There was a lot in 2020 that was just heinous and I’m happy to leave it behind. But I did want to take a pause to look at some of the good news and big moments of the past year in this ‘Best of 2020 – LGBTQ edition.’
In this episode, I’m going to revisit some of the best songs, movies, TV, and top LGBTQ news stories of the year (at least in my opinion).
I know folks like to make Top 10 lists, but one of the hallmarks of The Randy Report is supposed to be brevity. Plus, if I’m putting my name on a “Best of…” list I want to feel strongly about them. So I’m going to try to stick to Top 5’s in this show.
I won’t give it all away but I cover:
• The 2020 election cycle and how LGBTQ folks were impacted and took part
• The forward progress of LGBTQ rights around the world
• Celebrities and politicians standing up for transgender people
• LGBTQ movies like Uncle Frank,Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and The Boys in the Band
• Mainstream Media Crush: I can’t believe I’ve never noted how enjoyable CNN’s Boris Sanchez (above) makes watching the news. That is all. #EyeCandy
• Pink News: Last week, I reported how openly gay Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale was verbally accosted at his polling station by a group of Trump supporters calling him homophobic slurs. Just thought I’d report he sailed to reelection with 58 percent of the vote.
The mid-tempo track explores the fallout of a breakup with the realization that sometimes it’s better to be “on your own” when a romance comes to an end. “I need some time to myself so I can comprehend/ I’m not so scared to admit I could use a friend.”
• USA Today: Nine legal experts say Trump’s lawsuit challenging election results in Pennsylvania is dead on arrival for a number of reasons: Courts are wary of invalidating legally cast ballots, and voting by mail, used in many states, is both common and constitutional.
• Statista: Following Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine candidate was found to be 90 percent effective against COVID-19 in phase 3 trials, shares of travel industry stocks like hotels and airlines went soaring across the globe. Interestingly, the news also sent some shares tumbling for such “pandemic winners” as Zoom Video Communications, Peloton, and Netflix.
• Gothamist: Governor Phil Murphy is requiring indoor bars and restaurants in New Jersey to close by 10 p.m., one of several restrictions that he announced today to address a spike in COVID-19 cases. “There is more than anecdotal evidence that as the night wears on, probably for reasons that are obvious, people let their hair down,” Murphy said, while also sharing that the state’s positivity rate is at 7.52%.
• MSNBC: President-elect Joe Biden threw some 12th level shade Donald Trump’s way when asked about Trump refusing to concede the presidential race. “At the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20.”
President-elect Biden on President Trump not conceding:
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly … At the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20.” pic.twitter.com/65wro0neIf
Can you say TGIF??? With all the news ricocheting this way and that, it might be a good time to sit back with new music and chill at home.
With that in mind, here’s what we’re listening to this week in new music from out musicians.
Trans Latinx pop artist Jakk Fynn recently released the song and video for “Heal” from Jakk’s Cancelled, a 5-track EP of original, emotionally evocative dance-pop music.
The music video for “Heal” is an emotional pop journey of rebuilding himself as his own person after an emotionally stifling relationship came to an end.
“The more I tried to change myself to be who I thought my partner wanted, the more we both lost ourselves,” says Jakk about the new track. “Not being true to yourself in a relationship can feel like suffocation, like death. ‘Heal’ is a chance to do just that—heal—by embracing the vulnerabilities that make me who I am.”
With artfully layered vocals, “Heal” takes the listener on a ride from introspective reflection to laser-focused intensity. Follow him on Instagram here.
In his new single, “Missing Half,” out artist Project Moses explores the tumultuous relationship he had with his now-deceased father.
The ominous ballad is the first single and music video from his upcoming album, Better Man, and is meant to convey the sometimes-conflicting feelings many people have for the people who raised them.
“The idea for the song came to me after my dad died in a car accident,” he explains. “It forced me to reflect on a relationship that wasn’t always good. One that left me with a lot of emotional and psychological scars. Yet, through it all, I still love my dad and was left feeling broken inside by his sudden death.”
The piano-driven ballad builds to a dramatic crescendo with soaring choirs framing the out artist’s soulful vocals. Follow Project Moses on Instagram here.
Chicago-based electronic dance duo Dance Loud (Kristin Sanchez & Desereé Fawn Zimmerman) has released the audio for their new single “Hollow” about the hollowness inside us all and the good and bad in everyone.
The track blurs the lines between electronic immersion and alternative orchestration. “Hollow” is the first single off of Dance Loud’s forthcoming 2020 DIY independent debut album, The Moment, set for release on June 5th.
The Chicago Tribune raved about the real-life couple’s live performances: “The tandem’s live performances are a joy to behold. Sanchez’s beats build and build on the dance floor like any good house music set, then Zimmerman joins the production, adding layers of intricate drum rhythms that both complement and contrast with the synths.”
The chill track mixes analog guitars, drums, and distorted synths with hypnotic vocals resulting in a dreamy, euphoric ride. I like. You can Instagram the duo here.
The Queen of Drag, RuPaul released a new rap single called “I’m That Bitch,” featuring tongue-in-cheek lyrics that reference his recent hilarious appearance on Jimmy Fallon that went viral.
Had to almost cancel Jimmy, put him in a bodybag / He called me a drag queen. Bitch, I’m the Queen of Drag
DRAG QUEEN?!? Bitch, I’m the Queen of Drag / D-D-DRAG QUEEN?!? Bitch, I’m the Queen of Drag
In case you forgot let me remind you that I, I, I’m That Bitch
Is there really anything else I need to say? You can definitely bounce to this bop as you dance into the weekend.
Out singer/songwriter mxmtoon releases her new track and music video, “Quiet Motions,” which celebrates those moments when we keep our own company.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my short time so far on this earth is that finding comfort in your own company is a wonderful thing,” shares the 19-year-old pop star. “As an introvert, it’s always been a practice of mine to recluse and hang out by myself as a way to recharge my energy, and I think finding those quiet moments throughout my weeks has kept me sane throughout life.”
As an introvert myself, I can completely relate with that.
“Quiet Motions” pairs guitar-driven orchestration with the artist’s airy, evocative vocals. Find her on Instagram here.
• West End Theater: The Donmar Warehouse’s Olivier Award-winning production of the Broadway musical City of Angels (starring my college bestie Vanessa Williams above) hits the boards on the West End for its first preview tonight. Word in theater circles is the show is stylish, smart, and stunning.
• Greenville Journal: A county in South Carolina was about to repeal a 1996 anti-LGBTQ resolution when religious dissenters, citing “traditional family values,” overwhelmed the County Council meeting just before the vote causing two council members to change their votes.
• The Hill: Vice President Pence, who is heading up the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus threat told reporters today the United States does not currently have enough tests to meet the expected demand.
• Washington Blade: Chris Johnson is one of my favorite LGBTQ reporters and he’s penned an excellent assessment of the historic candidacy of Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “He made a mark on American politics — and not just because he broke barriers as a gay presidential candidate.”
• Washington Post: Now that Mike Bloomberg has exited the race for the White House, he has announced he plans to form an independent expenditure campaign that will absorb hundreds of his presidential campaign staffers in six swing states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina) to work to elect the Democratic nominee this fall.
• Out Music: Maia, who records under the moniker mxmtoon, released her exuberant single and music video, “fever dream,” where she dances with her past and future self.
“We wanted to work with the themes of the single to make a video that exemplifies the nostalgia the lyrics evoke but also the courage to move forward,” shares the out bisexual artist.
With a blissfully nostalgic lilt, mxmtoon’s vocals are soothing and sure. The sentimental, upbeat melody is a refreshing escape from the clutter of today’s current news cycle.
Her 2018 debut EP plum blossom – recorded in her parent’s guest bedroom – has garnered more than 100 million streams on Spotify. You can follow her on Instagram here.