Not for nothing, but this is kinda of a BIG deal. Orange Is The New Black's fabulous Laverne Cox has become the first trans woman to be on the cover of TIME magazine. The cover article is"The Transgender Tipping Point: America's Next Civil Rights Frontier."
A phenomenal woman has passed on. Iconic author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86.
Angelou was found unresponsive at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just a few days after she canceled an appearance at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards Luncheon in Houston where she was to be honored.
She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis on April 4, 1928. At the age of three, she and her brother Bailey were sent to live with their grandmother in Arkansas, where she would witness both racial discrimination and the rich, vibrant life of the black community, things that would inform her work, including her most famous memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, published in 1970.
Angelou went on to produce more than 30 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Just Give Me A Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie, and Still I Rise, and appeared in films and TV shows like Poetic Justice and Roots.
Read more about Angelou's legendary life HERE.
You may or may not heard of Betty Black, the multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician whose sound is an expansive blend of everything from R&B, retro psychedelia-infused pop and electronica to garage rock and Southern-gothic blues. But if you're planning to spend the summer in the club or on the festival circuit--or if you're just an house/EDM junkie like moi--you will soon.
The singer, who also goes by Sally Black, has dropped a remix of her song "Come Back Lover." Handing the production honors over to up-and-comer Lauren Flax, who transforms the tortured torch song vibe of the original to a lush house anthem, designed for nights when heartbreak is better suited to be sweated out on the dancefloor.
The "Come Black Lover," is the first of a slew of remixes and singles to get fans primed for Black's upcoming album Valley Low, a follow up to last year's Bad Weather that's set to come out in the fall. In the meantime, listen to Flax's remix below.
Hmmmm....so it looks like Lifetime is getting the first crack at telling Whitney Houston's life story. The network has greenlighted an original movie with the working title Whitney Houston.
Slated to be directed by Houston's Waiting To Exhale costar Angela Bassett, the film, which will air next year, will cover the late singer's stormy relationship with Bobby Brown, chronicling the early days of their courtship through their often-turbulent marriage, while also focusing on Houston's music and acting career.
“I have such regard for both Whitney’s and Bobby’s amazing talents and accomplishments, and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story,” said Bassett. “Their humanity and bond fascinates us all.” Executive producer Larry Sanitsky and writer Shem Bitterman, the same team that produced last year's TV flick Betty & Coretta, have signed on to work on the film.
Again, hmmmm....while Whitney and Bobby's story is in much better hands with Bassett, than say, Tyler Perry's *shudders*, this will Bernadine's first time behind the director's chair. Then there's the question of the channel itself. Lifetime's track record with biopics is spotty at best; Betty & Coretta was alright, but then are the twin train wrecks of Life Is Not A Fairy Tale and Lindsay Lohan's laughable turn as Liz Taylor. And wasn't there a Gaga biopic in the works?
Part of me can't shake the idea this amount to nothing more than a watered down version of What's Love Got To Do With It. Not because Bassett is involved, but because the dynamics and public perception of Whitney and Bobby's marriage are very identical to Ike and Tina's. In other words, I'm deeply afraid Whitney Houston will portray Whitney as an absolute saint and Bobby as the devil.
Look, I'm a Nippy fan, but we know her life wasn't all sunshine, Grammys and platinum records; there were the drugs of course, but also the "Whitey Houston" sellout accusations, the lesbian rumors, domestic violence and family and legal squabbles. You know, real life. And if this movie is going to transcend the typical sanitized rock bio fare, it can't gloss over the grittier aspects of Whitney's story. I'd almost prefer it air as a four-hour, two-night epic The Jacksons: An American Dream/The Temptations-style, or go for a major theatrical release. Lest we forget, Whitney was one of the biggest pop stars of the last 30 years, so she certainly has the fanbase to pack theaters.
I'm not saying Whitney Houston is doomed to be bad. But given the medium and the players involved, it ain't lookin' that good. And we haven't even touched on who would play Whitney...
Chile, Christmas has come early this year! The success of Magic Mike--which promises more sweaty muscle mania with a sequel next year--has opened the door for Chocolate City, a stripper flick by indie filmmaker Jean-Claude LaMarre. Actors and resident man candy Michael Jai White and Tyson Beckford are currently in talks to star in the film.
Centric.com notes that "Chocolate City centers on Devin, a college student who is struggling to stay financially afloat. He meets the owner of a male strip club (White) who convinces him to give amateur night a chance. Beckford is slated to play Adrian, the club's former star who finds his popularity fading as Devin becomes the fan favorite. Devin will also fight to balance his religious upbringing with his new, not-so-holy career path."
LaMarre, who also wrote the script and is slated to direct the project, says he researched the male exotic dancer scene, going to clubs that targeted black women. LaMarre hopes to market the movie, which begins production next month, in theaters in urban markets.
Trust me, the girls won't be only ones lining up to see this flick. Now if they can get Dwayne Johnson, Larenz Tate, Shemar Moore, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut down for the cause...maybe Will Smith and Gregory Keith wouldn't mind slipping into (and out of) a banana hammock.
Damita Jo turns 48 today. In celebration of Janet's birthday--and the news a new album may possibly be in the works (hey the link's about a month old, but I'll take what I can get--Discipline didn't deserve the reception it got back in '08. Trust!) , here are a few of her best tunes, along with a few remixes. Enjoy.
The CDC has released new clinical guidelines for anyone at high risk for contracting HIV, recommending using the drug Truvada as a preventative measure against infection.
"The federal health agency recommended the use of Truvada,, an antiretroviral medication that is also used to treat HIV, as a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis, of PrEP, for gay and bisexual men who have sex without condoms, anyone who regularly has sex with partners who are HIV-positive, intravenous drug users or anyone who shares needles, and heterosexuals partnered with high-risk individuals, including IV drug users and bisexual men who have sex without condoms. The CDC's guidelines still recommend that PrEP be used in conjunction with safer-sex practices, including the use of condoms, though some acknowledge the likelihood of that is low. While Truvada can help prevent HIV infection, eschewing condoms still puts an individual at risk for other sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis and gonorrhea."
Gay couples in Arkansas can resume jumping the broom. The state judge Chris Piazza amended his earlier ruling to eliminate all relevant state laws that limited marriage licenses to heterosexual couples. His ruling opens the door for the state's 75 counties to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
According to The Advocate, "Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling denied a request for a stay filed by the state but noted that Piazza's ruling didn't address one clause of state law that forbade county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When that decision came down Wednesday afternoon, attorneys for the plaintiffs — 11 same-sex couples — vowed to petition the trial judge for an updated ruling that struck all state laws restricting the freedom to marry."
Attorneys for the couples did, and Piazza clarified his ruling to county clerks who'd refused to give licenses to same-sex couples, saying there was no harm done to the state by allowing them to wed. "The same cannot be said of the plaintiffs and other same-sex couples who have not been afforded the same measure of human dignity, respect and recognition by this state as their similarly situated, opposite sex counterparts," Piazza wrote today. "A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state."
Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaneil, who, if you remember, supports marriage equality but said he wouldn't do diddly squat to help achieve it (or something to that effect:), has already filed notice of his intent to appeal.
As you may or may not have noticed, my posting at K.Clark's Corner has been a lighter on content as of late. A bit of general LGBT news here, a fine man there, a random read of Mariah Carey--oh excuse me, The Elusive Chanteuse--for your nerves. Elusive Chanteuse...girl I don't know what to do with you.
But I digress. Things have been a bit scattershot here, and I'm grateful for everyone who has still stopped by in the past few weeks and read or passed along my posts--I'd love it even more if folks made a habit of commenting, but c'est la vie. I am currently working on nailing down a more consistent posting schedule, but from time to time, things may get a little sporadic. However, there's a good reason, and if the title of this point wasn't a tip off (and not just that I'm a big P!nk fan) here it is: I'm recording an album *balls up fists and makes squee noise.*
That's right. I'm hittin' the studio (though far from paid in full), and laying down fiyah beats and sick tracks 'ya heard me? Ooop, I think some Baby and Lil' Wayne got caught in my throat. Now, I haven't quit my day job or landed some huge record deal or been discovered by and become the artistic kept boy of some sugar daddy super producer. And of course, I still want to get my novel and short stories published (more on that in a separate post). But as a pianist/guitarist for most of my life, I have a deep love and appreciation for the art form, and have always dreamed about making my own original music.
However, as I was a church musician, most of my energy was spent learning and covering other people's tunes. That, combined with a lack of access and coins to recording software and equipment, along with a nagging fear that everything I'd create would suck, kept me from making the beats, riffs and synth sounds swirling in my head a reality. But now that my Sundays are spent in bed and Tipitina's, a statewide music co-op, has reopened in my city, I can't think of a better time to pursue my passion. As for the fear I will utterly suck, it's still lingering in my soft pink matter--cotton candy, Majin Buu. But the only way to conquer fear is to pin the bitch down and pummel its ass mercilessly into submission. Metaphorically of course.
So I'm twiddling the knobs on a yet-to-be-titled EP of five to ten house/electronic-oriented tracks, with a little rock, R&B, rap and 80's-inspired pop thrown in for good measure.I don't plan on any tracks with lyrics and vocals right now, but never say never. At my current pace, which is going to the studio a few times a week, I expect it to be ready to drop by late late summer or mid-fall. I'm a perfectionist, one who's still learning/experimenting with the ins and outs of production, and want to take my time. In other words, I'm not trying to put out any crap, and even though the EP won't have the internet going Beehive nuts, my name is still on it.
If your ears are itching with curiosity (and I hope those antennas are burning up) you're in luck! One cut is completely done and dusted. If songs are like kids, then this is my first born. Get into "Un Peu Maison" a homage to classic, late 80's/early 90's-era deep house, released under my new moniker, at least for music, Afro Sensi. If you like it, or even better, live for it, share it and download it and spread it like the plague.
Sam, who was named a first-team all American and crowned AP defensive player of the year while a senior at Missouri, came out publicly back in February, declaring "I am an openly, proud gay man." "I understand how big this is," he later said to ESPN. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."
This is such a game-changer, to extend the sports talk, a watershed moment both in American sports and LGBT history. If Sams is as successful in his pro career as he was in college, millions of kids, gay, straight, bi or trans, are going to see him out on the field and look up to him, imitate him, hang posters of him up on their walls, play with him in Madden (well if you're into that sort of thing). Hopefully he's the first of many.
This situation just keeps getting worse. New details have emerged about a Boko Haram attack on a Nigerian village, with at least 150 people suspected dead.
According to CNN.com, militants "backed by armored personnel carriers and shouting "God is great" attacked Gamboru Ngala Monday afternoon, firing rocket-propelled grenades and tossing improvised bombs into a crowded outdoor marketplace. They then set fire to buildings where people had tried to take shelter from the violence, the witnesses said. The fighters also attacked the police station during the 12-hour assault, initially facing stiff resistance. They eventually used explosives to blow the roof off the building, witnesses said. Fourteen police officers were found dead inside, they said.
The death toll from the attack could rise as high as 300.
Of course, Boko Haram has been in the headlines as international pressure and outrage continues to mount over the abduction of nearly 300 girls by the group, with its leader Abubakar Shekau threatening to sell the girls into slavery. The Nigerian government has accepted aid from the U.S. and Britain, with the U.S. working to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise through establishing a "coordination cell." Britain plans to send a small team to compliment the U.S. team.
Well it's the end of an era. If you're like me, you've likely seen Jet and Ebony magazines laying across your coffee and/or kitchen table or sitting in the magazine rack by the recliner since birth. But now the former will be bidding adieu to the newsstands with a switch to a digital magazine, which will be available as an app.
According to The Root, the weekly app will display content, including video interviews, enhanced digital maps, 3D charts and photography in a multimedia format, and will be available on all devices and platforms. If you're also a weirdo like me, and still like to hold ink and paper in your hands, not to fear: the magazine will produce a special print edition once a year.
"I think I wasn't liked by a lot of royal families in India, especially, because a lot of times, the royal secrets are not disclosed...and this was a secret — that you can be gay, even in the royal family. Which came out. And which made people wonder, or kind of [reconsider] the misconception which people have that if you are gay, you can only belong to a certain strata of society; the upper-class society cannot be gay. So it actually broke a myth.
If you haven't heard, Mariah aka, MC, aka Mimi, aka, The Elusive Chanteuse, has announced the title of her upcoming new album (pictured above) Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse, slated to drop May 27.
Okay, first of all let me start this off by saying I have been a Mariah fan--a lamb if you will--since forevah. We're talking since the "Hero," "Fantasy" and "Always Be My Baby" days. But ever since, say, The Emancipation of Mimi, (though I'd argue the Glitter soundtrack and Charmbracelet had their bright spots) the woman appears to have completely lost the plot musically and aesthetically.
In the Nineties and early Aughts, it was all about the music; the wailing runs, the idiosyncratic 'shoo be doo"-style harmonies or intricate counterpart vocals (see "Breakdown" for an example), accompanied by lyrics that could, admittedly, sometimes veer toward schmaltz, but could also be intensely personal and inspirational (think "Vanishing," "Looking In," "Butterfly," "Outside," "Close My Eyes," "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy"). In other words, Mariah was interested chiefly in being an artist, quirks and all, and her singles and albums reflected this.
Now it feels like she's so focused on being trendy and current that she's sacrificed lyrical quality. I remember the first time I heard "Touch My Body," and cringed at the many of the lyrics--"I want you to caress me like a tropical breeze," and "all up in my business like a Wendy interview" come to mind--but it was hella catchy, and I figured Mariah was just in a throwaway kinda mood and would find her way back to pop/R&B glory. Sadly, I was mistaken. Yes, she's released some fun tracks in the last five or six years, but can you say with a straight face that "Obsessed," "HateU" "Up Out My Face" or her latest, "Mine," can stack up to any of her 90's classics?
And speaking of "Mine," I'm sorry, but a shirtless Trey Songz aside, I was not here for a video full of Mariah giving come-hither glances to the camera while throwing her hair back a la this:
I get it: you were young, and Tommy had you on lock down personally and professionally, so once the divorce papers were filed, you had the freedom to do and be whatever you wanted. But what started as a sexier change in image has become almost an obsession. A prime example: her appearance at BET Honors, where her uber tight gown got all the press instead of her vocal performance (which came under its own scrutiny, though I'll give her the benefit of the doubt).
Every appearance, every video, every photoshoot, Mimi is preening, posing and screaming "Look at me, look at me! I'm a sexy Hello Kitty!" to the point where it's a distraction from her work. Take the cover of her new album for instance; it's not particularly striking or dramatic or even that glamorous. She might as well be posing for some random calendar. The right move would be to swap it out for the back cover, a self-portrait she drew when she was three years old. It's quirky, personal and tells a story. But since sexy trumps artistry, that ain't hapennin'.
Then there's the business of this new nickname/album title. Mimi and MC were cute plays on her name and initials and all, but The Elusive Chanteuse? Girl who are you supposed to be, Kate Bush? Sade? When have you ever been elusive? It'd be like Madonna or Janet naming their next album The Nun. Simply naming the album Me. I Am Mariah... and including the self-portrait would do a much better job of making us feel as if we're going to learn more about you, and experience a different side of your personality. Who knows, maybe it'll drop in a few weeks and blow my mind. But right now, I'm not holding out much hope.
Anyway, listen to Mariah explain a bit about the album below.
LGBT donors to President Obama's election campaigns are being barred from entering Russia.
The Daily Beast reports that the country, which has already blacklisted several U.S. senators and White House staff, has expanded their list to include "Obama campaign fundraisers tied to the LGBT community,” along with members of Congress. “The names of the specific bundlers remains a secret, but a focus was put on those with ties to the gay and lesbian community; it’s a reflection of the ongoing fight between the Kremlin and the White House over Russia’s laws punishing the promotion of LGBT ‘propaganda,’” the article notes. It continues, “The only way a bundler or lawmaker can determine if he or she is on the sanctions list is to apply for a visa to visit Russia. If the visa is rejected without explanation, the applicant is on the list.”
The list is an act of retaliation against sanctions put on Russia by the Obama administration.
Talk about a case of good news, bad news. Arkansas' attorney general Dustin McDaniel has gone on record in support of marriage equality. However, he's also stated he will defend the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in court.
“I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law,” McDaniel said in a speech at the AP managing editors convention. After the speech, he explained to an AP reporter, “I’m going to zealously defend our constitution, but at the same time I think it’s important to let people where I stand on the matter.”
McDaniel, who's nearing the end of his term, said he would also not campaign to the end ban, which is currently being challenged in court, while in office, or push other officials to take his position.
Ummmm, then why even make the announcement in the first place? He's basically saying "Yeah I believe ya'll should have rights. I just won't do anything in my power to help you." Not saying he couldn't do anything once he's out of office, but why not do something now, while you have the power and the platform? It's a strange, infuriating position to take.