course I had. Logging onto Facebook Sunday night, doing that obligatory “bored-on-the-weekend” scroll, I couldn’t escape the posts about the exes’ backstage run-in at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards. (And I kid you not, at least three of the articles had “breaking news” tags. Relax, news orgs.) 
Granted, they are pretty great photos. Let’s recap:Backstage, congratulating each other for acting-award wins for their respective roles in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “The Morning Show,” the former husband and wife were positively beaming.  Alexa, play “The Way We Were.” (There is something vaguely Katie Morosky/Barbra Streisand and preppy Hubbell Gardiner/Robert Redford about the way they look, right?)“Yeah, I saw them!” I told my sister, pulling them up again just for good measure. “They were everywhere.” 
But just as I was getting my Google image search on, I got reality checked. 
“Weren’t there all these rumors he cheated on her with Angelina Jolie?” my sister said with the ignorant bliss of a younger sibling who was in elementary school when it all (allegedly!) went down.
Oh, dammit, yeah. Aniston and Pitt broke up in 2005 after five years of marriage and rumours that the Actor had fallen for his “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” co-star, leading Aniston to famously tell Vanity Fair that Pitt was “missing a sensitivity chip.” Ouch.The “poor Jen!” headlines became a tabloid fixture. “Team Aniston”/“Team Jolie” shirts became a weird early aughts pop culture thing. Pitt and Jolie eventually married and raised a family of six before splitting up in messy fashion in 2016. Aniston went on to marry and amicably divorce Justin Thoreux (so amicable, they celebrate Thanksgiving together).
Now, they’re racking up awards for their work and both conveniently single at the same time, much to the public’s glee.  (Don’t judge; 2020 is already off to a rough start, news cycle-wise — we need this!) 
For what it’s worth, they both seem to be thrilled for each other’s success. When Aniston went up to accept her SAG award for Female Actor in a Drama Series, Brad was seen watching with a big grin on his face backstage:We forever want to watch Brad watch Jen receive her Actor® #sagawardspic.twitter.com/4arINQhKQx— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) January 20, 2020But, reality check number two: By all accounts, the exes are just friends, have been for years now (Pitt even turned up at Aniston’s 50th birthday last year), and have no plans to return to their 2000s super-couple glory.
That hasn’t stopped people from really wanting a reconciliation to happen. It’s hard not to project with these pics, said Tom Fitzgerald, one half of the fashion-blogging duo Tom & Lorenzo and the co-author of the upcoming book “Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life.” 
“My husband and I never had any dog in this hunt, but even we were surprised by our own reactions to the pictures,” Fitzgerald told HuffPost. “There were literal gay gasps when we saw that shot of him grasping her wrist as she turned away.” 
Fitzgerald has a few theories on why the internet responded the way it did. (Besides the fact that knee-jerk histrionics is kind of Twitter’s thing.)
“Part of the reason everyone reacted so strongly is because Brad and Jen are both so iconic now and nearly an entire generation has grown up without seeing contemporary pictures of them together,” he said. “But another reason is because those shots ― especially the wrist one ― were so ridiculously romantic in tone.”Therapist: so what brings you in today?Me: *slams this picture of Brad Pitt holding Jennifer Anniston’s hand on the table* pic.twitter.com/RtiuRue5YJ— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) January 20, 2020Fitzgerald doesn’t think there’s any romance brewing, though. He’s more inclined to see the moment as “an instance of old friends and lovers simply showing some affection for each other and doing that thing that time tends to do for old lovers: forgive and forget the past.”
That said, the writer gets why people are rooting for a reconciliation. As he pointed out, we tend to view celebrities as avatars for our fears, hopes, desires and perceptions.
“Celebrities become stand-ins or representations of our own emotional states,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s why Jen became this patron saint of heartbroken women in the eyes of the public for so many years. It wasn’t fair to her, but she became a stand-in for how people feel about women who are unlucky in love; whether those people were themselves unlucky or whether they enjoyed judging women who were.”
Sure, it sounds a tad silly, but to see Pitt and Aniston ― “two nearly perfect avatars of the concept of a failed marriage” ― so publicly embrace each other gives hope to the rest of us that it’s possible to mend a broken relationship. (And in this case, it’s extra nice to see Pitt rehab his image and enjoy critical success after getting sober. Aniston, too, is finally getting recognition she’s long deserved for her dramatic work. Why not tack a love story onto that feel-good narrative, too?)Me: Brad and Jen are mature adults who can be friends without the world freaking out every time they're in the same room together ok?Me after seeing The Photo: do we call them Braniston or Anipitt— Rachel Simon (@Rachel_Simon) January 20, 2020For the romantic realists among us, it’s not so much a desire for them to get back together that most of us feel, as much as a sweet confirmation that the pair are still connected and bonded in spite of everything that allegedly went down, said Katherine Schafler, a psychotherapist in New York. 
“Here we have two exes supporting each other, there’s not one winner and one loser, it’s so platonic,” she said. “Their connection reminds us that even when things don’t end the way you were expecting them to, you can still have a happy ending in other ways. In true Hollywood fashion, we all love a happy ending, perhaps that why we can’t get enough of these two. ”
It’s kind of like how you’d be thrilled if your friends who dated for years are finally fine with being in the same room again; no more weirdness at parties!
Collectively, we can leave the past in the past: Pitt and Aniston will forever be the chillest couple to ever chill in Hollywood, a golden pair with golden tans to match. (Seriously, how do two people get so matchy matchy with their tans?)
But for all the diehard fans, there’s always going to be steadfast critics.
Alicia Mintz, the co-host of the pop culture podcast Trashy Divorces (of course they covered the Aniston-Pitt split) is still firmly Team Jen, however the chips may fall. “My co-host Stacie and I actually hold fast to the controversial hot take that people split up for a reason, and should probably stay that way,” she said. “In our episode on this whole sorry Jen-Brad-Angelina spectacle, I had a very personal message for Jen as she and Brad revived their friendship post-Angelina: Don’t do it!” 
Marriages come and go. Old “Team Aniston” allegiances are forever.  Related... How To Remain On Good Terms With Your Ex After Splitting Up, From People Who've Been There Jennifer Aniston And Brad Pitt Beaming At Each Other At The SAG Awards Will Warm The Coldest Of Hearts Divorce Is Contagious. Here's Why
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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