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Doan Thi Huong (Royal Malaysia Police).


The Week in Women: A pop star assassin, a stellar year for movies, and Rihanna’s humanitarian award

February 24, 2017

We’re in the midst of awards show season, and the arts (well, mainly just La La Land) are reigning supreme. In honor of the glitziest time of year, we’ve curated a selection of headlines pertaining to all things film, music, and television. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

The number of female film protagonists reached an all-time high in 2016, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Women fronted 29 percent of the year’s 100 highest-grossing movies, which is more than any preceding year. Female protagonists were most likely to appear in comedies, but women also secured leading rolls in a diverse range of blockbuster genre movies — from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, to the Ghostbusters reboot, to Arrival. How does one say “awesome” in inky alien speak?

The Vietnamese woman who has been accused of poisoning Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may have been an aspiring entertainer. A woman who closely resembles Doan Thi Huong competed on the reality television series Vietnam Idol in 2016, but was booted after the first round. Interestingly, the other woman implicated in the murder, 25-year-old Siti Aisyah, told authorities that she believed she was taking part in an undercover prank TV show when she allegedly smeared the deadly VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face. North Korea has denied having any involvement in the assassination plot. Call us crazy, but we have our doubts.

Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Donald Trump’s inauguration, has criticized the president’s plan to roll back protections for transgender students in public schools. The 16-year-old, who has a transgender sister, wrote on Twitter that she was “disappointed” in the president’s decision to allow states to determine whether or not transgender students can use the bathroom of their choice. Evancho also told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that she hoped to have a chance to talk with Trump. “I just want to enlighten him on what I’ve seen my sister go through every day in school,” she said. Good luck with that, Jackie. We all know President Trump is capable of great deference when confronted by concerned criticism.

Rihanna has been named Harvard University’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year, a nod to her many philanthropic endeavors. Over the past few years, the singer launched a scholarship program for Caribbean students who wish to attend university in the U.S., contributed $1.75 million to a breast cancer hospital in her native Barbados, and established the Clara Lionel Foundation, which promotes education and health programs in impoverished communities. It’s great to see Rihanna recognized for her charitable work work work work work. SEE WHAT WE DID THERE? #SorryNotSorry.