News Round-Up: September 20, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

NewNowNext: RuPaul (above) has made Emmys herstory by snatching her fifth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program. RuPaul’s Drag Race is nominated for Outstanding Competition Program during this year’s Primetime Emmys, Sunday, September 20 at 8pm ET on ABC.

Edge Media: A gay couple in New York recalls the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiating their wedding.

KIT212: Check out Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the latest in LGBTQ publications like South Florida’s Hot Spots! (below) featuring Pose star Billy Porter.

(image via Hot Spots Magazine)

New York Times: Democratic donors gave more money online in the 9 p.m. hour Friday after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was announced — $6.2 million — than in any other single hour since ActBlue, the donation-processing site, was started 16 years ago. Then donors broke the site’s record again in the 10 p.m. hour when donors gave another $6.3 million — more than $100,000 per minute.

The Nation: Last week, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whistleblower told the press that agency officials had ordered him to downplay the threat of white supremacist terrorism. A recent DHS intelligence assessment about physical threats to the 2020 election season identifies “white supremacist extremists” as the foremost threat to the democratic process this year.

Out Music: Ahead of their upcoming, pandemic-delayed album Love Goes, Grammy winner Sam Smith busts some dance moves in the music video for the new electro-pop dance single “Diamonds.” The album was postponed from an original release date in June due to the coronavirus health threat. The powers that be also wisely rethought the original title, To Die For, with the pandemic in mind.

Podcast: Grindr Hookup Goes Bad, UK Rapist Gets Life, Recapping The 77th Golden Globes

TJ Osborne makes history at the CMA Awards, new documentary 'Mayor Pete' takes you behind the scenes of the 2020 presidential campaign, LGBTQ people are getting vaccinated at much higher rates than heterosexuals

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• A Grindr hookup in Michigan on Christmas Eve goes horribly wrong

• Britain’s most prolific rapist is sentenced to life in prison

• Grammy winner Sam Smith posts an inspiring shirtless photo on Instagram

• A transgender actress gets the lead in the upcoming reboot of ‘Saved By The Bell’

• Recapping this year’s Golden Globe Awards

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

After Years Of Hiding Their Body Sam Smith Is Living In The Light

Sam Smith is living in the light (image via Instagram)

It’s a new year and while lots of folks are heading to the gym to fulfill a ‘get in shape’ resolution, Grammy Award winner Sam Smith is taking just a minute to appreciate being exactly who they are.

Smith recently posted a shirtless pic to their Instagram writing, “Feels so good to have my top off on holiday.”

“Spent all my life hiding my body from the sun,” they continued. “The last year my skin has been soaking in that LIGHT.”

Smith closed the post with a bit of self-love advice: “Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from feeling that kiss from above you beautiful humans.”

With over 1.1 million Likes, it seems Smith’s fans agree, including newly-minted Golden Globe winner Taron Egerton who commented, “You look gorgeous. X”

The 27-year-old has had a big year on the issue of self-acceptance having come out as genderqueer and non-binary in 2019.

Speaking to body positivity activist Jameela Jamil on the Instagram show I Weigh Interviews last March, Smith shared that their body image issues were “the basis of all my sadness.”

They also revealed they had liposuction at the age of 12.

“At the time, I think I was very happy about it,” said Smith. “It didn’t really change anything. I think I put the weight back on in two weeks because I haven’t figured out my relationship with food, so it didn’t really change anything. But being 12 years old and having liposuction on your chest is quite a big deal.”

The ‘Stay With Me’ singer is clearly feeling more comfortable about their body and spreading the message of body positivity with more shirtless photos on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

2020 MOOD

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on

View this post on Instagram

🌊 The Pacific Ocean is fucking cold

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on

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🌊

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on

After massive successes with “Dancing with a Stranger” and “How Do You Sleep,” Smith capped off 2019 with a cover of the iconic Donna Summer track, “I Feel Love.”

It would appear that’s an honest assessment of Smith’s current situation. Good on them.

Sam Smith Covers Donna Summer Classic ‘I Feel Love’

Sam Smith (photo: Aria Shahrokhshahi)

Four-time Grammy Award winner Sam Smith has released a cover of the 1977 Donna Summer dance classic, “I Feel Love.”

“As a queer person ‘I feel love’ has followed me to every dance floor in every queer space from the minute I started clubbing,” the non-binary/genderqueer artist wrote on their Instagram. “This song to me is an anthem of our community and it was an honour and most importantly so much fun to have a go at it. Highest song I’ve ever fucking sang. But a joy. I hope you all like it xx”

Take a listen below.

And, of course, how could I touch the subject without referencing the oh-so-awesome original version by our diva, Miss Summer? Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, the track (considered the first electronic dance hit) was a Top 10 smash in the US and went all the way to #1 in the UK, Australia, and other countries.

Out Music: Sam Smith Busts A Move With “How Do You Sleep?”

Well, look at Sam Smith get down with his bad self.

After a tremendously successful year that saw Dancing With a Stranger garner an amazing one billion streams, hitting #1 in both the US and UK, and going platinum in 15 countries, it seems Mr. Smith is in the mood to dance about.

Smith begins his new single, “How Do You Sleep,” singing ‘I’m done hating myself for feeling / I’m done crying myself awake,’ to an ambient, light-as-air accompaniment before the track kicks into a mid-tempo dance groove complete with hooky chorus.

And that’s when Smith surprises by busting a move (a lot of them!) with a company of half-naked male dancers choreographed by Parris Goebel.

It’s a nice change of pace for the 4-time Grammy Award winner.

The singer tweeted to his fans, “My heart is beating so fast. I’m so proud of this one. Thank you to all the beautiful humans who’ve helped me really come out my shell over the past year. I hope you all enjoy this & please learn the moves so we can dance together soon.”

Podcast: Ben Platt, Jussie Smollett, Sam Smith, HIV+ Soldiers

In this week’s podcast:

• Chicago police reportedly believe Empire star Jussie Smollett may have staged his alleged homophobic attack

• A federal judge ordered the Pentagon to stop discharging US military service members who are HIV+

• Tony Award-winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) released his new music video and came out at the same time

• Sam Smith stands up against body shaming

• The 2019 NAACP Image Awards snubbed the ground-ground-breaking TV series from FX Pose

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

Sam Smith Posts Shirtless Pic To Overcome Body Shame

Sam Smith (photo: Ryan Pfluger)

Here’s something most of us mere mortals can relate to.

Grammy Award winner Sam Smith posted a shirtless photo of himself on a beach to his Instagram as he works towards overcoming his own sense of body shame.

In the caption, the singer admits he used to starve himself before photoshoots because of what he saw in the mirror.

“Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back,” wrote Smith. “Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.”

The shirtless pic was shot by photographer Ryan Pfluger on an undisclosed beach.

In the past if I have ever done a photo shoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down. Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally. Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things. Thank you for helping me celebrate my body AS IT IS @ryanpfluger I have never felt safer than I did with you. I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror but this shoot and this day was a step in the right fucking direction 👅🤘🏼🍑
A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on Feb 12, 2019 at 10:15am PST

The post has garnered over 1 million likes since it was posted yesterday.

Here’s Smith’s full caption from the post:

In the past if I have ever done a photo shoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down.

Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.

Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things.

Thank you for helping me celebrate my body AS IT IS @ryanpfluger I have never felt safer than I did with you.

I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror but this shoot and this day was a step in the right fucking direction.

Tons of fans applauded the post, including America’s Next Top Model champ Nyle DiMarco, who wrote, “You look beautiful and I love that you’re embracing yourself. The benefits of embracing yourself outweigh the fallbacks of hiding. ALWAYS BE YOU!”

Out singer/songwriter (and newly-crowned 3-time Grammy Award winner) Brandi Carlile chimed in, “Sam. You look absolutely beautiful and healthy and you always have to me. You are a fucking dream. No one like you – I will get in a bar fight with anyone who says anything less.”

Sarah Jessica Parker added, “Simply divine my friend. Never more beautiful. I miss you.”

Pfluger posted the photo on his own Instagram, writing,

“My MFA thesis was on how photography is therapy. I did a TEDx talk on how photography is therapy. I feel so lucky to have met the people I have in my career & even luckier to create meaningful connections after working with people. @samsmith thank you for trusting me to facilitate photographs that empower your ownership of your body and mind. I honestly wish everyone relinquished themselves to the experience like you did. An experience that has brought us closer together & I look forward to creating with you through the years. All the love. Xoxo”

News Round-Up: January 29, 2019

• InstaHunk Dan Tai asks, "Do you count your macros?" I don't even know what that means (I'm sure it's important) because calves, biceps, deltoids, face...
InstaHunk Dan Tai

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Dan Tai asks, “Do you count your macros?” I don’t even know what that means (I’m sure it’s important) because calves, biceps, deltoids, face…

Desperate Housewives/Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams has been tapped for a lead role in Happy Accident, ABC’s family comedy pilot from the writers of Modern Family. #Yay!

• Congressional Republicans aren’t fond of Donald Trump’s idea to declare a ‘national emergency’ in order to get his beloved wall, but they’ve signaled they won’t put up a stink if he does.

Reuters reports that The Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion cut tax package appeared to have no major impact on businesses’ capital investment or hiring plans.

• A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows 56% of registered voters will “definitely” not vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

• And speaking of the 2020 election, Sen. Kamala Harris of California broke records Monday night when her televised town hall became the most viewed event of its kind in cable news history with 1.957 million views. The event drew the most viewers of any cable-news, single-candidate town hall.

• Out singer/songwriter Sam Smith and former Fifth Harmony member Normani release their sensual, moody music video for their hit duet, “Dancing with a Stranger.”

Alone in a lavish mansion, both artists are attempting to get over former lovers. I like the song; not sure about Normani’s dancing in the middle there, but I guess it’s in the title so someone had to dance…?

Sam Smith Is ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ After Breakup

Out singer/songwriter Sam Smith drops his latest, “Dancing With a Stranger,” an R&B mid tempo  pop duet with former Fifth Harmony member, Normani.
(image via Facebook/SamSmith)

Out singer/songwriter Sam Smith drops his latest, “Dancing With a Stranger,” an R&B mid tempo  pop duet with former Fifth Harmony member, Normani.

Speaking to Billboard, Smith says the new song, “Bottles everything I was feeling whilst juggling my personal life and touring.”

”It is also such a beautiful moment for me as I’m a huge, huge fan of Normani and everything she is,” said the 4-time Grammy Award winner. “I’m so excited to watch her light shine.”

Normani returned the mutual love telling Billboard, “I never thought in a trillion years that I would be able to state that I have a record with this extremely gifted being.”

You have to imagine there are echoes from his breakup last summer with 13 Reasons Why star Brandon Flynn mixed into the recording as he sings: “I don’t want to be alone tonight, It’s pretty clear that I’m not over you, I’m still thinking ‘bout the things you do, So I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

In September, Smith shared with The Times, “I’m still trying to figure out what I took from that relationship and what it meant to me.”

He added, “It’s still quite raw.”

Listen to Sam Smith & Normani’s “Dancing With a Stranger” below.