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SHOWBIZ Terrence McNally, Latino/a/x musicians, singer Harry Hains, Lena Waithe
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-06-29

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Tony-winning actors Billy Porter and Rita Moreno, along with director Jeff Kaufman, will celebrate Terrence McNally on Wed., July 1, at 8 p.m. CT, with the International Documentary Association ( IDA ) online discussion of the award-winning documentary Terrence Mcnally: Every Act Of Life, a press release noted. All three of these artists will be in conversation hosted by IDA Executive Director Simon Kilmury. RSVP at https://everyactoflife.com/events/ida-awards-spotlight.

In honor of Pride Month, Billboard ran an article on 16 Latino/a/x artists who have championed same-sex couples in their music videos. For example, Jesse & Joy kicked off June by dropping a new song called "Love ( Es Nuestro Idioma )." Some of the other musicians included Bad Bunny x Sech ( "Ignorantes" ), Calibre 50 ( "Solo Tu" ), Estemos ( "Fuimos Amor" ), Gloria Trevi ( "Todos Me Miran" ) and Carla Morrison ( "Eres Tu" ).

"Good Enough"—a single from the late genderfluid singer Harry Hains—has been released, a press release announced. The animated visualizer for "Good Enough" will be released Monday, July 13, and there is forthcoming posthumous concept album, A Glitch In Paradise, described as "an amalgamation of rock, electronica and gothic pop."

Lena Waithe's breakout hit Twenties will be back for a second go-round, as BET has renewed the series for a second season, Deadline reported. Additionally, the network announced an FYC partnership with Showtime, which will air the first season starting Monday, July 6. Created and written by Waithe, Twenties stars Gibbs as Hattie, a queer Black girl who is chasing her dreams of being a screenwriter in Los Angeles alongside her two best friends, Marie and Nia.

In an interview with Billboard, singer Christina Aguilera recalled how professionals around her feared her last name was "too ethnic" at the beginning of her career, USA Today noted. "'Christina Agee' was an option, but that clearly wasn't going to fly," Aguilera continued. "I was dead set against the idea, and I wanted to represent who I really was. Being Latina, it is a part of my heritage and who I am." She also said, "There was another time in my childhood when I was being asked to legally change my name to my stepfather's to be legally adopted—and I was again dead set against it."

Taylor Swift participated in Pride Live's Stonewall Day virtual event, commemorating the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall riots that helped ignite the modern LGBTQ-rights movement, USA Today noted. She commended the recent Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination, calling it a "really good step forward." But the Grammy winner believes "we still have so far to go," calling out the 2020 census for its "brutal" erasure of the transgender demographic.

Mucho Mucho Amor—a documentary about Puerto Rican gender-nonconforming astrologer Walter Mercado—is coming to Netflix on Wed., July 8, a press release noted. Mercado was a celebrated daily part of Latin culture, and at his peak he reached more than 120 million viewers—but then Mercado disappeared. Over a decade later, award-winning documentarians Cristina Costantini ( Science Fair ) and Kareem Tabsch ( The Last Resort ) plus producer Alex Fumero received unprecedented access to Mercado during the personality's post-fame seclusion.

Director David France said "there are so many lessons to be learned from AIDS" about how to solve the COVID-19 crisis, Page Six noted. During an online talk with IFC Films, France said since the pandemic started, he's rewatched How To Survive a Plague—his 2012 documentary about the AIDS epidemic—"with fresh eyes … It offers kind of a blueprint for getting through, interfacing with science … at a time when expertise is really the key tool." France's newest film is Welcome to Chechnya, about the country's anti-LGBT stance and purge.

Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling chose the 50th anniversary of Pride on June 28 to confirm her romance with girlfriend Emily Ritz, Film-News.co.uk noted. Schilling revealed her relationship status with the musical/visual artist by reposting a picture from Emily of the pair embracing in the fog on her Instagram Stories. Schilling shot to fame after being cast in the Netflix prison drama, and has previously discussed enjoying romances with both men and women in the past.

Hairspray actress Nikki Blonsky came out to the Diana Ross' anthem "I'm Coming Out" in a TikTok post, The Daily Mail noted. "Hi, it's Nikki Blonsky from the movie I'm Gay! ##pride ##imcomingout ##hairspray," captioned the actress in a clip in which she danced in her backyard. Blonsky portrayed Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 film alongside John Travolta and an ensemble cast that included Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Christopher Walken and the late Jerry Stiller.

Miley Cyrus told Variety she is no longer drinking or smoking weed, according to Page Six. "I've been sober sober for the past six months," the pop star said, adding that the reason behind her lifestyle change, at first, was "just about this vocal surgery." In November, Cyrus revealed she underwent vocal cord surgery after being hospitalized for tonsillitis. Her recovery consisted of "several weeks of silence."

Music icons Toni Braxton and Missy Elliott have never worked together—until now, UrbanBridgez.com noted. Braxton has a new album called Do It that will be out in August, and a remix of the title track ( a collaboration with Elliott ) is now out. Last year, Braxton embarked on her "Long As I Live" tour with SWV, visiting 21 cities in addition to South Africa and, for the first time in 22 years, the United Kingdom.

Singer Dua Lipa is supporting The Trevor Project by highlighting its mental-health resources for LGBTQ youth and calling on her fans to help raise funds, an organizational press release noted. Lipa interviewed The Trevor Project Chief Clinical Operations Officer Dr. Tia Dole and Connor Johnston ), volunteer crisis counselor for the organization, as part of a segment around its work to end LGBTQ youth suicide.

The BET Awards served as an extension of the voices of Black people protesting in the streets about the inequalities Black people face daily, as artists used their performances to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement, civil rights and lives lost because of the actions of police officers, CBS News noted. Michelle Obama highlighted Beyonce's commitment to the Black community before presenting her with the humanitarian award; the singer responded by urging viewers to vote "like our life depends on it" in the upcoming election. Megan Thee Stallion and Lizzo were among the other award-winners.

In a surprise, Disney Plus announced a new visual album from Beyonce—Black Is King, inspired by The Lion King—is coming to the streaming service Friday, July 31, Variety reported. The film is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, released last year in conjunction with the Disney pic, and stars the album's featured artists and some special guest appearances. The Beyonce-produced album features Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, 070 Shake, Tierra Whack and Jay-Z as well as African artists. A one-minute teaser trailer for Black Is King is on Beyonce.com .

Four 30 Rock episodes that include the use of Blackface are being taken down by Amazon Prime and Hulu after the show's creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock requested they be removed, EW.com noted, citing a Vulture item. The episodes will also be removed from future reruns on television and won't be available to purchase from iTunes or Google Play.

On a related note, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel apologized for his controversial use of Blackface while impersonating NBA player Karl Malone on The Man Show in the '90s, EW.com reported. "I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake," Kimmel said in a statement released by journalist Yashar Ali via Twitter.

A day after WarnerMedia's Sandra Dewey promised a virtual Cannes that Gone With the Wind would be back on HBO Max "very soon," the controversial 1939 film returned—with some poignant historical context "about the film's handling of the topic of slavery, and its treatment of Black characters," Deadline noted. Pulled from the streaming network June 9, the film set in the Antebellum South now comes with three new videos that are part disclaimer and part re-evaluation of the Academy Award winner.

Citing her own "pervasive privilege," Kristen Bell announced she is leaving her role as a mixed-race character on the Apple TV+ animated series Central Park, CNN.com noted. Bell—who has played Anna in the Frozen film franchise as well as the title character on the TV series Veronica Mars—voices Molly on the animated musical comedy about the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park.

Along a similar line, Jenny Slate is leaving the Netflix animated series Big Mouth because the character is biracial, CBS News noted. Slate said she originally reasoned with herself that it was permissible to play Missy because like her, the character's mom is white and Jewish.

Also, Mike Henry has stepped down from playing the character Cleveland on Family Guy—the latest in a slew of White actors abdicating roles voicing animated characters of color, CNN.com noted. Henry, who also voiced the character on the now-canceled The Cleveland Show, made the announcement Friday evening on Twitter, writing that it's been an honor to play the character for two decades. "I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color," he said. "Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."

After Hulu recently removed an episode of The Golden Girls from its platform, critics are calling the streaming giant's decision an "overcorrection," Today noted. The controversial scene ( in the 1988 episode "Mixed Blessings" ) comes when two of Dorothy's ( Bea Arthur's ) friends—Rose, played by Betty White, and Blanche, played by Rue McClanahan—are trying out a mud face mask and meet a Black character's family for the first time.

First it was the group Lady A ( formerly known as Lady Antebellum )—and now another country act has changed its name. According to WGNTV.com, Grammy-winning trio The Dixie Chicks have dropped the word "dixie" from their name, now going by The Chicks. The band's social-media accounts and website were changed to refer to the new name for the band, which is made up of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer; also, the band also recognized that the name was already in use by a band in New Zealand. The Chicks, who are releasing their first new album in 14 years next month, also released a new video for their new song "March March" that features videos and images from the recent Black Lives Matter rallies.

The band Slaves is changing its name following nationwide protests against racism. In a joint statement posted to social media, the five members of the band—Colin Vieira, Weston Richmond, Juan Felipe Sanchez, Zachary Baker and Matt McAndrew—announced the upcoming album To Better Days will be the band's last album released under its current name. However, they did not reveal in their statement what their new name will be.

Bill Cosby won the right to appeal his 2018 sexual-assault conviction, Page Six noted. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to review two aspects of the case that Cosby is challenging: the judge's decision to allow prosecutors to call five other accusers and to introduce evidence that he'd given women Quaaludes in the past. The 82-year-old is serving a three-to-10-year sentence after a jury found him guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, now an out lesbian, in 2004 during a second trial.

Sacha Baron Cohen gate-crashed a right-wing event in Washington while posing as a racist country singer—and he encouraged the crowd to chant along to lyrics about liberals getting "chopped up" or "injected with the Wuhan flu," viral footage showed, Page Six reported. Dressed as a pot-bellied singer in denim dungarees and a cowboy hat, the Borat comedian tricked organizers of the event by the "Three Percenters" militia group by reportedly producing a last-minute big-money donation. Event organizer Matt Marshall said they "tried to pull the plug" in horror at the "incredibly racist song," but said Cohen's team included "four armed-security on the generator, so we couldn't even cut the power." When they finally "bum-rushed the stage," the prankster and his entourage fled in a waiting ambulance that pretended to be on an emergency call, Marshall said.

The Flash movie that's starring LGBTQ actor Ezra Miller is reportedly looking to have Michael Keaton play Thomas Wayne, Movieweb noted. However, this time around, he's taking on the Flashpoint version of Batman. Keaton first played Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's Batman more than 30 years ago.

CBS' The Young And The Restless was named Outstanding Drama and the LGBTQ series Eastsiders won for Outstanding Casting for a Drama or Digital Drama Series at the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which The Talk panel hosted, Deadline noted. Jeopardy's Alex Trebek won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host. Ellen DeGeneres, accepting the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show for her self-titled syndicated program, pledged to use the next couple years of her contract "to amplify the voices of Black people and people of color" on her show. Also, NBC's Today Show won the Emmy for Outstanding Morning Show, and Kelly Clarkson took the award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host.

M. Night Shyamalan's 2016 thriller Split is under fire, as a social-media campaign has been launched to have the superhero thriller removed from Netflix, Movieweb noted. ( It's not currently streaming in the United States. ) Insisting that the story and characters are offensive to those suffering from dissociative identity disorder ( DID ), the hashtag #GetSplitOffNetflix has been created on Twitter with many users in support of the idea. A petition has also been launched to have the streaming service remove the movie.

Luke Evans is set to star opposite Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy in Hulu's limited series Nine Perfect Strangers, based on Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty's latest book, Deadline reported. Co-written by Kelley, John Henry Butterworth and Samantha Strauss and co-run by Kelley and Butterworth, Nine Perfect Strangers the series takes place at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this ten-day retreat is the resort's director Masha ( played by Kidman ), a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.

Nonesuch Records announced the digital release of two Natalie Merchant albums, previously unavailable in this format, according to a press release. They are Butterfly, a studio album featuring four new songs and six reinterpretations from her catalogue arranged for string quartet; and Rarities, a collection of 15 rare and previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1998 and 2017. Merchant's career began in 1981 when, as a college student, she joined the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, actor Andrew Rannells was asked about the difference between doing sex scenes with someone an actor is dating ( in this case, Rannells' real-life boyfriend, Tuc Watkins ) versus someone the actor doesn't know, Out.com noted. "With Tuc it was sort of easy to block it and get into it but when it came time to actually filming it, all of a sudden I had this realization that I was surrounded by the crew who had now become friends of mine," Rannells said. "On Girls I've done a few sex scenes: a few with Corey [Stoll], who is so fantastic, but we didn't really know each other so that was kind of awkward." Rannells concluded he felt self-conscious both times, but in different ways.

Personality B. Simone is trending for comments she made about the LGBT community on a podcast from 2017, Celebrity Insider noted. During her guest spot on the Whoreible Decisions podcast, the comedian referred to her friend as a "t****y," debated the difference between a transgender person and transexual person, and referred to the LGBT as the "lettuce, tomato, bacon" community. The tone-deaf comments were dug up after she has started to clean up the mess from a plagiarism scandal involving her book, Baby Girl: Manifest the Life You Want.

Hours after YouTuber Shane Dawson posted an apology video for past racist behavior, a clip surfaced that showed Dawson appearing to touch himself in a sexual manner while looking at a poster of a then-11-year-old Willow Smith, Complex.com noted. Both Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith called him out on Twitter, with the former saying, "To Shane Dawson ... I'm done with the excuses." His video came just a day after fellow YouTuber Jenna Marbles announced she was leaving the platform in wake of renewed backlash over videos from 2011 and 2012; one of the controversial posts showed Marbles impersonating Nicki Minaj while wearing Blackface.

TikTok star Bryce Hall has found himself in trouble once again, Dexerto.com noted. Hall, who has almost 10 million followers on TikTok, tweeted June 24 asking fans about "straight TikTok," insinuating that such a phrase was promoting "heterophobia." The tweet angered many of the TikTok star's fans, who claimed the tweet in itself was homophobic and dismissive of the issues faced by LGBT people. He deleted the post and later apologized.


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