Remembering Gilbert Baker, Creator of the LGBT Flag

Getty Images
Getty Images

June 2 marks Gilbert Baker’s birthday, and although you might not know his name, you’re almost certainly familiar with his most enduring contribution: the rainbow flag that’s become synonymous with the LGBT rights movement.

Baker—who is being honored with a Google Doodle today—was born in Chanute, Kansas in 1951. After a stint in the Army, he settled in San Francisco, which had seen itself transform into a community that both welcomed and endorsed civil rights for women and other under-represented segments of society. Because Baker had taught himself to sew, friends would often ask if he could create something that could be identified with the rising number of men who were coming out of the closet in San Francisco and elsewhere. For protests and marches, community members wanted a symbol to help communicate the idea of a unified stand.

Some earlier banners had used a pink triangle, a reclaiming of the same symbol used by Nazis to identify gay men in concentration camps during World War II. In 1978, prominent gay rights advocate Harvey Milk asked Baker for an original emblem. With the help of volunteers, Baker filled several trash cans with dye, dipped fabric, and emerged with a rainbow flag with eight stripes.

Each color had a distinct meaning: Orange indicated healing; yellow meant sunlight; violet meant spirit. Following Milk’s assassination that same year, demand for the flag grew so intense that Baker, who couldn’t quite keep up with production, reduced the number of colored stripes to six. (He would later partner with a manufacturing company to make sure the flags were readily available.)

Although Baker could refer to its creation with some levity—he once called himself the “gay Betsy Ross”—it was clear that he was touched by how deeply the flag had embedded itself into the fabric of civil rights. “What the rainbow has given our people is a thing that connects us,” he once said. “I can go to another country, and if I see a rainbow flag, I feel like that’s someone who is a kindred spirit or [that it’s] a safe place to go. It’s sort of a language, and it’s also proclaiming power.”

The flag went on to become ubiquitous, with Baker—who died in March 2017 at age 65—credited with creating an iconic visual that could communicate the demand for tolerance in an instant. In 2003, he helped with the creation of the largest LGBT flag ever, one that covered more than a mile of Key West. When gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in 2015, more than 26 million Facebook users changed their profile image to include the flag’s design. And in 2015, the Museum of Modern Art inducted it into its design collection.

Marvel Fan Creates Petition to Bring Back Luke Cage Following Netflix Cancellation

David Lee, Netflix
David Lee, Netflix

Fans are still shocked over Netflix's cancellation of ​Luke Cage​. For many, it's the end to an important series that tackled racial issues and privilege with a predominantly black cast. So Marvel fans are fighting to bring it back.

Luke Hunter took to Change.org and launched a petition for ​Netflix to bring back the two-time People's Choice Award-nominated show.

Luke Cage is the finest Marvel show in existence," the petition plea begins. "It exemplifies heroics, sassy banter, great music, and family fun. The cancellation of this beloved show is utterly flabbergasting. We must fight to save our hero of Harlem as he fights for us. Save Power Man!”

The petition, which started yesterday, already has 2060 signees, with a goal of 2500 signatures.

Luke Cage is one of many Marvel shows that Netflix has axed in recent months. The streaming service ​cancelled Iron Fist just last week.

Unfortunately, Marvel’s Luke Cage will not return for a third season," Marvel and Netflix announced in a joint statement. "Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem’s Hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who have supported the series."

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Disney has no plans to bring back the show on its ​upcoming streaming service, or on any other platform.

Halloween Breaks Franchise Record With $77.5M Opening

Ryan Green, Universal Pictures
Ryan Green, Universal Pictures

Horror fans have waited nearly a decade to see ​Michael Myers return to the big screen, and have finally gotten to see the knife-wielding serial killer return in an exhilarating and frightening new movie.

The nine-year wait for a new Halloween movie was the longest in the series' history, and it did not disappoint—especially when it came to its box office haul. In North America, ​Variety reports that the movie earned $77.5 million over the weekend after launching on nearly 4000 screens. It's the second-highest October debut in history, only behind this year's Venom.

The new film, which is directed by David Gordon Green, obliterated the series' previous record-holder, Rob Zombie's polarizing 2007 remake, which made $26 million in its first weekend.

"I am enormously proud of this film,” producer Jason Blum said in a statement. “Halloween brings the franchise back to life in a fresh, relevant, and fun way that is winning over fans and critics alike.”

Early estimates were targeting a $65 million opening weekend, but it hardly comes as a surprise that fans came out in droves to see the movie. Not only is Halloween a direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 classic, which is easily the most acclaimed film in the series' history, but it also saw ​Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her iconic role as Laurie Strode.

Curtis wasn't the only returning player; ​John Carpenter came on board as the executive producer, which marks his first direct involvement in the series since 1981's Halloween 2.

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