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Entertainment news: Male model comes out, Laverne Cox, Mariah Carey
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Model/fashion and lifestyle blogger Carl Cunard as come out as gay, Queerty noted. On his YouTube channel in a video entitled "Coming Out The Real Me," the 26-year-old Brit describes the first time he realized he was gay, his first relationship with a man ( with a guy who was 18 years older than him ), and how he came out to his family. So far, the video has received more than 60,000 views and 1,700 likes.

Laverne Cox made her opinions known in a recent SiriusXM interview, The Huffington Post noted. Talking about prisons, the Orange Is the New Black actress said, "Prisons are working exactly the way they're supposed to. Prisons have existed, really, as this new Jim Crow—as a way to enslave Black people. And that brutality is working exactly as it's supposed to." The transgender actress also talked about cisgender actors playing trans roles, expressing her support of something trans actress Jen Richards stated: "Jen Richards said that she believes that when cisgender men or non-transgender men play trans women it sends a message to people who don't know trans folks that trans women are really men. ... I think she makes a really strong argument." However, Cox added she "would never want to tell another actor that they should or shouldn't play a part."

Mariah Carey is embracing her status as a gay icon, selling her own range of Pride merchandise, PinkNews noted. The singer has unveiled her "Mariah Pride" collection, which features a range of designs celebrating her LGBT fans. The line includes a range of Mariah-themed tank tops, hoodies and T-shirts featuring rainbows over images of the singer.

Adele turned up at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, according to PinkNews. The multimillion-selling artist was photographed by a fan embracing victims of the tragedy. Dozens of people have been confirmed dead in the blaze, which destroyed the huge 24-story block of apartments in west London.

On a related note, actor Tom Hardy started a JustGiving fundraising page to raise awareness and money for residents, families and children affected by the tragedy, which has so far killed 30 and left 24 injured, E! Online noted. Hardy puts the blame on those responsible for providing safe public housing for U.K. residents and asks for a "dramatic change." The page is at

Centaur Entertainment has released the Official Pulse Orlando Gay Days Benefit Album, a press release noted. All of the proceeds from the sale of this album will go directly to the onePULSE Foundation. A few of the album's songs include "One Night in Heaven," by Toy Armada & DJ Grind, featuring Inaya Day ( Original Mix ); "Over the Rainbow," by Tony Moran, featuring Lillias White ( Club Mix ); and "Under Pressure," by Glamazon ( HumanJive Remix ). See .

Aaron Carter said he regretted suggesting he would not only pack heat at the L.A. Gay Pride Parade that recently occurred, but that he'd shoot anyone who came for his fans, TMZ reported. Carter told TMZ he would be ready to fight terrorists with his own brand of terror—a gun that he'd more than willing to use. However, on June 16, he retracted his statement, saying emotions got the best of him.

Sam Claflin has called for there to be an all-male version of Fifty Shades of Grey, Attitude noted. He told PrideSource, "I love Liam [Hemsworth] as much as I love—in fact, I love Chris Hemsworth. I love the entire Hemsworth family. I say we get all of us involved and we do a Fifty Shades of Grey. The original franchise has taken the world by storm with Jamie Dornan at its helm, and the next sequel is set to hit cinemas in 2018."

The Center for Health and Gender Equity ( CHANGE ) released "Halsey for Global HER" starring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Halsey, a press release noted. In the video that ART NOT WAR produced, Halsey explains the ways in which the global gag rule has serious life-threatening consequences for women around the world and poses a threat to women domestically. See .

A toxicology review of late actress Carrie Fisher found evidence of cocaine, methadone, MDMA ( better known as ecstasy ), alcohol and opiates when she was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital on Dec. 23, The L.A. Times reported. The test result "suggests there was an exposure to heroin, but that the dose and time of exposure cannot be pinpointed." Four days later on Dec. 27, Fisher went into cardiac arrest. Her cause of death was listed as sleep apnea with other factors. Her mother, iconic actress Debbie Reynolds, died the following day.

Katy Perry's new album, Witness ( Capitol Records ), is number one on the Billboard 200, marking her third album to debut atop the chart, a press release noted. With 180,000 equivalent album units earned in the States, it marked the biggest week for an album by a female artist in 2017. It also claimed the top spot on Billboard's Top Current Albums and Current Pop Albums charts.

This month, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is honoring iconic actress Marlene Dietrich with the first major North American exhibition dedicated to her, reported. "Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image" highlights several of her legendary looks, which often blurred gender lines and shocked moviegoers. "Dressed" showcases more than 45 objects from Dietrich's life, including letters, film clips and photographs taken at various points in her life, including some from famed lensman Irving Penn.

NeNe Leakes announced via social media that she'll be returning for the upcoming 10th season of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta, Page Six noted. "It's been a long process but we've finally reached an agreement!" Leakes, wrote. "All hail the Queen for season 10 of #RHOA @bravotv #thethreatisback." Leakes departed "RHOA" after the series' seventh season but made an appearance in its eighth; she did not appear on season nine.

Actress/comedian Molly Shannon has revealed that a large part of her voice as an LGBT ally stems from her late father's revelation that he had spent his whole life living as a closeted gay man, noted. While speaking at a West Hollywood Q&A for Miles ( in which she plays a mother fighting for her son to be able to join the high school girls' volleyball team ), Shannon revealed that she never realized her dad might be gay while she was growing up, and didn't learn the truth until he was 72—right before he died.

A month into Saturday Night Live's hiatus, Kate McKinnon brought her Jeff Sessions impression to Late Night With Seth Meyers, Rolling Stone noted. The SNL cast member said she was excited to finally utilize her bizarre facial contortion after Sessions took office. "There's a joyfulness with which [Sessions] proceeds," McKinnon said, calling the politician "Sesh" and curling her mouth.

Talking with Andy Cohen on the Watch What Happens Live host's SiriusXM network Radio Andy, actor Colton Haynes opened up about his coming-out journey, noted. A now-platinum blonde Haynes said he first came out as gay when he was 14, although had lost his virginity the year before, when he was in eighth grade—first to a woman and then to a man. "I lost my virginity at 13, to a girl and a guy," Haynes said, explaining the female was 15 at the time and the male, 16. "I've never said that before."

Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana appeared in the Royal Courts of Justice in London to begin their divorce proceedings, E! Online noted. The couple married in 2012 and, five years later, they welcomed a son, Eissa Al Mana. Three months after Eissa's birth, Jackson's rep told E! News the couple had decided to call it quits.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been renewed for a fourth season at Netflix, Variety reported. The series stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane. Kemper plays the titular character, a woman who is looking to restart her life after she was kidnapped and held prisoner for years in a bunker by a deranged minister.

After six seasons, Aisha Tyler is leaving the daytime show The Talk at this season's end, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The co-host and actress explained that she'd simply become too busy, with three other TV shows and launching another career as a director. In addition to The Talk ( whose season ends in July ), Tyler is a series regular on CBS' Criminal Minds, hosts Whose Line is it Anyway? and lends her voice to Archer.

Openly gay Golden State Warriors President/COO Rick Welts has his second NBA title after his team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to one in the championship series, Outsports noted. Welts actually came out in 2011, when he was with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns reached the finals in 1993, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Chaka Khan is releasing the first official single under her newly founded indie record label venture, iKhan Sounds—"I Love Myself," featuring B.Slade, a press release noted. The release stated that the song "promotes self-esteem and putting one's life in order." The new single will be proceeded by the world premiere of the "I Love Myself" music video being released on Friday, June 30.

VH1's Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood returns for a fourth season Monday, July 24, a press release noted. R&B superstar Keyshia Cole joins the cast alongside several newcomers and returning series veterans striving to claim their place as Hollywood's elite.

Jada Pinkett Smith criticized the "deeply hurtful" dramatization of her friendship with the late rapper Tupac Shakur in the biopic All Eyez on Me, which opened June 16, Variety noted. In a series of tweets, Pinkett Smith said certain moments were fabricated in the movie, saying, "Forgive me. My relationship to Pac is too precious to me for the scenes in 'All Eyez On Me' to stand as truth." Pinkett Smith and Shakur met at Baltimore School for the Arts, where they forged a close bond.

Criminal Minds' two original female cast members are remaining, after actresses Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook have closed new deals to continue on the long-running CBS drama series, Deadline noted. The show is headed into its 13th series. Vangsness and Cook, who were negotiating together, had been seeking parity with fellow original cast member Matthew Gray Gubler.

Actor Miles Teller was arrested in San Diego June 18 after police say he was drunk in public, noted. Officers gave him the option of sleeping it off at one of the city's detox centers, but the Whiplash star allegedly did not cooperate. The city of San Diego allows intoxicated people to check into detox centers run by volunteers in lieu of facing arrest.

Court documents show that the estranged wife of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams' father believed her husband demonstrated "erratic and hostile" behavior that prompted her to remove multiple guns from their home, The New York Daily News reported. Lakeisha Juanita Williams—who is divorcing Richard Williams after seven years of marriage—claimed in a new legal filing that she wanted to get rid of the weapons, including an AK-47, because she believed he "behaves recklessly and dangerously with the guns" and she feared for her and their 5-year-old son's safety.

Calvin Harris released his newest single, "Feels," featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean, a press release noted. This is the fourth track released leading up to his upcoming new album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, via Columbia Records.

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