Los Angeles Blade: LGBT News, Rights, Politics, Entertainment http://www.losangelesblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Wed, 22 Aug 2018 05:07:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Anti-LGBT Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/anti-lgbt-republican-rep-duncan-hunter-indicted/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/anti-lgbt-republican-rep-duncan-hunter-indicted/#respond Wed, 22 Aug 2018 04:04:45 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741527

Congressman Duncan Duane Hunter of Alpine, California. (Photo from hunter.house.gov)

It’s an odd trifecta. For a good part of the day, cable news focused on split-screen coverage of two trials with enormous political consequence: Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen were found guilty of eight felony counts each, with Cohen directly implicating Trump in two campaign finance crimes. Meanwhile, in San Diego, a federal grand jury indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife Margret, his campaign manager, for misuse of campaign finances and wire fraud.

“The indictment alleges that Congressman Hunter and his wife repeatedly dipped into campaign coffers as if they were personal bank accounts, and falsified FEC campaign finance reports to cover their tracks,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement.  “Elected representatives should jealously guard the public’s trust, not abuse their positions for personal gain. Today’s indictment is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

“Congressman Hunter believes this action is purely politically motivated,” Michael Harrison, a spokesman for Hunter, told The Hill in an email. 

“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department,” Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”

Ammar Campa-Najjar. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

The serious question for the republic now is: will voters care? Democrats trying to retake the House hope so. They’ve been working to win six solid Trump GOP seats with some Republican red districts starting to swing more into “toss-up” or “lean Republican” territory. But for all the volunteers who’ve turned out and all the money contributed to Ammar Campa-Najjar, the smart, former Obama administration official, Hunter’s lock on the 50th Congressional District seemed assure—Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has Hunter “safe” and up by 7 points. After all, it’s a legacy seat: together Duncan Hunter and his father have held the seat for 40 years.

But last August, Hunter fans got a surprise—headlines saying the offices of his former campaign treasure had been raided by the FBI.

They seized computers and documents in their investigation into whether Hunter (R-Alpine) had violated campaign finances rules by using campaign funds for personal use. The search warrant was revealing. “It was the more than $1,300 in video game purchases by Hunter’s campaign that first drew the attention of federal election officials and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Hunter blamed his son for the video game purchases, saying he had used the wrong credit card. Other unusual spending by Hunter’s campaign included a now-infamous airplane ride for the family rabbit and payments to nail salons, his children’s private school and a Phoenix resort,” the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. 

Hunter told Politico he did nothing wrong, as if that was enough. “I was not involved in any criminal action,” Hunter said. “Maybe I wasn’t attentive enough to my campaign. That’s not a crime.” Hunter also has repeatedly pointed out that he reimbursed his campaign around $62,000 for money he used for such expenditures as oral surgery, gifts from Disneyland and a family trip to Italy.

Though he easily won his safe San Diego seat by nearly 27% in November 2016, his loose ethics and possible criminal behavior prompted six opponents in the June 2018 primary, including two Republicans. “We need to bring Integrity back to the 50th District. We cannot stand for this!” tweeted GOP challenger Andrew Zelt, who failed to make the top two in the jungle primary.

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a communications consultant, came in second with 17.5% to 47.4% for Hunter. Campa-Najjar noted that it was the first time Hunter received less than 50% of the vote in one of the most conservative districts in California. Voter registration in that district is 41.6% Republican, 27.4% Democrat and 25.13% no party preference.

San Diego voters have been aware of Hunter’s alleged impropriety since at least March 2017 when the House said they were delaying their own investigation into Hunter in deference to the Department of Justice.

The Office of Congressional Ethics voted 5-0 to recommend that the committee review allegations concerning Hunter “because there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Hunter converted campaign funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“Rep. Hunter has shown a blatant disregard for the rules, spending tens of thousands of dollars from his campaign for his personal benefit,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement at the time. “This is the most egregious Congressional spending scandal since Aaron Schock. We are glad to see the Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously for an investigation and will be closely following the FBI’s criminal investigation in Congressman Hunter.”

“Last year, Congressman Hunter became aware of expenditure issues confronting his campaign committee. Out of an abundance of caution, he took corrective action in consultation with the FEC and, ultimately, he and his wife personally repaid the campaign approximately $60,000,” Hunter’s attorneys said in response. “Congressman Hunter intends to cooperate fully with the government on this investigation, and maintains that to the extent any mistakes were made they were strictly inadvertent and unintentional.”

At a town hall meeting, Hunter was unshaken by the irregularities. “I am not going to make excuses for it,” he said. “It was my responsibility for my family, for the charges my kid made, that’s on me….And I take responsibility for it. I fixed it, and as far as I am concerned, end of story.”

And with that, Duncan Hunter Jr. resumed the congressional life he apparently inherited from his gratingly anti-LGBT father. Hunter senior, a “born-again” Baptist, was a staunch conservative “family values” congressional vote from 1981 to 2009. His son has had a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign since he was elected.

But just how anti-LGBT is Duncan Hunter Jr? He actively seeks to set back LGBT civil rights. Hunter and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo) set the stage for the anti-transgender servicemembers ban that Trump has been advocating since his tweet of July 26, 2017. Many viewed the team attack as another low bow to Trump—Hunter was the second member of Congress to endorse Trump after Rep. Chris Collins—who has been virtually maniacal about eliminating any clue of Barack Obama’s presidency. The congressmembers declared that transgender open military service was part of Obama’s social engineering of the armed forces after Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on June 2016. Trans troops started receiving medical care on Oct. 1, 2016 and changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

In August 2017, Hunter and Hartzler led the House effort to pass an amendment to the annual defense policy bill to prohibit the Pentagon from paying for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy as part of military’s health care system. “Figure out whether you’re man or a woman before you join,” said Hunter. “U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.”

After some reported behind the scenes maneuvering by Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis, opposition from 24 Republican lawmakers and the refusal of Speaker Paul Ryan to bring the bill to the floor, the amendment was dropped. But that wasn’t the end of it. The anti-LGBT team appealed to Vice President Mike Pence and along with Pence-whisperer, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and a few White House players, the trans ban was brought to Trump who tweeted out the new policy.

Hunter was thrilled. “The President’s decision was the absolute right decision. National security should trump social experimentation, always. It’s about time that a decision is made to restore the warrior culture and allow the U.S. military to get back to business,” he posted on his official website on July 26, 2017.

Interestingly, before he caved into Trump’s orders, Mattis did not object when Navy Sec. Spencer said
“any patriot” should be allowed to serve, echoing other commanders supporting their trans servicemembers. Equality California and the State of California filed a lawsuit to stop the trans ban, one of four such lawsuits nationally.

Interestingly, the Hunter’s military service has been one of the attributes voters note when explaining their approval of him. But the federal grand jury indictment may change some minds. As Roll Call points out, the indictment notes that Hunter was unhappy about not getting a tour of a military base in Italy when he and his family visited—using campaign funds to pay for the trip—and said: “Tell the Navy to go f*** themselves.”

The indictment also accuses Hunter of lying about campaign funds used as personal expenditures, saying the money was for “wounded warriors.”

“Hunter tried to justify using campaign funds to pay for a family trip to Italy in November 2015 by visiting a Navy installation but was told that only a particular date was available, the indictment alleges. That’s when he was reported to have made the offensive comment to his chief of staff,” Roll Call reports. “To conceal the use of campaign funds to pay for the Italy trip, Hunter’s wife Margaret told California Republican campaign treasurer that the charges were mostly ‘military/defense’ related.” However, an email to a friend indicates the trip was a family-oriented.

“Hunter’s wife also concealed a number of improper campaign expenditures by saying they were for wounded veterans. In March 2015, Hunter spent campaign funds buying shorts for himself. According to the indictment, Margaret counseled him to buy the shorts at a golf pro shop so that they could falsely describe the purchase later as ‘some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors,’” Roll Call reports. She also spent $216.50 of campaign funds at Dick’s Sporting Goods, telling the campaign treasurer she was buying goods for a wounded warriors dove hunting event.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says enough is enough. “The charges against @Rep_Hunter, one of @realDonaldTrump’s first supporters in Congress, are further evidence of the rampant #CultureOfCorruption among the Washington GOP today,” Pelosi tweeted Aug. 21. “@SpeakerRyan must call on Hunter to resign immediately.”

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Breaking: Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on federal charges http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/breaking-rep-duncan-hunter-indicted-on-federal-charges/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/breaking-rep-duncan-hunter-indicted-on-federal-charges/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 23:13:48 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741522

 

Congressman Duncan Duane Hunter of Alpine, California. (Photo from hunter.house.gov)

A federal grand jury Tuesday afternoon returned indictments against anti-LGBT Republican Congressmember Duncan Hunter and his wife Margret for wire fraud and misuse of campaign finance crimes.

See the updated story here.

The Grand Jury, impaneled in the U. S. District Court for the District of Southern California in San Diego, alleges that Hunter and his wife had used $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses and then also had filed false campaign finance records.

Hunter is running for reelection against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration official, whom he beat soundly in the primary by 40% to 16%. However, while the Cook Report has listed Hunter’s seat as solid red, Democrats have targeted Hunter for defeat to help win back the House.

Today’s indictment on the same day as ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen were found guilty of eight felony counts each might cause some trouble for Hunter in his district.

— Los Angeles Blade staff also contributed to this article.

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DTLA Proud Gala raises prospects for a DTLA Community Center http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/dtla-proud-gala-raises-prospects-for-a-dtla-community-center/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/dtla-proud-gala-raises-prospects-for-a-dtla-community-center/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 19:27:03 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741518

Last night, the LGBT community of DTLA gathered under one roof at the Otium venue for the 2nd Annual DTLA PROUD Gala to eat, drink, and be merry.

The black tie event highlighted the growing visibility of a LGBT inclusive DTLA, and acknowledged the people who contributed to it.

DTLA PROUD is an non-profit organization geared towards volunteering, hosting events, and promoting diversity within the LGBT community in Downtown Los Angeles, in particular this weekend’s DTLA PROUD Festival, which will be held at Pershing Square Park.

The event served as a thank you to event’s LGBTQ friendly vendors and volunteersand helped raise money for a prospective DTLA PROUD Community Center that was announced at the event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the evening will go towards its opening.

Several noted politicians were on hand, including City of Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and City Controller Ron Galperin. Leo Daube, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s LGBT liaison was in attendance.

Los Angeles Blade publisher Troy Masters and Hany Haddad, the newspaper’s 2018 Visibility Award honoree were seen chatting. There were a host of other community notables present.

“We’re young, and it’s good for younger people like us to see this and the elders of the LGBT community pave the way; it’s inspiring.” said Francisco Gardea, 23 an attendee of the event. “We don’t have our rights because they were given to us, we fought for it.”

Pinche Queen, the performer and hostess of the evening originally came to California from Arizona by herself as a teenager, performed a lip synced song dedicated to the other “gay lonelies” who made Los Angeles their home too.

“I’m blessed to be a part of a big community, it’s an honor to be here. It’s not just dressing up in drag to go to the club, the community lifted me up to honor me. A year ago I never thought I would be doing this at all”.

A PROUD award was presented on stage to DTLA Director Joella Hopkins as a former publisher LGBTwed; a luxury LGBT wedding magazine.

“I’m excited to be honored by an amazing group, because at the core of it, it’s all about loving each other for our differences that make us so special.

As the night ended the party stayed alive and shifted towards the next venue, Precinct.

A moment of silence was observed for the late Thor Stephens; co owner of Los Angeles gay bar Precinct who died earlier this year. Community members honored him for his willingness to step in and give opportunities to the LGBT community.

“For anyone who met him, they would know why community was a big thing,” said Brian McIntire the husband of Stephens and co-owner of Precinct . “He definitely empowered what the community meant and his spirit lives on.”

The DTLA PROUD Festival will be held from August 24-26 and tickets can be purchased at http://dtlaproud.org/tickets

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Chanel to launch makeup collection for men http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/chanel-to-launch-makeup-collection-for-men/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/chanel-to-launch-makeup-collection-for-men/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 16:54:03 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741514

(Photo via Instagram)

Chanel is officially launching Boy de Chanel, its first makeup collection for men.

Boy de Chanel will include a tinted foundation, eyebrow pencils, and a matte lip balm. The foundation will offer eight sheer shades and has SPF 25. The eyebrow pencils will come in four shades.

“Just as Gabrielle Chanel borrowed elements from the men’s wardrobe to dress women, Chanel draws inspiration from the women’s world to write the vocabulary of a new personal aesthetic for men,” the company said in a statement to WWD. “Lines, colors, attitudes, gestures….There is no absolutely feminine or masculine prerequisite: Style alone defines the person we wish to be. “By creating Boy de Chanel, its first makeup line for men, Chanel reaffirms the ever-changing codes of an unchanging vision: Beauty is not a matter of gender, it is a matter of style.”

The collection’s name comes from Gabrielle Chanel’s lover and muse, Boy Capel. The company also has a unisex perfume, Boy, named after him.

According to WWD, Boy de Chanel launches in South Korea on Sept.1 and will be available online in November. The line will be released in Chanel boutiques in January 2019.

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‘Champions’ star Josie Totah comes out as transgender in moving essay http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/champions-star-josie-totah-comes-out-as-transgender-in-moving-essay/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/champions-star-josie-totah-comes-out-as-transgender-in-moving-essay/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 15:56:04 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741510

Josie Totah (Screenshot via YouTube)

Josie Totah, known for her work on “Champions” and “Glee,” came out as transgender in an essay for Time.  

The 17-year-old says that she”let myself be shoved into a box: ‘J.J. Totah, gay boy,'” when that wasn’t her true identity. Totah wrote in the essay that her new name is Josie Totah and she goes by female pronouns.

“I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy,” she writes. “I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading. My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

She says the TLC reality show “I Am Jazz” helped her to better understand that she is female.

“This is not something that just happened,” Totah writes, “This is not a choice that I made. When I was five, long before I understood what the word gender meant, I would always tell my mother that I wished I were a girl. Since I could speak in full sentences, I was like, ‘Give me a dress!’ I always knew on some level that I was female. But it crystallized about three years ago when I was a 14-year-old watching the [TLC] show ‘I Am Jazz’ with my mother.”

Totah closed out the letter announcing that she is going to attend college but also keep acting. She says she is looking forward to pursuing transgender female or cisgender female roles.

“This week, I’m going off to college. I’m also going to continue my acting career, and I am so excited to do both things as myself. I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play. And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world,” she concludes.

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UPDATE: Threatened Oklahoma trans schoolgirl’s family raising money to move http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/threatened-oklahoma-trans-schoolgirls-family-raising-money-to-move/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/threatened-oklahoma-trans-schoolgirls-family-raising-money-to-move/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 15:37:09 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741506

12-year old Maddison Kayleen Kleeman. (Photo courtesy Kleeman family)

After violent threats, the family of transgender schoolgirl Maddison Kayleen Kleeman is trying to move away from Achille, Oklahoma, their small rural town near the Oklahoma-Texas border.

The Los Angeles Blade reported last Aug. 14 that Kleeman, 12, had been the target of a group of adults in a private Facebook Parents Group page devoted to the elementary school she attends. Members of the group were angered by her use of a girl’s bathroom and the apparent affirmation of her gender identity by school staff. Kleeman’s parents were forced to seek protective orders, the county sheriff’s office launched an investigation and one adult has been suspended from his job.

The story went viral on social media and was spotted by Anne Babb, a writer and journalist based in Oklahoma City, whose first thought was that the group was wrong. Her second thought was to start a GoFundMe to help the family move.

Babb then spoke with Kleeman’s mother, Brandy Rose, and they created a GoFundMe page. “I was just like, ‘Well, that’d be a blessing to be able to move out of the area,’” Rose told NBC News about their conversation. “That’s when she told me that her and a neighbor of hers had been discussing it. They thought that it would help us to start a GoFundMe page Move4Maddie to get the funds to move … I thought that was very sweet and amazing and a blessing, so she set that up for us.”

Babb initially wanted to set the fundraising goal for $15,000 but decided to start with $10,000. When contributions reached that goal in the first 22 hours, she increased the goal to $15,000. That figure has since been exceeded.

“I never imagined that we’d get the donations that we’ve gotten, because I mean it’s strangers,” Rose said. “I didn’t expect strangers to do that. But it’s been amazing.”

As of Aug. 20, the donations had reached nearly $25,000.

“I hope we get our ducks in a row so we can move to Houston as soon as possible,” Rose told NBC News. “We just want to do it the right way, so it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, but that is our plan—to just get out of this little town.”

Oklahoma does not have a law protecting transgender people against discrimination and last February, the U. S. Department of Education withdrew guidance protecting trans students under federal law. A spokesperson for Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss told the LA Blade that it has sent memos out clearly stating that the USDOE will not process any complaints from transgender students experiencing discrimination in schools. – Reporting by NBC News and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade

 

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Actor Garrett Clayton comes out, reveals he has a boyfriend http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/actor-garrett-clayton-comes-out-reveals-he-has-a-boyfriend/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/actor-garrett-clayton-comes-out-reveals-he-has-a-boyfriend/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 15:31:01 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741504

Garrett Clayton (Photo via Instagram)

Actor Garrett Clayton opened up about his sexuality by revealing he’s in a relationship with a man in an emotional Instagram post to his fans.

Clayton starred in the gay porn drama “King Cobra” alongside James Franco and Christian Slater. He has also appeared in the Disney Channel programs “Teen Beach Movie” and “Shake It Up” as well as NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” Despite the numerous roles, the  27-year-old actor has remained quiet about his private life until now.

In a caption under a selfie, Clayton says he decided to work on his upcoming movie “Reach” because he felt connected to the script. The film stars Clayton as a teenager contemplating suicide as the result of bullying.

Clayton says the subject matter is something both he and his boyfriend,  Blake Knight, can relate to.

“When I read the script for REACH, I immediately knew it was a film I had to be a part of. I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family, intense bullying in high school, and – on top of it all – myself and the man I’ve been in a relationship with for a long time (@hrhblakeknight) have both experienced shootings within our hometown school systems, and have witnessed the heartache that takes place in affected communities after such tragic events. These topics – not always easy to discuss- are all close to my heart, and, knowing how serious they are, I wanted to share this with you all. This film has come from the perspectives of people who care deeply about these issues, and if watching it helps even one person… then it was all worth it,” Clayton writes.

With the release of my new movie REACH coming up, I thought it was important to explain why I took on this project in the first place. REACH deals with some very serious and timely topics that have affected me personally, and have likely influenced many of your lives as well. (I also prefer to share things that are particularly important for me here on my IG) instead of in some random magazine or online article – because you are the ones that have been rooting for me and following me on my professional and personal journey in life. When I read the script for REACH, I immediately knew it was a film I had to be a part of. I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family, intense bullying in high school, and – on top of it all – myself and the man I’ve been in a relationship with for a long time (@hrhblakeknight) have both experienced shootings within our hometown school systems, and have witnessed the heartache that takes place in affected communities after such tragic events. These topics – not always easy to discuss- are all close to my heart, and, knowing how serious they are, I wanted to share this with you all. This film has come from the perspectives of people who care deeply about these issues, and if watching it helps even one person… then it was all worth it. ♥

A post shared by Garrett Clayton (@garrettclayton1) on

Knight shared a message of support to Clayton posting on Instagram,” So proud of @garrettclayton1 today! He’s overcome a lot, and still has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. Handsome, talented, hilarious, kind… what’s not to love?! It’s been an awesome journey all over the world together so far, and I’m looking forward to many more years and trips and puppies and movies and naps and dinners and friends! I love you, Gary!”

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Madonna slammed for self-absorbed Aretha Franklin VMAs tribute http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/madonna-slammed-for-self-absorbed-aretha-franklin-vmas-tribute/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/21/madonna-slammed-for-self-absorbed-aretha-franklin-vmas-tribute/#respond Tue, 21 Aug 2018 15:06:03 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741501

Madonna at the 2018 VMAs (Screenshot via YouTube)

Madonna delivered a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the 2018 MTV VMAs on Monday night but her speech left some people thinking she gave more of a tribute to herself.

“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18, $35 in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theater,” Madonna begins.

She says she landed one audition where she decided at the last minute to sing a song by Franklin.

“I had to think fast, my next meal was on the line. Fortunately one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin. I blurted out ‘You Make Me Feel’… silence. ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.’ Two French guys nodded at me. I said, ‘You know, by Aretha Franklin,’ ” she continued. “They looked over at the pianist, he shook his head. ‘I don’t need sheet music,’ I said, ‘I know every word. I know the song by heart, I will sing it a cappella.’ I could see that they did not take me seriously — and why should they? Some skinny ass white girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived? And a cappella … I said, ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna.’ No, I didn’t, I didn’t say that. ‘Cause I wasn’t Madonna yet. I don’t know who I was. I don’t know what I said, I don’t know what came over me.”

Madonna explained that she didn’t get the job but was offered the chance to record music in Paris with Giorgio Moroder. She accepted the offer but ultimately decided to return home to write her own music.

At the end of the story Madonna explains its significance to her saying “So you’re probably all wondering why I’m telling you this story. There’s a connection, because none of this would’ve happened — could’ve happened — without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight, and I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.”

Afterward, Madonna tells another story about her 1984 performance of “Like a Virgin” at the VMAs, a story that had nothing to do with Franklin, before presenting Camila Cabello with Video of the Year.

The self-centered tribute caused social media to slam the pop star.

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Say Anything lead singer Max Bemis opens about his sexuality http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/20/say-anything-lead-singer-max-bemis-opens-about-his-sexuality/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/20/say-anything-lead-singer-max-bemis-opens-about-his-sexuality/#respond Mon, 20 Aug 2018 19:37:12 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741498

Say Anything lead singer Max Bemis (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Say Anything lead singer Max Bemis has opened up about his sexuality in a candid letter to fans.

In the nine-page letter titled  “A Goodbye Summation,” Bemis, who also has been open about his bipolar disorder, says that he identifies as “bi-ish” or “queer.”

“I have always been bi-ish or queer or a straight guy who can also like boys,” Bemis, 34, writes. “I always talked or joked about it with my friends and found it to be blatantly clear I was. I was bullied for it and called a ‘fag’ (without irony). This is, sadly, common. I’m not special. I even went so far as to tell people I was also attracted to guys repeatedly. They chalked it up to my bipolar shit, which was hurtful.”

Bemis goes on to explain how people trivialized his sexuality because he fell in love with and married his wife Sherri Dupree-Bemis.

“They also minimized it because I found true love early in life, and saw that as a negation of my sexuality, or at least a minimization of my right to even identify as bisexual or queer. Because I don’t want to hook up with guys. But I also didn’t hook up with a lot of girls. I wanted to fall in love with a woman, so I did,” Bemis writes.

He concluded about his sexuality,” So yeah, I’m a queer, Jewish, Christian skeptic pseudo-anarchist with a belief in metaphysics and the application of ‘magical’ stuff. Woof.”

Bemis also announced the ending of an era for his band Say Anything.

“Our plans as a collective are to, kind of sort of, end Say Anything,” Bemis writes.. ” Or ‘the first era of Say Anything’. Whatever you want to call it, it’s that thing.” However, he says the band will return to “to play festivals and scoff at our career.”

Say Anything will release its new album “OLIVER APPROPRIATE” but there will be no tour in promotion of the album. The character of Oliver on the album is meant to be a reflection of Bemis’ own struggle with his sexual identity.

“I chose to write a full length about a self-loathing, slightly homophobic misogynist; essentially my opposite as a semi-actually-kinda-gay neurotic moralist who has been married to the female love of my life for ten years,” Bemis describes the character. “A man who kisses boys at beer-soaked coke parties as some kind of ironic joke instead of because he actually allows himself to find them attractive in an emotional sense.”

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Watch: first male performer joins NFL’s New Orleans Saints dance team http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/20/watch-first-male-performer-joins-nfls-new-orleans-saints-dance-team/ http://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/08/20/watch-first-male-performer-joins-nfls-new-orleans-saints-dance-team/#respond Mon, 20 Aug 2018 19:32:32 +0000 http://www.losangelesblade.com/?p=25741494

Jessie Hernandez performing with the New Orleans Saints Saintsations dance squad. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Jessie Hernandez made history as the first male performer on the New Orleans Saints Saintsations dance squad on Friday.

Hernandez, 25, performed with the squad for the Saints’ preseason match against the Arizona Cardinals in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He performed the routine along with the rest of the squad but unlike his female counterparts, Hernandez did not have pom poms.

Hernandez is one of three male cheerleaders joining an NFL league this season. Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies will also perform with the Los Angeles Rams’ squad.

Peron and Jinnies were the inspiration for Hernandez to try out for the Saints.

“A big reason why I wanted to try out and be a part of this great team is… my mom sent me a link about the LA Rams’ male cheerleaders who made the team a couple of weeks ago,” Hernandez told KATC. “The process has been great, everyone has been really nice to me and I can’t wait to see where this goes.”

 

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