If there’s one thing we know to be true about Adele, it’s that she gives and gives and gives. But this story might take the cake.
Alan Carr, host of Chatty Man on BBC, is known for his hilarious and candid celebrity interviews. On Monday, he spilled some juicy gossip about his own personal life: Adele funded, hosted and officiated his wedding back in January. He married his partner of 10 years, Paul Drayton, in Adele’s very own Los Angeles backyard.
“I didn’t win a competition; Adele is a friend,” he said in an appearance on The One Man Show. “We’ve known her for ages, and when we told her we were getting married, she said, ‘Can I please plan the whole day for you?’ So she organized everything. She’s the kindest, sweetest, most generous person ever.”
He added, “We go in there and there’s a grand piano with a man playing [John Legend’s] ‘Ordinary People,’ and then she sang our songs with the first dance. It was absolutely amazing. I can never repay her. But she’s a one-off. As we all know, she’s just the best.”
In an Instagram post, the British singer confirmed the news. “Seeing as the cats out of the bag. I Married two of my best friends in January,” she wrote. “You know me any excuse to dress up.” She tagged the British talk show host and hashtagged #LoveisLove.
In a 2016 interview with the Jonathan Ross Show, Carr told the host that he met Adele at the Brits, and he was a huge fan. On their friendship, he revealed that the powerhouse singer actually stayed with him while she was writing 21, her second studio album.
“She was up there for two or three days. I’m not gonna lie, we forgot that she’s up there,” he joked, “Oh my god, what if she’s dead?”
The Chatty Man host also divulged about singing Adele’s songs while unloading the dishwasher, to which she would reply, “Really? My heartbreak?”
“I’m such a big fan of her, I mean that affects the friendship because I love her so much,” he quipped. “She borrowed my iPod once and the top 25 are all 19 and 21.”
Sounds like Carr and his new husband had their dreams come true.
As violence against the LGBTQ community continues to increase in the U.S., one of the nation’s leading advocacy groups wants journalists to remember trans lives shouldn’t be reduced to a statistic.
The media watchdog organization GLAAD released a new report in which it urges news publications to shift the narrative on anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. In “More Than a Number,” Director of Transgender Media and Representation Nick Adams takes issue with the “deadliest year ever” trope in reporting on trans homicide rates.
Adams claims this framing “gives media outlets permission to ignore the epidemic of anti-transgender violence until the number has surpassed the previous ‘record,’ at which point it then becomes ‘newsworthy.’”
“Acts of violence against the trans community are horrific and pervasive, and should be covered regardless of the recorded number of deaths,” he says. “In tracking violence, there is nothing won and no goal is met when the victim count reaches a certain number, and framing it as such is insensitive to the seriousness of the issue.”
After GLAAD estimated that 26 transgender people were murdered in 2017, news outlets including Mother Jones, Fast Company, Salon, PinkNews, and Refinery29fell into the alleged trap Adams claims is problematic. As the alarming rate of anti-trans killings has not abated in 2018, NewNowNext recently claimed this year would surpass 2017 as the “deadliest year ever.”
In covering violence against the wider LGBTQ community, INTOalso relied on the framing in a January headline calling attention to recently released data. In January, the National Coalition for Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) tabulated that 52 queer, transgender, or HIV-affected people were killed in 2017.
These numbers are often cited as “historic.” But claiming any particular year is the “deadliest ever” for trans people is inaccurate, Adams alleges.
“As such, we can never be fully confident that the number of known transgender murder victims reflects the total number killed,” Adams concludes.
“More Than a Number” offers recommendations to reporters who want to cover trans homicides in a way that’s respectful, affirming, and honors the individual’s life. For instance, journalists should reach out to family and friends of the victim in order to present them as a three-dimensional human being.
“Nine times out of 10 people have a Facebook page, where you can get correct information about the person and nice photos that you can use,” says longtime trans blogger Monica Roberts in the report.
Others suggest finding ways that journalists can support local communities affected by discriminatory violence.
“Ask about what resources can be included in your reporting,” says LaLa Zannell, a lead organizer with the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “Is there a GoFundMe site to support the family? A vigil to honor the victim? A local organization that can support the community at this time?”
Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, says the report is another reminder that coverage of the trans community must evolve, just as societal understandings of transgender people have shifted over the past decade.
“We must evolve the ongoing national conversation around the fatal violence that transgender Americans face far too frequently and work together to report accurately and fairly when covering this epidemic,” Ellis claims in a statement. “When we reduce individual lives to a number, we dehumanize those who we have lost and fail to address the stories and humanity of victims whose trans identities have been erased following their death.”
Russia has blocked the nation’s oldest LGBTQ website after authorities claimed it violated the country’s anti-gay propaganda law.
Last week, the Russian media regulation agency Roskomnadzor pledged to prohibit internet users from visiting Gay.ru following a court ruling in Siberia. In a December decision, Judge Olga Kvasova of the Altai District Court said the website “disseminated information that promotes nontraditional sexual relations.”
Gay.ru received a notice from Roskomnadzor on Friday telling administrators to remove “information prohibited for distribution in the Russian Federation,” as The Moscow Times reports. It gave them 24 hours to comply.
“The basis for blocking [the website] was the posting of information promoting nontraditional sexual relations, which has been prohibited in the Russian Federation,” the message reads.
Although the webpage will still be accessible to non-Russians, Gay.ru has been a critical source of news for the country’s LGBTQ community since its founding in September 1997. Articles currently published on the site include information about violent gangs robbing queer and trans people and reports of hate crimes in the North Caucasus.
The decision reflects an increasing crackdown on LGBTQ media in Russia following the propaganda law’s passage five years ago.
When the legislation was first passed five years ago by a unanimous vote in the Russian Duma, Roskomnadzor claimed it did not violate the new law. But last September, an HIV/AIDS activist, Evdokia Romanova, was fined for posting news articles about LGBTQ issues on Facebook.
The Russian LGBT Network said, however, it’s “impossible” to know the exact reasons for the about-face on Gay.ru.
“As is customary in cases concocted by the authorities, it is impossible to comprehend what exactly the court deemed promotion of homosexuality,” the advocacy organization said in a statement.
Gay.ru has pledged to fight the decision by appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), claiming the ruling was unjust. In a response post published following the removal request, it wrote, “Our website is intended for persons over 18 years of age, whereof it contains an appropriate label.”
The new season of American Idol has only been marginally different from its original showbut the most noticeable difference has been how openly queer it’s been.
Last night, the judges narrowed down the contestants from the Top 50 to the Top 24, and though many a-gay have been lost on the trail to the Top 24, two queer contestants remain. The ABC reboot starring Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan has followed the same format as the original, which Fox cancelled in 2016.
Though we’ve seen queer contestants in the past, not many have been out, and but the show has never featured their storieslike Clay Aiken, who competed on the show in 2003, but didn’t come out until 2008. Some were even outed, like Adam Lambert or Season 7’s David Hernandez, both of whom were outed via a series of photos during the competition. On Season 13, M.K. Nobilette came out as gay on the show, and that same season, a contestant who tried to compete as openly gay by singing “Same Love,” was cut that very round.
This season is different, and is extremely inclusive of LGBTQ narratives. The stories of out, queer contestants have been told and centered since their very first audition scenes. And the best part is, their stories aren’t necessarily being told as sappy coming out anecdotes. Their spots in the Top 24 are about them and their voicesnot just their sexualities.
Here are the two remaining out contestants we’re rooting for this season.
This 18-year old from Denver, Colorado is out, gay, and married. Her wife is a soldier in the army and is about to deploy. Jurnee claims she started singing when she was two years-old, and started singing when she was sevenand it shows. She has one of the best, clearest, and strongest voices in the Top 24. Everything she sings, she sings with ease, with vocal runs dripping off her tongue like butter.
When we first met Jurnee at her audition, she said she struggled with her sexuality so much that she stopped performing, because she couldn’t figure out who she was.
“It hurt,” she said. “At times I would be dating guys just to test and make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. It wasn’t until my freshman year that I knew for sure that guys were not for me. They’re not my cup of tea. So I came out to my family, who was extremely accepting, and it’s just been rainbowspun intendedever since.”
She met her wife Ashley at a party, and Ashley proposed to her under a waterfall. The 18-year-old vocalist claims she’s inspired by her wife’s strength and bravery, and she FaceTimes her after every performance on the show.
Ada Vox AKA Adam Sanders
Look out, RuPaul, because American Idol has landed itself a drag queen all their own. 24-year old Adam Sanders from San Antonio, Texas auditioned for the show on Season 12, but got cut during Hollywood week. This year, he decided to audition as his drag alter-ego, Ada Vox. Ada’s candor and showgirl excitement gave the performer an edge, but Adam’s powerhouse vocals gave him the substance that wowed Katy, Lionel and Luke in his Los Angeles audition.
“After American Idol, I started getting messages on social media every day,” Adam said before his first audition. “People would attack my weight, my sexuality, telling me that I was horrible, that I sucked, that I don’t deserve to be here, that I shouldn’t be who I am. I let it get to me in the wrong way. It killed me inside almost as much as people were telling me I should kill myself.”
He continued, “I just kind of disappeared from the world for awhile, and in doing that, I kind of hurt myself even moreBut through all of the negativity, I have managed to build myself up as a new person, a stronger person. I have recreated myself in ways that I could not have imagined.”
This season, Ada made it through Hollywood week and the first showcase with a full band, but when she entered the room for her final judgment, the three judges saw Adam for the very first time. “I’ve kind of relied on Ada thus far as kind of a safety blanket. That’s why she was made,” Adam said on Monday night’s episode. “I think it’s time for the judges to see what’s under all the makeup, what’s under all the hair. I think it’s time to show the judges me.”
When judge Katy Perry asked if he believed he was good enough to compete going forward as Adam, the Texas native replied, “I believe 100 percent that my talent speaks for myself.”
Both Katy and Lionel applauded the singer for his bravery and courage, and Perry praised him as “so beautiful inside and out.” Throughout Adam and Ada’s time on the show, a nasty comment, sneer, or even leer has ever been passed between the judgessomething that would never have happened in years past.
American Idol returns next week, where Adam and Jurnee will compete in the Top 24, which will be cut down to 14. The reboot airs Sunday and Monday nights on ABC.
April is underway, and spring is in our sights. Until then, it means another few weeks of hit or miss weather. Whatever snow or rain may come, there are plenty of ways to pass the time while you wait for the sun to come out.
Stay in and stream a good queer title or five. From biopics to romances to binge-able shows, there’s plenty to catch up on. For starters, add these to your queue.
Chip (Ryan Steele) is a young dancer fresh off the boat in New York City. While training with three other dancers and a ballet master in SoHo, he struggles with the decision to return home to help his family or stay and focus on his own life, love, and career. Five Dances is now available to stream on Hulu.
Tom of Finland
Many gay men know Tom of Finland as the most influential homoerotic artist of our time. But before he became Tom, Touko Laaksonen (Pekka Strang) was a decorated officer in World War II. After returning home, he found Helsinki to be rampant with homophobia and hetero-conformity. His only solace was his art. Tom of Finland is now available to stream on Hulu.
Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a teenager living in Brooklyn, struggling to come to terms with her sexuality. With her parents’ (Charles Parnell and Kim Wayans) marriage on the ropes, she doesn’t know who she can confide in. But she finds an unexpected companion in her mom’s colleague’s daughter (Aasha Davis). Pariah is now available to stream on Netflix.
Please Like Me
Josh Thomas portrays a very realistic, socially-awkward 20-something gay man in this addictive coming-of-age series. After his girlfriend dumps him, he comes to the realization that he’s gay. As he comes into his own as a gay man, he leans on his mentally unstable mother and his straight best friend. Please Like Me is now available to stream on Hulu.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
Marsha P Johnson will forever be immortalized within the queer community, thanks to her tireless efforts as a trans activist and Stonewall veteran. But her death remains shrouded in mystery, found floating in the Hudson River in 1992. This documentary re-examines her death, which many believe was murder. The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is now available to stream on Netflix.
Very few artists live up to the classic sounds of Elton John. If you haven’t gotten lost in the lyrics of “Tiny Dancer” or “Bennie and the Jets” at some point in your life, can you really say you’ve lived? That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.
Some of today’s greatest artists have come together to pay tribute to the 50 years Elton John has created music for the world, particularly his writing partnership with Bernie Taupin. Revamp features some their greatest pop hits, reimagined by artists like Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, and more. An additional compilation,Restoration, reimagines other more country hits with artists like Miranda Lambert, Miley Cyrus, and Dolly Parton.
“It’s always a huge compliment when an artist loves your song enough to take the time and effort to rework it,” John said in a press release. “As songwriters, Bernie and myself are thrilled when singers we admire and respect as much as those on Revamp & Restoration choose to add their own unique twist in the process. It means that our music is still relevant and ultimately that our songs continue to reach new audiences. We’re humbled and thank them all for their generosity.”
John has plenty going on this year. With Taron Egerton starring in the upcoming biopic about his life, John recently announced the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which embarks this September for 300 dates across five continents over three years, marking the finale of his illustrious career. Artists like Ed Sheeran, John Legend, and Kesha will also pay tribute during Elton John: I’m Still Standing-A Grammy Salute, which airs Tuesday, April 10 on CBS.
When straight men engage with the gay community, it can be a real hit or miss. On the negative side, we get male celebrities who queerbait their gay male fans, and on the positive side, we get Chris Lam’s new YouTube series about straight men watchingDrag Race for the first time.
The videos involve Chris interviewing two of his straight friends after they watch episodes from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The straight guys have never seen the show before, but they work in creative industries, so their opinions are are fascinating.
One of the common reactions to drag we see from straight men is just a general shock and watching “men in dresses.” These videos, however, are so much more than that. Jason and Leo, who talk to Chris about the first episode, seem genuinely interested in learning more about the drag community. Jason specifically says that it was like discovering a whole new civilization that he didn’t know existed.
The most interesting moment for me was when they talked about the workroom entrances and Jason compared it to professional wrestling promos and how wrestlers focus a lot on their characters and narratives. Ultimately it’s just interesting to watch people react to the show without any outside context. I, for one, have no idea how I’d feel about the queens and the show if I wasn’t deeply connected to the community around it.
Check out their reaction to the first episode below:
Lord help me, but at a certain point in the undeniably lush, clubby dembow shop class that is Rubby’s video for “No Más,” I started cackling along with the singer. It was something about this quick juxtaposition of shots in the clip. Here is Dominican New Yorker Rubby in full safety gear, powering down onwhat am I, is that a soldering tool? Sparks fly everywhere in manly glory.
A millisecond later, the singer flits about, shorts skillfully obscured by a sassy industrial apron. Then he’s shirtless and blowing bubbles, whispering Spanish language vocals all the while seducing a coy lover and most definitely you, his new fan. How dare someone be this campy!
“That was almost giving me Village People,” I say, carefully, the next day on our phone interview. He seems relaxedhe’s visiting LA with his best friends from college for their final spring break before graduation. But you never know how an artist is going to take being compared to the David Hodo and Mark Mussler in construction drag, much less the most gimmicky gay group in history’s long, strange journey from radio kings to county fair staples.
Luckily, Rubby Valentin Paulino has a sense of humor.
“Oh my God!” he laughs. “My advisor in high school would totally be dying at this conversation.”
Our conversation turns to how Rubby has never shied from classic queer signifiers. Not when he was a James Baldwin and Larry Kramer-reading, boarding school attending, music theater enthusiast adolescent from Washington Heights, and certainly not now that he is a rising R chanteuse toying with dembow rhythms on the brink of graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont.
The friction between these identitiesnot to mention the interesting challenges presented by life in lily white rural New Englandare one of the sticking points of the art Rubby has been putting out over the last year. It’s most clearly manifested in his implementation of dembow, a genre that he grew up around in Manhattan, but with which he could never connect.
“As I got older, I saw that the spaces where I could listen to [dembow] were always hyper masculine,” he tells INTO. “I don’t knowjust like, they weren’t fun places, there weren’t gay people there. I wanted to be on the inside with my people.”
In a way, this is what has compelled him to work with producer Young Man, a close friend, on setting his vocals Caribbean beat mutations favored by a generation of genre-diffusing artists, including Rubby’s favorites, Peruvian producer Ynfynyt Scroll and Spanish singer Bad Gyal. Rubby harbors hope that other Latinx queers who never found an entry point into urban genres can find room to thrive in this music.
“It really creates conversation around what kind of spaces are available to people and what music ishow music translates into bigger things, like community,” he says.
Rubby is aware that leaps forward must also be navigated intelligently. “I think sometimes the representationI don’t know if it’s too corny,” he reflects, thinking back to those woodshop flourishes. “But I think that tension between what is and what isn’t, or just like, total opposites, is dramatic.”
That drama is on full display in the video clip for “Confiesa.” Rubby exerts a high level of control over his work at this stage in the game, and here he appears in the credits as stylist, director, and co-producer. He also plays multiple roles in front of the camera. Rubby sings coquettishly in a butch white tank and vaquero hat and is no less flirtatious in shots where he appears in a ruffled típico dress in the three colors of the Dominican flag. Who says you can’t do it all?
The dress itself has a highly personal history. It was bought by Rubby’s own parents on a trip last year to the DRat his urging, of course.
“My mom was like, ‘Guys don’t wear a dress. You should wear the pants.’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to talk about this. Just get the dress.’”
Mom later got the chance to see the fruits of her labor at the “Confiesa” video premiere at NYC’s Soho House.
“She likes the video,” says Rubby. “I think she was like, a little bit shook when she saw me with eye shadow. That’s OK.”
It makes sense that his parents were involved in wardrobe scouting because the dichotomic characters in “Confiesa” were inspired by Rubby’s youth spent watching telenovelas at home with his family, held rapt by the gorgeous histronics of such shows as Pasión de Galivanes and Rubí. (The latter of these has a lady-like title font which not so coincidentally bears a close resemblance to the his own opening credit on “Confiesa.”) In playing both gallant and damsel, Rubby expands possibilities for queers in the epic Latino art form of serial TV drama.
“Confiesa” and “No Más” are far from the first times that Rubby has utilized music to present a challenge to the tropes of his youth. Portentously, his dad is a merengue percussionist. When not gigging or practicing, Pops was given to blasting bachata in the family’s living room. Rubby now identifies as a “big fan” of traditional Dominican sounds and has made peace with his namesake, legendary merengue singer Rubby Pérez, despite being teased as a child. But at the time, this constant audio barrage felt like an imposition. In high teenage fashion, he’d retreat to his bedroom, caress his beloved CD player, and ratchet up the volume on one of his female R heroinesDangerously in Love or Ashanti’s beloved Chapter II (both among the first three CDs Rubby ever bought in addition, he says, to Celia Cruz’s Greatest Hits.) Call it an early stab at creating a fusion sound.
Having refined his tactics in the years that followed, Rubby now finds inspiration in Mykki Blanco and fellow Dominican Jay Boogie. He loves their tenacity, power, their graceful creation of stories that are at once personal and political.
“I really enjoy how they project their experience of themselves,” he says in what seems to be a decent approximation of his own manifesto. Rubby’s decades past playful stereo wars with dad, but still experimenting with the contrast and overlap between what he was born into, and all that he is.
In the video you can see Kehlani climbing onto the moving bed behind Lovato, giving her an embrace before the two share a kiss. This was followed up with Demi finishing the song, ironically titled “Lonely,” while straddling Kehlani.
Kehlani later wrote on her Instagram that Demi’s dancers convinced her to pull this move, but “anyone would be stupid not to jump at the chance to hop on that damn moving bed and grab your face.”
After the success of “Bodak Yellow,” everyone has been on the edge of their seats waiting for Cardi B to come up with her next big thing. Well, in the build up to her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, she dropped the video for “Bartier Cardi.”
This new aesthetic is quite the departure from the “Bodak Yellow” video with a lot of vibrant stylized colors, pretty clothing and notable lack of camels.
The top of the video sets the tone with a series of nicely dressed young women counting bills. It’s a mood, for sure. We also get a scene of greased up shirtless men nodding along to the beat, as well as a tied up 21 Savage, who is featured on the track.
Offset also makes a guest appearance in the video, getting physical with Cardi in the back of a car which makes sense given that he’s mentioned in the lyrics and he works under Quality Control, the management that Cardi B just signed to.