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SHOWBIZ Disney first, queer band, awards events, Aretha, 'Drag Race'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-02-25

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Months after The Rise of Skywalker featured the first same-sex kiss in the Star Wars galaxy, the new animated film Onward introduces the first self-identified lesbian character into the Disney-Pixar universe, Yahoo! noted. Her name is Officer Specter, and she's a Cyclops cop voiced by openly gay screenwriter/actress Lena Waithe. Specter only appears in one scene in Onward, which opens in theaters on March 6, but her role is vital to the emotional arc of the story.

BOONE—a Los Angeles-based outfit that describes itself as a "queer, funk, rock, dominatrix band"—is releasing its debut single and music video, "Think of Me," on Feb. 25, a press release noted. The video features actor/comedian Daniel Franzese ( the film Mean Girls and the TV series Looking ) and actor/singer Tom Goss ( in a cameo ), with direction by Michael Serrato. BOONE stands for "Be. One. Of. Nature's. Energies," and represents ultimate authenticity, calling people to be empowered to their true selves.

The 51st NAACP Image Awards were handed out live Feb. 22 on BET, with musician Lizzo taking the top honors for Entertainer of the Year, Deadline reported. Among the music winners was out rapper Lil Nas X, who won for Outstanding New Artist. Black-ish swept the TV awards, with repeat wins for Outstanding Comedy Series and lead acting accolades for Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Deon Cole and Marsai Martin. Ava DuVernay's critically acclaimed limited series When They See Us took home the award for Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special, while Jharrel Jerome and Niecy Nash won for their roles in the Netflix series about the Exonerated Five. Just Mercy took the top prize on the feature side for Outstanding Motion Picture, with acting wins for stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx; Lupita Nyong'o won for her performance in Us. Also, civil-rights leader John Lewis was given the NAACP Chairman's Award and Rihanna received the President's Award.

GLAAD announced a new star-studded list of presenters for the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 19, including multi award-winning actress Sarah Paulson and Golden Globe-winning actor Matt Bomer, who will present the Vito Russo Award to award-winning screenwriter, producer and director Ryan Murphy, a press release noted. Late-night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Fallon, transgender actress/advocate Nicole Maines ( Supergirl ), beauty guru and YouTube personality Patrick Starrr, actor/activist Jesse Williams ( Grey's Anatomy ), transgender model/advocate/producer Geena Rocero and HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen will also present during the event. Adam Lambert and Ben Platt are slated to perform.

Aretha Franklin might have taken the stage to salute President Barack Obama for his first inauguration in 2009, but the late legendary singer once said there wasn't enough money in the world for her to do the same for his successor, President Donald Trump, TheJasmineBrand.com noted. The book Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington, by reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, claims that Aretha Franklin refused to sing for Trump's inauguration, according to PEOPLE.

Speaking of Trump, he mocked the Academy Awards for giving its best picture Oscar to Parasite, expressing bewilderment to a rally crowd in Colorado that a foreign-language movie could get the top award, Deadline reported. Then he added, "Let's get [the 1939 movie] Gone with the Wind. … Can we get Gone with the Wind back, please?" Neon, the distributor of Parasite, tweeted out a reaction to Trump's criticism: "Understandable, he can't read."

Two Drag Race season-12 queens were criticized after resurfaced social media posts showed them defending RuPaul's right to deny trans queens, PinkNews noted. Aiden Zhane and Dahlia Sin were both announced as part of the Drag Race season 12 cast—which yet again is devoid of trans queens. The Drag Race host was accused of invalidating trans identities and of being trans-exclusionary in March 2018, after he implied that trans women wouldn't be welcome on his show if they had begun changing their bodies. Shortly after the interview was published Zhane took to Facebook, calling the backlash "ridiculous."

Also, for the first time ever, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars will air on Showtime, premiering a new special edition on Friday, June 5, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, on air, streaming and on demand, a press release noted. The special edition of All Stars will follow the season finale of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race on VH1.

Prince's early-2000s output—much of it out of print—is featured in the next wave of reissues from the singer's estate, Rolling Stone reported. Prince's 2001 LP, The Rainbow Children, and 2002 studio album, One Nite Alone …, will both be reissued on vinyl for the first time, while two live albums, the four-disc One Nite Alone … Live! and the double-LP One Nite Alone … The Aftershow: It Ain't Over!, are also set for official re-release. All of the reissues are available to preorder now at the Prince site. Last year saw the release of a massive 1999 reissue, as well as the rerelease of three rare late-Nineties LPs, The Versace Experience ( Prelude 2 Gold ), Chaos and Disorder and Emancipation.

Rapper/producer 50 Cent faced backlash after he made a joke about Dwyane Wade's transgender daughter, Zaya, Page Six reported. The Power producer shared a meme that featured an image of Wade and R. Kelly during New York Fashion Week in 2016; a talk bubble above Kelly reads, "Heard you had a daughter now," while one above the former NBA star reads, "U touch her I'll kill ya"—and 50 captioned it, "LOL NOW THIS SOME FUNNY S—T." Earlier this month, Wade confirmed his 12-year-old was transgender in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

After their worldwide 3-D concert tours, the electro pioneers Kraftwerk announce North American tour dates for summer 2020, a press release noted. Just a few of the stops will include Toronto, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans and Boston. The multimedia project Kraftwerk was started in 1970 by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider.

JoJo announced her 2020 headline tour—the good to know Tour—making 20+ stops across North America this spring ( including Chicago, Dallas, Boston and Los Angeles ), with additional dates confirmed in the United Kingdom/Europe this fall, a press release noted. he tour marks JoJo's first headline tour since 2017 and is in support of her highly-anticipated new album good to know, set for release this spring on Clover Music/Warner Records.

Months after the 25th anniversary of the launch of Friends, the cast will be reuniting exclusively for an untitled unscripted special for HBO Max, Deadline reported. Series stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will return to the comedy's original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to film the reunion special. The actors also will be executive producers alongside Friends creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.

The celebrated restaurateur and model Barbara Elaine Smith, known professionally as B. Smith, died at age 70 after struggling with early onset Alzheimer's disease, NBC News reported. She began her career as a model in the 1960s and became one of the first African-American women on Mademoiselle's cover in July 1976. Smith expanded her modeling career by becoming a lifestyle guru, restaurateur and TV host.

The classic films Braveheart and Gladiator will arrive in Limited Edition 4K Blu-ray Steelbooks on May 5, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020, Braveheart ( starring Mel Gibson ) won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Originally released on May 5, 2000, director Ridley Scott's Gladiator celebrates its 20th anniversary; it also won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor ( Russell Crowe ).

Fox handed a season-17 renewal to So You Think You Can Dance, Deadline noted. Auditions for the new season begin in March, with stops in Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. From those tryouts, the dancers selected will be invited to Los Angeles to perform for judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Laurieann Gibson. The summer competition series spotlights skilled dancers ages 18-30 who compete in contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, animation, breaking and more.

New Amazon drama Hunters follows Nazi hunters in 1977 New York City, led by the rich and mysterious Meyer Offerman ( Al Pacino )—and the show has come under fire by the Auschwitz Memorial Museum, EW.com noted. Those running the organization have issues with the series using Auschwitz as a backdrop for a fictional game that does not reflect what really happened there. Fans in the comments of their post dispute Auschwitz Memorial's understanding of Hunters being a fictional story and that Hollywood sometimes takes liberties with history in order to tell a story; the organization maintains that the show's plot is "disrespectful" and "dangerous."

Eli Roth is set to direct a feature take on the 2K first-person shooter PC-console game Borderlands, for Lionsgate, Deadline noted. Borderlands is set in the distant future, in which four "Vault Hunters" travel to the distant planet Pandora to hunt down an alien vault, rumored to contain advanced alien technology. The hunters find themselves battling the local wildlife and bandit population, but ultimately attempt to stop the head of a private corporation army from reaching the vault first.

Taylor Swift's father, Scott Swift, had a tussle with a burglar inside his $4 million Florida penthouse, Page Six noted, citing the Tampa Bay Times. Scott Swift came home on Jan. 17 to find 30-year-old Terrence Hoover rustling through his pad, according to police records cited by the paper. Hoover, who fled the scene after the skirmish, had climbed 13 floors on an emergency escape stairwell to get inside the 5,359 square-foot apartment.

Meghan Trainor's father was struck by a vehicle in an apparent hit-and-run accident, People.com noted. Gary Trainor was crossing a busy street near the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles when the car hit him, according to TMZ, which was first to report the news. He is reportedly in stable condition.

Justin Bieber's newest album, Changes, opened atop the Billboard 200 with 231,000 equivalent units, Forbes noted. Bieber has now appeared at number one on the Billboard 200 seven times in just under 10 years. Changes has already sent three songs onto the Hot 100, including "Yummy." The Canadian singer is now the youngest solo artist to achieve seven number one albums, at the age of 25—beating Elvis Presley's record, the BBC stated.

Singer Erykah Badu announced that her "Badu P*ssy Premium Incense" sold out in 19 minutes, BET.com noted. The Instagram video followed an announcement that Badu World Market's Twitter account shared not long after the $50 premium incense went on pre-sale the same day ( Feb. 20 ). The highly discussed incense—created with the ashes of Badu's underwear, essential oils and herbs—is already restocked and will ship on Mar. 10, at the earliest.

In an Instagram post, Beverly Hills, 90210 star Tori Spelling wrote about the bullying that her children Liam and Stella are facing, Page Six noted. "My two 1st born… they have been thru so much bullying I can no longer not share and express ourselves," Spelling began. She then said that the kids were put in a different school that put an emphasis on kindness. Spelling recently made headlines for criticizing the Academy Awards for leaving her father, Aaron, and her "90210" co-star Luke Perry out of the "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars telecast in the years they died.

Corey Feldman is naming men he claims raped him and his actor friend Corey Haim, who died in 2010 after a long battle with drugs and alcohol, in his new doc, The Rape of Two Coreys—a movie about pedophilia in Hollywood, Page Six noted. The doc will debut on his own website after it was turned down by Netflix and other streamers for legal reasons. Feldman is posting the film online March 9, the night before the 10th anniversary of Haim's death.


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