When it comes to icons, there are few who could stake a more legitimate claim than Little Richard. The flamboyant legend has been credited as the creator and architect of rock ’n’ roll, fusing rhythm and blues with his over-the-top performance style and wild, powerful voice.
If there was ever any doubt of the impact Richards had on the last seven decades, just take a look at the artists he personally touched. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones opened for him on tour. Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards explained after hearing Little Richard’s song “Tutti Frutti,” “it was if, in a single instant, the world changed from monochrome to Technicolor.” Other artists who have claimed Little Richard as an inspiration include Rod Stewart, Lou Reed and David Bowie (who compared his own experience hearing “Tutti Frutti” to hearing God).
There’s more to Richard’s legacy than the birth of a new genre. He also successfully brought together black and white audiences at a time when racial tensions ran at an all-time high. His wild, passionate performances drew black audiences down from the balcony seats to rush the stage among the white concertgoers on the floor as the two races danced together.
His pioneering mainstream success as a black rock ’n’ roller is even more impressive when you consider his persona. Richard began his career performing in drag, but his signature make-up, pencil-thin mustache and pompadour persisted throughout his early success. The costumes became more and more extravagant, including capes, jewels and even suits made of glass. His overtly feminine presentation didn’t stop him from creating a slew of hits.
For an interview in Playboy magazine, Little Richard told director John Waters: “I love gay people. I believe I was the founder of gay. I’m the one who started to be so bold tellin’ the world! You got to remember my dad put me out of the house because of that. I used to take my mother’s curtains and put them on my shoulders. And I used to call myself at the time the Magnificent One. I was wearing make-up and eyelashes when no men were wearing that. I was very beautiful; I had hair hanging everywhere. If you let anybody know you was gay, you was in trouble; so when I came out I didn’t care what nobody thought. A lot of people were scared to be with me.”
But Richard’s sexuality was still a matter of discussion. He’s identified as gay, bisexual and omnisexual over the years, having had a longterm, complicated relationship with former stripper Lee Angel and a short-lived marriage to Ernestine Campbell. However, an authorized biography, The Life and Times of Little Richard, outlined Richard’s wild ways, including orgies, voyeurisms and threesomes (including one with him, Angel and Buddy Holly). His more outrageous sexual exploits only further complicate Richard’s identity, which is also deeply connected to God and religion. (Richard was raised evangelical, became a minister after briefly quitting showbiz and remains deeply religious to this day.)
Regardless of Richard’s personal connection to the LGBT community, his contributions to queering the mainstream history of rock ’n’ roll can’t be denied. Take a look at some of our favorite clips of Richard in action, below.
Little Richard recorded “Tutti Frutti” in 1955. The song’s original lyrics were “Tutti Frutti, good booty/ If it don’t fit, don’t force it/ You can grease it, make it easy…” but were changed to be less graphic. The song became Richard’s first hit and has since been recognized as one of the most important songs of all time, ushering in the era of rock ’n’ roll. In 2010, it was added to the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry.
Richard’s song “Lucille,” was one of a string of hits, including “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” “Rip It Up” and “The Girl Can’t Help It.” “Lucille” reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and 21 on the Pop chart.
The Beatles, who opened for Little Richard, all claimed to be influenced by the piano playing superstar. John Lennon said when he heard “Long Tall Sally,” “It was so great I couldn’t speak. You know how you are torn. I didn’t want to leave Elvis, but this was so much better.” “Long Tall Sally” was the first song Paul McCartney played in public. When the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, George Harrison thanked Richard by name. It’s also been said that Richard taught Paul McCartney how to sing with his signature scream.
His contributions aren’t limited to just music. He appeared in Disney’s first R-rated film, Down and Out In Beverly Hills in 1986, launching a career resurgence. In the film, he performs “Great Gosh a’Mighty,” which you can see in the clip above.
Despite the salacious details of Richard’s early days on the road, he has made several contributions to children’s programming. He’s appeared several times on Sesame Street, had a memorable cameo in Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special and even recording a rocking cover of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” (which led to a children’s album for Disney titled Shake It All About).
What’s your favorite Little Richard track?
Jim Obergefell, whose lawsuit led to the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, has penned an open letter to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis regarding her opposition to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her county.
Via the ACLU:
“As you may know, when you fall in love with someone, you hand your heart and soul over to them. Anyone who has committed to sharing their life with another human and forming a family unit knows that it is the biggest and most rewarding adventure you will ever take. You know that all of the laughs and all of the tears won’t fall on the echo of an empty room, but will instead be received in the warm embrace of someone who has pledged to see you at your best and love you at your worst. You know that person is there to help pick you up on those days when the odds are stacked against you. You know that you never have to do the dishes alone.
“When I met John, I had no idea that I would spend the next two decades building a life with the man who would one day inspire me to demand our right to be recognized by our country. I earned the right to lawfully call him my husband, just as you have a right to call your husband such. Love transcends gender. You’re imposing the same indignities on couples in Rowan County that John and I suffered when Ohio would not legally recognize us as a married couple. Thankfully, the law is now changed so that nobody should ever have to experience the injustice that John and I endured. No one is above the law, Kim, not even you.
“I joined the fight to have our love treated equally precisely because our love is equal. The love that any family shares is no more or less worthy than that of any other, and it’s not fair for you, or anyone, to judge. It’s your job to simply do your job. Issuing a marriage license at work is not a personal endorsement of my marriage any more than recording a deed is an endorsement of my home ownership.
“It’s simply following the rules in this civil society in which we’ve all agreed to be members. What truly matters is the kindness and compassion we share with our families and with those around us. Love makes a family. And as of June 2015 the federal government agrees. I did not fight for my right to call John my husband in vain. I stand today in his memory and proudly declare him my legally wedded spouse. Do not stand in the way of others seeking their legal right to have their love recognized. Sincerely, Jim Obergefell for ACLU Action.”
The Washington Post has found and interviewed the newly revealed gay friend of Pope Francis, Yayo Grassi, who did have an private audience with the Pope during his visit to the U.S.
Grassi met the future Pope during the 1960s as a high school student where Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) taught Argentine literature and psychology at Inmaculada Concepción.
Once this week's brouhaha erupted about the Pope's "meeting" with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, Grassi says he had to speak out.
From the Washington Post:
“Although I didn’t know any details, I knew immediately that he had nothing to do with this, that this was arranged by other people without telling him the real character” of Davis, Grassi said. “I received from friends of mine a lot of quite disturbing mail, telling me that ‘This is your pope, look what he did, and he’s a coward,’ and my defense is ‘We don’t know anything. Just wait until things come out.’ And I’m extremely pleased that I was right. And I never had any doubt that I was right.”
In 2010, when Francis was a cardinal in Argentina, Grassi read media reports that his former teacher had condemned the legalization of same-sex marriage. So he sent a long e-mail to the cardinal expressing his disappointment, and the cardinal responded that his words had been cherry-picked and twisted, and that the reported sentiment was not true, according to Grassi.
He wrote that e-mail “with all the respect of the world,” Grassi said. “I stood firm on my position and I ended the e-mail saying ‘Don’t think it was easy for me to write this e-mail but I had to do it, and I think it was the right thing to do because 40 years ago you taught me I had to do it.’ He wrote back to me telling me, first of all, how sorry he was that he had hurt my feelings, that he had hurt me.
One of the things he said on that e-mail was that ‘I want you to know that in my work there is absolutely no place for homophobia.’ And I think that’s what I want people to know.”
Director: Chris Michael Birkmeier
Cast: Kyle Wigent, Tanner Rittenhouse, Adam Fane, Jake Andrews
UK | 2014 | 85 min
THERE IS MORE, CLICK HERE TO SEE REST OF THE POST
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the Human Rights Campaign at a daytime event before the group’s Washington D.C. gala this evening at which Vice President Joe Biden will give the keynote address. Clinton is appearing on the premiere of Saturday Night Live.
Clinton warned those gathered that the rights the LGBT community has fought so hard for could be taken away by conservatives and it is important to be vigilant.
“There are still public officials doing everything in their power to interfere with your rights.”
She referred to Mike Huckabee and Kim Davis:
“We assure [gay youth] it gets better, but it can still be really hard to believe that especially when you turn on the TV and you see a Republican candidate for president literally standing in the courthouse door in Kentucky calling for people to join him in resisting a Supreme Court ruling, celebrating a Kentucky clerk who’s breaking the law by denying other Americans their constitutional rights.”
She spoke of the international human rights abuses with regard to the LGBT community:
“Hundreds of millions of people live in places where they would be arrested, even executed for being gay…Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. I believe with all my heart the United States does have to stand up for human rights everywhere.”
Clinton told the group that military records should be corrected for service members discharged dishonorably for being gay:
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is over, but that doesn’t change the fact that more than 14,000 men and women were forced out of the military for being gay, some long before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell even existed,” Clinton said, referring to the 1993 law that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they did not reveal their sexual orientation.
“They were given less than honorable discharges,” Hillary Clinton said. “I can’t think of a better way to thank those men and women for their service than by upgrading their service records.”
She also said that transgender people should be able to serve openly in the military.
Clinton also got huge applause when she said that Congress needs to pass the Equality Act which would forbid anti-LGBT discrimination across the nation:
“It’s a great noble piece of legislation. As president, I will fight for it and I hope many of you will be with me when I sign it.”
Watch highlights from the speech (we’ll publish full video when it’s available):
The post WATCH: Hillary Clinton Promises to Fight for LGBT Equality in Human Rights Campaign Speech appeared first on Towleroad.
Radio producer, writer, and podcast host Starlee Kline appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show this week and discussed a recent episode of her podcast Mystery Show. The premise of Mystery Show is to figure out a minor mystery that can’t be solved by Googling alone. On the episode, Kline decided to figure out the actual height of Jake Gyllenhaal because there are online forums devoted to the topic.
RELATED: Jake Gyllenhaal Reacts to SCOTUS’ Marriage Ruling, 10 Year Anniversary of ‘Brokeback Mountain’ – WATCH
Gyllenhaal called in to the show and said he was 5’11” and a half. But the internet still wouldn’t believe it.
So Gyllenhaal showed up to Conan where he was officially measured.
Watch the Jake Gyllenhaal height question get solved:
The post We Now Know How Many Inches Jake Gyllenhaal Is: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.
Earlier this week, while the Kim Davis – Pope Francis drama was well underway, questions began to be asked about who set up the meeting between the religious right’s cultural warrior and marriage martyr and the Pontiff.
Early on fingers were pointed at Carlo Maria Viganò, the current Apostolic Nuncio leading the Holy See’s diplomatic mission to the U.S.. Lawrence O’Donnell discussed it with Washington Post reporter EJ Dionne in a video posted to this site on Wednesday.
The Vatican confirmed that on Friday and appeared to be blaming him for shoving Davis into the Pope’s orbit while Davis’s Liberty Counsel lawyer Mat Staver insists that the invitation came from the Pope and that “somebody is trying to throw [Viganò] under the bus.”
Viganò, who was named to his position by Pope Benedict, is a cultural warrior himself, often showing up at anti-abortion rallies, as well as the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) March for Marriage, where he spoke with other anti-LGBT leaders, including Staver.
Mr. Staver said a conservative deacon, Keith Fournier, introduced him to Archbishop Viganò back in April before speaking at a National Organization for Marriage rally on the Washington Mall in opposition to same-sex marriage. As Mr. Staver descended from the stage, Archbishop Viganò made a point to “thank me for my message,” the lawyer said.
And wonders about Viganò’s future with the Church:
The question now is did Archbishop Viganò, left to linger in the United States as a new administration has taken power in Rome, keep Pope Francis in the dark or simply underestimate the off-message media storm that a meeting with Ms. Davis would provoke. Or, after executing orders from Rome, has he once again found himself being hung out to dry at the end of his career. In January, Archbishop Viganò will turn 75, the age at which bishops must submit a formal request to the Vatican for permission to resign. These requests are not automatically accepted, and bishops often stay in their appointments long after. It seems unlikely, church analysts say, that Archbishop Viganò will be one of them.
The post Will Anti-Gay Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò Be Shown the Door After Kim Davis Meeting? appeared first on Towleroad.
In his New Rule last night, Bill Maher argued that far-right Christians believe in very little of what Jesus Christ actually said, and the Pope’s recent visit proved that.
Jesus isn’t the face of conservative Republican values, Maher explained. More like Martin Shkreli, who recently jacked the price of an AIDS drug up 5400% and then promised to lower it when the public outrage got out of control.
Not that Shkreli is unusual for the pharmaceutical industry. 15 years ago cancer drugs cost an average of $10,000 a year. Now it’s $10,000 a month. Because this cartel owns the U.S. government every bit as much as Mexican drug lords own theirs. To all the conservatives who still parrot the line that Obamacare is a government takeover, please then explain why guys like Martin Shkreli are still calling the shots. He’s not a bureaucrat who works for the government. He’s a hedge fund manager who works for the devil.
The post Bill Maher Targets Martin Shkreli and Greedy So-Called ‘Christians’ – WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.
This guy is a gun nut who was concealed-carrying a gun during the OCC shooting, yet he didn't fire a shot. Why? Listening to him explain his sensible reaction completely obliterates arguments by fellow gun nuts that everyone should be armed in order to prevent mass shootings ...
Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a Polish priest and theologian working in the Vatican, was fired on Saturday after he came out as gay in an article in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, an interview in which he urges the Catholic Church to change its stance on homosexuality. Charamsa’s interview came on the eve of the Synod, when the world’s bishops gather to discuss issues such as family, LGBT outreach, and Catholic tradition.
Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa was removed from his position at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm where he had worked since 2003, a statement said.
Charamsa, 43, and a Polish theologian, announced he was gay and had a partner in a long interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Saturday. He later held a news conference with his partner, a Spanish man, and gay activists at a Rome restaurant. They had planned a demonstration in front of the Vatican but changed the venue several hours before it was due to have started.
Charamsa told the paper that it was his duty to the LGBT community as a gay man to come out of the closet and speak truth, saying the Church is way behind in the way it handles gay issues:
“There comes a day when something inside you snaps, and you can’t go on. If I had been alone I would have lived the nightmare of a denied homosexuality, but God never leaves us alone. And I think He has helped me take this important existential step. It’s important because of its consequences, but it’s also the premise for living honestly, which should be natural for every homosexual.”
“It seems to me that in the Church we are ignorant about homosexuality because we don’t really know any homosexuals. We have them all around us, of course, but we never look them in the eye, because they seldom say who they are. I hope that my personal experience will help stir the Church’s consciousness in some way. I will personally reveal my identity to the Holy Father in a letter. And I will tell the universities in Rome where I teach who I am; to my great sorrow I will probably no longer be allowed to work in Catholic education”.
Watch the press conference with Charamsa’s partner:
The Vatican said that Charamsa’s interview was “grave and irresponsible” and would put unwanted media attention on the Holy See.
But Charamsa knew that would be the case and he didn’t care, adding, in the interview:
“If I failed to be open, if I didn’t accept myself, I couldn’t be a good priest in any case, because I couldn’t act as an intermediary for the joy of God. Humanity has made great progress in its understanding of these issues, but the Church is lagging behind. This is not the first time, of course, but when you are slow to understand astronomy the consequences are not as serious as when the delay regards people’s most intimate being. The Church needs to realise that it is failing to rise to the challenge of our times”
Read the full interview here.
Video interview clips (in Italian):
The post Vatican Fires Priest After He Comes Out as Gay, Criticizes Church in Italian Paper: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.
This week, Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black announced they’re to be married, Matt Damon clarified his controversial remarks about gay actors, and Graham Norton is having trouble finding guys his own age to date. Here’s what happened on Instagram:
Jonathan Groff met our favorite Pope (Olivia, AKA Kerry Washington).
Michael Lucas indulged in some glam photography.
Photoshoot from this morning. #backinny #lucasentertainment #lucasmen A photo posted by Michael Lucas (@michaellucasnyc) on
Eliad Cohen makes that cool ocean water turn boiling hot.
Some #PapaWear on the beach ?? Pic by @brunoolvezfoto A photo posted by Eliad Cohen (@eliad_cohen) on
John Travolta and Lady Gaga are getting too close for comfort.
I know when John comes to see me in the mornings it’s gonna be a good day :) what a sweetheart A photo posted by The Countess (@ladygaga) on
Ellen’s gardener Billy Reilich makes every day a happy Friday.
Happy Friday everyone!! ?- @dandremichael A photo posted by Billy Reilich (@billreilich) on
Matt Dallas looks good from any angle.
Thursday A photo posted by matt dallas (@mattdallas) on
How about tank and spank, John Stamos?
Tank or Spank ? A photo posted by John Stamos (@johnstamos) on
Russell Tovey flashbacked to that time he was pretty in pink.
#tbt to the time I wore hot pink and no bottoms… stolen from @deanhau A photo posted by Russelltovey (@russelltovey) on
David Beckham spent some shirtless time with Kevin Hart.
Hold that position for a few more minutes, Luke Casey.
???? A photo posted by @luke_casey on