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    Doris Tapia never imagined that she would get to watch the Oscars at a party in Los Angeles, exchanging the sneakers she wears when she takes care of children in New York for a pair of high heel shoes. The Peruvian nanny is among dozens of domestic workers who will be honored Sunday as the 'heroes of our homes' in a red carpet event organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The event also has the support of 'Roma' director Alfonso Cuarón, activist Tarana Burke and actresses Diane Guerrero, Eva Longoria and Olga Segura. 'It is a privilege to be part of this event. I could have never imagined I would be stepping in a place like this,' Tapia said in Spanish, shortly before her trip to Hollywood. 'And yesterday trying our dresses on! It was such a lovely experience of camaraderie,' she added later about the garments donated by Rent the Runway. The Mexican movie 'Roma' is nominated for 10 Academy Awards and stars Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, a domestic worker for a Mexico City middle-class family in the turbulent early 1970s. It has given domestic workers global visibility and started a conversation about the importance of their job after years of being poorly paid and underappreciated. 'There are 2 million women who do this work and are not protected by our labor laws,' said Ai-jen Poo, executive director at the alliance, an organization founded in 2007 that promotes the rights of domestic workers in the Unites States. 'They are taking care of our families, but they can't take care of their own families doing this work,' she said. 'We think this is a huge opportunity to expand our support for making these jobs dignified jobs and for valuing' the workers. Inspired by his childhood, Cuarón has dedicated 'Roma' to his nanny Libo. Since its August debut at the Venice Film Festival, where it earned the Golden Lion, it has received accolades and awards at the Golden Globes and the British film academy's BAFTAs, among others. Meanwhile, the director has advocated for domestic workers' rights and has spoken against racial discrimination in Mexico, where the success of Aparicio — a newcomer of indigenous origin and the daughter of a domestic worker — has generated derogatory remarks. Cuarón recently made a public service announcement calling on employers of domestic workers to 'pay fairly, set clear expectations, and provide paid time off.' He also invited support of Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, a legislative effort to provide rights and protection denied for decades, as well as use of Alia (https://www.myalia.org/,) a benefits platform for housecleaners created by the alliance. 'If it wasn't for the work that domestic workers were doing in homes ... (other) people wouldn't be able to go do other jobs,' said Monica Ramirez, gender justice campaign director for the alliance. On Sunday, the organization will be celebrating 'Roma' as a 'beautiful movie' and because of its social impact. Poo noted that the film made the experience and work of Cleo visible and also humanized her. 'It reminds us that women who do this work are women — they are mothers, they are friends, they are daughters,' she said. 'She's a whole human being, and those stories are so invisible in our popular culture. So we celebrate the film.' Tapia, who moved to the U.S. almost two decades ago, had attended the premiere of 'Roma' at the Lincoln Center in New York, where 'there was no shortage of tears,' she said. She expects to see the film win multiple Academy Awards. 'But in fact, to me it is already a champion,' she said enthusiastically. ___ Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/sigalratner . ___ Online: https://www.www.domesticworkers.org/
  • Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have arrived in Morocco for an official trip scheduled to be their last international journey before she gives birth to their first child. Meghan is seven months pregnant and is expected to have their child in April. The royal couple's schedule begins Sunday in the town of Asni in the Atlas Mountains to hear about the education of girls in rural communities. They will then travel to Rabat to meet with diplomats, influential women, young entrepreneurs and disabled athletes. The visit will also include a trip to the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports to observe horses that provide support to children with special needs. Harry and Meghan plan to return to Britain Tuesday.
  • The Latest on the sexual abuse case against R&B singer R. Kelly (all times local): 3 p.m. Lawyer Michael Avenatti says it's 'outrageous' that R. Kelly's attorney questions whether the singer's accusers are telling the truth about being sexually abused by the R&B singer. Avenatti, who says he represents two Kelly victims and gave prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, said Saturday that, 'We're going to do everything in our power ... to make sure 2019 is not a repeat of 2008.' He was referring to Kelly's 2008 child pornography trial, in which the singer was acquitted. Kelly's lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said Saturday after a judge set Kelly's bond at $1 million that Kelly 'is a rock star. He doesn't have to have nonconsensual sex.' Referring to the #MeToo movement, Greenberg said, 'Unfortunately, there's this whole hashtag movement. Just because someone says something now ... it doesn't make them credible.' ___ 2 p.m. R. Kelly's lawyer rejects the allegations that the R&B singer sexually abused anyone, telling reporters: 'He is a rock star. He doesn't have to have nonconsensual sex.' Greenberg made the comments Saturday after a judge set a $1 million bond for Kelly, who was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four females, including three who were underage at the time. Greenberg says he's happy with the bond amount, but Kelly doesn't have much money because he says mismanagement by others put the singer in financial straits. He says Kelly is trying to get the bond money together and hopes to get out of jail later Saturday. ___ 1:40 p.m. The lawyer for R. Kelly says any sexual contact between the R&B singer and the four people he's charged with sexually abusing might have been consensual.. Steve Greenberg made the comment to reporters Saturday after a judge set Kelly's bond at $1 million. But he says he hasn't seen any evidence yet. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. The 52-year-old Grammy winner's lawyer said Friday that he's confident Kelly will be vindicated. ___ 1:20 p.m. A prosecutor told the judge at R. Kelly's bond hearing in Chicago that the singer met one of the four people he's charged with sexually abusing during his 2008 child pornography trial. The prosecutor says the two met when he gave her an autograph, and that she was underage at the time. Kelly was acquitted at that trial, which stemmed from a video purported to show him having sex with an underage girl as young as 13. The prosecutor says Kelly sexually abused the girl he met during the trial between 2009 and 2010. Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. ___ 1:10 p.m. A judge has set R&B singer R. Kelly's bond at $1 million. Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. said during Saturday's hearing in Chicago that the amount equals $250,000 for each of the four people he's charged with sexually abusing. Lyke called the allegations against Kelly 'disturbing' during the hearing. The singer stared at the floor while the judge was speaking and looked dejected. Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. The 52-year-old Grammy winner's lawyer said Friday that he's confident Kelly will be vindicated. ___ 1:05 p.m. R. Kelly's lawyer has asked a judge to release the R&B singer on bond. Attorney Steve Greenberg told Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. during Saturday's bonding hearing that, 'Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn't like to fly,' in reference to the Grammy-award winner's hit 'I believe I can fly.' The judge called the allegations against Kelly 'disturbing' as the singer stared at the floor looking dejected. Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. The 52-year-old Grammy winner's lawyer said Friday that he's confident Kelly will be vindicated. ___ 12:50 p.m. R. Kelly has arrived at a Chicago court hearing where a judge will decide bond in the sexual abuse case against the R&B singer. The judge at Saturday's hearing, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., is the same judge who presided over 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett's bond hearing earlier this week. Kelly was booked Friday on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four female victims, including three who were between the ages of 13 and 17 at the time. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx says the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. Kelly was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. The 52-year-old Grammy winner's lawyer said Friday that he's confident Kelly will be vindicated. ___ 12:05 a.m. R&B singer R. Kelly is expected to appear in a Chicago court one day after being arrested and charged with aggravated sexual abuse. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced 10 counts Friday against the Grammy winner. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. The charges involved four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17. Chicago police say Kelly was taken into custody after the 52-year-old singer surrendered Friday night. He was scheduled to be arraigned Saturday. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct, but he has been dogged for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. ___ Check out the AP's complete coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly.
  • Filmmaker Stanley Donen, a giant of the Hollywood musical who through such classics as 'Singin' in the Rain' and 'Funny Face' helped give us some of the most joyous sounds and images in movie history, has died. He was 94. Donen, who often teamed with Gene Kelly but also worked with Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire, died Thursday in New York from heart failure, his sons Joshua and Mark Donen confirmed Saturday. The 1940s and '50s were the prime era for Hollywood musicals and no filmmaker contributed more to the magic than Donen, among the last survivors from that era and one willing to extend the limits of song and dance into the surreal. He was part of the unit behind such unforgettable scenes as Kelly dancing with an animated Jerry the mouse in 'Anchors Aweigh,' Astaire's gravity-defying spin across the ceiling in 'Royal Wedding,' and, the all-time triumph, Kelly ecstatically splashing about as he performs the title number in 'Singin' in the Rain.' Steven Spielberg recalled Donen as a 'friend and early mentor' for whom life and film were inseparable. 'His generosity in giving over so many of his weekends in the late 60's to film students like me to learn about telling stories and placing lenses and directing actors is a time I will never forget,' Spielberg said on Saturday. The filmmaker Guillermo del Toro said, 'Before Stanley Donen actors sang, actors danced. He made the camera dance and the colors sing.' A 2007 American Film Institute survey of the top 100 American movies ranked 'Singin' in the Rain,' with its inventive take on Hollywood's transition from silent to talking pictures in the 1920s and Kelly's famous dance in a downpour, at No. 5. Donen was asked in 2002 whether the filmmakers knew that 'Singin' in the Rain,' released in 1952 and also starring Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor, would be revered decades later. 'You can't get through a movie if you don't think it's good,' he told The Associated Press. 'Certainly we thought it was good. More than that? I don't know. You don't think about that. You just think about how you can do it.' Both the film and Donen were at first underrated. 'Singin' in the Rain' was initially seen as high entertainment rather than art and was not even nominated for a best picture or directing Academy Award. Donen, overshadowed by Kelly early in his career, never received a competitive Oscar nomination and waited until 1998 for an honorary award, presented to him by Martin Scorsese. He was more than ready. Donen danced cheek-to-cheek with his Oscar statuette, which he called 'this cute little fella.' The crowd yelled and applauded as he crooned, 'Heaven, I'm in heaven,' from Irving Berlin's 'Cheek to Cheek.' During his acceptance speech, he explained his formula for a great musical. Bring in songwriters like Adolph Green and Betty Comden, and performers like Kelly or Astaire or Sinatra. 'And when filming starts,' he added, 'you show up and you stay the hell out of the way.' Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Donen would remember movies — especially those with Astaire and Ginger Rogers— as a needed escape from the tensions of being one of the few Jews in his community. He took tap dancing lessons in his teens and began his show business career as a performer, dancing in the original Broadway production of 'Pal Joey' at age 16. The title role was played by Kelly, and the show's success propelled Kelly into the movies. Donen received his first Hollywood break when Kelly got him a job helping choreograph the 1944 Kelly film 'Cover Girl.' Over the next few years, he worked on choreography for such films as 'The Kissing Bandit,' starring Sinatra, and 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' starring Sinatra and Kelly, who teamed with Donen on choreography. 'Singin' in the Rain' was one of three films credited to Kelly and Donen as co-directors; the others were 'On the Town,' the 1949 Kelly-Sinatra musical about sailors on leave in New York City, and the darker 'It's Always Fair Weather,' in which three soldier friends reunite a decade later. The co-director credits — rare in films — came out of a tense relationship between Donen and the star, who had played such an important role in advancing Donen's career. Donen would later speak resentfully of Kelly, who died in 1996, as being cold and condescending and not fully appreciative of his contributions. They parted for good after 'It's Always Fair Weather,' which came out in 1955. 'He could be difficult with me and everyone else,' the director told The New York Times in 1996. 'It was always a complicated collaboration.' Other Donen films included 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' (1954), with its superlative athletic choreography; 'Damn Yankees' (1958), the remake of the Broadway smash about a baseball fan's temptation; and 'Funny Face,' in which Astaire teamed up with Audrey Hepburn to play a fashion photographer and his unlikely muse. Astaire's character in 'Funny Face' was modeled on Richard Avedon, and the famed photographer served as a consultant to Donen. 'Nothing is more fun than finding someone who stimulates you, and who can be stimulated by you,' Donen said in John Kobal's book 'Gotta Sing Gotta Dance: A Pictorial History of Film Musicals.' ''The result, rather than just adding up to two and two, multiplies itself, and you find yourself doing much better things — you are both carried away on the crest of excitement.' Donen worked in various genres. 'Indiscreet' (1958) was a light farce starring Grant and Ingrid Bergman, and 'Two for the Road' (1967), with Hepburn and Albert Finney, was an unusually acerbic and tense marital comedy for its time, far removed from the carefree spirit of his musicals. (Donen himself was married five times and had an embroidered pillow in his New York apartment reading 'EAT DRINK AND RE-MARRY'.) One Donen film, the chic mystery 'Charade' (1963), reminded viewers of a Hitchcock thriller. 'Charade' starred Hepburn as a precocious socialite whose husband has been murdered, and Grant — who appeared in four Hitchcock films — as a mysterious man who may or may not be helping her. Donen steadfastly denied any Hitchcock influence, while adding that the master of suspense 'doesn't own the genre.' Donen had three sons; the oldest, Peter, died in 2003 of a heart attack at age 50. His first wife, dancer Jeanne Coyne, later married Kelly. His fourth wife was the screen star Yvette Mimieux. Over the past two decades, his companion was the filmmaker-comedian Elaine May. None of his more recent films approached the heights of his most famous work. The nadir may have been 1984's 'Blame It on Rio,' a comedy about a man (Michael Caine) who has an affair with his friend's young daughter. Roger Ebert slammed the film as 'clearly intended to appeal to the prurient interests of dirty old men of all ages.' Other credits include a musical segment for the 1980s TV comedy 'Moonlighting' and a stage production of 'The Red Shoes.' In 1999, he directed the ABC television movie 'Love Letters,' which starred Steven Weber and Laura Linney. 'There are limits to TV,' Donen told The Associated Press in 1999. 'And that's what was fun: to try to find a way to be surprising within limits. I'm always looking for limits, because then you have to be inventive.
  • The 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards have a few things the Oscars don't: a host and female filmmaker nominees. The annual awards honoring independent film will be handed out Saturday in a tent on the Santa Monica, California, beach and broadcast live on IFC at 2 p.m. PST. Aubrey Plaza will be hosting this year's show which includes fewer Oscar contenders than usual. The top nominees are Bo Burnham's coming-of-age tale 'Eighth Grade,' Lynne Ramsey's existentialist thriller 'You Were Never Really Here,' Paul Schrader's religious drama 'First Reformed' and Jeremiah Zagar's lyrical 'We the Animals.' While the Oscars feature no women nominated for best director, the Spirits have three: Ramsey, Tamara Jenkins ('Private Life') and Debra Granik ('Leave No Trace'). The Spirits' best-picture winner has often predicted Oscar, including 'Moonlight,' ''Spotlight,' ''Birdman' and '12 Years a Slave.' But last year Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' took the Spirits' top honor before Guillermo del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' won at the Academy Awards. A casual, oceanside precursor to Sunday's Oscars, the Spirit Awards will this year surely differ. None of the best picture nominees are up for the same award at the Oscars. And none of this year's nominees pack anything like the box-office punch of 'Get Out,' which grossed $255 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget. Up for best film are: 'Leave No Trace,' ''Eight Grade,' ''You Were Never Really Here' and Barry Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk.' The Spirit Awards limit nominees to films with budgets pf $20 million and under, eliminating bigger budget contenders like 'Black Panther' and 'A Star Is Born.' They also focus on American movies, limiting Oscar nominees like 'Roma' and 'The Favourite,' which are both nominated for best international film. Winners are chosen by Film Independent, which includes critics, filmmakers, actors, festival programmers, past winners and nominees, and members of its board
  • Color was the watch word on the fourth day Saturday of the mostly womenswear collections during Milan Fashion Week. The Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli fashion houses each set off neutrals with bursts of hues while combining their women's and men's previews for Fall/Winter 2019-20. Ferragamo's color palette ranged from a peacock blue to an icy sage, mauve with forest green, while the Cavalli collection turned on a melange of turquoise, magenta, ochre, saffron and sky blue. Another trend on Milan runways this season: including older models, a sign that fashion houses are taking their laser focus off millennials and returning it to a significant luxury demographic. Some highlights of Saturday's shows: ___ SALVATORE FERRAGAMO OWNS LEATHER Salvatore Ferragamo's latest collection drew inspiration from the brand's heritage with sculpted heels on footwear, a fresh emphasis on leather ready-to-wear and lots of color, combining innovation and craftsmanship to create a modern vibe. The combined womenswear and menswear collections included leather apparel for day and night, stretching beyond overcoats and footwear. That included long leather skirts with a pretty slit, a long black leather evening gown and a leather jumpsuit, as well as sportier suits for him and for her. 'Being a luxury heritage brand, I feel like we should own leather dressing,' said Ferragamo creative director Paul Andrew. A Nappa leather puffer coat that had the sheen of technical fabric in a luxurious chocolate brown summed up the collection's innovation. 'You pick it up and it's lightweight. It's built in a way that you can just sort of scrunch it up into nothing,' Andrew said. The brand's signature footwear included a remastered sculpted heel inspired by a 1968 design by Fiamma Ferragama for women and rugged Nubuck trekking boots for men. Andrew included older models on the runway because 'they really epitomize the woman that I am going after. In fact, Ferragamo is not dressing 17-year-old girls only. We also have clients who are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70.' Andrew, who joined Ferragamo in 2016 as shoe designer then added womenswear, was named this week as creative director for the fashion house. He will continue the collaboration Guillaume Meilland, head of menswear, with both working across the segments for a complete vision. _____ ROBERTO CAVALLI REINVENTS ANIMAL PRINTS Creative director Paul Surridge's opening look for Roberto Cavalli was a print with the power and shades of an Arizona sunset, giving the brand's heritage animal print designs a fresh new twist and planting color at the center of the new collection. The collection offered women and men a sense of freedom in both movement and dressing. A pleated mini-dress billowed into evening length in the back, while knit dresses echoed the silkier pleating, projecting a contemporary silhouette with stronger shoulders and narrow bodice. Standout pieces included dresses decorated with shells and studs to create a rich pattern and snug, beaded art-deco evening dresses with cut-outs to reveal an under-layer that Surridge said was meant to be suggestive of a body tattoo. Coats for men featured exaggerated buttons and closures, while suits were dressed up with colorful patterned turtlenecks under suit jackets and shirts. For younger dressers, there were ski vests over big animal-print anoraks and matching tops, with the brand's new Vortex sneaker. 'It's about pushing boundaries. You have to be inclusive, not only on body shape but also age, and offering modern solutions for day, evening and cocktail,' Surridge said backstage. ____ GIORGIO ARMANI'S RHAPSODY IN BLUE Giorgio Armani cast blue accents over his elegant collection for next fall and winter, with sculpted details recalling roses, or mini-cyclones. Armani held the combined women's and men's preview for the first time in his Silos museum, which collects and encapsulates the designer's creations. The female silhouette was elongated, accentuating curves, while the looks for men were strong and classic. Together they cut an elegant, evening figure. In fact, the collection shown under twilight lighting contained no strictly daytime looks. For women, dark suits featured short jackets with woven ribbon details in contrasting midnight blue and pants with a jodhpur profile. Long evening coats had sculpted necks. Belts and handbags both had ruffles that gave voluminous accent to the looks. An iridescent rose appeared on a top. The fronts of jackets were constructed to resemble a rose petal. Velvet pantsuits sparkled. Beyond the classic suits with slim fitting pants and structured jackets, men could choose from a loose velvet coat over a satiny shirt for a more indulgent, relaxed silhouette. Armani called the men's and women's collections 'complementary expressions of the same vision, united through the color blue.' ____ MISSONI'S BLUE LIGHT Missoni's looks for next fall and winter were heavily stylized -- giving an entree to anyone aspiring to enter the Missoni family. The combined menswear and womenswear looks were shown under a cast of blue light Womenswear was heavily accessorized by the family-run brand's own woven accents. There were dainty knit collars, often with a sparkle and slightly gathered, detached sleeves to accompany sleeveless tops, dickies that sometimes were long enough to be scarves, and hoods, ubiquitous hoods, that were less sporty and more for an elegant head cover. Knit belts cinched at the waist gave shape to open sweaters or dresses. Wraps were long and enveloping, often over finely knit pantsuits or pencil skirts. Jumpsuits cast a youthful silhouette. Looks were finished with rolled beanies. Menswear was relaxed, with robe-like outerwear over striped knits and easy trousers. A sparkly men's sweater faded from twilight to deepest night, and was worn with a sparkly knit foulard. 'The chroma allows everything to come back,' creative director Angela Missoni said in notes. 'As such, it shows no nostalgia.
  • Taking center stage in the weekly protests against Serbia's autocratic president was a role that actor siblings Sergej and Branislav Trifunovic felt compelled to play. The two brothers are among the main public faces of the demonstrations against populist leader Aleksandar Vucic's firm grip on power that started in early December. They march with the masses and speak at rallies. Sergej Trifunovic also has taken a role leading a liberal political movement. The Trifunovics, who act in Serbian theater productions, films and TV shows, say they couldn't bow out from the struggle for democracy in the Balkan country because they believe everyone should do their part. Sergei says 'we can't just sit with our hands on our backs, waiting for a messiah to fall from the sky and solve our problems.
  • Yalitza Aparicio, the Oscar-nominated, first-time actress in 'Roma,' is finding strong support among Mexican-American women who identify with her indigenous roots despite backlash she is receiving in Mexico. Some Mexican-American women say they are glad Aparicio's high-profile role is challenging typical images of light-skinned Latinas in Spanish-language films and TV shows, and they are expressing pride that she's the first indigenous woman to be nominated for best actress at the Oscars. U.S. Latina Aparicio fans are holding Oscar watch parties, commenting to each other online with excitement and sharing on social media every move Aparicio makes. 'She's brown girl magic,' said Jennie Luna, a Chicana/o Studies professor at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, California. 'My students can't stop talking about her.' The praise north of the U.S.-Mexico border among fans of Mexican descent comes as Aparicio, who is from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, faces racist attacks online in her homeland and scorn from some Mexican actors. More recently, Mexican actor Sergio Goyri was caught on video criticizing Aparicio's nomination and using a racial slur to describe her. He later apologized. After she appeared on the cover of Vogue México last year, Aparicio was hit with a tirade of online racist comments that criticize her physical appearance. 'I am proud to be an Oaxacan indigenous woman and it saddens me that there are people who do not know the correct meaning of words,' Aparicio, who is of Mixtec descent, said in a statement earlier this month. In 'Roma,' Aparicio plays Cleo, a domestic worker for a Mexico City middle-class family in the turbulent early 1970s. She speaks in an indigenous dialect and in Spanish and works to navigate the different worlds for her own survival. Aparicio, a 25-year-old primary school teacher, is nominated alongside Glenn Close, Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman and Melissa McCarthy at Sunday's Oscars. Astrid Silva, an immigrant rights activist in Las Vegas whose parents are from Mexico, said many Mexican-American women and Mexican immigrants in the U.S. see themselves in Aparicio for many reasons. 'She's a dark-skinned woman (who) comes from a poor region in Mexico like many of our families,' Silva said. 'She's not only challenging old notions of beauty that always involved blond hair and light skin. She's threatening them.' Aparicio's popularity is especially strong in California where many Mexican-Americans can trace their roots to migrants from the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Michoacán and Guerrero. Those states have vibrant, diverse indigenous populations that historically faced discrimination in Mexico. 'We've been working to rediscover our indigenous roots and Aparicio's presence is showing that we matter,' said Lilia Soto, an American Studies professor at the University of Wyoming, who grew up in Napa, California. 'The racism she's facing in Mexico also is an attack against us.' Soto said Aparicio also is popular among Mexican immigrants in New York City who largely come from the Mexican state of Pueblo — another region with an indigenous population. When Aparicio visited New York City last year, she was treated to a hero's welcome among the Mexican immigrants she encountered. Silva said she hadn't planned on watching the Academy Awards until she heard about Aparicio's nomination and 'Roma's' best picture nod. 'It's hard to describe. It's not just pride we're feeling,' Silva said. 'Yalitza is just...us.' ___ Associated Press Writer Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press' race and ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras ___ For full coverage of the Oscars, visit: https://apnews.com/AcademyAwards
  • Prosecutors on Saturday painted a dark portrait of a manipulative and sometimes violent R. Kelly, describing how he repeatedly sought out underage girls for sex, including one he encountered at her 16th birthday party and another who met the R&B star while he was on trial for child pornography. The accounts emerged as Kelly made his first court appearance since being accused of sexually abusing four people in a case that could produce another #MeToo reckoning for a celebrity. A judge gave Kelly a chance to go free while awaiting trial, setting bond at $1 million. That means the 52-year-old Grammy winner must post $100,000 to be released or remain behind bars until he is tried on the allegations that date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade. The prosecution released four documents — one for each accuser — outlining the basis for the charges. A 16-year-old girl reported meeting Kelly in 1998 at a restaurant where she was having a birthday party. Kelly's manager gave her the singer's business card and suggested she call Kelly. The girl's mother heard the exchange, took the card and told the manager her daughter was 16. But her daughter later retrieved the card from her purse. She contacted Kelly, who gave her instructions and money that she assumed was for the taxi fare to his studio, where they had sex periodically for a year, the documents said. Another accuser, also 16, met Kelly at his 2008 trial, where he gave her an autograph. He later invited her to his home in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields, where they had sex multiple times, according to the documents, which said he also slapped, choked and spit on her. In early 2003, a Chicago hairdresser told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid Kelly's hair, but he pulled down his pants and instead tried to force her to give him oral sex. The woman, who was 24, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, the documents said. Prosecutors also described a witness who had access to videotapes showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The witness turned the tape over to authorities and identified the girl, who repeatedly states her age on the footage, according to the documents. Kelly's DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser's shirts, and semen found on a shirt worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said. It was not clear when the accusers turned the shirts over to authorities, whether it was shortly after the abuse or more recently. At the bond hearing, Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said his client is not a flight risk. He told the judge, 'Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn't like to fly.' One of Kelly's best-known hits is 'I Believe I Can Fly.' Greenberg said Kelly 'really doesn't have any more money,' suggesting that others had mismanaged his wealth. Still, he said he expected that Kelly would be able to come up with enough money for bail. The judge called the allegations 'disturbing.' The singer-songwriter looked down at the floor as the judge spoke. After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex. 'He's a rock star. He doesn't have to have nonconsensual sex,' Greenberg said. The judge ordered Kelly to surrender his passport, ending his hopes of doing a tour of Europe in April. Kelly defiantly scheduled concerts in Germany and the Netherlands despite the cloud of legal issues looming over him. Greenberg denied that any tour was planned. The recording artist, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. He was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. He broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, '12 Play,' which produced such popular sex-themed songs as 'Bump N' Grind' and 'Your Body's Callin'.' He rose from poverty on Chicago's South Side and has retained a sizable following. Kelly has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher. The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that centered on a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison. Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are cooperating this time and willing to testify. Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state's attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offense under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence. Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison, and the sentences could be served consecutively, making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years. Probation is also an option. The walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary 'Surviving R. Kelly,' which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a 'sex cult.' #MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly's music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly's Chicago studio. The prosecution said in the indictment that abuse that happened more than two decades ago still falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18. ___ Check out the AP's complete coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly.
  • Vietnamese authorities are not amused by the antics of two impersonators of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. The duo has been making rounds of Hanoi, taking pictures with curious onlookers ahead of the second summit of the two leaders next week. However, on late Friday, a Kim lookalike, the Hong Kong-based impersonator who uses the name Howard X, posted on Facebook that about 15 police or immigration officers demanded a mandatory 'interview' with them following a talk they gave at the state-run VTC station. 'They then said that this was a very sensitive time in the city due to the Trump/Kim summit and that our impersonation was causing a 'disturbance' and ... suggested that we do not do the impersonation in public for the duration of our stay as these presidents have many enemies and that it was for our own safety.' According to Howard X, there was a back-and-forth with an unnamed Vietnamese officer who 'did not seem pleased with my answer' and threatened the impersonators with deportation, saying they were breaking immigration rules. Finally, he said they were driven back to their hotel and told to stay put until authorities decide how to treat them. 'Although I am not surprised that I got detained for doing my impersonation in Vietnam, it's still pretty annoying. What it shows is that Vietnam has a long way to go before they will be a developed country and I wonder if they ever will under these conditions,' he wrote on his Facebook page. 'If the Vietnamese authorities are willing to give this kind of harassment over something as trivial as an impersonation to a high profile foreigner, imagine what all the Vietnamese artists, musicians, film producers and all the political activists have to endure for simply wanting to release a controversial film, songs or for simply speaking up about real injustices in this country.' Vietnam is a tightly controlled communist country that tolerates no dissent. Howard X was also questioned by Singaporean immigration authorities when he and his colleague appeared in the city-state for the first Kim-Trump summit last June. The impersonator's real name is Lee Howard Ho Wun.