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Music loses a beloved queer icon as Ari Gold passes from cancer at 47



Ari Gold (Image via Facebook)

NEW YORK – Ari Gold, the groundbreaking gay singer/songwriter and DJ who became a fixture of the New York dance music scene in the 2000s, came to the end of a long battle with cancer on Sunday when he passed away of leukemia. He was 47.

News of his death broke publicly when Ru Paul Charles, a longtime friend who Gold described as “the closest thing I’ve known to a mentor,” posted a tribute to the music artist on his Twitter account, saying “Until we meet again, dear friend. @SirAriGold Love always, Ru.”

Born to Orthodox Jewish parents in the Bronx, Gold’s musical gifts were discovered early when he sang at his brother Steven’s bar mitzvah at the age of 5. The performance opened the door for a professional career as a child singer and actor, in which he contributed vocals for children’s records, television shows such as “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” and “Jem,” and over 400 commercial jingles. He also sang back-up vocals for Diana Ross.

It was after his graduation from NYU that his adult career began in earnest. He became popular performing his original music – which included explicitly gay love songs – in New York clubs like Joe’s Pub, Barracuda, Avalon, CBGB’s and many others, eventually drawing from this material to record a self-titled debut album in 2001. It won him an award for Outstanding Debut Recording at the 2002 Outmusic Awards and brought him to the attention of songwriter Desmond Child, resulting in a collaboration that yielded the single “I’m All About You,” which reached the top 10 on the UK charts for dance music and the top 20 for pop.

Gold went on to release a total of seven albums of original compositions and remixes, including 2004’s “Space Under the Sun” (which featured “Wave of You,” the video for which was the first by an out LGBTQ+ artist to world-premiere on Logo) and 2007’s “Transport Systems,” which gave him his first debut on the Billboard top 10. The latter recording included the song “Where the Music Takes You,” which won him the Grand Prize at the 13th Annual USA Songwriting Competition.

Through all his output, he was known for unabashedly embracing a proud queer sensibility and a message of sex positivity – a combination that has led many to call label him an LGBTQ “trailblazer,” and perhaps reached its pinnacle with his infectious (and controversial) 2015 single, “Sex Like a Pornstar,” which was released with an age-restricted video.

In his later career, Gold released some of his albums under the names Sir Ari Gold and GoldNation.

His musical talents led to many collaborations, both as a performer and as a songwriter, with stars including Boy George, Kevin Aviance, Sasha Allen, Adam Joseph, and Dave Koz. He became a staple performing at Pride Festivals, and his music was featured in several films. He also modeled for magazines like W and VIBE; he was chosen as one of “The 9 Hottest Men in NYC” by H/X magazine and one of the hottest men in the world by DNA magazine.

In 2007, he took on a supporting role in Ru Paul’s film “Starrbooty,” playing the character of Tyrone Cohen.

Gold’s battle with cancer began in 2013 when he was diagnosed with myelodsplastic syndrome (MDS), a blood cancer which can be cured with a bone marrow transplant. During treatment, he started a podcast called “A Kiki From the Cancer Ward” in order to continue being creative. He recorded seven episodes, with guests including Charles and Aviance, Drag Race finalist Peppermint, and trans actress and icon Laverne Cox.

After receiving a transplant, Gold was declared “cancer free” in 2019, but in the days before his death it was revealed in an Instagram post by his elder brother Elon that he was once again battling leukemia at MSK Sloan in New York.

After news of his death broke, social media flooded with tributes and remembrances from many of Gold’s famous friends.

Cox tweeted: “I’m so utterly devastated that you’ve moved on today. But I know you’ll be watching over me as you always have. I’m so grateful to have known you. I’m better because you have been a part of my life. My brother! I love you so much! Rest in Power!!”

Actor, director and musician John Cameron Mitchell, perhaps best known as the creator of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” posted on Instagram: “What a light and a pioneer in pop. He was out long before it was fashionable and took so many artistic risks. Loved him. What a sweetheart. Wishing his friends and family peace of heart and mind. Rest In Peace dear Ari.” Gold’s music was prominently featured in Mitchell’s film “Shortbus.”

Also on Instagram, Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter paid tribute to Gold, with whom he had a long and enduring friendship, with a moving post: “Wow, I can’t believe I’m typing these words…. R.I.P. Ari Gold, you were truly a trailblazer in so many ways. You lived freely, unapologetically and proudly. I promise to continue pushing forward in your memory. I’ll make sure the world continues to see and respect our community as you always knew they should.”

On Facebook, Legendary Deee-Lite manager and music producer Bill Coleman wrote: “I’ll always remember Ari as a talented, unapologetic, committed, forthright, fierce, supportive, stylish, Wonder Woman-lovin’, body positive, proud and sexy life force to be reckoned with. He was on a mission. Our paths crossed many times over the decades – both business and personal. I appreciated Ari’s strident voice and his willingness to speak up for others. He was one of ours. Rest in power, love. You left the world changed.”

Los Angeles Blade publisher Troy Masters recalls: “In the early 90s I interviewed Ari for Gay City News and he and I had a long conversation about him as a high school bon vivant which led me to give him a nickname which he loved and embraced for many years, ‘Madonna of the yeshiva.’

“It was so much fun in his apartment sitting on his bed for some reason and my mind kept wandering,” said Masters. “He was the last person I said farewell to in 2015 when I left NYC and moved to LA. He spotted me on 9th Avenue, shouting my name and I somehow heard him. I crossed the street and we had an emotional embrace. I’m so glad he was in my life.”

In tribute to her cousin, Meryl Sherwood shared a few favorite videos with the Blade. You can watch those below, as well as videos for some of Gold’s most beloved songs.

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Online Culture

First Trans Amazon introduced by DC Comics In ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman



Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

BURBANK – The world of DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive this weekend as the venerable comic book franchise of Wonder Woman expanded with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman, in the first issue of the series Nubia & The Amazons.

Earlier this month on National Coming Out Day, the canon of the Superman series changed for the life of Jon Kent, the Superman of Earth and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, taking a bold new direction. After initially striking up a friendship with reporter Jay Nakamura, he and Jon become romantically involved, making Kent an Out bisexual character.

In this latest offering, Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala, writers and creators confirmed that Bia is a Black Trans woman. They stressed that she “isn’t a box to tick … [she] is important to her community. Just as Black trans women are important to us in real life.” 

Of special significance to the introduction of the character in the DC Comic worlds was the endorsement of actress Lynda Carter who played the title role of Wonder Woman on television based on the comic book superheroine, which aired on ABC and later on CBS from 1975 to 1979. Earlier in the week Carter tweeted her support of Trans women;

Writing for the DC Comics-Warner Brothers website blog, co-creator Stephanie Williams said;

It’s been a dream to work with the likes of Vita Ayala, a non-binary Afro-Latinx comic writer who has been making quite a name for themselves. And then there is the illustrious and widely talented and dedicated Afro-Latina artist Alitha Martinez who is already in the comic hall of fame for all-time greats. Her passion for Nubia is unmatched. It shows in every cover and panel from Nubia’s Future State story written by L.L. McKinney, her Infinite Frontier #0 story written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, and now the Nubia and the Amazons miniseries written by myself and Vita Ayala.”

Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

I’m so excited about the history we’re creating, adding to, and remixing. The foundation has always been there, but needed some TLC. As Nubia embarks on this new journey as Queen of Themyscira, I hope her rebirth will be met with open arms and the desire to keep her always at the forefront. Nubia, now being queen, is poetic in so many ways, but one that stays on my mind is the very personal connection I feel. As I help to add to her legacy, she’s opened the door wider to my own,” Williams said adding:

Long may Queen Nubia reign, forever and always.”

Nubia and the Amazons #1 by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala and Alitha Martinez is now available in print and as a digital comic book.

Along with co-writing Nubia and the Amazons, Stephanie Williams writes about comics, TV and movies for Check out more of her work on Den of Geek, What To Watch, Nerdist and SYFY Wire and be sure to follow her on both Twitter and Instagram at @steph_I_will.

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Ebony Power 100: Deputy White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre

Her position is historic as the first Black Lesbian who is speaking for the nation’s chief executive as Deputy Press Secretary



Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre courtesy of EBONY Magazine Power 100 awards

BEVERLY HILLS – Ebony Magazines’ iconic annual Power 100 awards ceremony, honoring those individuals who have had a positive impact on the African-American community is making its 2021 post coronavirus pandemic return airing Saturday, October 23 from Los Angeles and hosted by Wayne Brady.

Brady, a television personality, comedian, actor, and singer, will also give a special performance during the broadcast, and he is slated to receive Ebony’s Vanguard Award for his decades-plus career “as a consummate, all-around entertainer and performer.” 

Included in the distinguished list of honorees is principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who is listed in the magazine’s category of ‘Ceiling Breakers.’ As the principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre conducts the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Room in the West Wing standing in as needed for White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki and also she conducts what are referred to as ‘gaggles.’

“Gaggles” refers to informal briefings a White House press secretary conducts with the daily press pool rather than the entire White House press corps.

President Joe Biden’s selection of Jean-Pierre was a first in the history of presidential administrations. Her position is seen as historic from the perspective of being the first Black Lesbian to hold forth behind the podium of the James S. Brady Press room in the West Wing speaking for the nation’s chief executive.

Jean-Pierre has been with the Biden administration since she joined the Biden-Harris campaign in May of 2020 and then accepted the position of Chief of Staff to Senator Harris in August. In late November of 2020, then President-elect Joe Biden named seven women to his incoming White House Communications Team to include naming Jean-Pierre as the Deputy White House Press Secretary.

The daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti, Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique and later raised in Queens, a borough of New York City. A longtime activist and communications specialist, she has a Master’s in Public Affairs conferred on her by New York’s Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she has taught as an adjunct professor and lecturer in international and public affairs since 2014.

During the first Obama admkistartion term, Jean-Pierre, 43, served as the regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs.

Speaking with the Advocate magazine in June of 2011 Jean-Pierre reflected on her tenure working for the Obama Administration as an openly LGBT staffer. “What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT,” she told the Advocate. “Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”

Speaking with NBC News journalist Tim Fitzsimons; “The sun was setting and the lights got much more prominent,” she said, referring to late June 2015, when she watched the White House lit in rainbow colors to mark the historic Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. “People had signs and people were crying, and there was just so much joy.”

“I remember thinking how proud I was of this administration, that I had worked for that,” Jean-Pierre, said. “It really brought together, in that one moment, how important LGBTQ rights were and how much that administration fought for our rights.”

In 2016 after her White House stint, Jean-Pierre served as a Senior Advisor and National Spokesperson for Washington D.C. based MoveOn, a progressive non-profit public policy advocacy group and political action committee. Her primary portfolio at the non-profit was addressing President Trump’s rhetoric and platform of hate, violence, racism, immigrant-bashing, and women-bashing.

She also served as the deputy campaign manager for former Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s 2016 campaign run for the Oval Office.

Jean-Pierre received national recognition after a June 1, 2019 incident during the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum she was moderating in San Francisco, when 24 year-old Aidan Cook, a member of the animal right activist organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), rushed the stage grabbing the microphone out of then California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’s hand. The Senator was a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at the time of the incident.

Jean-Pierre, who had jumped in between Cook and the Senator after he took the microphone kept the activist away from Harris until security arrived and removed him. At the time of the incident, Harris, like most other candidates in early stages of the primary process, didn’t have a U.S. Secret Service detail for protection.

Jean-Pierre, her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter reside in Washington D.C.

The EBONY Power 100 ceremony also is marking the culmination of Ebonys 75th anniversary year. 

For the complete list of honorees please head over to here. (Link)

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West Hollywood Halloween Events 2021



Courtesy of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The West Hollywood Chamber of commerce has released its annual Halloween events guide available here.

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