Pop star Demi Lovato stunned the audience at a prizegiving in New York City on Monday (23Jun13) by revealing her late grandfather was gay.
The Skyscraper hitmaker was among the celebrity presenters at Logo TV's Trailblazers ceremony, which honours those who have championed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and took to the stand to announce hit show Orange Is the New Black as the winner of one of the night's awards. Lovato then shared her own experiences with the LGBT community, explaining how her own grandfather had 'come out' in the 1960s.
She told the crowd, "I've never spoken about this before, but my grandfather was a trailblazer himself. He was brave enough to come out in the 1960s, and I feel that a lot of my spirit has come from him. He passed away a few years later and I only wish he could have been able to see all the progress that has been made. "It's such an honour to be welcomed and embraced by the LGBT community, so thank you very much."
Others honoured at the event included U.S. basketball's first openly gay player Jason Collins, who was presented an award from pop star Lance Bass, and Ugandan gay rights activist John Abdallah Wambere, who received his prize from rocker Michael Stipe.
Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe will celebrate the achievements of a leading Ugandan gay rights activist at an upcoming prizegiving for America's Logo TV network. The bisexual rocker will salute John Abdallah Wambere, the head of the Spectrum Uganda Initiatives campaign group, at the New York bash next Monday (23Jun14), when pioneers in the gay rights movement will be honoured at the first-ever Trailblazers event.
The efforts of Wambere and his fellow equal rights activists were dealt a big blow last year (13) when Ugandan government officials passed the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, which makes same-sex relations in the country illegal. The crime carries a sentence of life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Orange Is the New Black stars Laverne Cox and Lea DeLaria will also be feted at the ceremony, alongside Brooklyn Nets basketball star Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay man to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when he was signed last year (13).
The event will feature a performance from Australian singer/songwriter Sia, who will hit the stage with the New York City Gay Men's Chorus.
Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Matthew Mcconaughey and Pharrell Williams have been named among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The Crazy in Love superstar graces the main cover of the publication's annual Time 100 edition, while other portraits feature Robert Redford and Brooklyn Nets star Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly-gay professional basketball player.
Praising Beyonce for juggling her hugely successful career with motherhood and her other business ventures, Facebook.com chief operating officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg writes in the magazine, "She's the boss. Beyonce doesn't just sit at the table. She builds a better one... "Her secret: hard work, honesty and authenticity. And her answer to the question, 'What would you do if you weren't afraid?' appears to be 'Watch me. I'm about to do it.' Then she adds, 'You can, too.'" The singer is one of a record 41 women featured on the 2014 list, which also includes 21-year-old Cyrus, actresses Kerry Washington, Amy Adams and Robin Wright and country star Carrie Underwood.
Other celebrities to make the cut include Benedict Cumberbatch, Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, while Pope Francis, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin have also been listed.
Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn has announced he's gay. The 30 year old reveals he always knew he was a homosexual and he 'came out' to his family, friends and bandmates in October (13).
He tells RollingStone.com, "I've always felt like I'm an open book, and yet obviously I haven't been, completely.
"I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my 20s. Then I'd be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world."
Since coming out, Glenn has been inspired by all the U.S. professional athletes like college football player Michael Sam and NBA player Jason Collins who have chosen to do the same.
He continues, "I really love all of the sports figures that are coming out recently. I appreciated Michael Sam was like, 'I want to be able to go to the movies and hold hands with my boyfriend'. Even hearing him say boyfriend, I was just like, 'That's cool'."
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is developing a film based on the life of gay 1970s baseball player Glenn Burke. The Halloween star has teamed up with Lost in Translation producer Ross Katz to develop the movie, which will detail Burke's time as an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics in the '70s, when he opened up about his sexuality to his teammates and management officials.
Katz will also write the script for Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story, which will be based on the late sportsman's own memoir, according to Deadline.com.
Curtis says, "With (openly gay college football player) Michael Sam's brave and bold statement, he joins the Trifecta of American sports, Glenn Burke - MLB (Major League Baseball), Jason Collins - NBA (National Basketball Association), Michael Sam - NFL (National Football League), dealing with gay athletes, and forcing open the door permanently. Our film will clearly honour the force and the struggle to get there."
Sam, who is currently a star defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, 'came out' as a gay man last month (Feb14). He is one of the standout college players who experts predict has a very high chance of becoming a pro if drafted into the NFL in May (14).
Burke passed away in 1995.
Sportsman Jason Collins will become the first openly gay man to play in America's National Basketball Association after signing for the Brooklyn Nets. Collins came out last year (13), when he was between teams, but now he'll actually be on the court.
The Nets have confirmed the expected signing of Collins to a 10-day contract, and he is expected to be available for Sunday night's (23Feb14) game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Nets general manager Billy King says, "The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision. We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract."
Collins spent his first six seasons with the Nets when the team was in New Jersey.
Stars have reached out to American sports hopeful Michael Sam after he 'come out' as gay just months before he is expected to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL). The 24-year-old is a star defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, and one of the standout college players who experts predict has a very high chance of becoming a pro if drafted into the NFL in May (14).
On Sunday (09Feb14), Sam publicly acknowledged his sexuality in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times, stating, "I am an openly, proud gay man."
He tells ESPN, "I understand how big this is. 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."
If drafted, Sam would become the very first openly gay player in the NFL.
He tells the New York Times, "I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth."
Since his announcement, celebrities have flooded Twitter.com to send their support to the athlete, including singer Ricky Martin who writes, "Congratulations brave man!!!" while actor Michael Urie adds, "Bravo, Michael Sam!"
Basketball star Jason Collins, who made similar headlines last year (13) after becoming the first professional male athlete in America to come out, took to the microblogging site to reveal he had been meeting with Sam to share his own experience with being honest with his sexuality in the public eye.
He writes, "For the past 2 days I have met with @MikeSamFootball here in LA. He is a great young man who has shown tremendous courage and leadership. I can't wait to cheer for whatever lucky team that drafts @mikesamfootball."
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Twentieth Century Fox TelevisionAccording to most blind items sites, nearly every person working in the entertainment industry is hiding a secret about their sexuality. But despite the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer proving that coming out certainly doesn't neccessarily lead to career suicide, the number of openly gay celebrities still remains relatively small. Following last week’s 25th annual National Coming Out Day, here's a look at five stars who have made that bold step to publicly come out of the closet this year.Wentworth MillerThe former Prison Break lead and Stoker screenwriter came out on GLAAD's official website in an open letter to the Saint Petersburg International Film Festival. Politely declining their invitation to attend because of the Russian government's treatment of gay citizens, he also later revealed he had attempted suicide as a teenager because of his sexuality.Raven-SymoneFamous for her role as Olivia Kendall in The Cosby Show and her Disney Channel vehicle, That's So Raven, 27-year-old Raven Symone took to Twitter in August to express her delight at the fact that she could finally get legally married following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.Robbie RogersRobbie Rogers became the first openly gay professional footballer in 23 years when he prematurely announced his retirement back in February. Following a wave of support from players and fans alike, he returned to the game in May when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy.Jason CollinsJust a week before Rogers' comeback, NBA star Jason Collins also made a ground-breaking move when he became the first active male athlete from North America's four major professional sports leagues to confirm he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated.Ben WhishawBest-known for his role of Q in Skyfall, acclaimed British actor Ben Whishaw had previously refused to talk about his private life. But his representative released a statement in August confirming that he had entered into a civil partnership with Australian composer Mark Bradshaw twelve months previously.
Sir Paul McCartney has reworked his Christmas song Wonderful Christmastime with a cappella group Straight No Chaser. The former Beatle first had a hit with the holiday single in 1979, and now he's giving it a makeover for the vocal act's Under the Influence: Holiday Edition EP, which will be released on 29 October (13).
Straight No Chaser's Don Nottingham says, "The list of musical living legends starts with Paul McCartney. If you'd asked me five years ago - or even five months ago - what collaboration would be totally unfathomable for me, I would have said McCartney. To have him on a song with us is totally unbelievable and a true honour."
The group's most recent Under The Influence album featured collaborations with Phil Collins, Rob Thomas, Dolly Parton, Seal and Jason Mraz.