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SHOWBIZ Former Disney star, women's sports, Latifah, Lenny Kravitz, 'Barbie'
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by Andrew Davis
2023-12-08

This article shared 5683 times since Fri Dec 8, 2023
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In an essay about mental health that ran in Teen Vogue, former Disney star Karan Brar came out as bisexual, Out noted. In the essay, Brar talked about moving out of his parents' place —something that was difficult for him as an Indian-American—and how that ultimately led to him coming out to friends such as then-roommates/fellow Disney actors Cameron Boyce and Sophie Reynolds. Brar's first starring role was as middle-schooler Chirag Gupta in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the next two installments of the franchise, Rodrick Rules and Dog Days; recently, he has done voice work. Those who have or are contemplating suicide can call, text or chat 988 for The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all backgrounds).

Deloitte researchers said that revenue from major women's sports should be more than $1 billion in 2024—marking a threefold spike from just three years ago, NBC News noted. "Women's elite sports"—which includes professional leagues around the world and high-level amateur competitions such as NCAA Division I events and the Olympics—will be on target to generate $1.28 billion. Part of that will result from the National Women's Soccer League recently agreeing to an expanded TV package that'll be worth $240 million over four years, with matches to be shown on CBS, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports.

Rapper/actor/singer Queen Latifah was among the honorees welcomed to the White House for a reception prior to the Kennedy Center Honors, where she joined the latest class of inductees alongside singer Dionne Warwick, comedian Billy Crystal, Bee Gees member Barry Gibb and opera star Renee Fleming, The Washington Blade noted. "Tonight, Queen Latifah," President Joe Biden said, "you become the first female hip-hop artist to receive a Kennedy Honor—[and it's]fitting because it's a tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop." After decades of speculation about her sexuality, Latifah publicly acknowledged partner Eboni Nichols and son Rebel during an acceptance speech at the BET Awards in 2021.

Musician Lenny Kravitz revealed to Esquire about how the gay community has been a major influence on his career and life, Queerty noted. "Not only in fashion and style, because that's just something on top," he told Esquire. "They raised me. I was in the street—my choice—and it was the eighties in West Hollywood. It was that time; artists, musicians, hairstylists and designers, those were the people I was hanging out with." Kravitz is set to release his 12th studio album, Blue Electric Light, in the coming months.

Max announced that it will debut Greta Gerwig's fantasy comedy Barbie on Dec. 15, a few months after the film's July 21 theatrical release date, according to Variety. (There will also be an American Sign Language version available.) Earning more than $1.4 billion at the global box office, Barbie is not only the highest grossing film of 2023—but the highest grossing Warner Bros. movie in history. The movie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, with Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Michael Cera and Issa Rae.

Speaking of Barbie, it and fellow Barbenheimer movie Oppenheimer were among AFI Awards' top 10 films of the Year, Deadline noted. Also named are American Fiction, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, May December, Past Lives, Poor Things and the animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Netflix is represented by two films, Maestro and May December making it the only distributor to have more than one of its movies on the list this year.

Saltburn, the gothic romance thriller from Oscar-winning director Emerald Fennell, will be available to stream worldwide on Prime Video on Dec. 22, per Deadline. Saltburn—which stars Jacob Elordi, Barry Keoghan, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Archie Madekwe and Carey Mulligan—will arrive on Prime Video after a 36-day theatrical window.

On X (formerly Twitter), Lil Nas X recently talked about "entering his Christian music era"—but drew the ire of several Christian rappers who are creating diss tracks about him, Out noted. In a new diss track titled "Lil Nas X (Response)," Bryson Gray raps that Nas X "took our money, but as soon as he got big, all of a sudden he's pushing homosexuality on our kids." Gray's song caught the attention of Grammy-winning rapper and LGBTQ+ ally Kid Cudi, who quote-shared Gray's diss-track with a GIF of 50 Cent saying "What you saying 'f*ck me' for?" Cudi added, "Catchin' strays. God ain't have nothing to do with this [laughing emoji]."

An independently financed feature take of the 1992 John Kander-Fred Ebb West End and Broadway musical Kiss of the Spider Woman is ready to shoot in the spring with Jennifer Lopez set to play the role of Aurora, which Chita Rivera originated, Deadline revealed. The musical was based on the Oscar-winning 1985 movie that starred Sonja Braja as the Spider-Woman, as well as the late actors Raul Julia and William Hurt.

Lesbian swimmer Diana Nyad—now the subject of the movie Nyad, which stars Annette Bening and Jodie Foster—said she has changed her attitude towards trans athletes, and is now "firmly on the side of inclusion," according to PinkNews. Nyad wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2022 arguing against trans women's inclusion in elite sports on women's teams. However, she recently told Out, "I have come to understand that the science is far more complex than I thought, and there are clearly more educated experts than I who are creating policy to ensure that elite sports are both fair and inclusive of all women."

Legendary dance-music artist Crystal Waters released "Dance Dance Dance" in September—and the song is off her new album, which will be her first in 25 years, according to Broadway World and a press release. There are also remixes by DJ Spen and Thommy Davis—two of the original Basement Boys, who were responsible for producing "Gypsy Woman," "100% Pure Love" and other songs that launched Waters' career more than 30 years ago. In addition, Google and LGBTQ+ actress/singer KeKe Palmer fashioned a remake of "Pure Love" to commemorate Google's Black Friday Day with Palmer's "100% Black Owned," which will be released on Waters' IAH Records; see www.youtube.com/watch.

Trans rocker Laura Jane Grace and Polyvinyl Record Co. have released "Cuffing Season"—the latest single to be lifted from Grace's new album, Hole in My Head, that is slated to be released Feb. 16, 2024, a press release noted. Grace has already released "Dysphoria Hoodie" and the title track. Grace will continue tour in 2023 and 2024, with stops ranging from Houston to Minneapolis to Athens, Greece.

Billie Eilish confirmed that she recently came out in her Variety Power of Women cover story, in which she first revealed her attraction to women. (She has lost more than 100,000 followers on Instagram since coming out, although she still has 110 million followers, according to Out.) On the red carpet at Variety's Hitmakers event, Eilish said she didn't intend to make a grand gesture of "coming out," and was actually surprised by the public's reaction to her comments. "I kind of thought, wasn't it obvious?" However, she has now asked people to stop discussing her sexuality as she accused Variety of "outing" her, Yahoo! News noted.

GLAAD Vice President of Communications & Talent Anthony Allen Ramos issued a statement commending Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce, whose release date (Dec. 1—World AIDS Day) honored the singer's gay uncle Johnny. In a press release, Ramos said the movie "further exemplifies Beyoncé's commitment to use her global platform to spotlight, uplift and pay tribute to the Black LGBTQ community. The Renaissance tour was deeply inspired by the LGBTQ community in ballroom culture and disco music. In the film, Beyonce memorializes these people who were often victims of violence and lost to AIDS by spotlighting the many LGBTQ creatives of today who have influenced her, yet have previously not received the praise and recognition that they deserve." Beyoncé and JAY-Z received a GLAAD Media Awards honor in 2019; their acceptance speech is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHbTIIqJFtA.

The meteoric rise and web of lies involving now-former openly gay U.S. Rep. George Santos are getting the film treatment, according to Deadline. HBO Films has optioned the rights to Mark Chiusano's book The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing and Very American Legend of George Santos, which was published on Nov. 28. Santos was voted out of Congress for alleged ethics violations, including donor funds spent on the website OnlyFans and Botox treatments. He has denied the charges and has vowed to fight back.

Actor Anthony Rapp (Rent; Star Trek: Discovery) and partner Ken Ithiphol announced the birth of their second child, Keony Lee Ithiphol, according to Out. Rapp wrote on Instagram, "We are beyond grateful that our surrogacy journey has allowed us to meet such wonderful people and helped us to become a family of four." Rapp and Ithiphol, who have been together since 2016 and got engaged in 2019, welcomed their first baby boy (via surrogacy) last year.

Costume designer Holly Waddington, of the Searchlight movie Poor Things, attended the film's costume exhibit opening night reception in downtown LA and mingled with guests, per a press release. Among the attendees were the evening's host and Oscar-nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), fashion designers Trish Summerville and Jeremy Scott, and actress Lola Glaudini (Criminal Minds; The Sopranos). The "Poor Things" costume exhibit at ASU FIDM will be open to the public through Dec. 15.

FX confirmed the premiere date and released the key art for Ryan Murphy's Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, per Deadline. The eight-episode limited series will premiere its first two episodes on Wed., Jan. 31, at 9 p.m. CT on FX, simulcast with a special director's cut of the first episode on FXX. All episodes, including the director's cut, will be available to stream the next day on Hulu. The series stars Tom Hollander (as Truman Capote), Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloe Sevigny and Calista Flockhart.

So You Think You Can Dance has been officially renewed for season 18 on Fox—and it's returning with a new set of judges, Deadline noted. Dancing with the Stars duo Allison Holker and Maksim Chmerkovskiy will join executive producer Nigel Lythgoe as judges for the show, which returns March 4; once again, Cat Deeley will host. Last season, which premiered in May 2022, featured JoJo Siwa and Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, who died in December. Matthew Morrison was also a judge but was fired from the show and replaced by Leah Remini.

Angelina Jolie told the Wall Street Journal Magazine that she probably would not become an actor if she was just starting out in the industry in 2023, although she might consider being a stage actress, Variety noted. "When I was starting out, it wasn't as much of an expectation to be as public, to share so much," she said. The Oscar winner said that she feels a "bit down these days," before revealing "I don't feel like I've been myself for a decade, in a way—which I don't want to get into."

ABC and Dick Clark Productions announced that Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024 has new co-hosts, per a press release. Seacrest will lead the countdown to midnight alongside global superstar Rita Ora live from Times Square. Also, from Los Angeles, Emmy-winning television personality Jeannie Mai will co-host the Hollywood party in the Pacific Time zone. In addition, actress, singer and TV presenter Dayanara Torres will return as co-host as she rings in the new year from Puerto Rico.

On the heels of her performance in American Horror Story: Delicate, Kim Kardashian is getting her own scripted series—a legal drama on Hulu with executive producer Ryan Murphy, Deadline noted. Kardashian, whose acting deal is being negotiated, will play Los Angeles' most successful divorce lawyer and the owner of an all-female law firm.

Fashion designer, podcast host and entertainer Isaac Mizrahi will return to NYC's Cafe Carlyle with his show, "Mizrahi on Ice," on Feb. 6-17, 2024, per a press release. Accompanied by his band of jazz musicians led by Ben Waltzer, Mizrahi will perform tunes from Arthur Freed to Grace Jones. Tickets are available online via Tock.

British duo Bananarama revisits two tracks—"Robert De Niro's Waiting" and "Velvet Lies"—with new remixes by The Reflex and Luke Million, specially commissioned for their upcoming collection, Glorious: The Ultimate Collection, a press release noted. Following the new single "Feel the Love" and the Boys Noize re-rub of the smash "Venus," these new remixes will be on the digital and deluxe three-CD versions of "Glorious," which is slated to be out in March. Other formats include a collector's triple vinyl and double CD.

Pansexual adult-film star and LGBTQ+-rights activist Sophie Anderson died suddenly at age 36, The Advocate noted. In 2018, Anderson became a viral sensation (and gained a following in the LGBTQ+ community) after posting videos as one-half of "Cock Destroyers" alongside friend and fellow entertainer Rebecca More. The pair also worked together to create an LGBTQ+ sex-education video for Netflix in 2020.

The third season of Max's And Just Like That won't debut until 2025, per Deadline. In season two, the series brought back franchise favorites John Corbett, returning as Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) "one that got away" Aidan Shaw, and Kim Cattrall in a small cameo in the finale, reprising her role as Samantha Jones. Max also confirmed previously announced 2025 premieres for HBO's Euphoria, The White Lotus and The Last of Us.

The Cruel Intentions series is officially going to Amazon's Prime Video, Variety noted. The series was initially ordered at Amazon back in April, and the first season will have eight episodes. The show is meant to update the 1999 film, which is based on the classic novel and film Dangerous Liaisons.

Emmy-winning actress Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife; The Morning Show) claimed she was "horrified" by the reaction to a series of statements she had made about Black and LGBTQ+ Americans, Deadline noted. "I am horrified by the fact that statements I made on a recent podcast offended the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities—communities I truly love and respect," Margulies said to Deadline. Saying that Adolf Hitler "got his entire playbook from the Jim Crow South" while on The Back Room with Andy Ostroy podcast, Margulies criticized the Black community for not "embracing" Jews, stating "in the civil-rights movement, the Jews were the ones that walked side by side with the Blacks to fight for their rights."

On Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver urged Bravo exec Andy Cohen to cast now-former gay Congressman George Santos on The Real Housewives franchise on Bravo, Deadline noted. However, a day after the HBO show aired, Cohen didn't seem interested in giving Santos a role on the cable network. "Let me be clear: We don't want him," Cohen said on his SiriusXM show.

Singer Kelly Clarkson's ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, owes her more than $2.6 million for allegedly making business deals on her behalf against the law, Yahoo! noted, citing People. California law dictates that managers cannot act as agents, so the commissions he was paid for securing the singer's contracts with The Voice, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Wayfair and the Billboard Music Awards must be paid back to Clarkson. TMZ reported that Blackstock intends to appeal the decision.





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