Mariah Carey Zoom Bombs Cast Of Schitt’s Creek Graduation Celebration

Mariah Carey zoom bombs the cast of Schitt’s Creek (screen capture)

The cast of Schitt’s Creek zoomed up a special musical presentation for 2020 grads as part of ‘Dear Class of 2020’, a virtual commencement celebration broadcast on YouTube.

After sharing their pride and congratulations to the new grads (complete with the exemplary vocabulary skills of Catherine O’Hara’s Moira Rose), the cast began a gorgeous a capella rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” (led by Noah Reid) in honor of the teachers who guided their students to the finish line.

But it wouldn’t be Schitt’s Creek without a twist, and so guess who zoomed themselves right into the musical moment? Mimi herself, Mariah Carey – complete with wind machine for flowing hair effects.

It’s a lovely musical moment for a Monday morning 🙂

Gay HS Senior Barred From Walking In Graduation For Wearing Pants

A queer high school senior in South Carolina wasn’t allowed to walk in her own graduation because – wait for it – she wore pants.

While a lot of graduation ceremonies became virtual events due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lamar High School in Darlington County managed to hold its 2020 event in the open air on the football field Tuesday afternoon.

But when Dynasia Clark, who’s openly lesbian, arrived at wearing pants – her attire of choice – she was informed she was in violation of the dress code (which requires women to wear a dress during the ceremony) and wouldn’t be allowed to take part.

It’s worth noting that all of those taking part in the ceremony were wearing graduation gowns. So, no one could really see what Clark was wearing underneath.

With just minutes before the ceremony was to begin, Clark walked off the field.

(screen capture via WPDE)

Speaking to the local ABC News affiliate WPDE, Clark said, “I was angry more than anything because we worked hard to even have a graduation, and then I can’t walk because I don’t got on a dress.”

She also shared that, after four years of being out while attending the school, “They already know how I am, they already know I’m not going to wear a dress.”

But she didn’t leave the event. Standing outside the venue gates, she waited to hear her name called as the students walked across the stage to accept their diplomas.

However, the school decided to delete her name from the list of graduates’ names read. Clark was, understandably, stunned.

“That was the part that made me more mad than anything because, even if I couldn’t walk, I was there,” explained the teen. “You could have still called my name.”

“It seems crazy to me,” she added. “It seems stupid, like petty, because it was just an outfit to me.”

The Darlington County School District sent this statement to WPDE:

“The Lamar High School dress code for graduation has been in place for more than 20 years. We welcome students or parents who have concerns with any policy or procedure to meet with administration and discuss those concerns. In the past, when a student raised concern with the administration about the dress code prior to graduation day, the issue was addressed.”

Still, Clark’s disappointment was palpable as she told reporter Carlos Flores, “It shouldn’t have stopped me from doing something that I have been waiting on for 12 years. I went to school. Everybody be happy for their graduation day and I couldn’t even experience that.”

You can watch WPDE’s report here.

Music Video: Matt Zarley & Jeb Havens Honor Class Of 2020 ‘Stronger’

Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Matt Zarley teams up with critically acclaimed indie artist Jeb Havens to honor the educators and students of the class of 2020 with a reimagined rendition of the Kelly Clarkson hit, “Stronger.”

The GLEE-tastic music video, featuring a cast of 50+ students and parents from Canoga Park High School in California, was shot on location at the school two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

“If we had to delay shooting a week, we probably wouldn’t have been able to complete this,” says Zarley.

“I can’t imagine being a high school senior and not getting to experience those special end of school year moments that you’ve been looking forward to for the past 4 years,” he adds. “I feel so bad for these kids. This entire situation is just awful.”

As Havens and Zarley take on multiple roles as teachers, coaches, janitors, and cafeteria workers, the video tells the tale of a new student at school who finds his way to tryouts for the dance team.  In a short time, he goes from misunderstood (#QuackIsWhack) to ‘rad’ (#FunkADuck).

The duo’s soulful pop vocals are a perfect match for the soaring self-empowerment anthem.

I’ve shared music from both Zarley and Havens over the years, but just in case you missed it…

Zarley made his theatrical debut at 17-years-old in the national touring company of CATS, at that time the youngest to ever perform in the mega-blockbuster. His career continued with roles on Broadway in A Chorus Line, The Who’s Tommy, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as TV appearances in Disney’s Cinderella (w/ Whitney Houston), Geppetto (w/ Drew Carey) & Annie (w/ Kathy Bates), The Drew Carey Show, Fame, The Tonight Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Smash, among others.

An award-winning, 4-time Billboard charting recording artist, his albums include Debut, Here I Am (2008 Billboard Critics Top Ten and American Idol Top 20 Songwriter), and Change Begins With Me (2012 OUTMusic Award for Album & Single Of The Year). He was also the first openly gay man featured in People Magazine’s ‘Hottest Bachelors’ annual issue.

He added filmmaker to his resume when he released hopefulROMANTIC, an award-winning musical short film he wrote, produced and starred in which played dozens of international film festivals including Cannes, Mumbai, Montreal, and as well as numerous stateside festivals.

L-R Matt Zarley, Jeb Havens

Jeb Havens is an international recording artist and songwriter whose music is a blend of catchy pop and raw emotional therapy.

He became a viral sensation when he began recording original and cover songs in his closet (good sound) and shared them on YouTube.

One of his earliest “Closet Covers” was his emotional, moving take of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which quickly garnered hundreds of thousands of views. As it spread across the internet, his performance grabbed the attention of mainstream entertainment media outlets like Buzzfeed which raved, “Seriously, someone get this guy a record deal already.”

His debut solo album “Home Base” was named one of the Top 5 in LGBT Music for 2016.

The woofy duo has collaborated several times over the years on projects ranging from music videos to live performances in the U.S. and abroad including their ‘Works of Heart’ concerts.

You can find my posts on Jeb Havens’s music here, and my previous coverage of Matt Zarley here.

Barack Obama Will Deliver Primetime Commencement Address For Class Of 2020

Former President Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama (photo: Pete Souza/Public Domain)

The Donald must be seething over this news.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt, among others.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will simultaneously air the special May 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners, according to the announcement Tuesday from organizers.

Several high school students from Chicago public schools and the Obama Youth Jobs Corps will join, as will the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe and H.E.R.

The event is titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” It’s hosted by the education advocacy group XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and The Entertainment Industry Foundation.

News Round-Up: July 17, 2019

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Steve Raider and Ocan Jan (above) barely fit in the same photo. #TheresTheBeef

CBS News: The House voted 230-198 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for obstructing a probe into the administration’s failed bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Twitter: A gay teen, Brandon Austin, slayed the inter webs with his graduation ‘death drop’ on Twitter, which has now been ‘Liked’ over 230,000 times.

NBC News: A Florida man is in custody for allegedly using a pair of scissors to cut off the penis of a man he suspected of sleeping with his wife, according to a police report.

Axios: The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this year, the first time the U.S. deficit has surpassed the $1 trillion level since the 4-year period following the Great Recession. In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to wipe out the deficit and also the entire federal debt, which has surpassed $22 trillion.

Netflix: The streaming giant gave a giant slap to the folks at the upcoming ‘Straight Pride’ event for using their logo and claiming Netflix was a ‘possible’ sponsor. In their cease and desist letter, the legal team for Netflix wrote, “Our legal department is here, its queer, and its telling you to steer clear.”

Out Music: Carly Rae Jepsen teamed up with Jordan Alexander and Bud Light for a performance of the ‘Pride Remix’ of her single “Feels Right” at Toronto Pride. The single is from her fourth album, Dedicated, out now.

My Favorite Thing Today: Jack Higgins Accepts His High School Diploma

Jack Higgins approaches the stage to accept his diploma

When Jack Higgins took to the stage to accept his high school diploma, he put his fingers in his ears expecting to hear cheers and applause.

Instead, he heard silence.

CNN reports that Jack has a severe form of autism and is sensitive to noise. After eight years in his high school’s program for students with cognitive, learning or behavior challenges, he was ready to graduate on June 20.

His parents wanted him to participate in the ceremony, but they were concerned that he would be overwhelmed sitting for hours in a large auditorium surrounded by hundreds of people.

Principal Lou Riolo, principal of Carmel High in Putnam County, New York, had an idea: ask everyone to sit in silence as Jack approached and accepted his diploma.

But could high schoolers, caught up in the excitement of graduating, be trusted to stay silent?

Accompanied by his two brothers and school aide Rob Ancona, Jack approached the stage with his fingers in his ears, having practiced for weeks to handle the loud noises.

Instead, he received a spontaneous, silent standing ovation.

“The students were amazing,” Riolo told CNN. “They are a class act and superseded expectations. For example them rising to their feet after Jack received his diploma was them. It was not preplanned and no one told them to act like that that.”

“I have been lucky and blessed to see some really remarkable things in my 31 year career but this so far has to be the most incredible,” added the principal.

“But as much as the students rose to the occasion so did Jack,” gushed Riolo. “Since Jack is very limited verbally, how overwhelming was it for him with a large crowd and expectation that it would be loud?”

“It was so brave of him to take that walk which must have seemed like forever and he did it with grace, class and strength.”

Students giving Jack a silent standing ovation after receiving his diploma