The Emmys: Seeing African Americans in Hollywood

Washington, Aug. 26 – For the first time in history, a TV show staring people with disabilities has been nominated for an Emmy Award – and one of the stars, John, is African American! The glass ceiling-breaking show is Born This Way, A&E Network’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning original docuseries. Born This Way was nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. In addition, two episodes were nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program.

The show documents real life as John continues to pursue his dream of becoming a rap artist and entertainer, but has a lot of life skills to master before he is ready to live on his own.

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Born This Way #BTWChat: August 23

Join our fourth Twitter chat on August 23 on independent living and employment at 9/8c!

Featuring Megan Bomgaars, Born This Way cast member and owner of @Megologcom!

Text: #BornThisWay Twitter Chat: #BTWchat, Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Then join us for livetweeting each episode of the second season immediately following the chat.

Hosted by Lauren Appelbaum and Cara Liebowitz of RespectAbility, this Twitter chat will take a look at ideas explored in Born This Way by the young adults with Down syndrome and their parents. Following this chat, join us in live tweeting each episode of the second season, airing on A&E at 10/9c.

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Born This Way #BTWChat: August 16

Our first Twitter chat was held on July 26, the season’s premiere. We followed that up with another chat on international travel and dating on August 9. Join us again on August 16 for a chat on living independently and employment and every week at 9/8c leading up each episode!

Featuring Megan Bomgaars, Born This Way cast member and owner of @Megologcom!

Text: #BornThisWay Twitter Chat: #BTWchat, Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Then join us for livetweeting each episode of the second season immediately following the chat.

Hosted by Lauren Appelbaum and Cara Liebowitz of RespectAbility, this Twitter chat will take a look at ideas explored in Born This Way by the young adults with Down syndrome and their parents. Following this chat, join us in live tweeting each episode of the second season, airing on A&E at 10/9c.

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Born This Way #BTWChat: August 9

Our first Twitter chat was held on July 26, the season’s premiere. Join us again on August 9 and every week at 9/8c leading up each episode!

Featuring Megan Bomgaars, Born This Way cast member and owner of @Megologcom!

Text: #BornThisWay Twitter Chat: #BTWchat, Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Then join us for livetweeting each episode of the second season immediately following the chat.

Hosted by Lauren Appelbaum and Cara Liebowitz of RespectAbility, this Twitter chat will take a look at ideas explored in Born This Way by the young adults with Down syndrome and their parents. Following this chat, join us in live tweeting each episode of the second season, airing on A&E at 10/9c.

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Born This Way #BTWChat

Featuring Megan Bomgaars, Born This Way cast member and owner of @Megologcom!

Image shows smiling faces of the seven cast members with the following text at the bottom: Born This Way - new season July 26 - A&EHosted by Lauren Appelbaum and Cara Liebowitz of RespectAbility, this Twitter chat will take a look at ideas explored in Born This Way by the young adults with Down syndrome and their parents. Following this chat, join us in live tweeting the first episode of the second season, airing on A&E at 10/9c.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 9:00-10:00 pm ET

Don’t have cable? You can livestream the show on A&E’s app.

You can find the questions for this chat in this post.

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From Nyle DiMarco to Emmy-Nominated Born this Way and Beyond: Reality TV Leading Way in Busting Stigmas on Disability

Washington, July 25 – This month, A&E’s Born This Way, a show staring people with disabilities, was nominated for three Emmy awards. The show follows seven young adults with Down syndrome as they live, work and love in Los Angeles. Previously it was chosen as one of six honorees for the 2016 Television Academy Honors, an award that recognizes television programming that inspires, informs and motivates.

Earlier, when reality television shows reduced stigmas surrounding disability, it was largely through individuals such as the super talented Nyle DiMarco, who won both America’s Top Model and Dancing with the Stars. A&E’s Born this Way, on the other hand, is fully dedicated to dissolving the stigmas surrounding disability, as cast member Megan Bomgaars’ message “Don’t Limit Me” epitomizes.

“Hey, I have a disability, and I’m OK with it,’” cast member Steven Clark said.

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Finding Dory, Speechless & Born This Way Prove Disability is Winning Theme for Hollywood

Screenshot of Finding Dory showing Dory swimming in the oceanWashington, July 20 – As Hollywood executives are looking for the next big ideas for film and television, they are learning that disability is a winning theme.

Many people are writing about the fact that disability often is absent from mainstream film and television – both the depiction of and, even when a character has a disability, the actor often does not – as detailed in the recently released Ruderman White Paper on Disability in Television.

However, the box office success of Finding Dory and new TV shows such as Superstore and Speechless are showing that audiences want to see strong, capable role models with disabilities.

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Born This Way Nominated for 3 Emmy Awards, Stigma Busting for People with Disabilities

Image shows smiling faces of the seven cast members with the following text at the bottom: Born This Way - new season July 26 - A&EWashington, July 14 – A&E Network’s critically acclaimed and award-winning original docuseries Born This Way’s honors keep adding up – showing that disability is a winning theme.

Born This Way was nominated for an Emmy this morning for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. In addition, two episodes were nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program.

Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, the series follows a group of seven young adults with Down syndrome along with their family and friends in Southern California. During its first season, Born This Way grew across all demographics each episode, with adults 25-54 up 84 percent, adults 18-49 up 64 percent and total viewership up 67 percent by the end of the season. Recently, the series was chosen as one of six honorees for the 2016 Television Academy Honors, an award that recognizes television programming that inspires, informs and motivates.

RespectAbility has been honored to have been consulted during the creation and production of Born This Way and congratulates the entire team for its hard work in achieving this nomination.

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Advocates Protest Disability Snuff Film “Me Before You”

Washington, June 3 – Disability rights advocates in cities across the United States and around the world are protesting the latest Hollywood movie to end with the assisted suicide or euthanasia of the lead disabled character. Protests already have been held in New York City, Boston and Denver, with more planned throughout opening weekend in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities.

Me Before You is scheduled for general audience release on Friday, June 3rd. Some cities also have been providing advance screenings. Members of Not Dead Yet UK protested at the London premier on May 24th and garnered significant mainstream media coverage (GuardianBuzzfeed) during the protest and in the days following.

“The last big example of this tired theme was Million Dollar Baby, which came out before the major growth of social media but still resulted in protests covered in the New York Times,” said Stephen Drake, research analyst for Not Dead Yet (USA). “We can’t begin to keep track of the people and cities involved this time.”

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#OscarsSoAble and the Failed Annenberg Report: The Missing Disability Dimension in Diversity Conversations & Actions

Academy Award Oscar Statuettes

Photo by Toby Canham/Getty Images

Washington, Feb. 27 – With the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, a spotlight has been put on the lack of racial diversity in the Oscars. Article after article focuses on the absence of Black, Hispanic, Latino and Asian Americans being nominated by the Academy. That is needed. However, it’s not enough.

“Diversity must really mean diversity – and that includes the one-in-five Americans who has a disability.” Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility, said. “Disability needs to be part of every conversation on diversity. We support the #OscarsSoWhite response, but we are fighting for including for everyone.”

Dominick Evans is a director/filmmaker with a disability who runs weekly #FilmDis chats on the exclusion of people with disabilities in film. He has called for Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to include all when discussing diversity in her response to #OscarsSoWhite.

“Until we are included in all aspects of the industry, those of us with disabilities will continue to be treated like second-class citizens,” Evans said. He’s calling for everyone to contact the Academy to urge Isaacs to add people with disabilities to her list of minority communities to include in film.

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