Angel Haze Remixes ‘Same Love’, Resulting Track Is an Ode to Self Love

Angel Haze is no stranger to leveraging her platform – and her art-  to tackle uncomfortable subjects.  She’s also no stranger to remixing previous works to say something totally new and necessary in a way that only she can.

Case and point: the artist’s remix of Macklemore’s hit single Same Love.

From The Heist, Macklemore’s incredibly successful  second studio album, and collaboration with producer Ryan Lewis,  the original song has a lot of heart.  It’s received wide radio play and praise, including the VMAs for best video with a social message.  In a recent blog post describing the importance of the song, Macklemore said:

Every song I’ve ever put out, I have believed in.  But Same Love was different.  It was a moment that was way bigger than us.  Watching teenagers come up to me after shows, with tears in their eyes, gasping for breathe in attempts to find the right words to explain to me that they came out to their family after hearing the song…that reaffirms everything.  That.  Right there.  That is the reason why I do this.  That is no publicity stunt.  That is no calculated move.  That is art affecting the quality of people’s lives, the way that other artists influence mine.

Fan love and commercial acclaim aside, Macklemore has also received considerable grief for the song with some questioning the merits of a straight artist creating a gay rights ballad.

I can’t count myself among those kind of critics.  I was introduced to Same Love by a gay solider whose sincere and pure appreciation of the song was evident when she asked me if it’d be okay if she replayed it during a car ride that we shared last spring.  She was a friend of a friend and I didn’t know her but in her explanation of the song I knew that the song had impacted her.

I wouldn’t want to take that away from anybody.

Buzzfeed proclaims the remix “finally does justice” to the original song.

I don’t know about all that.

That said, this Angel Haze remix is wonderful and important for its own reasons.

Leveraging the same chorus as the original song –  featuring vocals from out artist Mary Lambert - Angel delivers a powerful account of her own struggles with her sexuality.

She begins the track with a warning to her mother, saying: “Hi Mom. I’m really scared right now- but, I have to…”

From there she holds nothing back.

I’ve transcribed her verses as best as I could: (more…)

Spaghetti Fight: Pasta CEO’s Anti-Gay Comments Draw Backlash, Boycotts

Above you’ll find an advertising spot from Bertolli Pasta that aired in 2009.  The ad features a gay couple, with one of the men in said couple day dreaming of the other serving him pasta in a fancy restaurant only to come to and have that man be his partner seated beside him in his living room. There’s not much fanfare over the couple’s sexuality– they’re just hungry partners eating some pasta.

It’s the sort of advertisement that Barilla Pasta would never air according to CEO, Guido Barilla.  Known for commercials that depict the quintessential Italian family, and in response to a question on whether that family would ever include any gay members Barilla said:

I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.

While the CEO is opposed to gay adoption-and evidently the notion of fathers cooking dinners-he is in favor of gay marriage.  He followed up his comments by clarifying how he felt about gay patrons saying that if they “like our pasta and our advertising, they’ll eat our pasta, if they don’t like it then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand.”

You need to only do a quick search of the Twitter hashtag #boycottbarilla to see that challenge being answered.

Pasta company Bertolli who has been cool with gay couples in their advertisements since 2009, also chimed in with an advertisement of their own with a caption that reads “Pasta und Liebe für alle!” (Love and Pasta for all!)

The moral of this story is pretty clear.  Whether you’re Chick-fil-A or Urban Outfitters or any of these other companies that have said something problematic about an entire demographic — people are paying attention, and they will absolutely buy their pasta elsewhere.

Athletes Kiss on Medal Stand: Did Russian Gold Medalists Protest Anti-Gay Laws?

In recent weeks, Russian Authorities have repeatedly vowed to uphold their anti-gay laws that prohibit the mere expression of supporting gay rights– qualifying the act of doing so as propaganda, at the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Thus far, Putin’s rearing head has refused to blink in the face of international scrutiny.  While the games have yet to begin in earnest, the decision to do so is already proving to be a total shitshow with Russian athletes now being at the center of controversy.

Case in point: two female Russian athletes celebrated beating the Americans and the British at the 4x400m relay by making out with their gold medals in tow, causing the internet to in turn freak out.

Okay so they didn’t make out exactly, but Russian athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova did in fact kiss on the medal stand at the IAAF track championship in Moscow to protest their country’s anti-gay laws.  As the video above indicates, their teammates joined in and all four girls shared an innocent kiss to commemorate their win.

A political act or an act of celebration?

It’s hard to say.  While headlines around the world are indicating that the act was political in nature, sources in the Russian camp insist that the girls were merely congratulating each other.

The stakes were further raised on Friday when Yelena Isinbayeva, Russian pole vaulter, called out critics suggesting it was “disrespectful” to refuse to abide by a country’s law when visiting that country.  She later walked back that statement and said that she’d been misunderstood going on to state;

“But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter).”

Opponents of the law have since called on her to be removed as an ambassador to the Youth Olympics.

Isinbayeva’s initial statement was made in response to Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro’s rainbow-colored fingernails.

Unrelated but relevant, it seems worth acknowledging that the age-old logo of the Olympics consists of multicolored rings that interlock one another. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to confirm whether or not nail art is permissible that includes those colors (black, yellow, red and green) while avoiding more flamboyant colors like purple orange, pink and teal.

Regardless, a number of ice skaters from around the globe have vowed to protest Russia’s laws in less manicured ways. While some inside Russia claim that the law and the subsequent reaction have been overblown, and while the IOC doesn’t permit any demonstrations of “political, religious, or racial propaganda,” critics including gay U.S. congressman Mark Takano of California have a different take, pointing to the absurdity of the implication that one’s identity be interpreted as an act of propaganda.

American figure skater Johnny Weir doesn’t intend to put forth any outward displays beyond just showing up;

“As far as outward displays, should I be competing in the Olympics, my husband, his entire family, and my entire family will be there as a unit, supporting me — and I think that that is a beautiful statement to make,”

Indeed, the very presence of gay athletes under the threat of reprimand — and the heightened awareness around everything down to the fingernails of even straight athletes — will ensure that this shitshow rages on until, and most likely after, the games begin.

Blurred Lines: Russia Dances With Gay Propaganda, Fights Lady Gaga and Madonna

“Tonight, this is my house Russia.  You can be gay in my house.  And if you ever need me Moscow I will just be a telephone call away.”

So promised Lady Gaga at a December 2012 concert in Russia (remarks begin at about the 3 minute mark).

Yet for fans in Russia those calls may be temporarily left unanswered.

With the 2014 Winter Olympics around the corner, the country has come under considerable heat for its anti-gay laws.  In Russia, the act of voicing support for gay rights in and of itself is considered to be “propaganda” and is therefore illegal.

In the face of international criticism Putin’s Russia is doubling down, with authorities currently investigating  both Lady Gaga and Madonna for failing to comply with their travel Visas and/or for vocally supporting gay rights while in Russia. The lines on this one are more blurred than a Robin Thicke song.

Vitaly Milonov, an official with the Prosecutor General’s Office in St. Petersburg and a sponsor of the law that bans gay “propaganda,” first raised concerns that their visas, approved as a sort of cultural exchange, did not permit either pop star to reap any financial benefit from their performances.

Yet these allegations have a political undertone.  Milonov first filed an application regarding Lady Gaga after her December show suggesting that she promoted homosexuality to children.  Madonna was similarly sued for 10 million dollars by an anti-gay group for causing them “moral suffering” for also expressing pro-gay sentiments.  Those charges were ultimately dropped.

Both stars are being investigated and could face fines or be banned from the country outright.

Regardless, they’ll find themselves in good company.

Blake Skjellerup is a New Zealand speed skater who hopes to compete on behalf of his country in the Winter Olympics being held in Russia.  Skjellerup is also gay and thus engaged in a tap dance of sorts with Russian authorities who are trying to avoid looking like assholes while holding firm to their anti-gay laws.

Milonov, the same official who’s going after Lady Gaga and Madonna, has made it clear that Russian officials don’t have the authority to suspend the gay ban for the Olympics.

That said, a Russian sports minister assured news agency RIA Novosti that while gay athletes could compete, any sort of propaganda would not be tolerated.

Skjellerup isn’t fazed, vowing to wear the same rainbow button he wore attending the 2012 Olympics and promising;

“If I’m stopped at the border, I’m stopped at the border. My presence there is going to be important for me and important for the community and I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see.”


‘Till then, express yourself.

Video Sing-a-Long: Chow Down at Chik-fil-A? Even if You’re Gay?


They just want a little meat without the Bible.

Chk-fil-A: Closed on Sundays and strongly anti-LGBT

Santorum Says Gays, Lesbians With Kids Are Families


Wow, Rick Santorum has just had a come to Jesus moment, and I mean the kind, loving Jesus of the Bible, not the uptight, angry dude so many conservatives are trying to pass off as the son of God these days.

One Friday February 17, after a taping of WKAR’s Off the Record, Rick Santorum was asked asked by reporter Kyle Melinn if gay or lesbian couples with children constitute a family. Santorum responded

Yes, of course it’s a family.

The question comes at 6:19. Mellin tried to follow up and Santorum declines, saying basically that he’s tired of being asked questions about the subject.

Sing Along with “Gay Homophobes”

This gentle alt.rock ditty from Jonathan Mann incorporates a list of anti-gay public figures who have been outed by their own behavior and ties it together with a study which found that homophobic men harbor homosexual feelings.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish Adopt Son, Sir Elton Fundraising for CA Marriage Equality

Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish have a adopted a baby, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, the couple told Us magazine exclusively. ZJLF-J was born via surrogate December 25. The couple’s bid to adopt a Ukranian baby was rejected last year.

Sit Elton and Furnish have been together since 1993 and were joined in a civil partnership December 21, 2005  the first day civil partnerships became legal in the United Kingdom. While the media has often referred to the UK unions as gay marriage, they are technically/semantically not marriage.*

The media is currently reporting that Sir Elton and his partner are “married,” and have used that language in the past.

During the 2008 Prop 8 election Sir Elton famously said:

I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word “marriage,” I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.

At the time, Sir Elton seemed unclear in the difference between the U.S. and UK civil unions. His words were used by Yes on Proposition 8 as part of their anti-marriage campaign in California.

But since then Sir Elton appears more aware of lthe difference between the limited (states’) rights granted same-sex unions in the US — in which over 1,000 federal rights are denied to couples — and UK same-sex unions which accord couples equal rights across the board. Equal rights — both state and federal — are what the piece of paper should provide, here in this land where all were created equal.

And now in a show of support for marriage equality in California, Sir Elton is performing a fund raising concert January 19 to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights. AFER is The sole sponsor of the landmark federal case against Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Teddy Partridge has been liveblogging the court cases including the anti-equal righters’ appeal for

There’s a Facebook sweepstakes (entry is free) to win tickets to the Elton John AFER concert concert plus airfare and hotel, but I have poor impulse control and never win contests anyway — so full disclosure –I bought a ticket weeks ago. It’s a cause I support, and a once in a lifetime experience. OMG, Elton John! At a private home! I am soooo excited!

I hope AFER expands their efforts beyond California into other states and turns up the heat on repealing DOMA.

On Christmas Eve day, Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News that

I think the country is evolving. There is a inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage

in America. Biden also said that President Obama’s attitude towards same-sex marriage is evolving. Well, this clergy-gal can dream (and prays daily) that she’ll be able to officiate at the marriages of her same-sex friends, and that those marriages will grant federal rights.

Sir Elton, thank you for supporting the effort for equal rights. And now that you’re a dad, I hope in addition to working for civil marriage equality, you’ll turn your attention to adoption laws in order to insure that LGBT adoption is legal in every state.

*UK Civil partnerships provide the legal consequences of marriage, including the the same property rights as married opposite-sex couples, the same exemption as married couples on inheritance tax, social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner’s children. Civil partnership also incurs responsibility for reasonable maintenance of one’s partner and their children, tenancy rights, as well as granting full life insurance recognition, and next-of-kin rights in hospitals, and other rights. There is a formal process for dissolving partnerships akin to divorce.

LGBT Pride Marchers Beaten, Arrested in Minsk

photo: Kirill Nepomnyaschiy/ Used with permission

Riot police cornered and beat the forty participants in the Slavic (LGBT) Pride March held in Minsk, Belarus, on Saturday, arresting a dozen marchers according to on-scene blog reports on (which has more photos, video and ongoing updates).

Minsk had its gay pride march.  For just 10 minutes, 40  Belarusians and Russians waived a 12 meters long rainbow flag for a short march of approximately 200 meters.  They were at first met by a large group of journalists, photographers and TV crew.  But when they reached the first crossing point, they were trapped by several vans of anti-riot police.  Suddenly, the doors of the vans opened and anti-riot officers ran towards the participants. “I never saw anything of the kind” said Nikolai Alekseev by mobile phone.  “They were brutal and violent” he added.  Another participant who did not want to be named said: “It was like a group of wild dogs”.  The march ended with most of the participants being arrested and violently beaten.  A few managed to escape but the police ran after them…

The participants who were not been arrested are still under shock.  One can feel that they are proud of what they did today, but you can also feel the stress in their voices after the violent police crack down they suffered.

After the arrests, German, Russian and French diplomats were contacted by parade organizers to intervene on behalf of those being held.

The eight of the twelve arrested for participating in an unauthorized march were released on their own reconnaissance and ordered to appear in court on Monday.  Eighteen skinheads were also arrested.

Saturday’s planned route was altered at the last minute after the parade was banned by the authorities who claimed that the parade was to “too close” to the metro.

Threats of violence hung over the event. Friday night’s opening ceremony which including the screening of the Canadian documentary Beyond Gays: The Politics of Pride was disrupted by anti-gay protesters and a bomb threat. The real time blog updates:

21:47: Qote from Pride organisers: ” The way the Crowne Plaza management is handking the situation is far above all we could ever have dreamed of.   Looks like they are more deternined than us that the show must go on!”

21:40: Bomb alert at Crown Plaza.  Film interrupted.   Police asked to stop the film and relocate to another room within the hotel. “So, we are having a break and relocating.”

21:05: Screening of film now started. Just over 100 braved the protestors to get into the hotel.

20:40: Police and riot police have cleared the entrance to the hotel and have cordoned it off.  Participants are entering, but protsters are standing by in front of the hotel.  The room is already full for the film. Alekseev said that the show will start at 9pm instead of 8pm and asked for the understanding for the delay.

20:05 : Minsk Crowne Plaza Hotel is under siege by a few dozen anti-gay protesters.  The hotel is hosting at 8pm local time the premiere of the Canadian documentary Beyond Gays: The Politics of Pride.   At 8pm, the show did not start and only 40 participants out of the 150 who confirmed their presence could make it into the hotel.

20:00 : The event is probably going to be cancelled. The access to the hotel is blocked.  Only a dozen or so participants could reach the hotel.  The police is expected in the premises.

19:55: Hotel is now under seige.  It is not possible to enter, and not possible to leave.

19:50: The premiere of the movie is scheduled in 10 minutes.  Despite organiers keeping the location secret, Radio Liberty Belarus published the location on its website two hours ago. [Activist] Sergey Androsenko reports that he has been informed by phone that protesters are on a tram, on their way to disrupt the event.

Earlier, Amnesty International sent a statement of support published by Belarusian News Agency BelaPAN. The story said

Belarusian authorities must show greater commitment to its obligations under human rights.

Mean Prom: Constance McMillen Amends Complaint

Constance McMillen has amended her complaint against the Itawamba County School District to include the “mean prom” held in Evergreen County. The complaint is supported by comments made on La Figa by a student from Constance’s high school after the photos of the “mean prom” surfaced here.

In her original complaint, a federal lawsuit, Constance sought monetary damages for infringement on her free-speech rights. The suit claimed that the Itawamba County School District infringed upon those rights by canceling its original prom on the school property rather than allowing her to attend with a same-sex date and to wear a tuxedo.

The “mean prom” adds a whole ‘nother layer of ugly and damages to the complaint.

Patsy R. Brumfield and Chris Kieffer from NEMS360 reported:

The amended complaint, filed today, also claims that the private prom to which McMillen was invited was “a sham” and that the school district helped plan a second private prom that McMillen was not invited to attend.

School district attorney Michele Floyd did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment about that allegation…

The amended complaint asks for compensatory damages to be determined by a trial for Constance’s “public humiliation and disparagement,” as well as mental health, medical and educational impact she’s felt.

Constance has asked to be transferred to a school outside the Itawamba County School District to complete her senior year. A letter requesting the transfer included as evidence in the amended complaint cites

the misplaced enmity among the student body and the community against Constance for “causing” at least one prom to be canceled.

The complaint posted up on NMissCommentor contains a quote from a student which was originally posted on La Figa by legbeg10, a student at Itawamba Agriculture High School. The complaint states in part:

The next morning, on March 30, 2010, Constance received multiple text messages from classmates that had been sent the night before accusing her of causing the Tupelo prom to be canceled. One such text message said, in words or substance, “Heard you got the other prom canceled. Good job.” Other texts said, in words or substance, “You don’t even deserve to go to our school,” and “Are you going to ruin graduation too?” Later that day, another classmate sent a text message that said, in words or substance, “I don’t know why you come to this school because no one likes your gay ass anyways.”…

In the following days, Constance heard rumors that at least one other prom was being organized for the same night as the Fulton Country Club prom. She unsuccessfully attempted to determine if she was invited to that other prom…

Constance and her date arrived at the Fulton Country Club at approximately 8:30 p.m. When they arrived, they faced a virtually empty room. Only seven other students were in attendance. Defendant Wiygul [the school principal] and several IAHS faculty members were also in attendance as chaperones. When Constance returned home later that evening, she broke down in tears.

In the following days, as the news about the Evergreen Prom surfaced, one classmate asserted in an internet posting that other students had organized the Evergreen Prom specifically to exclude Constance, stating: “We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. We also wanted to do it without the main cause of the lousy.” The student explained that her classmates were unapologetic about excluding Constance, asserting: “So we did, and now we’re getting flack because poor Connie’s ego got a bit of bruising. She’s playing the lesbian card to prove she ALWAYS gets what she wants. This time, we didn’t just let her.”

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