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SHOWBIZ Ruby Rose, Tamron Hall, actors come out, Billy Porter, Sondheim
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-06-09

This article shared 3950 times since Tue Jun 9, 2020
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Out actress Ruby Rose finally spoke out on her shocking decision to leave Batwoman after one season, NewNowNext.com noted. "I didn't want to not acknowledge everyone involved and how big this was for TV and for our community," the Australian actress wrote on Instagram. "I have stayed silent because that's my choice for now but know I adore you all. I'm sure next season will be amazing also." TV Line reported that Rose's departure wasn't entirely her decision, with a source saying, "Everyone decided it would be in the best interests of the show, and for all concerned if they parted ways. It just wasn't a good fit."

Also on a Batwoman-related note, executives have decided to introduce an entirely new lead character rather than recast the character of Kate Kane, according to a PinkNews item that cited Decider. A leaked casting call showed that the show was looking to cast a character named Ryan Wilder. The casting call reportedly also specified that Wilder would be an "out lesbian," adding, "Performers who identify as LGBT+ are encouraged to submit."

On June 8, the show Tamron Hall marked Pride Month with a special new episode featuring the syndicated show's first-ever virtual audience filled with viewers from across the country. Among others, guests included longtime LGBTQ+ advocate comedian Rosie O'Donnell who recently raised money for the Actors Fund via live events; NBA star Reggie Bullock, who lost his transgender sister, Mia Henderson, to a hate crime; youth activists Kiara Fox and Yahzee Mendez; and Division I men's basketball coach Matt Lynch, who made the decision to come out as gay during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an Instagram post, The Get Down actor Justice Smith reflected on his participation in a protest against systemic racism and police brutality in New Orleans—and came out, Out.com noted. "Nicholas Ashe and I protested today in New Orleans," he wrote. "We chanted 'Black Trans Lives Matter' 'Black Queer Lives Matter' 'All Black Lives Matter.' As a Black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added." Smith has also starred in the films Pokemon: Detective Pikachu and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Ashe is also an actor, having appeared on Queen Sugar and in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Broadway production Choir Boy.

Riverdale star Lili Reinhart has come out as bisexual, Out.com noted. Currently, in California, Reinhart has been posting about the various protests and the importance of standing with the Black community, reaffirming that Black Lives Matter. As a part of that, today she posted a flier to her Instagram Stories in order to raise awareness for a protest—adding, "Although I've never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman. And I will be joining this protest today. Come join."

Billy Porter joined advocacy groups and other celebrities in speaking up for the Black LGBTQ community after footage showing an alleged attack on transgender woman Iyanna Dior went viral, HuffPost reported. A widely circulated video this week appears to show 20 to 30 men beating up Dior at a gas station in St. Paul, Minnesota. "The tragic reality here is that Black trans, as well as gender non-conforming, women and men are being killed in the United States by cis Black men to such a degree that it is nearly the worst emergency for trans women on the planet," Porter said, in part. "To all my homophobic and transphobic brothers and sisters, get your fucking houses in order." Rapper Megan Thee Stallion, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil, RuPaul's Drag Race veteran Pandora Boxx and author/director Janet Mock also pledged their support for Dior on social media.

On Friday, June 12, at 3 p.m. ET, the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, the arts center of the Archdiocese of New York, is presenting "Poetry in America-Live," featuring "Finishing The Hat," by Stephen Sondheim, a press release noted. The free streaming event can be viewed online atSheenCenter.org or on The Sheen Center's Facebook Live or YouTube channels. In celebration of his 90th birthday, Poetry in America-Live will turn the spotlight on Stephen Sondheim's song "Finishing The Hat," from Sunday in the Park with George. PBS' Poetry in America host Elisa New will welcome Tony Award nominee Melissa Errico, New Yorker staff writer and author Adam Gopnik, and musical director Tedd Firth; Errico—who starred in Sunday in the Park, at The Kennedy Center—will perform three songs from Sunday, including "Finishing the Hat," accompanied by Firth.

Javier Munoz—the gay actor best known for playing founding father Alexander Hamilton in the smash Broadway rap musical Hamilton—has revealed on Twitter that he experienced a homophobic beatdown by New York City police when he was a teenager, LGBTQ Nation noted. His comments coincided with the worldwide protests against police brutality sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd—and reflect a long distrust between the LGBTQ community and police that predates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising against police brutality.

Warner Bros. is making its 2019 civil-rights legal drama, Just Mercy, free to stream on digital platforms throughout June in light of the ongoing George Floyd protests, Rolling Stone noted. ( It can be streamed for free right now on Amazon. ) Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson, who acted as a defense attorney in appealing the wrongful murder conviction of Walter McMillian ( played by Jamie Foxx ), an African-American pulpwood worker from Alabama.

Paramount is making the Ava DuVernay drama Selma available for free rental on digital platforms through the end of the month, a press release noted. Selma tells the story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery ( in Alabama in March 1965 ) to secure equal voting rights in an event that forever altered history.

On a similar track, Showtime made two of its documentaries available for free, a press release announced. Peabody Award-nominated and Television Academy Honors recipient 16 Shots examines the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the cover-up that ensued. Also, director Sacha Jenkins' Burn Motherf*Cker, Burn! explores the complicated relationship between the Los Angeles Police Department and the city's Black and minority communities. Both are now streaming on YouTube and SHO.com, and are available to SHOWTIME subscribers on demand.

Usher, Janelle Monae, Solange Knowles, Megan Thee Stallion, Queer Eye's Bobby Berk, John Mulaney, Anna Paquin and many more endorsed law student Loralei HoJay's viral Change.org petition calling for Justice for Breonna Taylor, which has more than 3 million signatures, a Change.org press release noted. HoJay started her petition after Louisville police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor during a late-night investigation in March, using a controversial "no-knock" warrant. The petition calls for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to arrest all of the officers involved in Breonna's death; payment from the Louisville Metro Police Department to Taylor's family for wrongful death and negligence; and a statement from Beshear in support of Taylor; appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Louisville Police Department; and an end to "no-knock" warrants through federal legislation.

In spite of his career at Vogue covering luxury, fashion figure Andre Leon Talley doesn't much care about the looting of stores like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana amid ongoing protests, Page Six noted. "I think it's more important to stay focused on the very important subjects of Black lives, the human lives. … Mr. Floyd lost his life over a $20 bill … These fabulous stores have insurance," Talley told Bevy Smith on her SiriusXM show, Bevelations.

As protests continued to take place all across the country, writer/producer/showrunner Lena Waithe came forward to announce what she calls an "ongoing effort" to get funds directly into the hands of demonstrators seeking justice for George Floyd, The Grio noted. Fans flooded Waithe's team with accolades and names of activists in need of her help. The Queen and Slim screenwriter said she hopes her approach will inspire other celebrities to follow suit.

Two-time Grammy nominee Da Brat discussed her 25-year journey coming out as lesbian in the homophobic rap industry with Variety, The Daily Mail noted. "It feels like a weight has been lifted," she told the entertainment publication. "The reaction made me feel like, 'Why didn't I do this s*** years ago?' I got so many positive messages, phone calls, and I had at least 1,500 texts. My DMs were flooded, too." Da Brat ( born Shawntae Harris ) stressed it "was absolutely my decision"' to remain in the closet since it would've been "career suicide" during her early '90s heyday. She came out this year, after fiancee Jesseca Dupart gifted her a Bentley ahead of her birthday.

Former America's Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union is taking Simon Cowell, Universal TV, Syco Entertainment and Fremantle Productions North America to task—and likely, to court, Deadline reported. Union's harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint covers a lot of the same ground made public in her previous public statements of "racist and misogynistic conduct" on "Talent" during her short stint. However, the document obtained by Deadline also alleges NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy directly intervened in a probe over those claims in an effort to "silence and intimidate" her.

The brand behind an eye-catching asymmetrical tie-dye dress Rihanna popularized last year is making it available to the masses, with 100 percent of the profits to be split between Black Lives Matter, Solace Women's Aid and The Voice of Domestic Workers, according to Page Six. "We will be producing this iconic dress exclusively for three charities," designer A Sai Ta of ASAI announced on Instagram. "No one else has this dress apart from me and Riri." Interested parties can direct-message the brand to purchase Rihanna's "Hot Wok" dress—priced at $376, plus shipping—or email info@asaita.co.uk to place an order.

Amid the political unrest in the country sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson called out President Trump—without ever mentioning him by name, Extra noted. Johnson delivered an eight-minute speech, asking Trump to lead the nation with compassion. He said, "Where are you? Where is our leader at this time? At this time when our country is down on its knees begging, pleading, hurt, angry, frustrated, in pain, begging and pleading with its arms out just wanting to be heard."

Actress/activist Jane Fonda is addressing white privilege in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests. While on CNN recently, she told host Don Lemon, in part, "Because we're white, we have had privilege. Even the poorest of us have had privilege. And we need to recognize that, and we have to understand what it is that keeps racism in place—the policies, redlining, banking policies, mortgage policies. ... The policies have to be changed, and then white people have to understand the history that has led to this and we have to try to change within ourselves."

Hartley Sawyer—who has played Ralph Dibny, aka Elongated Man, on the CW series The Flash for the past three seasons—was fired after old social-media posts with racist and misogynistic references recently resurfaced, Deadline reported. In one tweet, Sawyer wrote, "The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me." Sawyer posted an apology on Instagram with a caption that reads, in part, "I'm not here to make excuses—regardless of the intention my words matter, and they carry profound consequences. ... I owe them all an apology. And I owe each of you an apology. Thank you for holding me accountable."

Republic Records is dropping "urban" music from its vernacular, Page Six noted. The label that's home to Ariana Grande and The Weeknd said of axing the term used for hip-hop and R&B acts, "'Urban' is rooted in the historical evolution of terms that sought to define Black music," but "over time the meaning and connotations of 'urban' have shifted and it developed into a generalization of Black people in many sectors of the music industry, including employees and music by Black artists." DJ Frankie Crocker coined the term in the '70s.

Although the 1970s disco group the Village People has previously been okay with President Donald Trump playing its music at rallies, the band has changed its mind, HuffPost noted. Lead singer Victor Willis asked the president to stop playing songs like "Macho Man" and "Y.M.C.A." if he goes through with threat to sic the military on peaceful protesters in the United States. Willis, who co-wrote those classic songs, made the request on Facebook and suggested that military action against U.S. citizens could lead to negative consequences for Trump's re-election chances. It's different from February, when the band took a different tack from acts like R.E.M., Aerosmith and Rihanna, who have demanded Trump not play their music at rallies.

Speaking of the Village People, Howard Harlib, 67, admitted to falsely claiming to represent the group and charging Oregon's Mill Casino $12,500 for a fraudulent booking, Willamette Week noted. The grift took place in August 2015. Mill Casino figured out Harlib's ruse in January 2016, when the business noticed that the Village People where scheduled to play a show in Florida the same day the band was supposedly set to be perform in North Bend. Harlib was charged with wire fraud in April 2019, and pled guilty June 2, 2020; he's been ordered to pay $12,500 in restitution to the Coquille Indian Tribe, which runs the casino.

Multi-platinum Utah-based alternative quartet Neon Trees announced their fourth full-length album, I Can Feel You Forgetting Me, out June 26 via Thrill Forever, a press release noted. In addition, the band ( Tyler Glenn, Elaine Bradley, Branden Campbell and Chris Allen ) announced an up-tempo, anthemic new single, "New Best Friend," to follow their recent alternative radio hit, "Used To Like."

Patricia Eva "Bonnie" Pointer—the Grammy-winning singer and founding member of the Pointer Sisters—died June 8 from cardiac arrest in Los Angeles at age 69, Ringside Report noted. In the late 1960s, Bonnie and her youngest sister June began singing together as teenagers and co-founded The Pointers; soon after, Anita Pointer joined the duo and changed their name to The Pointer Sisters. The group's hits include "Neutron Dance," "I'm So Excited," "Fire" and "Jump ( For My Love )," among many others.

Netflix cancelled competition series Next in Fashion after one season, Deadline revealed. Hosted by Queer Eye fashion guru Tan France and Alexa Chung, Next in Fashion featured 18 designers who faced off in different challenges centering on a different trend or design style that has influenced the way the entire world dresses. South Korean designer Minju Kim was the winner of the first and only season, taking home the $250,000 top prize and the opportunity to debut her collection with luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.

A former manager at one of Sarah Jessica Parker's eponymous stores is suing the Sex and the City star and her business partner for allegedly failing to pay her overtime wages, Page Six noted. The ex-staffer, Heather Holt, claims in New York State Supreme Court papers that Parker, her business partner George Malkemus and their LLC stiffed Holt out of overtime pay from Dec. 31, 2018 to March 1, 2020.

The Doc'n Roll Film Festival has made some of its catalog of music documentaries available to stream online via new site, Doc'n Roll TV, Crack Magazine noted. Launching with 28 films—including documentaries on Gil Scott-Heron, Manchester's acid-house scene, proto-punks Death, funk queen Betty Davis and Lee Scratch Perry—the platform aims to highlight the works of independent filmmakers and "niche" documentaries at a time when cinema screens are closed.

Miss America was to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021—but pageant organizers are pushing this year's pageant, scheduled for December, to September 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, NJ.com noted. In December, Camille Schrier, the former Miss Virginia, was crowned Miss America 2020 at Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. She will now hold the crown for a second year.

Variety Editor-in-Chief Claudia Eller said she is leaving her position temporarily "to take a serious moment of reflection," following complaints made during a company town hall meeting, TheWrap reported. Variety held an all-hands company-wide meeting in the wake of criticism Eller received on Twitter from fellow entertainment journalists, including an exchange with former Hollywood Reporter senior editor Piya Sinha-Roy following an article she wrote about newsroom diversity. Eller, a former L.A. Times reporter, is known to be a sometimes brutally demanding boss. She joined Variety in 2013 to run the newsroom with a mandate to dominate in the highly competitive world of Hollywood trade reporting.

Lea Michele was accused of tormenting a former Glee castmate, People.com reported. The Emmy nominee tweeted about the George Floyd killing, writing that the tragedy was "not an isolated incident and needs to end." In response to Michele's message, former costar Samantha Marie Ware called her out for making her time on set "a living hell." Michele later apologized.

Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller apologized after being accused of racist behavior the previous day by Adriana Smith, the mom of dancer Kamryn Smith from season eight of the show, EW.com reported. It all started when Miller posted a now-deleted blackout square on Instagram for Blackout Tuesday; however, Smith blasted Miller's show of solidarity on Instagram, writing "#DONTACTLIKEYOUCARE" and "NOPE" over a screenshot of the dance coach's post. Miller apologized to Adriana and her daughter via Twitter—but Adriana told EW she does "not accept Abby's apology because her apology was not sincere."

Cate Blanchett said she suffered a "little nick to the head" following an accident with a chainsaw during the coronavirus lockdown, HuffPost noted. However, the Australian actor reassured former Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard—in the latest episode of Gillard's podcast, A Podcast of One's Own—that she was "fine" following the incident. Blanchett added she'd already taken a year off work to assist her eldest son through exams when the United Kingdom was forced in March into a nationwide lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Tiger King's Carole Baskin and her Big Cat Rescue corporation are prepared to help the animals of The G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma—but Jeff Lowe says he doesn't need her assistance, People.com noted. Baskin and her Big Cat Rescue corporation have been granted control of the Oklahoma zoo property—which has been under the control of Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage's ex-business partner Lowe, who starred in the Netflix docuseries with his wife Lauren. "Although I am not personally named in the lawsuit, it appears that Carole Baskin and her desire to exact revenge against Joe Exotic trumps the livelihood of the families that came together to save her life," Lowe said in a statement.


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