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Entertainment news: Naomi Campbell, Ricky Martin, 'Xena,' Aretha Franklin
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

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Empire co-stars Naomi Campbell and Jussie Smollett spoke to Attitude magazine recently, according to a Deccan Chronicle item. In part, Campbell said, "I have been surrounded by gay men my entire life, and because I have grown up working in the creative and fashion industries, many of them have become like family to me. Without gay men, I wouldn't be where I am today."

American Idol alum David Hernandez has come out of the closet after releasing a love anthem, noted. Hernandez wants to use his new song "Beautiful" to reach out to people of all groups and remind them they're beautiful just the way that they are and that there's no reason to feel ashamed. Hernandez said, "If you're missing a leg, you're still beautiful. If you're overweight, you're still beautiful. If you are 75 years old, you're still beautiful—that's why I wanted to share my own story as a gay man. This is who I am, take it or leave it."

Ricky Martin announced the final dates for his One World Tour, Billboard reported. For this fourth and final leg, the singer will give 28 performances in major cities in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, including Hollywood, Florida; Madrid; Tel Aviv; and Moscow ( Russia ). Then he will continue in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. Ricky Martin's One World Tour started in October 2014 and has already traveled through 96 cities worldwide, performing a set list of more than 20 songs during a two-hour concert.

When Xena: Warrior Princess returns to television screens early next year with a new cast, Lucy Lawless says she hopes producers seize the opportunity to do something different: out Xena, and cast an African-American in that lead role, LGBTQ noted. Lawless told reporters at the recent Television Critics Association gathering that it's time for Xena and her best friend Gabrielle to come out as lesbian. The original series, which ran from 1995 through 2001, hinted at a possible romance between Xena and Gabrielle—but never let the characters get involved with each other romantically.

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has apparently fallen ill, forcing her to cancel several shows "due to doctors' orders," The New York Daily News repported. The upcoming performances that she had to walk away from include an August 26 show at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts near Vienna, Virginia, and two New York shows at Radio City Music Hall. One of the schedule shows in New York was for "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90" on Sept. 15 and the other was a solo show on Sept. 23. Franklin, 74, is expected to perform at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minnesota, on Nov. 11 and at the Chicago Theatre on Nov. 12.

In a press release publicizing its 2016 "Icons and Idols: Hollywood" auction, Julien's Auctions announced that it will offer Truman Capote's ashes for sale on its auction starting Sept. 23, Smithsonian reported. Contained in a Japanese carved wooden box, the ashes are expected to sell for between $4,000 and $6,000. Some say that, during his lifetime, Capote gained a reputation as outsized as that of his most famous books, Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood.

Entertainer and YouTube personality Todrick Hall is headed to Broadway: The out performer will be slipping into the crimson heels to play Lola in the smash hit musical Kinky Boots, starting Nov. 1, according to . Hall just finished a sold-out national tour of his show Straight Outta Oz and will appear as a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars. He previously appeared on Broadway in shows like The Color Purple and Memphis.

MTV has announced that Britney Spears will be returning to the Video Music Awards stage on Aug. 28 to perform at the show for the first time in 10 years, E! News noted. So far, it's only known that Spears will give a debut performance of her new song "Make Me..." ( featuring G-Eazy ) that is off her upcoming album, Glory.

Speaking of that ceremony, Rihanna will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, Time reported. It won't be the first time Rihanna has been recognized at the ceremony; she's already won Video of the Year awards for "Umbrella" in 2007 and "We Found Love" in 2012. Previous winners of the achievement include superstars like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.

America's Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco will become a Las Vegas Chippendale, according to PinkNews. Joining as a recurring celebrity guest between September and October, the self-described "sexually fluid" 27-year-old told People he was "so excited" to be a guest host. The deaf star has not confirmed how he will interact with the crowds; however, many have said they expect him to excel at the challenge. Recently, DiMarco announced that he would be giving free sign language lessons on Instagram.

What was meant as a joke about Usain Bolt and Ellen DeGeneres swiftly went awry, CNN noted. The daytime talk-show host's official Twitter account tweeted a doctored image of DeGeneres riding the back of the gold medalist smiling while running, complete with the caption "This is how I'm running errands from now on." Some on Twitter found the image offensive, with cries of racism and insensitivity in joking about a white woman riding the back of a Black man. But others defended DeGeneres and pointed out that she and Bolt, who has appeared before on her show, are friends. DeGeneres responded to the controversy by tweeting, "I am highly aware of the racism that exists in our country. It is the furthest thing from who I am."

Madonna marked her 58th birthday by taking to Instagram to debut her latest magazine cover for the new issue of LOVE magazine, reported. On the cover, a hoodie-clad Madonna is seen sucking her thumb while laying on a pillow. Madonna spent her birthday in Cuba, she revealed on Instagram with a series of selfies in which she wore a sheer black top over a lace bra and a floral skirt.

There will be no third season for I Am Cait, Deadline reported. The documentary series starring Caitlyn Jenner debuted to big ratings of 2.73 million on July 26, 2015, but soon fell off with a March 26, 2016 premiering second season seeing less that 500,000 total viewers for some episodes. Looking to move back to a role on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Jenner made the announcement on Twitter.

Some of the biggest stars have signed up to participate in the Stand Up to Cancer live telecast, according to Extra. The one-hour event, to be held at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, will unite many big names, including Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Emma Stone, Anna Kendrick, Josh Gad, Niecy Nash, Eric Stonestreet, Alison Sweeney, Ken Jeong, Marcia Cross, Greg Grunberg, Danielle Campbell, Charlie Wilson, Brittany Daniel and SU2C Co-Founder Katie Couric. Celine Dion, Keith Urban and Little Big Town will perform tributes at the star-studded event, which will air Sept. 9.

A source told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that pills seized inside Prince's Paisley Park compound by investigators were labeled as hydrocodone but actually contained fentanyl—the drug that killed the singer, CNN reported. The revelation gives more insight into what may have caused Prince's overdose. There are two likely possibilities: Either a pharmaceutical manufacturer mislabeled the pills, or the pills were illegally manufactured and obtained illegally. However, according to the Star Tribune, investigators are working under the theory that Prince, who died April 21, did not know the pills contained fentanyl.

Ryan Lochte lost all four of his endorsements on Monday as three companies—Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal and Airweave—terminated their deals with the swimmer, while Ralph Lauren said it wouldn't renew its deal that ran through the 2016 Olympics, ABC News reported. In addition, Speedo said it would donate $50,000 of Lochte's endorsement fee to Save The Children, earmarked for Brazilian children. Lochte admitted to "over-exaggerating" an armed-robbery claim made during the Rio Olympics.

Plus reported that comic-book legend Phil Jimenez recently talked on PBS' First Person about his personal and professional relationship with DC's late creative director, Neal Pozner, an HIV-positive artist. "He was an incredibly talented man," Jimnez said of Pozner. Pozner wasn't an easy boss, as he had what Jimenez called "some very strong opinions about the way things should be done." Pozner passed away in 1994 from AIDS-related complications. In tribute, Jimenez came out as gay on the final page of the Tempest, dedicating the comic to his late partner.

Donnie McClurkin—a well-known minister/singer who claims God cured him of his homosexuality is in a relationship with a female gospel singer, The Daily Mail noted. McClurkin, 56, is dating Nicole C. Mullen the pair have revealed—this after a false report emerged that the two were engaged to be married. The news comes 15 years after McClurkin wrote about his homosexuality and how God had cured him of what he describes as a "curse."

Mariah Carey has once again made headlines after she reportedly threw a laptop out of the window after her fiance, James Packer, played a Beyonce song, The Daily Mail noted. According to The Fix, an insider has revealed that last month, James had attempted to get Mariah in the love-making mood by turning on Beyonce's smash hit "Crazy in Love."

Plans to put up billboards of Mariah Carey at two California airports were allegedly stopped after they were deemed too suggestive, Fox News Latino reported, citing TMZ. The "Hero" singer commissioned billboards near the Burbank and Orange County airports as a way to promote her awaited return to her Las Vegas residency later this month. However, Entertainment Tonight reported that the rumors were not true. A spokesperson for Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, explains that Airport Authority "did not ban the proposal artwork. It simply requested that the artwork be revised."

For the first time, reality star Khloe Kardashian is speaking out about her battle with cancer, Extra revealed. In a new blog post titled "My Skin Cancer Scare," the 32-year-old reveals doctors found a cancerous mole on her back 10 years ago. In part, she wrote, "I had 8 inches of skin removed. It was definitely painful because it was a lot of skin, but most of the time, the removals haven't been that bad. I haven't had a problem in years, but wanted to share my experience with you so that if you notice something doesn't look right, you will take action and take care of your health!"

Lou Pearlman, the disgraced starmaker behind 1990s boy bands *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, has died in prison at age 62, CNN reported. Pearlman had been serving a 25-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, for running Ponzi and bank schemes. He was convicted in 2008 of fraud and swindling investors out of more than $300 million. "He might not have been a stand-up businessman," *NSYNC member LanceBass tweeted, "but I wouldn't be doing what I love today [without] his influence. RIP Lou."

The WWE pro-wrestling league says that it is going to incorporate LGBT themes into its upcoming storylines, Queerty noted. "We've had GLAAD come in and speak to our entire writing team and give a whole tutorial on sensitivities, the right words, the wrong word and why those words matter," said WWE Chief Brand Manager Stephanie McMahon. "I think that with their guidance and support, we will be able to portray that LGBT storyline appropriately."

NBC's The Voice is straining over a scandal involving Blake Shelton's alleged racist and homophobic tweets, Page Six noted. After social-media experts managed to dig up the offending messages—which were posted between 2010 and 2011, before Shelton became a household name—publicists for the NBC talent show reportedly called at least one major media outlet and threatened to cut off access to the show's stars, and tapings, if it continued to cover the kerfuffle. Shelton has apologized, blaming the posts on his humor. Shelton posted, "Can my humor at times be inappropriate and immature? Yes. Hateful? Never. That said, I deeply apologize to anybody who may have been offended."

The unlikely duo of lifestyle expert Martha Stewart and rapper Snoop Dogg are teaming to star in a new unscripted series on VH1 in which they host dinner parties with other celebrities, Yahoo! News noted, citing Variety. With the working title Martha & Snoop's Dinner Party, the series will air weekly, and is set to premiere this fall.

Ryan Murphy's upcoming FX anthology series Feud has added Catherine Zeta-Jones to the cast, according to TheWrap. The series will focus on famous feuds, as the title suggests, with the first season focusing on Joan Crawford and Bette Davis' animosity on the set of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Lange will star as Crawford and Sarandon will play Davis. Zeta-Jones will play legendary actress Olivia de Havilland, who was a friend of Davis in real life.

The 50th anniversary of Star Trek is Sept. 8, and the National Air and Space Museum is inviting fans to celebrate with "Boldly Go 50"—three nights of special programs sponsored by the Roddenberry Foundation, a press release stated. The events will explore the history of the science-fiction franchise and its role in inspiring generations of real scientists, innovators and explorers. The public can watch for program updates and more Star Trek anniversary content on the museum's social-media channels and join the conversation by using #BoldlyGo50.

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