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SHOWBIZ Angelica Ross, Madonna, 'Love, Victor,' trans writer/activist, Judge Judy
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-03-03

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Better Brothers Los Angeles ( BBLA )—in association with award-winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph and her non-profit organization, The DIVA Foundation—announced that actress and transgender advocate Angelica Ross is among this year's list of honorees for the sixth annual Truth Awards, a press release noted. The Truth Awards will be held Saturday, March 7, at the Taglyan Cultural Complex, in Los Angeles. The black-tie affair will also honor trailblazing LGBTQ+ African-Americans such as filmmaker/actress Cheryl Dunye, Styling Hollywood's Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis, advocate Keith Boykin, Dr. Shaun Harper and LeadersUp President/CEO Jeffrey Wallace.

Billboard noted that Madonna is the first musician to collect 50 number-one hits on any chart, according to Forbes. The company now compiles dozens of rankings every week, and throughout the decades, no artist has racked up as many leaders on any list as the Queen of both pop and dance now has on the Dance Club Songs roster. The latest chart-topper, "I Don't Search I Find," is featured on Madonna's recent album, Madame X. Country favorite George Strait has earned 44 number-one smashes on the Hot Country Songs tally throughout his career, which continues to stand as the second-greatest accumulation of leaders on any list, while Rihanna is third with 33 on the Dance Club Chart.

Love, Victor—the upcoming series inspired by the 2018 film Love, Simon—will now premiere on Hulu as a Hulu Original this June, a press release stated. The series follows Victor, a new student at Creekwood High School, on his own journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city and struggling with his sexual orientation. When it all seems too much, he reaches out to Simon to help him navigate the ups and downs of high school. The Love, Victor cast includes Michael Cimino, Ana Ortiz, Sophia Bush and James Martinez, among others.

Camila Maria Concepcion—a trans activist who wrote for two Netflix shows—died at age 28, HuffPost noted, citing Variety. Concepcion was a staff writer on the zombie dramedy Daybreak and co-wrote an episode of Gentefied, a new show about a Mexican American family living in a gentrifying neighborhood. The show premiered the same day that Concepcion reportedly took her own life. She "always elevated the experiences of transgender women of color," Transparent creator Jill Soloway wrote on Instagram. Concepcion and Soloway worked on the 50/50 by 2020 initiative to advance gender parity in entertainment.

Judge Judy Sheindlin will be striking the gavel for the last season of the long-running and wildly popular court series Judge Judy in 2021, after 25 years—but will be returning with the show Judy Justice, Deadline reported. "CBS sort of felt, I think, they wanted to optimally utilize the repeats of my program," Sheindlin told Ellen DeGeneres on the talk-show host's series. "Now they have 25 years of my reruns. What they decided to do is sell a couple of years' worth of reruns. But I'm not tired, so Judy Justice will be coming out a year later."

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco ( FAMSF ) announced that showrunner/producer/writer Jill Soloway will take the stage at its inaugural On the Edge benefit on Friday, March 27, a press release noted. They will present to pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago, who is being honored alongside Oakland-based artist/landscape designer Walter Hood ( recently awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant ), and technologist/designer John Maeda for their achievements and commitment to the arts community. Grammy Award-nominated artist GoldLink will provide entertainment.

Fear the Walking Dead actor Colman Domingo signed a first-look deal with AMC Studios—the studio behind the AMC zombie drama series, a spinoff from The Walking Dead, Deadline noted. Domingo made his debut as Victor Strand in a two-episode guest arc during Fear the Walking Dead's first season and was made a series regular at the start of season two; he has also directed two episodes of the show. Domingo has also appeared on series such as Law & Order, Lucifer and The Big Gay Sketch Show; films like The Birth of a Nation, If Beale Street Could Talk and the upcoming Candyman sequel; and plays such as Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Raisin in the Sun.

Out singer Adam Roberts has made an impression, thanks to several new songs he's released. According to a press release, in 2019, Adam released two new songs ( "Glue" and "Undercover Romance" ), and his new/third single, "Length of My Love," was released on Valentine's Day; the video for "Glue" is at youtu.be/YfKYa7oc07s. Roberts is currently the Chris understudy in the national tour of Miss Saigon, and he made his Broadway debut in Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. Last year, he co-directed and choreographed the Broadway Cares benefit Broadway Backwards.

The songwriters behind Disney's Frozen announced their next project will be the movie musical adaptation of an award-winning graphic novel about a genderqueer prince, LGBTQ Nation noted. Academy Award winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and husband Robert Lopez ( Frozen and Frozen 2; Coco ) are working on a movie musical adaptation of Jen Wang's 2018 The Prince and the Dressmaker, they told Playbill. No release date was announced.

Lady Gaga announced that her sixth studio album, Chromatica, will be released Friday, April 10, via Interscope Records, a press release noted. The album is executive produced by BloodPop® and Gaga. The album comes on the heels of Friday's release of the high-energy pop smash "Stupid Love," which debuted at number one on iTunes in 58 countries.

Logo TV announced its lineup of acquired stand-up comedy specials from RuPaul's Drag Race queens, including Bob The Drag Queen, Trixie Mattel and Katya, a press release noted. The specials are Katya: Help Me, I'm Dying; Bob The Drag Queen: Live at Caroline's; and Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend. The specials will air Wed., March 4, starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Netflix has announced it is getting into the events business with the first Netflix Is a Joke festival, inspired by the streaming service's popular YouTube channel, NewNowNext.com noted. The fest will take place April 27-May 3 across 20 venues in L.A. One of the events will be "Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration"—a night of comedy with headliners Alan Carr, Hannah Gadsby, Margaret Cho, Rosie O'Donnell, Sandra Bernhard and Wanda Sykes.

Rapper Cardi B recently defended Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union's transgender daughter, Zaya, Instinct Magazine noted. "People are saying that this kid is too young to transition, but it's like, 'How old is too young?'" she asked on Instagram live. "If you're born thinking you're a girl in a boy's body, how old do you have to be to keep knowing that that's who you are? That's who you are—that's your identity." Cardi has a controversial past with the LGBTQ community, however, ranting last year that she hoped Access Hollywood caught AIDS after the outlet allegedly misquoted her.

Recently, Cher, Naomi Campbell and Kim Kardashian West rode motorcycles through the streets of Los Angeles in leather biker jackets and '60s-inspired beehive hairstyles—as legendary photographers Mert & Marcus brought the concept to life on the latest cover of Carine Roitfeld's CR Fashion Book, Yahoo! reported. For its upcoming Power issue ( on stands March 12 ) the fashion magazine cast the singer, supermodel and mogul as a "fearless fantasy biker gang" who are "fighting for rights and causes close to their hearts."

Tyler Perry's nephew, Gavin Porter, died at 26 after he apparently hanged himself inside his prison cell in Louisiana, PopCulture.com noted, citing TMZ. Porter had gotten into a fight with another inmate over the weekend, sources told TMZ, and was placed in solitary confinement. TMZ reported that Porter was arrested for shooting and killing his biological father in 2015 after an argument with him; he pled no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Based on the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and former death-row prisoner Walter McMillian, the film Just Mercy will arrive on Digital on March 24, and on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on April 14, a press release noted. Michael B. Jordan stars, along with Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.

Former Empire co-star Jussie Smollett spoke out after being released on a $20,000 bond after a court hearing in Chicago, where he again denied staging his now-notorious hate crime attack in January 2019, Page Six noted. "I don't claim to be innocent—I am innocent," the actor told a videographer in footage posted on TMZ. The actor admitted it was "definitely frustrating" to have to again fight in court, adding, "It's fight or die at this point." If convicted, Smollett faces up to three years behind bars, a fine up to $25,000 and community service.

Kino Classics announced the Blu-ray releases of Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture, volumes 1-3, a press release noted. Vol. 1 includes Mom and Dad ( 1945 ); Vol. 2 presents a double-feature of two Midnight Movie favorites, Reefer Madness ( 1936 ) and Sex Madness ( 1938 ); and Vol. 3 showcases two examples of the "nudist film" genre, Unashamed: A Romance ( 1938 ) and Elysia: Valley of the Nude ( 1933 ).

Rebecca Breeds, an actress known for roles on The Originals and Pretty Little Liars, landed the title role in CBS's Silence of the Lambs sequel series, Clarice, EW.com noted. The drama pilot, which has a series commitment at CBS, takes place in 1993, one year after the events of the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, which starred Jodie Foster as Clarice.

Macauley Culkin was confirmed for season 10 of American Horror Story, along with nine other veterans of creator Ryan Murphy's horror anthology troupe, EW.com reported. Sarah Paulson was previously announced to return as a "central character," and now she's also joined by Kathy Bates, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, Evan Peters, Adina Porter, Lily Rabe, Angelica Ross and Finn Wittrock. AHS was already green lit for a 10-episode 10th season following the "1984" run, when FX formally renewed the series through season 13.

Grammy organization the Recording Academy said in a letter to members that it fired Deborah Dugan—the group's president and CEO who has been on administrative leave since January amid contentious claims on both sides, Deadline reported. The Recording Academy's Board of Trustees voted to terminate her employment "with full support of the Executive Committee," it said in the letter, which noted the move came after two "exhaustive, costly independent investigations relating to Ms. Dugan [the first female head of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences] and the allegations made against her and by her."

Tickets to ModelLand—Tyra Banks' 21,000 square-foot fashion and beauty theme park located in Santa Monica, California—are available now and range from $59 to $1,495, People.com noted. The multilevel "modeling fantasy" experience ( set to open to the public on May 1, after more than a decade of development ) features runways, professional photo shoot opportunities, shopping and an immersive theater where top-notch performers will take the stage.

Jurassic World 3 director Colin Trevorrow announced the first day of shooting for the Universal sequel, plus the pic's title: Jurassic World: Dominion, Deadline reported. Jurassic World: Dominion hits theaters June 11, 2021. Most of the Jurassic Park gang is back—Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum—as they team up with Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Sophia Bush ( Chicago PD; One Tree Hill ) has been tapped for the title role in Good Sam, a family medical drama pilot on CBS, Deadline noted. Good Sam centers on Sam ( Bush ), a talented yet stifled heart surgeon who embraces her leadership role after her renowned and pompous boss falls into a coma. Bush is recurring on the upcoming Hulu series Love, Victor, a spinoff from the Love, Simon movie.

Superstore star and executive producer America Ferrera will be leaving the NBC comedy series following its current fifth season, which wraps April 16, Deadline reported. The announcement of Ferrera's pending exit comes two weeks after the series was renewed for a sixth season.

Modern Family co-star Sofia Vergara is joining the hit summer reality series America's Got Talent as a new judge for its upcoming 15th season, Deadline noted. Additionally, Heidi Klum, who was a judge on AGT for six seasons, from 2013-2018, is coming back. They are being joined by returning judges Simon Cowell, who is AGT's creator and executive producer, and Howie Mandel, as well as host Terry Crews. Vergara and Klum succeed Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, who were let go in November after one season.

Shawn Mendes, 21, is planning on releasing his fourth album, IHeart.com noted. The "Stitches" superstar's last album, Shawn Mendes, was released in May 2018. After setting across the globe to support the LP, he culminated his "Shawn Mendes: The Tour" in Mexico City on Dec. 21, 2019. Mendes is nominated at this year's iHeartRadio Music Awards in several categories, including Best Collaboration, Best Song, Best Lyrics and more. The 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards will air live on Fox on Sunday, March 29.

Gina Torres ( TV series Suits, Firefly and Pearson ) is set to lead the cast of The Brides—ABC's supernatural drama pilot from Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina developer/executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Deadline noted. The Brides, a contemporary reimagining of Dracula, is a family drama with a trio of powerful female leads at its heart.

Law & Order: SVU is making television history this season with its record-setting 21st season, making it TV's longest-running primetime live-action series—and it's been renewed for three more seasons, Deadline reported. In doing so, it's expanding the gap over the previous record mark of 20 seasons set by mothership series Law & Order ( 1990-2010 ) and Gunsmoke ( 1955-75 ). The massive renewal is part of a new deal for Wolf has signed with Law & Order: SVU studio Universal Television that also includes a three-year renewal for the three Chicago dramas.

Pink Taco founder Harry Morton died suddenly in November at just 38 years old—and the L.A. County coroner's office released his official cause of death, Extra revealed. Morton died from an irregular heartbeat, known as cardiac arrhythmia, due to hardening of the arteries. There were no drugs or alcohol in his system, and Harry was reportedly preparing for a marathon.

Timothy Hutton is vigorously denying claims that he raped a minor back in 1983 and he may be filing a defamation lawsuit soon, Deadline noted. "For the past two-and-a-half years, I have been the target of multiple extortion attempts by a woman named Sera Dale Johnston to extract millions of dollars from me," he told Deadline. Johnston claimed that Hutton sexually assaulted her when she was 14 in a Vancouver hotel room while another man looked on and participated.

Just under a year after the feds snagged dozens of well-heeled parents in the college admissions scandal, Lori Loughlin and her husband recevied a start date for their trial, Deadline noted. The former Fuller House star and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, will directly face justice starting Oct. 5. Loughlin and Giannulli are facing a maximum of 50 years each and millions of dollars in fines if found guilty.


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