“A word I use over and over again is tenacity. I think it’s important to remember that it’s never going to be easy the first time out, so you just have to keep going at it again and again, especially if you firmly believe in what you do.” -- Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm
It's incredible what a difference a few years can make. Upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, my wife and I were almost instantly inundated with information and opinions on the "Princess Complex" - what many felt was negative influence from the Disney Princesses and the like. The Walt Disney Company was completely aware, and in recent years there's been a real effort to reinvent the Disney Princess brand to be something meaningful and empowering, and since the 2016 launch of Dream Big, Princess, kids everywhere have been presented with new ideas on just what a "Princess" could be. Now, ahead of the United Nations International Day of the Girl (October 11), Disney has launched a new global video series offering advice and inspiration on achieving success for the next generation of young leaders around the globe. The #DreamBigPrincess video series, produced and directed by young women from the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, shares the stories of 20 trailblazing women across technology, entertainment, medicine, law, sports, arts, science, fashion and politics to show the next generation what’s possible if you dream big.
It's a sad statistic, but research from studies conducted at New York University, the University of Illinois and Princeton University has identified that girls as young as age five start to lose confidence in themselves, and even more disheartening than the research is that I've seen elements of that here at home. Despite the opportunities that my wife and I are tirelessly working to provide for our girls, the questions of self-confidence and self-worth have begun, and we see it often, particularly in our nine-year-old. There's many factors at play, and today a familiar name is taking a big step toward addressing them as Barbie announces the Dream Gap Project: a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.
When I began writing about the collapse of Toys "R" Us last summer, I had no idea just how deep the rabbit hole would go. In fact, I had no intention of writing much beyond my initial concern, and even a few months in, I was still sharing some of the public-facing statements issued by the company - that it was "business as usual" during the "restructuring." But it wasn't business as usual, and we all know what ended up happening. It's the summer of 2018, and in the United States, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" us no longer exist. One of my most widely-shared articles was published back on March 27, and in addition to news that a group of vendors led by Crayola was gearing-up for a fight and alleging "irresponsible and potentially illegal behavior" by certain executives at Toys "R" Us, I raised another concern: that numerous charities would be taking a potentially devastating hit. This week, I received word that ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) and Good360 have stepped-up to face the challenge with the launch of TOYS FOR JOY. Even more surprising was that I was told that it was my writing that inspired the movement.
With three decades of storied history, acclaimed singer/songwriter Kevin Lee continues to inspire generations as one of the best big-hook, power pop songwriters in the business. Flanked by his incredible band, The Kings, Lee recently released Sticks & Stones on Sigus Records. With an infectious sound of modern pop/rock packed with big guitars, indelible hooks, and soaring vocal harmonies, the songs deliver the kind of car-radio magic that turn winter nights into summer bright. Tracks like “On Top of the World,” “Tell the Truth,” the Tom Petty-esque, “All We Have Is Now,” and the ultra-catchy “Hold On to Yourself Tonight,” remind you of why you loved rock and roll in the first place. Ahead of some summer live dates and an upcoming performance at Joe's Live in Rosemont, IL to benefit Lurie Children's Hospital, our writers caught up with Kevin to talk a little bit about the new album, the music business and the Chicago sound.
There's 25 Wookiees in that photo above, and [SPOILER ALERT] one of them is The Rock Father™! While in Los Angeles last month, I stopped by Disney's Grand Central Creative Campus to meet with the team from Disney Consumer Products & Interactive. After taking a look at the full range of new products from Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story, each member of my crew donned one of Party City's Chewbacca masks for a photo celebrating the launch of Roar For Change - the next initiative from Star Wars: Force for Change, presenting fans with a new global challenge in support of UNICEF. Curious how this is gonna play out and how you can do some good by showing off your best Wookiee roar? Check out the launch video below!
I feel like Denny's just played a Jedi Mind Trick on me. It's 2:25pm and I feel the urgent need for breakfast, and the fact that they've got a new menu inspired by the upcoming release of Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story is a pretty compelling draw. You could say it's pulling me in like the Death Star's tractor beam. While the menu alone is presenting tastes inspired by a galaxy far, far away, they're also serving-up some collectibles, and that includes exclusive Solo: A Star Wars Story trading cards from The Topps Company. And those cards are part of a mission to do some good as net proceeds from the sale of all trading card packs will benefit Denny's longtime partner, No Kid Hungry, to help kick childhood hunger into the farthest reaches of The Outer Rim. Check out a new commercial below that shows what a Star Wars cantina might be like if it were a Denny's and all the patrons were throwing down for a "Hand of Sabbac!"