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From an awkward scene with a knife to an A-listers comeback with the sounds of Fiona Apple, Guardian writers pick their favourite big screen bits of the year

The ride Ford v Ferrari

Photograph: Merrick Morton/AP

In Ford v Ferrari (AKA Le Mans 66), Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) has been tasked by the Man in the guise of Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) to build a racer that can beat those rotten eye-talians who think they are better than us. Shelby can do it, but he needs Letts to get off his back with the rules and regs and let his genius soar! (Ayn Rand would love this movie.) After some comedic business, Ford winds up in the test vehicle alone with Shelby, who zooms him through sphincter-clenching turns at incredible speeds. When he slams the brakes, Ford sobs.

At first you think the scene is just to mock the unmanliness of this pencil-pushing suit. Then it changes. Shelbys velocity has so rattled Fords emotions he explodes in grief that his late father cant see his name on such a powerhouse, and in deep sadness that hes not a man of vision himself. He recognizes in Shelby everything he isnt, and it floods out his eyes and nose. It is a weirdly tender moment, reminding us that even comedic baddies in a dad film are people, too. JH

The strip Hustlers

Photograph: Barbara Nitke/AP

Jennifer Lopezs dazzling pole dance caused a ripple of gasps around the screening room where I saw Lorene Scafarias clever con movie Hustlers. Its not just that J-Lo looks so great for her, or anyone elses, age. And its not just that the moves required for this dance are so demanding, she later released a YouTube video of the rehearsals in which she gazed horrorstruck at her own bruised thighs. Its mostly that its a very old-school star move: the flaunting of talent, professionalism and charisma that we associate with a routine by say, Fred Astaire. But also, Ramona is the films central enigma and this moment, her first appearance, sums up the movie.

Her gymnastic display inspires something more tangible than mere lust: admiration (from an overawed Constance Wu), and financial reward. Ramona hugs those dollar bills close to her heart as she strides off stage. The choice of song, Fiona Apples Criminal, is as prophetic as her payoff line is prescient: Doesnt money make you horny? PH

The arrival Homecoming

Photograph: Parkwood Entertainment

A quote from Toni Morrison, some grainy analog establishing shots of the Coachella grounds, and then: it is time. The camera dollies up to a drum majorette who taps out a count, mean-mugs for a moment, and then blows her whistle to summon the demi-deity known as Beyonc Knowles-Carter. The director of photographys choreography works in perfect tandem with the dancers as one continuous shot pulls forward while they twirl out of the way to reveal Queen B, so resplendent and regal that both the nickname and the crowds slavering idol-worship of her instantly make sense.

To the strains of a HBCU-styled marching band, she strides down a catwalk to the stage with one foot in front of the other to maximize the swing of her hips. She might as well be walking on water, so supremely in command of this massive spectacle that she reminds us why we talk about pop stars in religious terms. CB

The evaluator Marriage Story

Photograph: Netflix

As rapturous as the reception might have been for Noah Baumbachs shattering divorce saga Marriage Story on the festival circuit this fall, no one could have predicted its instant virality earlier this month when it landed on Netflix. But while Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanssons devastating argument became its most memed moment, its the lighter, yet still astute, set piece involving a court-appointed evaluator that made the biggest impression on me.

Its a perfectly calibrated sequence of awkwardness with Drivers theatre director Charlie painfully determined to show that hes a stable parent but knowing, as his soon-to-be-divorced wife says earlier on, that outside observation on any given day would reveal flawed parenting. This tension lingers throughout as he tries to bury his instinctive reaction to his sons gentle insolence while trying, unsuccessfully, to seek some humanity or humour from the unknowable visitor Nancy Katz, played hysterically by the standup comic Martha Katz. Im not sure if another line has amused me this year quite as much as Charlies son asking him to do the thing with the knife over dinner in front of an understandably suspect Nancy and silently raging Charlie. Uncomfortably brushing it off, he eventually decides to explain his trick but it goes horribly, stomach-churningly wrong and he ends up bleeding profusely while trying, yet again, to pretend everything is fine. Its gruesomely, outrageously funny and a reminder of Baumbachs ability to make drastic yet effortless tonal switches. BL

The karaoke Booksmart

At a graduation eve party in Booksmart, one of the most criminally underseen movies of the year, shy overachiever Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) sits on the floor in a crowded room, sloshing through the end of her drink and admiring an overconfident theater friend belt out Alanis Morissettes You Oughta Know on a karaoke mic. Amy, out for two years but inexperienced, spends most of the film careening from confident and brash, in the presence of best friend Molly (Beanie Feldstein), to tongue-tied in front of Ryan (Victoria Ruesga), her crush of two years; when Ryan hands her the mic halfway through the song, the sound cuts out a fever pitch of nerves. But then Amy crushes it, nailing the songs ending and revealing to her classmates that, low-key, she can sing.

This scene does an impressive amount in about a minute, namely: live out the fantasy that has occupied about 65% of my daydreams since age 13 (I cant sing), prove that Dever has ARRIVED, salute an ultimate banger of a song. But it also captures the warm invincibility at the bottom of your first drink, the high of leaning into someone elses confidence or of unlocking that fearlessness in yourself the type of finely observed, wild yet grounded fun that made Booksmart one of the most resonant high school movies in a long time. AH

The fuckbox – High Life

Photograph: Allstar/Alcatraz Films

When Claire Deniss desolately beautiful science-fiction nightmare High Life premiered at the Toronto film festival, the fuckbox scene became a brief but intense meme for the few on film Twitter who had seen it: in a film that was hard to describe and distil as a whole, it was the salacious detail singled out to pique others interest. Thats a reductive way to tease a film prickling with so many layers of philosophical and sensual detail, but once seen in context, its also an entirely indelible image: Juliette Binoche, nude and scar-torn, entering a space-borne masturbation chamber, straddling a dildo seat and riding it until, as Lil Nas X might say, she cant no more. Performed with abandon by Binoche and shot with visceral candour by Denis making a tensing, thrashing map of the actors back alone its one of the most extraordinary sex scenes in modern cinema: an expression of female erotic autonomy that outlasts any early quips about it in the memory. GL

The crying Midsommar

Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy Stock Photo

Ari Asters Midsommar is a portrait of how a toxic relationship quietly, but surely, unravels. At first its subtle: Florence Pughs Dani frets that she overburdens boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) with her own drama and mental health issues, and that her need for emotional support is unattractive. When her whole family dies suddenly, shes desperate to hold on to Christian. She appeases. She apologizes. She stifles her cries after Christian and his friends subtly pressure her into taking shrooms, as specters of her dead sister haunt her.

The whole film is about Dani feeling silenced and invalidated by a man who views himself as the saddled victim. Thats why its so weirdly refreshing when, in Midsommars terrifying climax, the Hrga women embrace Dani for who she is, cupping her face and encouraging her to sob as loudly as she wants. Crouched on the floor, they cry as one, and as their wails reach a communal crescendo, you see Dani finally finding some measure of healing. Sure, its a crazy Swedish cult, but there Dani finally finds someone who actually acknowledges her agony. GS

The tai chi – The Farewell

Photograph: AP

The quiet sentimentality of Lulu Wangs charming sleeper hit shines brightest for me in a scene where twentysomething Billi (played by Oscar-buzzed Awkwafina) and her grandmother, Nai Nai, practice tai chi outside.

Nai Nai coaches her granddaughter through some of the movements, lightly nagging Billi about practicing tai chi everyday in that cute, but kind of annoying, manner family members are known for. Its obvious Billi has no plans of practicing tai chi after this scene and doesnt deem it particularly useful. Then Nai Nai proudly and confidently credits the martial art for her continuing good health, a big smile on her face. Thing is: Billis grandmother has terminal lung cancer but does not know it. So Billi performs the tai chi movements with a renewed energy, owed to the strange mixture of guilt, sadness and stress she feels over the secret illness. She pushes out bad energy and inhales good, yelling out an awkward, meek Hai!

An hour later, at the end of the film, we see Billi walking down the streets of south Williamsburg. Shes still upset over her grandmothers cancer and visibly overwhelmed and stressed. Out of nowhere, she stops in the street, takes a deep breath and yells out a loud, reverberating Hai! The circularity of the moment Billi going from disinterest in tai chi to seeking relief through it highlights how our families can arm us with specific tools to handle the stressors of life. It reminds me of the hours me and my late grandmother would spend putting together 1,000-piece puzzles. As a kid, I was confident I would never take part in such a boring, odious activity as an adult. Today, its my favorite pastime. AW

The confrontation The Souvenir

Photograph: Bbc Films/Allstar

Generally speaking, scenes in which lovers kiss and make up following an infraction are joyful affairs. They come at the close of a movie, following heart-rending misunderstandings that have left a happy ending in jeopardy. Thats not the case in The Souvenir. After months of casual, incremental borrowing to fund his heroin habit, Anthony (Tom Burke) stages a robbery at the flat of young girlfriend Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne). This is purely to bankroll smack not the luxe trip to Venice they embark on soon after, which she pays for, and during which she twigs what hes done.

When they return to London, Julie asks and Anthony admits. But hes not sorry. Hes wounded she has brought it up his abhorrent behaviour compounded by this cavalier attitude. Youre shocked, and relieved surely shell give him the boot?

And she quietly forgives him. Anthonys arrogance and obfuscation, his hurt words about only doing what he needs to, in a world she wouldnt understand, which hes protecting her from, fall on appalling open ears. Blame is smoothly shifted. Repentant Julie strokes his foot and forgets her heirlooms.

Joanna Hogg shoots the confrontation in one static shot; the couple sitting opposite in armchairs, until Julie bridges the gap. The viewer knew the truth would out and assumed it would be a bigger scene. That its not moves the relationship into new territory. You can no longer underestimate Anthonys actions or his hold over Julie. The moment she reaches out in supplication is the chilling heart of a fairly scary film. CS

The knife fight John Wick 3

Ignore the whys (the film-makers did); basically, its Keanu Reeves versus a bunch of faceless goons in a surprisingly tooled-up antiques shop, and for me, one of the most exhilaratingly gruesome action scenes in recent memory.

It starts with a few gunmen, easily dispatched, but things really kick off when Reeves and an opponent realise they are in a corridor of glass cases packed with all manner of bladed weapons. So much glass-smashing, knife-throwing, shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, grunting and limb-twisting ensues, you can barely keep track. It is brilliantly choreographed and executed, but whats so great is how messy it all looks. And painful. Nobody is neatly killed. Knives miss their targets. The deaths get ever-more cartoonishly horrendous. And the scene ends with a flourish: the last, wounded assailant sits groaning in the foreground; from way back down the corridor Reeves hurls a final axe, which, of course, hits its target in the side of the head. The first time I watched this scene I laughed out loud in horror and admiration, which was kind of awkward as I was sitting on a crowded plane. SR

The heroin Pain and Glory

Photograph: Lifestyle pictures/Alamy Stock Photo

Painfully clean-living as I am, I have never understood why so many films I like feature the consumption of heroin. Christiane F, Trainspotting, The Souvenir, Permanent Midnight and of course, the champ: Requiem for a Dream. Now we can add another to the list: Pedro Almodvars autobiographical reverie Pain and Glory. Now, most films posit heroin as a one-way ticket to the morgue, or at least to total social dysfunction; for Almodvar, though, it seems to be the next best thing to an after-dinner mint. His alter ego Salvador (Antonio Banderas) appears to handle it all with remarkable ease, using it to soothe his emotional worries and act as a vehicle for remembrance. Experiencers of the real thing may have a different view, but I presume Almodvar knows what hes talking about. Its quite the eye-opener. AP

The brow mop Amazing Grace

Photograph: Collection Christophel/Alamy Stock Photo

Sydney Pollacks lost concert movie Amazing Grace was finally brought out this year showing the live filming in 1972 of Aretha Franklins gospel album of that name at New Temple Missionary Baptist church in Watts, Los Angeles. Franklins calm and restraint at the centre of this boiling cauldron of musical energy is compelling. The most startling moment involves her father, the Rev CL Franklin, who addresses the congregation and then, while Aretha is actually singing, he rushes forward to mop her brow. Was this the sort of thing he used to do when she was a little girl? Is it touching that he does it now? Or weirdly dysfunctional and coercive? Either way, it is a compelling image in a remarkable film. PB

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The singer and her ex-husband Marc Anthony created the nights most talked about moment to cap off overall theme of unity in difficult times ahead

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony stole the show on Thursday night as the Latin Grammy awards delivered an entertaining and unifying evening in Las Vegas.

After months of enduring divisive comments towards immigrants and the Latino community by Trumps campaign, there was an expectation of more political statements on the biggest night for the Latin music industry.

Last year for example, legendary Mexican bands Man and Los Tigres Del Norte performed the powerful Somos Ms Americanos (We Are More Americans) and held up a sign that read Latinos Unidos No Voten Por Racistas (Latinos United Dont Vote For Racists) in response to the president-elects comments about Mexican immigrants being criminals and rapists.

Instead, the Grammys decided to take a note from Michelle Obama and go high by highlighting the importance of unifying and looking forward to the future as the gala celebrated the best from this past years music, including notable performances from J Balvins Safari which featured Pharell Williams, BIA and Sky and Bronx-born Prince Royce.

Music moves us, makes us think, allow us to feel, said host and singer Roselyn Snchez. And tonight will make us feel so proud of who we are and where we come from.

There were some strong moments where artists expressed their views and spoke out, including the opening song by Pablo Lpez and Juanes, Tu Enemigo (Your Enemy), where Cirque du Soleil acrobats joined them on stage to give a message of peace and unity.

The Mexican actor Diego Luna, made the biggest political impression on the night when he said a few words as he was presenting the award for song of of the year. I have a message for all of the Latinos on this side of the border, he said as he stood next to Julieta Venegas. Together we can fight hate and discrimination.

Singer Julieta Venegas and Diego Luna present at the Latin Grammy awards. Photograph: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The night, however, belonged to Marc Anthony as the Grammys celebrated his illustrious career.

In honor of his recent Latin Recording Academys Person of the Year award, the 48-year-old singer took center stage by performing a medley of his great successes including I Need to Know, Tu Amor Me Hace Bien and Vivir Mi Vida, the latter causing the ladies to take off their heels to leave their seats and dance.

His ex-wife, Jennifer Lopez, then joined him on the stage to sing a great rendition of Olvdame y Pega La Vuelta (Forget Me And Get Out Of Here), originally made famous by the Argentine duo Pimpinela. After the song ended, the crowd roared and celebrated this once-adored couple. Marc is a living legend who keeps giving us classics that will stay with us forever, said Lopez after the performance.

But the highlight of the evening came right after when the entire arena encouraged them to kiss, which they did.

Univision (@Univision)

Un beso dice ms que mil palabras. Loveit! @JLO @MarcAnthony #LatinGRAMMY #UnidosPorLaMusica

November 18, 2016

The awards came at a difficult time for the Latino community and before the awards, stars had spoken out about fears over the election result.

Donald Trump has won the results show it, Puerto Rican rapper Wisin, who won song of the year with Enrique Iglesias, told Fox News Latino on Wednesday. But it doesnt mean that us as Latinos are going to sink. On the contrary, we must push forward and not see us by our nationalities Mexican, Boricua, Cubans, Dominicans. We are all a family and that is how we should see it. If we do, big things will happen.

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A flurry of concerts, headlined by Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Jay Z and others, will take place before election day

As the presidential election approaches and worries linger over whether millennial voters will turn out in key swing states, the Clinton campaign has turned to the unifying force of celebrity. A flurry of get out the vote concerts, headlined by Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, the National and others, will take place between Saturday and 8 November.

On Saturday, the same day early voting begins in Florida, Lopez will appear with Hillary Clinton in Miami. But the biggest act will hold court in one of the most crucial swing states on 4 November. Four days before the final vote, Jay Z will host a concert in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to the Clinton campaign, he will do so to encourage unity and urge Ohioans to support Clinton by voting early or on election day.

For a campaign that has faced headwinds in its efforts to motivate young voters and African American voters and which according to a Real Clear Politics poll average trails Donald Trump by 1.1% in Ohio the Jay Z concert will present a key opportunity.

According to campaign sources, the concert will feature multiple special guests, with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, a Clinton endorser, a possible addition to the program.

Jay Zs concert will be the penultimate event in a series under the title Love Trumps Hate, following Lopez in Miami and the National in Cincinnati on 2 November. On 5 November, Perry, a longtime and vocal supporter, will perform in Philadelphia.

This is not the first time the Clinton campaign has recruited entertainment industry powerhouses. At the conclusion of the Democratic national convention in July, Lady Gaga and Lenny Kravitz performed for Democratic delegates in a thank-you concert held in Camden, New Jersey.

In August, Clinton appeared with Cher in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at a private fundraiser in the gay vacation destination. That appearance was marred slightly when Cher compared Trump to Adolf Hitler in front of a semi-drunk audience.

But, by and large, celebrities have put their wattage to good use. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Scarlett Johansson are just a few of the stars who want to help get Clinton elected, whether through Instagram posts of ballots or earnest advertisements extolling the virtues of voting.

The concert program draws a sharp contrast to those celebrities who have made appearances on behalf of Trump.

Although the businessman vowed before the Republican convention to host a winners circle of movie stars and sports heroes, and has enjoyed support from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the candidates celebrity surrogates have largely been tarnished glitterati.

Among them have been former underwear model Antonio Sabto and Natalie Gulbis, who is currently the 597th-best female golfer in the world.

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Music and fashion have always gone hand in hand. A new book explores the myth and meaning of looks made famous by artists such as Bjrk, MIA and Jennifer Lopez

Bjrk: Debut, album, 1993

Bjorks Debut

Judy Blame is a legend of street-derived DIY styling. In partnership with music video director Mondino, he created the now-classic cover portrait for Bjrks acclaimed first album, Debut.

Blame had requested that Bjrk simply bring her favourite clothes from her own wardrobe for the Paris shoot. However, when the airline lost her luggage (she walked into my hotel room carrying just a model of a boat, a little satin Martin Margiela dress and a big pair of boots) they changed plan and headed to Margielas showroom.

Shed talked a lot about the fact the album was quite techno but she wanted to look like a little animal, so I just yanked that little furry jumper off Martins rail. Then [the French make-up artist] Topolino came in and put those two sequins under her eyes and that was it the full stop! recalls Blame. And so pop musics inimitable cyber pixie was born: a crystal-clear synergy of quiet vulnerability and extrovert determination.

Lady Gaga: meat dress, MTV awards, 2010

Gagas meat dress. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Surreal, subversive and typically Gaga, the infamous meat dress (painstakingly crafted from real slices of meat) that she wore to the MTV music awards in Los Angeles in 2010 divided commentators: was it an artistic statement with a feminist agenda (women as meat) or anti-fashion dig at the sensation-hungry fashion and music industries? Franc Fernandez, who was originally commissioned to create a meat purse, developed the idea into a into a full-blown dress, and drafted in the family butcher to bring it to life.

Grace Jones: Nightclubbing, album, 1981

Nightclubbing, 1981.

Grace Jones collaborated with French art director, filmmaker and then lover Jean-Paul Goude to create performances, album art and music videos that propelled her semi-surreal image into the stratosphere. The cover for the album Nightclubbing (1981) boasts the image Goude believes most truthfully crystallises his overall vision of her a fearless modern hero, with extreme, subversive beauty. Jones boasts a sharply structured flat-top, a black, square-shouldered Armani suit (later retouched to look more extreme) and a torso so sculpted that the decolletage-cum-breastbone could be male or female. Her skin is inky black (Goude painted it black then overlaid it with blue powder to deepen the look) her lips dark red countered by the sleek stick of a white cigarette.

It was about extremity, playing on her masculinity. Grace simplified to the maximum, says Goude.

Jennifer Lopez: Get Right video, 2005

Jennifer Lopez, Get Right.

While Jennifer Lopezs persona was inarguably built on sexually charged charisma, stylist Andrea Lieberman, who put Lopez in a deep-plunge Versace dress for the Grammy Awards in 2000, said it was about reclaiming ownership over that sensuality. The Get Right video is a vision of sports luxury way before the term athleisure was coined in 2014. Together, they constructed an identity so popular that Lopez kickstarted global trends such as the Juicy Couture velour tracksuit (Im Real, 2001) and the Manolo Blahnik, Timberland-style stiletto boots (Jenny from the Block, 2002), inspiring a whole generation of emerging female hip-hop artists.

MIA: 2009 Grammy awards

M.I.A, Grammy awards 2009. Photograph: John Shearer/WireImage

One of anti-fashion stylist Anastasia Maranos most significant relationships has been her work with the outspoken British-Sri-Lankan songwriter, rapper and general creative agitator MIA. The pair worked together on a series of stage shows and festival performances, including her appearance at the 2009 Grammy awards when nine months pregnant. It was a headline-grabbing moment thanks to a bodycon Henry Holland monochrome mesh minidress with strategically placed polka dots. Echoing heavily pregnant Neneh Cherrys appearance on Top of the Pops two decades earlier, MIA accessorised it with hotpants and beefed-up Reebok trainers, unapologetically subverting the conventional mother-to-be stereotype.

It was a really special moment in her life, says Marano. She had a major song, Paper Planes, a album and a baby. The dress was actually a very sexy dress to start with; she wanted to look more like an artpiece.

Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure, album, 1973

Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

After redefining the suit in the suavest, slinkiest form for public appearances, couturier Antony Price next collaborated on Roxy Musics artwork. One of their most notable album covers is For Your Pleasure featuring Amanda Lear, stalwart of the 1970s club scene, model-muse to Salvador Dal and friend of Bryan Ferry. Sheathed in black latex and holding a panther on a leash, Lear poses in film noir meets art provocateur Allen Jones style. The enigmatic Lear was a fitting symbol for a band who were carving out a niche as pops perfect artefact.

While these images were sometimes criticised for bordering on the chauvinistic, the designs coincided with the emergence of the first international supermodels, glamazons with heavenly bodies, formidable characters and the aura of a stratospherically unattainable lifestyle, and cemented the bands legacy.

This is an edited extract from Fashion + Music by Katie Baron (Laurence King, 30). To buy a copy for 24.60 (inc free p&p), visit

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The performer included the controversial hashtag in a tweet to promote her Orlando charity single that shes since taken down

Jennifer Lopez deleted on a tweet on Tuesday that contained the hashtag #AllLivesMatter.

The tweet also included the hashtag #LoveMaketheWorldGoRound, the title of her Orlando benefit song co-sung by Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, as well as a photograph of the pair performing the track on Good Morning America.

The phrase #AllLivesMatter has been used as a counterargument to #BlackLivesMatter, though the latter phrase was inspired by the fact that the disproportionate numbers of black people killed by police in the US suggests black lives are less valued. #AllLivesMatter has been used by a range of people including those who profess themselves opponents of Americas new civil rights movement.

Twitter users were quick to call out Lopez for including the phrase in the post, probably prompting the quick removal of the tweet.

GoBrooklyn (@GoBrooklyn) July 12, 2016

So, march with the #BlackLivesMatter Don’t look down on us or brush us off. We’re not drifting to a useless group

Adrian Bronzer (@_Myeshaskye) July 12, 2016

Now I gotta stop liking ya old ass

According to Page Six, the outlet that first reported the news, Lopez has yet to comment on the development.

As Refinery29 points out, this doesnt mark the first time Lopez has used the controversial hashtag. In a photograph posted on Instagram on 11 July, again to promote the single, she included it in the caption.

The Cults singer, Ian Astbury, recently uttered the same phrase while performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on 9 July, and on Tuesday apologized.

Astbury tweeted from the Cults account: I sincerely and deeply apologize to everyone I offended by using the phrase all lives matter I fully support #blacklivesmatter and wished to show my solidarity. So disheartened to know that I have offended people of color. Thank you for enlightening me that this phrase is offensive.

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