The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, December 24
December 24th, 2013
Brenda Howard: 1946-2005. “The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them “A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.” That’s how New York area gay rights activist Tom Limoncelli euglogized Brenda Howard shortly after her death in 2005. Howard was among the thirty-seven women and men who founded the more militant Gay Liberation Front shortly after the Stonewall rebelion in 1969. She helped to organize a one-month anniversary commemoration of Stonewall, and then created the Christopher Street Liberation Day March a year later for Sonewall’s first anniversary. She later pushed to expand the commemoration to a whole week, to be known as “Pride Week” and encouraged similar observances in cities across American. Those efforts led to her being known as “The Mother of Pride.”
After GLF broke up, Howard moved over to the Gay Activists Alliance to chair its Agitprop Committee and Speakers Bureau with it’s message, “Gay is great, be proud if you’re gay, don’t mess with us if you’re not.” In 1987, she helped to found the New York Area Bisexual Network and became active in BiPAC and BiNet USA. She died of cancer on June 28, 2005, on the very day of the thirty-fifth Pride Parade of New York.
Lee Daniels: 1959. The actor, producer and director became the first African-American to solo produce an Academy Award winning film with 1992’s Monster’s Ball, which earned a Best Actress accolade for Halle Berry. Daniel’s directorial debut came in 2006, with Shadowboxer, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Mo’Nique, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and R&B singer Macy Gray. In 2009, he scored another major success with Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. Featuring Gabourey Sidibe in the title role of Claireece “Precious” Jones and Mo’Nuque as her mother, the film told the difficult story of an obese and illiterate teen growing up in the projects of Harlem who suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse from her mother (played by No’Nique) and was impregnated twice by her father. It was Sidibe’s first professional acting job, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Daniels himself was also nominated for Best Director.
His 2012 film The Paperboy, a 1960s erotic thriller starring Matthew McConaughy, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray and Scott Glenn, opened to decidedly mixed reviews. The strong cast appears to have saved the film from ignominy. The Village Voice Film Poll sprinkled best actor/actress nominations for jsut about about the entire cast, but nominated Lee Daniels for Worst Film. His 2013 film, The Butler, is a historical fiction centered on an African-American White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whittaker). It opened to much more positive reviews and top box office sales during its first three weeks.
Ricky Martin: 1971. Born Enrique Martín Morales, the Puerto Rican singer first achieved fame as a member of boy band Menudo before embarking on a solo career in 1991. His early popularity in Latin markets was boosted by his appearance in the second season of a Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar Una Estrella (“Reach for a Star”) in which he played a member of a boy band which achieves fame and fortune. In 1999, Martin found crossover appeal with the singles “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She’s All I Ever Had,” from his first English language album. That was followed with “She Bangs” in 2000. In 2007, he took a break from recording, but returned again with a new album in 2010, along with his autobiography, Me. Shortly before the book came out, Martin acknowledged the truth behind the worst-kept secret of the decade, the fact that he’s gay. In 2011, Martin became a Spanish citizen (his grandmother is Spanish) in what was seen as a possible prelude to an upcoming marriage with his partner, economist Carlos Gonzales. The marriage didn’t happen, but he and Carlos are still vey much together and raising twin boys, Matteo and Valentino.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?