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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    It seemed like a miracle to me when Bea Arthur became dedicated to the Ali Forney Center.

    It was 2005, 3 years after we first began offering shelter to homeless LGBT youths. We were a small organization, tiny in comparison to so many of the huge, well-established charities in NYC. But we were addressing a terrible problem, that of LGBT teens being thrown to the streets in enormous numbers by unaccepting parents. At the time we only had 12 shelter beds, and over 100 youths waiting out in the streets to get into those beds, which they saw as precious, for with us they wouldn't face the homophobic harassment they often endured elsewhere.

    A wonderful man named Ray Klausen became a volunteer. He's an iconic set designer for stage and screen. He has worked with many superstars, including Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Elvis, even Judy Garland! When he saw how badly we were struggling to provide for the many youths flocking to us for help, he wanted to help us raise funds.

    He decided to reach out to his friend Bea Arthur. He called her, and explained the mission of the Ali Forney Center and how badly we needed help. He asked her if she would revive her one-woman Broadway show as a benefit for us. While she was certainly aware that she was an icon to the LGBT community, but hadn't realized that so many LGBT youths were being driven to the streets. It outraged her sense of justice and decency. She immediately agreed to help.

    Ray assembled a group of show business pros to put the show together. And Bea went to work, giving interviews promoting the show and our work. In an interview with Next Magazine, Bea said "These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender -- this organization really is saving lives."

    Finally the momentous day arrived. Bea flew in from her home in California. It was a cold damp day in December. Bea disliked the cold so much that she usually refused to go to cold winter climates. In fact, she didn't even own a winter coat. She had to borrow a coat from her bosom buddy Angela Lansbury for the trip.

    When she arrived at the theater I was taken aback by her appearance. In my mind she was a force of nature; the indomitable feminist Maude striking terror into Archie Bunker, the ever intimidating Dorothy Zbornak who silenced prison cellblock uprisings and threw Betty White into closets. But I met a surprisingly frail and seemingly shy and tenuous woman. She was in her mid-80's, and looked much older and weaker than in her promotional photos. I found myself becoming nervous about her ability to put on her one woman show.

    My worries proved ridiculous. When she came on stage in front of an adoring audience, she was the Bea Arthur we all knew and loved.. She had the audience eating out of her hands, as she stalked the stage in her bare feet. She was hilarious, commanding, impeccable. Witnessing this transformation from a few hours before gave me a glimpse into the power of her talent.

    Afterwards she joined attendees at an after party to raise more funds for us. I could only imagine how exhausted she was, an elderly woman who had just flown across the country and then put on what must have been a very demanding performance. I sat with her for photos for the media, and then suddenly almost everyone in the restaurant was pushing towards her, grabbing at her, eager for face time with the great legend. Perhaps she was used to this, but I found it kind of terrifying. I asked my husband Raymond, who is built like an NFL defensive lineman, to be her bodyguard, so to speak, and keep people from mauling at her. He made the crowd line up and gave each person a minute with her before ushering them on, At one point he wanted to go to the bathroom, but she grabbed him with an iron grip and growled "Where the hell do you think your going!" with that famous deep voice. Raymond, a devoted fan, was in his glory.

    Bea raised $40,000 for us that night. Afterwards she continued to speak about us in interviews, saying that she would do anything in her power to help our kids. Her caring for us was a turning point for the Ali Forney Center. Bea Arthur was show business royalty. That such an icon would stand up for us, would use the power of her celebrity to call attention to the needs of homeless LGBT youth, was invaluable. She made many more aware of the importance of our work, and helped bring in many new donors. Now between our 12 housing sites and 24/7 drop-in center we are able to provide for over 1,000 youths per year.

    3 years later she died. I cried as I read the obituaries, particularly when I learned that for a number of years she had quietly and privately struggled with cancer. I then realized that she had been sick when she performed for us, when she flew across the country into the cold, and pushed herself so hard to help our kids. I reflected with awe upon the greatness of what she had done, upon the greatness of her heart.

    A few months later it was a terrifying time for us. It was the height of the recession, and donations that support our work had diminished significantly. We were struggling to keep our heads above water, having a devil of a time paying our food bills and the rents on our shelter apartments. One morning that summer, as I was driving to work I got a message that one of our landlords was threatening to evict us because of late rental payments. I was in a panic, fearing that we would not be able to continue to provide for the very vulnerable youths who rely on us to survive. Feeling utterly overwhelmed I pulled my car to the side of the road, and Catholic child that I am, prayed to all my saints for help, as well as to everyone I could think of in heaven that cared about us. I included Bea in my prayers.

    When I got to my office I received a call from Billy Goldenberg, one of Bea's best friends. He told me that the Ali Forney Center was a major beneficiary of her will. Several weeks later a check for $300,000 from her estate arrived in the mail. I honestly don't know how we would have made it through the recession without that extraordinary gift. Bea Arthur truly meant it when she said she would do anything to help our kids.

    At her memorial service I pledged in my gratitude that the first building the Ali Forney Center owned would be named in memory of Bea's great goodness to our kids. And now 6 years later we are beginning, with the generous help of the New York City Council, and Manhattan Borough President, in partnership with the Cooper Square Committee, to renovate a long abandoned building turned over to us by the City of New York. When the renovations are complete it will provide a long term housing program where 18 of our youths will live. It will be a place where they will heal from the wounds of family rejection and homelessness, while they focus on getting jobs and going to school. A place where they will be able to rebuild their lives. The Bea Arthur Residence for LGBT Youth.

    This week we begin the renovations to the building. Some of our youths and staff and friends and supporters gathered at the site for a groundbreaking ceremony. Instead of cutting a ribbon, we cut a cheesecake. Because for Bea and her golden girls, all troubles could be resolved with cheesecake and friendship. The Bea Arthur Residence will also be a place where LGBT youths will find friendship, support and love.

    I thank you Bea, for flying across the country into the cold, to help us protect our youths. I thank you for your compassionate heart and your noble spirit. I thank you for recognizing that LGBT youths are deserving of love, and speaking out for them. I thank you for your amazing generosity that got us through tough times. From the bottom of my heart, Bea, I thank you for being a friend.

    To learn more about the Bea Arthur Residence for LGBT Youth or to offer support, click here.

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    Country singer Chris Young is speaking out against rumors he was the "other man" in Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton's split. 


    TMZ reported Tuesday that Shelton filed for divorce from Lambert after four years of marriage due to cheating suspicions, one of which cited Young. (TMZ later changed their post, changing any reference of Young to "country singer.") On Tuesday, Young took to Facebook to quash talk that he and Lambert were romantically involved. 




    Young opened for Lambert during her "On Fire Tour" back in 2012 and they are just friends, Billboard noted. 


    Lambert and Shelton confirmed their divorce Monday in a joint statement, saying "this is not the future we envisioned." The two married in 2011 after meeting at a CMT concert in 2005, during which they sang "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma" together.  



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  • 07/21/15--15:07: The Song Of Summer Is Dead

  • It's been officially summer for a while now. Months have passed since you had your "first iced coffee of the season," the condensation pooling on your iPhone screen as you excitedly snapped a photo of the brown liquid. The 4th of July has come and gone, our celebration of grilled meats as ephemeral as the flash of fireworks on our Instagram feeds. And as we creep past the I-hope-my-co-workers-don't-notice-these-pit-stains phase into the I-hate-everything-literally-when-is-winter? period of the season, we are still, somehow, without a Song of Summer.


    It is more than halfway through July, and the whirring of your piece-of-crap, window-unit air conditioner is probably a better contender for Song of Summer than anything we've heard so far. Although perhaps ambient noise is a better option than what we got last year: a song from an Australian woman pretending to be from the American south and trying to con us into thinking she was the "realest." 


    Is the Song of Summer dead? Could it be that the advent of streaming services and decline of the once omnipresent radio have shifted to dilute the possibility of the anthem which has defined the season since the 1910s? Is everything is just terrible?




    We are flailing around like one of those blow-up tube men outside of a car dealership, desperate for a sense of direction.

    One thing is for certain: We are desperate for a song of this summer. In May, Billboard posted a poll, and One Direction's "No Control" won by a landslide after a guerilla effort by The Teenagers to add it to the list pushed it into the lead by a 76% margin. In June, Ryan Seacrest held a "song of summer competition," during which he presumably asked a few people and also Giuliana Rancic for their opinion, ultimately naming "Pretty Girls" the winner. Vulture and Entertainment Weekly have since published their own lists of 2015's contenders, which contain precisely neither of those songs and have no songs in common to boot.


    We are flailing around like one of those blow-up tube men outside of a car dealership, desperate for a sense of direction (possibly led by One Direction). What will define the zeitgeist of this pop culture season beyond a newly racist Atticus Finch and more disgusting news about Bill Cosby? Most importantly, what are we supposed to listen to while day-drinking?


    We can't wait any longer. We have to pick a song of summer or this summer will be lost in the blackhole of history, as forgettable as that time you went to brunch without your cellphone. Your options are below, America. Vote for one of these crap choices or the Song of Summer will die like Tinkerbell in productions of "Peter Pan" where the audience doesn't clap hard enough. 




    Also on HuffPost:


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    James Bond is back in the new "Spectre" trailer.


    According to the description on YouTube, a cryptic message from the past sends 007 (Daniel Craig) on a rogue mission that leads him to uncover the existence of a sinister organization known as SPECTREWhen the new head of the Centre for National Security (Ralph Fiennes) challenges the relevance of MI6, Bond must covertly enlist the assistance of Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help untangle the web that is SPECTRE.


    The previous trailers for Sam Mendes' "Spectre," which may be his final Bond film, gave fans a look at Christoph Waltz's Oberhauser, the appearance of Mr. White from "Casino Royale," and some snowy mountain action.


    On Tuesday, USA Today debuted new photos and details about the women of "Spectre." There's Monica Bellucci's Lucia Sciarra, an Italian widow of a Mafioso, Léa Seydoux's Madeleine Swann, an assassin's daughter who meets Bond at her Austrian clinic, and Stephanie Sigman’s Estrella, a character being kept under wraps.


    "Spectre" opens in the U.S. on Nov. 6.


    Also on HuffPost:



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    Not everything is as it seems. 


    Fifty Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, testified in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday and admitted that he faked his wealth with borrowed jewelry and cars, according to the New York Daily News, saying: "It's entertainment." 


    Forbes pegged 50 Cent's net worth at $155 million -- with a fortune amassed from investments in Vitaminwater, SMS Audio, SK Energy and more -- back in May, landing him the No. 4 spot on the "Forbes Five" of the wealthiest hip-hop artists. But during Tuesday's hearing, the rapper said he is really only worth $4.375 million, TMZ noted. 


    He claimed he made just 10 cents per record from the 38 million he sold, and $200,000 total for roles in the movies “Spy” and “Southpaw," the Daily News reported. His Bentley and Ferrari were rented and his gold chain with diamonds was a loaner. His 65-carat Cartier tiger ring was probably not 65 carats (“65 carats? I don’t think that’s even possible") and he never made that $1.6 million bet on the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight.  


    The rapper filed for bankruptcy last week in Hartford, Connecticut, and "reported assets and debts each in the range of $10 million to $50 million." The filing came days after a judge ordered him to pay $5 million to Lavonia Leviston, the mother of Rick Ross' child, after he leaked her sex tape online without permission. 


    “Now that I filed for bankruptcy,” 50 said, per the New York Times, “I’m not as cool as I was last week.”



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    Seeing Jake Gyllenhaal's pristine face take a beating might be traumatizing for some, so allow us to prepare you. The Huffington Post has an exclusive clip from "Southpaw," the new movie in which Gyllenhaal plays boxing champion Billy Hope, whose life is upended when his wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), is killed and his daughter (Oona Laurence) is put in foster care. Here, Billy struggles through a match knowing that Maureen isn't in the crowd cheering him on, and we struggle with Gyllenhaal's bloody visage. 


    Directed by "Training Day" maestro Antoine Fuqua and written by "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, "Southpaw" opens Friday. Read our interview with Gyllenhaal here, and watch the clip below.




     


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    Trevor Noah is gearing up to take over “The Daily Show” on September 28, but he's finding it hard to shake off the skeptics who may not be so excited to see him in his new role. 


    In a recent interview with GQ, Noah talked about the significant amount of backlash he received earlier this year after it was announced he would replace veteran comedian Jon Stewart as host. The announcement drew attention to Noah’s Twitter timeline history, which featured a series of jokes he made in 2009 that were labeled offensive, sexist and anti-Semitic.


    In discussing the backlash, Noah deemed himself an "idiot" for making them -- but he also went on to state that the criticisms didn't come as a surprise. 


    "A guy doesn't leave and another guy comes in and there's no backlash. That never, ever happens,” he told GQ. “When Michael B. Jordan got cast as the new Human Torch in 'Fantastic Four', there was backlash, because they were like, ‘How can this fictional character be a black man?'”


    “I didn't know what the backlash was gonna be, but I knew there was going to be backlash. The same thing when Larry Wilmore took over from Colbert: ‘Oh, this is never gonna work. This is horrible,'" he continued.


    The comedian’s Twitter comments weren't the only targets. The South Africa native also shared what he learned from exploring race in his 2012 breakthrough performance on Jay Leno’s "Tonight Show". According to the 31-year-old, one regret he had from his nationally televised routine was a joke that was addressed specifically towards African-Americans, which he made after relocating to America from South Africa. 


    “I said, ‘You’re not African, but we play along.’ I had given some people ammunition to oppress those who had already been oppressed,” he recalled during the interview with GQ. “I hadn’t understood the African-American experience. I hadn’t read the books; I hadn’t met the people; I hadn’t traveled the country.”


    Read more of Trevor Noah’s GQ magazine feature here.



     Also On HuffPost


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    The first time she saw her on screen, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi knew she had a connection with her grandmother, Hollywood icon Grace Kelly. "One of my first and fondest memories involving my grandmother was watching 'High Society,'" the 23-year-old told Harper's Bazaar of seeing Kelly in the 1956 film for the first time. "It was a real goose-bumps moment for me."


    For much of her life, it was a secret from the world that Grimaldi was royalty. Kelly famously wed the prince of Monaco, Rainer III, in 1956. Her granddaughter Grimaldi lived out of the spotlight until her father, Prince Albert II of Monaco, formally acknowledged her as his daughter in 2006. Now, Grimaldi is speaking about her relationship with her father and her admiration for Kelly, who died following a car crash in 1982, for the first time in the August issue of Harper's Bazaar. Michael Avedon photographed Kelly for the issue. His late grandfather Richard Avedon shot Princess Grace for Vogue in 1971.



    Grimaldi told the magazine that she was in awe of her grandmother, but didn't realize her legendary status. "When I was little, my mom would show me photographs of her," she said, "but I didn’t understand that she was this huge icon." 


    The actress' granddaughter, who is also passionate about acting and recently launched her solo music career at a cabaret-style showcase, says she's ready to finally tell her story. "This is my first interview, my first time going public. It’s delicate, but I think I’m ready to step out and share my story a little bit further," Grimaldi said.


    For the full interview, head to Harper's Bazaar.





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    Sophia Loren's still got it! 


    The 80-year-old icon attended the Los Angeles premiere of "Dark Places" on Tuesday looking every inch the glamazon she is. The Oscar winner opted for a fitted black dress, which featured a strappy, embellished neckline. She accessorized with a matching beaded purse, a gold and diamond choker and sparkling earrings. 




    The Italian beauty completed her look with false eyelashes and pale pink lips and wore her auburn locks in voluminous curls.  


    Loren was joined on the red carpet by her son Edoardo Ponti, who recently directed his mom in his romantic short film "Human Voice." 


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    On Sunday, Caitlyn Jenner's eight-episode docuseries "I Am Cait" will premiere. Despite the star's roots with E!, and the Kardashian-Jenner family's many shows on the network, the show can't and shouldn't be brushed off like every other reality show you've seen. 


    The first episode was screened on Tuesday for press in New York and, despite the series' name, it's not just about Caitlyn Jenner.


    The opener, which shows a makeup-free Jenner sitting in bed speaking to the camera about how she doesn't want people "dying or being murdered over this" (this meaning being transgender), establishes the entire reason Jenner is doing the series. 


    The show is an opportunity for Jenner to tell her story, but it's also a chance for members of the transgender community to tell their stories. Because of her wealth and celebrity status, Jenner is in a very different position than most people seeking to transition. It's something she's fully cognizant of and addresses in the first episode, much like in her speech at the ESPYs after accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. She's taken it upon herself to become a spokesperson for the community and, from the get-go, we see how much Jenner is committed to giving back. 


    The premiere shows Jenner taking a trip to San Diego to visit with the mother of Kyler Prescott, a transgender teen who died by suicide in May. Later, Jenner attends a memorial ceremony for Prescott and speaks with the teen's friends about depression and suicide. This isn't a show that skirts around the issues, and Jenner is clearly passionate about doing something to reduce the staggering suicide rates of transgender individuals.


    But as much as the show is about Jenner's outreach, it's also about her transition. It's important to remember that Jenner only came out as transgender this past April in an interview with Diane Sawyer, and introduced herself as Caitlyn in a Vanity Fair cover story on June 1 -- not that long ago. Interestingly, Jenner's own family only met her as Caitlyn mere weeks before the rest of the world did. 


    The first episode details Jenner's 88-year-old mother meeting her as Caitlyn for the first time, as well as her 17-year-old daughter Kylie Jenner. (From Instagram photos, we know the taping took place on May 19).



    A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on



    Caitlyn and Kylie meet for the first time over FaceTime, after the teen has taken a trip to the dentist. Caitlyn is worried that introducing herself this way might scare her daughter, but Kylie responds, "You're not scaring me. You look pretty." It was a similar greeting when they meet in person: "Hi, pretty!" Kylie simply says.


    Meeting Caitlyn is more emotional for her mother, Esther, who tells her daughter, "It's not easy," as she tries to get used to her transition. Esther notes that while she may not completely understand, she's supportive, telling Caitlyn, "You have the same soul you were born with." 


    Other familiar faces on the show include Kim Kardashian and a uncharacteristically smiling Kanye West, who provides some unintentional comic relief. "I think this is one of the strongest things that has happened in our human existence," he says of Caitlyn's transition before having a conversation about sneakers with her sister Pam. 


    Meanwhile, Kim takes a look in Caitlyn's closet and discovers that her mother Kris Jenner owns one of the same dresses, and they both delight in the idea that they could stage an opportunity for a "Who Wore It Best" moment to occur. Maybe Jenner is a bit of a Kardashian after all. 


    With seven more episodes to come, audiences should be excited to get to know Cait. 


     "I Am Cait" premieres Sunday, July 26 at 8 p.m. ET. on E! 



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    Earlier this year, Universal's N.W.A. biopic, "Straight Outta Compton," became involved in a real-life murder case. Now, the film's producers and original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre have opened up about what Dre calls a "really tragic incident."


    In January, rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was at a burger stand in Los Angeles where a trailer was being shot for "Straight Outta Compton." The record producer allegedly hit two men -- Cle "Bone" Sloan, 51, and Terry Carter, 55 -- in his pick-up truck. The incident resulted in the death of Carter. In February, Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder. Dre, one of the co-founders of Death Row Records with Knight, and Ice Cube became personally involved in the murder case when Carter's wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three.


    In a recent cover story for The Hollywood Reporter about "Straight Outta Compton," Ice Cube revealed that he was on set the day of the incident. "I was there," he said. "But I was just leaving, so I didn't know what happened until I was halfway home." The rapper-actor-producer heard about it over the phone afterwards. Mentioning that the film didn't have any issues during the production, Ice Cube added, "It's crazy that this happened during the f--king filming of the commercial."


    Dre chalked up the incident to the dangers of of living in South Central, Los Angeles. "Some people don't care if you're making a movie or not," he told THR. "It's unfortunate because the movie is so good, so creative, so many talented people involved."


    In July, a judge refused to dismiss Knight's case after Sloan refused to identify the music exec in court. Knight's next hearing is on Sept. 17.


    In the meantime, N.W.A. fans can look forward to "Straight Outta Compton" hitting theaters later this summer and an upcoming reunion tour across Europe with Eminem. The surviving members of the rap group, excluding Dre, previously reunited on stage for their first live performance together in 26 years in June. It's unknown whether Dre will join his former members for the new tour.


    Check out the "Straight Outta Compton" cover and head to THR for the full feature. 


    "Straight Outta Compton" opens Aug. 14.



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    NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Cosby has been cut from a documentary about black stuntmen.


    Producer Nonie Robinson said Tuesday that Cosby has been removed from "Painted Down." The documentary is about the history of white stunt performers who were "painted down" to look black to double for black actors.


    For the film, now in post-production, Cosby gave an interview about his experience with the practice on the 1960s TV series "I Spy."


    Robinson said the film, which also features Whoopi Goldberg, had been "standing by" Cosby. But after the latest release of depositions in which Cosby said he gave women Quaaludes in order to have sex with them, Robinson said axing him from the documentary "wasn't difficult." 


    More than two dozen women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct in the past four decades.


     


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    Last night, Nicki Minaj tweeted her frustrations that the music video for her single "Anaconda" was not nominated for the MTV VMA Video of the Year Award. She suggested that race might have something to do with it; that despite the major pop cultural impact of the record-breaking video, "Anaconda" was dismissed because it celebrated black women (with big butts).


    "[I'm] just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much," Minaj wrote, "but are rarely rewarded for it." 


    And then, in the middle of Minaj's ongoing tweets, Taylor Swift decided to step in and make the entire thing about her: 





    Thus began what many have erroneously described as a "feud" (both parties expressed their love and respect for one another during their Twitter exchange), and with it a heated online debate about who was in the wrong and who was in the right. But debating who the "bad guy" is isn't productive. What we should be talking about is how the exchange, and Taylor Swift's responses in particular, are a perfect example of the problem "White Feminism" (i.e. feminism that ignores intersectionality) has with race. 


    It's very easy to see why Swift might have thought the tweets were about her, and why they might have made her want to say something. Minaj's mention of "other girls" with "very slim bodies" may very well have been in reference to Swift (after all, very slim Swift and bootylicious Beyoncé are the only two women nominated for Video of the Year). 


    But as Minaj herself pointed out, nowhere in her tweets did she actually name or blame Swift for her grievances. Instead, she was speaking to her own experiences as a black female artist, and her observations on the ways she feels body politics, racism, and sexism within the industry and society at large have affected her career. She was calling out a system that favors women like Swift, a system that Swift is complicit in whether she likes it or not. 


    There is a lot that can be picked apart here. Minaj did get three nominations in major categories for both "Anaconda" and "Feeling Myself" -- just not Video of the Year and Best Choreography. And yet it's too simplistic to label Minaj as greedy or cocky for wanting to be recognized for the biggest award of the night. The fact that an artist as insanely successful as Minaj --  an artist who in a lot of ways conforms to the beauty standards of acceptable blackness (light skin, "good" hair, "thick" but with a tiny waist) -- still feels a racial disparity is significant, and should be acknowledged.  


    The way Swift responded was the opposite of acknowledgement. She may have felt hurt, confused or insulted, but she should have also realized that this wasn't about her. By centering Minaj's observation around herself, and thus shifting the narrative into a Nicki vs. Taylor story, she silenced Minaj, dismissed her experiences, and derailed an important conversation about race and gender.


    Swift tried to deflect Minaj's criticisms of the music industry (again, not about Swift personally) by pointing out that "one of the men" might have taken Minaj's nomination spot. This was irrelevant to Minaj's argument, and a classic example of the way White Feminism works to undermine women of color -- trying to making things solely about gender in order to not have to talk about race, while perpetuating the idea that white women and women of color experience the same kinds of sexism and oppression.    


    It's vital to note this doesn't mean Swift is a terrible, horrible racist. She was clearly well-meaning, even when she (a tad condescendingly) added later that Nicki was invited to come up with her on stage if she won. All her words were well-meaning, but they spoke to her cluelessness and privilege.


    Some take issue with the term "White Feminism," seeing it as an unfair indictment of all women who are feminists and happen to be white. Columnist Rebecca Griffin even tweeted:





    Calling out White Feminism isn't about demonizing all white feminists, or erasing the history of feminism and the role white women (and all women) have played in it. It isn't about attacking women like Taylor Swift, who in recent years has proudly taken on the feminist mantle. And defending Minaj does not mean that she epitomizes what it means to be a "good feminist," while Swift epitomizes everything wrong with the movement.


    But. Intersectionality is real, it's important and it's integral -- the popularity of the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag, which called out the imbalances in feminist online media in 2013, signals as much. White Feminism turns Taylor Swift into the victim and Nicki Minaj into the bully. It cries "women make 78 cents to the dollar of men" but forgets that the missing qualifier is "white" -- black and Hispanic women make far less. It compells Swift to say Minaj's words "pit women against each other" instead of forcing her to examine how her whiteness and her thin body have contributed to her success. 


    There's one thing Minaj wrote in the exchange that should perhaps be the biggest takeaway for Swift and those who support her.


    "I love you just as much," Minaj wrote. "But you should speak on this." 





    Tonight, a documentary examining whiteness in America called "White People," will premiere on MTV. On July 18 politician Bernie Sanders was confronted by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and was not equipped to respond in any meaningful way. We are still grappling with the circumstances surrounding Sandra Bland's July 13 death. We're in a moment where it has become imperative that white people engage with discourse about race in a real way.


    For Swift, this means not silencing the experiences of black women. It means being an ally by listening, but also speaking out in solidarity and with understanding about the inequalities that women of color artists face -- even if they benefit her. She shouldn't stop talking -- nothing productive can come out of no dialogue at all. But she, and other white women like her, should stop, take a step back and consider the real impact of their words. 





     


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    Master of covers Kelly Clarkson has outdone herself with this one. 


    During her Tuesday night performance in Buffalo, New York, the 33-year-old performed her own rendition of *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye," and as per usual, she nailed it. The Season 1 winner of "American Idol" has been taking requests from fans throughout her "Piece by Piece" tour, and the *NSYNC track was just the latest. 


    Clarkson introduced the song by saying, "This is a throwback to our junior high days, and a lot of people in our crew are very excited about this."


    Us Weekly reports she then dedicated the performance to a concertgoer named Alicia before putting her own stripped down twist on the song. (You can watch the whole performance above.)


    Clarkson has been adding covers into all her sets throughout this tour, including Nick Jonas' "Jealous," Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" and Rihanna's "Stay." Just check out some of the best ones in the gallery below: 



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    So, you want to break your iPhone addiction, but you still need to be in touch at work or with family. What do you do? 


    Apparently, you get a flip phone. They’re cheap, hard to break and provide very few distractions compared to the carnival circus of shiny apps offered by a modern-day smartphone. 


    While two-thirds of Americans now use smartphones,  a number of high-profile executives, celebrities and politicians have been spotted going old school. If you need to reach these folks, you have to call. In other words, talking on the phone exclusively is now an exclusive thing.


    Ellyn Shook, the chief human resources officer for consulting firm Accenture, made the move to an LG flip phone at the start of the summer. A self-imposed ban on keeping her iPhone by her bedside wasn’t really working, she told The Huffington Post.


    Shook oversees more than 336,000 workers worldwide, and she really needs to be reachable 24/7, she said. So now she stows her smartphone at night and brings the flip phone to bed.



    “I’m sleeping better,” Shook said. On the weekends, she stores her iPhone at her beach house and goes down to the sand armed solely with her flip (and sunscreen, presumably). The other day, she made it for nine hours at the beach without looking at her phone -- and she actually got to talk more to her family, she said.


    Still, it wasn’t easy. “By hour seven, I was stressed. It was pain. Really.” Shook acknowledged it sounded kind of ridiculous, but I understood. To be honest, I rarely go an hour without looking at my iPhone. "You want to look at your iPhone right now?" Shook asked me. "Go ahead," she teased. (For the record, I refrained.)



    She’s clearly on to something. A raft of celebrities and politicians have been seen using flip phones over the past year or so: New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio was spotted jay-walking and talking on one. Lovable billionaire Warren Buffett showed off his Nokia phone on CNN in 2013. "This is the one Alexander Graham Bell gave me," he joked. "I don't throw anything away until I've had it 20 or 25 years."


    Vogue editor Anna Wintour was seen using a flip phone last year at the U.S. Open. Rock god Iggy Pop told New York magazine that he has a flip phone, in part “because you can drop it a lot and it won't break.”



    Even Rihanna has been spotted using the '90s-era device. And really, who’s cooler than Rihanna? (She's also been photographed using a pay phone, but we don't see those making a comeback anytime soon.) 


    Asked about his LG phone in an interview with HuffPost last year, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said of flip phones, “I love them.” He hates being in meetings when people are all staring at their iPhones, he said. (Me too, Chuck!)



    Some of his political peers are on-trend, too. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has apparently never even sent an email


    Another benefit of flip phones is that they're cheap. Shook said her flip phone cost $19, and the cost was comped by her phone provider. In fact, the $10-a-month fee for the phone also gets comped. They're literally paying her to have the ancient thing.  


    But not everyone can actually afford to ditch their smartphone. Many of us need to be reachable by email or text, and not every boss is going to understand that you’re only available by phone. If you're a parent or grandparent, your kids or grandkids might never contact you again -- that's how deeply talk-phobic we are these days.


    My 85-year-old aunt -- who never uses a mobile device -- recently lamented that no one ever calls her anymore. They all want to text, she said. 


    Still, no one's suggesting you totally ditch your smartphone for a flip phone. The device is just the latest add-on in your arsenal -- a security blanket for anyone who's terrified of going a moment without being connected. 


    Yet Shook said she’s hearing from plenty of people at Accenture inspired by her move. One tech writer predicted earlier this year that the “dumb phone” would make a comeback.


    Maybe it will? Then, finally, we can all get more sleep.

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    It seems marriage has done wonders for Michael Bublé's Spanish.


     The Canadian crooner served as a guest judge on Tuesday night's "America's Got Talent" and was moved enough by one performance to break out some of his Spanish.


     During the show's Judge Cuts round, Colombian-born singer Daniella Mass performed a bilingual version of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from the musical "Evita." After her powerful rendition, Bublé turned to the 22-year-old contestant's mother in the audience and addressed her in Spanish.


     "Your baby is very very beautiful. She has a good voice," Bublé said in Spanish to Mass' mom.


    It's likely that the 39-year-old star picked up some of his Spanish skills from his wife, Argentine-born model and actress Luisana Lopilato, whom you may remember as his love interest in Bublé's "Haven't Met You Yet" music video.


    When the couple first met not only was Bublé far from fluent in Spanish but Lopilato also did not speak English. The singer told Atlanta NBC-affiliate 11 Alive that the two were able to communicate thanks to interpretation help from friends, family, one of his bodyguards and Google Translate. 


     The language barrier clearly did not stop their relationship from flourishing and the two wed in March 2011. Bublé and Lopilato announced they are expecting their second child last Thursday via Instagram. 



     As for Mass's performance, the contestant's rendition of the Broadway tune received a standing ovation from the audience and several judges, not to mention it sent her to the show's Quarterfinals. If you missed it, don't worry. We have you covered:




    Want to watch more celebrities speak Spanish? Watch below: 


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    This must be said: I have "Blank Space" by singer Taylor Swift on heavy rotation. I'm a fan and have enjoyed watching her career scale new heights. I am not however a fan of her using the notion of women supporting women to "clap back" (returning an insult, as Urban Dictionary puts it).

    Just last night, Swift inserted herself into rapper Nicki Minaj's Twitter vent regarding the MTV Video Music Award (VMA) nominations, specifically about being overlooked for Video of the Year.














    Taylor's done a great job this year in changing her narrative from serial dater to "#squadgoals" -- a girl's girl, with a team of super friends (who mostly all happen to be supermodels) with whom she bakes cookies, goes on road trips and invites to her concerts. She's aligned herself with the feminist movement saying, "I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it's been made to seem like something where you'd picket against the opposite sex, whereas it's not about that at all." And though many people may be a bit... perturbed... with some celebrities jumping on the feminist bandwagon, I applaud Swift and others like her for helping to raise the national consciousness of today's movement.

    That said, Swift has a reputation for clapping back. She usually does it in songs and her targets are usually ex-boyfriends. But recently she's clapped back at women in what I believe is a very backhanded way. Using your alignment with feminism to respond to statements that offend you is the equivalent of saying, "I'm a perfectionist" when asked your greatest weakness at a job interview. It's the kind of response that's win-win. In this case, most people stand behind the idea of women not fighting each other or not being pit against each other. So, theoretically, it's a safe way to provide an unsolicited response to Nicki Minaj. This isn't the first time Swift has used this strategy. At the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joked that Swift should take a break from dating and take time to learn about herself (a topic that Swift is apparently sensitive about, hence "Blank Space"), Swift responded by indirectly quoting Madeleine Albright, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." Again, the risk of fall out from this type of response is relatively minimal given feminism is the new trucker hat in Hollywood. Right now it's cool and trendy so everyone's wearing it.

    There's definitely a case to be made for women supporting each other in and across various industries and outside of the workplace. But the situations in which Swift has employed the use of this particular call to action aren't appropriate. The shoe just doesn't fit here. In the case of the Golden Globes, Poehler and Fey were roasting everyone, male and female, equally and in a context where it was expected; actor George Clooney took a pretty bad hit from the two comedians. And now with her recent parlance with Minaj, again the response is not quite appropriate because it ignores a larger context. Swift has actually opened a can of (race) worms that she can perhaps commiserate about with pal Lena Dunham.

    One thing that many women within the feminist movement overlook is how feminism intersects with race. Many women don't have to know about or even care about how these two constructs intersect because they're not affected by race. Race is not a factor for their everyday living experience. But for others it is. I can speak to how feminism intersects with being Black because I am a Black women (or a blackette, as someone recently called me in the North of France) and because I've been looking closely at the Black female experience through my documentary series, Pretty. I can't speak to how feminism intersects with other races. So I can only say this: as a Black woman, I feel my race first before I feel my sex. My race is always made apparent to me before my sex ever is. And I think many Black women share this experience as well. I'm saying this here because I suspect it's one of the factors that prompted Minaj's tweets.

    We don't know what conscious and unconscious considerations were taken into account in coming up with the VMA nominations. Most likely the biggest factor was who's going to drive higher ratings and keep viewers watching until the end of the show. And when viewership is a factor, and it always is, there are a few celebrity checkboxes one must tick: Taylor Swift is definitely one of them as is Beyoncé Knowles, a "curvy" Black woman that was also nominated for Video of the Year. I don't actually agree with Minaj's tweets. But I can guess how she might feel about the nominations, especially when upon the release of her Anaconda single cover, she faced heavy criticism about it being inappropriate, resulting in many journalists pointing out the double standard of acceptablity that exists between Black and White women. Exhibit A...

    2015-07-22-1437584228-7580950-swiftnicki.png

    vs. this "unacceptable" image...
    2015-07-22-1437584271-6506277-swiftnicki4.png

    This type of criticism is something Swift will likely never experience because she fits an accepted and idolized mold -- blonde. Blue eyes. Tall. Skinny. So her female experience in a male-dominated industry is likely very different from Nicki Minaj's. And the things that Nicki might experience are likely things that Taylor never even has to think about. And that's not something she needs to feel bad about. We all have our privileges and disadvantages. (The fact that I have fingers with which I can type this post is an ability not everyone has.) We don't need to feel bad (or superior) because of the different lots we've been given in life. But we do need to be prepared and receptive of what happens when different experiences collide.

    Individual experiences don't exist in solitude. We encounter people that are alike and different from us and each encounter gives us the chance to expand our individual experiences outside of their realms. A blue-eyed blonde pop star collided with a buxom Black rapper on Tuesday and in doing so, in tweeting at Nicki Minaj, Taylor unwittingly stumbled upon an aspect of feminism she might not have considered yet: a feeling of being marginalized because of your race as a woman. She now has the chance to expand her knowledge of today's female experience, by understanding one Black woman's experience, by understanding where Nicki was coming from. Doing so might not mean anything at all for Taylor Swift. It may not result in some major evolution in what she knows and as a result who she is. Or it might. What we know of the world, what we take in from it, affects what we put out. It affects how we treat other people and influences the things we create. This little squabble might be the subject of another hit song for Swift or it may make her take up the sword for another aspect of feminism that she can genuinely advocate for versus diminish into a strategic clap back.

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    Piers Morgan slammed Nicki Minaj's tweets about the 2015 MTV VMA nominations, calling her a "stroppy little piece of work" and saying she should not use the "race or skinny cards" because Taylor Swift's video was just better. 


    Minaj tweeted at MTV Tuesday after the 2015 VMA nominees were announced. The "Pinkprint" rapper asked why the hugely talked-about "Anaconda" video didn't get nominated in the categories of Video of the Year or Best Choreography. She also wondered how  "Feelin' Myself" with Beyoncé also failed to get a nom. Swift's "Bad Blood," which features a bevy of white Victoria's Secret models, is in the running for Video of the Year. She is the only female nominated other than Bey.


    Minaj broached the issue of race in MTV's nominations in a series of tweets to her 20 million followers.





    Although Minaj never named Swift, the pop star directly responded to Minaj and suggested that maybe one of the male artists nominated -- Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar or Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars -- took her spot. 


    On Wednesday, Morgan wrote a piece for the Daily Mail targeting Minaj. He opened with an anecdote about the rapper not taking a photo with his sons during a guest appearance on "America's Got Talent" while Morgan was a judge. He then said he had sympathy for Swift because he himself has faced backlash from what he called "Black Twitter" -- "a very large, vocal and aggressive social media group of mainly black Americans who collectively leap on any perceived racial insult or bias to expel their indignation." 



    I have no sympathy with Nicki Minaj, who emerges as a whiny brat that just doesn’t like losing. Her charges of racism and big-bodyism are frankly laughable when you consider that three of the five nominations for Video of the Year are black artists. And one of them is Beyoncé, whose own body is far more aligned to the Minaj school of physical beauty than Taylor Swift’s. Further, 43 of the entire list of 75 nominations for this year’s VMAs include black artists. Oh, and Minaj herself gets three nominations in other categories. So the central allegations are a load of old hogwash. The reason your video didn’t get nominated for Video of the Year, Ms Minaj, is that it wasn’t as good as the others which did.



    He concluded: "For Nicki Minaj, who is indisputably very talented, to play the race card just because her video didn’t get the nomination she wanted is a cheap piece of faux outrage deliberately designed to stir up unnecessary racial tension where it shouldn’t exist. Shame on you, Ms Minaj."


    See what else Nicki had to say on Twitter:














    Many other outlets, including The Huffington Post's Zeba Blay, have highlighted how Minaj's tweets spoke to a much larger issue within the music industry and feminism at large. 



    Swift tried to deflect Minaj's criticisms of the music industry (again, not about Swift personally) by pointing out that "one of the men" might have taken Minaj's nomination spot. This was irrelevant to Minaj's argument, and a classic example of the way White Feminism works to undermine women of color -- trying to make things solely about gender in order to not have to talk about race, while perpetuating the idea that white women and women of color experience the same kinds of sexism and oppression. It's vital to note this doesn't mean Swift is a terrible, horrible racist. She was clearly well-meaning, even when she (a tad condescendingly) added later that Nicki was invited to come up with her on stage if she won. All her words were well-meaning, but they spoke to her cluelessness and privilege.



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    Remember when everyone lost their s**t after "Harry Potter" actor Matthew Lewis posed in his underwear? That may be about to happen again. 


    On Wednesday, Joseph Sinclair -- the photographer behind what we like to call the Neville Longbottom Is Hot Now Attitude magazine photo spread -- shared a never before seen outtake. Behold, Neville Longbottom's abs:


     



     


    Cool, cool. 


    After the last Internet eruption, J.K. Rowling requested Lewis warn her when publicly sharing steamy images of his bod. Hopefully the actor sent her a friendly text before  re-gramming Sinclair's post on Instagram. 


     If not ... sorry. 



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    We've seen Lily Rabe as a nun, a grieving mother and a Stevie Nicks-loving witch. Now, the actress will play a serial killer in "American Horror Story: Hotel."


    Entertainment Weekly revealed on Wednesday that Rabe is officially returning for the new season of the FX anthology series. Rabe appeared in Seasons 1 through 3 and made a small cameo in Season 4's "Freak Show," reprising her "Asylum" character Sister Mary Eunice. But this year, Rabe will be checking into the "Hotel" to portray a famous serial killer.


    Since Rabe will seemingly be playing a real-life figure, "AHS" fans are already digging for clues. One guess from redditor TheStarDescent is that Rabe could portray Lavinia Fisher, who, according to legend, may have been the first female serial killer in America. Rumor has it that Fisher and her husband John ran the Six Mile House, which some believe was a hotel or hideout for outlaws, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. After last season's Edward Mordrake, we know that co-creator Ryan Murphy loves to dabble in scary myths.



    tv show gifs

    The same fan also theorized that Rabe's casting could signal the return of her Season 1 character, Nora Montgomery. In "Murder House," Nora and her husband Charles moved to Los Angeles in 1922. While we don't know what year or era "Hotel" takes place in, fans are guessing the hotel could roughly be from the 1920s or 1930s because of a photo that recently surfaced online. 


    Murphy's assistant, Sara Stelwagen, recently posted a photo of what appeared to be the "AHS: Hotel" directors chair on her Instagram. This set fans on Tumblr into a frenzy as they tried to decode what the logo could mean, suspecting that the art deco font signaled the '20s or '30s era and theorizing what appears to be the letters "C" and "H" printed on the chair cover. We can assume the chair is real, though, since "Hotel" star Matt Bomer shared a photo of his chair on Twitter on Wednesday.


    But in truth, no one really knows what year "Hotel" will take place in or what the titular hotel will be called (though, we've made our guesses). We do know some character names, however. Sarah Paulson will play a character named Hypodermic Sally, Evan Peters will be Mr. March, Kathy Bates is Iris and Matt Bomer is Donovan. The season will also star Lady Gaga, Chloe Sevigny, Angela Bassett, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Max Greenfield, Denis O'Hare and Cheyenne Jackson.


    "American Horror Story: Hotel" premieres in October on FX.



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