Tag Archives: LGBTQ

ICYMI | It’s Official! BATWOMAN Pilot is On!

The streets of Gotham City are about to shudder as the Batwoman starring Ruby Rose gets picked up for a pilot with very high probability that a full-series order is not far away!

With a more than smashing introduction onto the primetime landscape on this season’s Arrowverse crossover event, The CW is preparing to spin-off its latest hero as Batwoman gets green lit and prepped into production. The series would star Ruby Rose in the title role of Kate Kane, a reluctant hero destined to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Knight Detective. The pilot has already been placed in the very capable hands of Emmy Winning director David Nutter who has helmed the premiere launches of Smallville, Arrow and The Flash.

Given the early announcement that the heroine would be joining the line-up of this season’s annually anticipated crossover network stunt, many speculated at the potential for Batwoman to spin-off and whether her introduction was an attempt to take the temperature of fans reaction to welcoming another property into the DC dominated CW primetime schedule. After facing a prison breakout at Arkham Asylum set off by a series events that will lead to a larger crisis, it appears that Kate Kane may have her hands fall when her own show premieres in the spring of 2019.

Series show-runner Caroline Dries has suggested that the solo run of Gotham’s other caped crusader will feature a fiercely challenged Kate Kane, who assumes the costumed identity of Batwoman in the absence of the city’s own infamous Caped Crusader. As audiences learned during the “Elseworlds” episode, Batman has been missing from the scene now for a significant amount of time, leaving Kate with the burden of protecting the city. At the conclusion of their body-swapping escapade, Batwoman reaches out to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) announcing she’s on the job!

The Flash recurring guest star John Wesley Shipp took to social media immediately after Rose’s introduction as Batwoman on the second part of the “Elseworlds” crossover event and proclaimed: “A star is born!” It should also be relevantly noted that Shipp was also featured in the same episode, enlisted to reprise his role as Barry Allen, “The Flash” of Earth-90 which first appeared in the original 1990 CBS series. The internet has since been on fire especially given the stinger at the conclusion of “Elseworlds” announcing the title of next year’s crossover…

In the fall of 2019 audiences will be gearing up for “Crisis on Infinite Earths”!

Although no other casting announcements have been revealed, Rose is confirmed to reprise her title role in Batwoman and given the reception the actress has received from fans, it looks like popular culture and primetime are ready to follow the adventures of DC’s newest leading lady, who is an out and proud member of the LGBTQ community. Batwoman will undoubtedly continue in the tradition of its contemporary series giving voices to gay, lesbian and transgender characters and expanding the narrative of these individuals across the spectrum of entertainment.

Batwoman is expected to premiere on The CW in spring of 2019 and will be written and produced by Caroline Dries known for her work on The Vampire Diaries and Smallville who will also be show-running the launch of the new series.

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TuneIN | LEVI KREIS “I Can’t Go for That” by RICH B

Get set for the summer circuit season with this premiere offering from dance producer Rich B once again teaming up with Levi Kreis for a cover of the hit “I Can’t Go for That” — but you will!

The Tony Award-Winning Levi Kreis has always proven his incredible versatility as a performer and on the music charts. The talented singer/songwriter has celebrated Gospel, conquered R&B and of course proved his mettle on the Broadway stage. Kreis has also maintained a proven track record in pop sounds and even delivered on innovative dance hits that worked their way across the dance circuit season.

The artist has collaborated once again with dance music impresario Rich B for an uptempo reboot of the classic Hall & Oats hit “I Can’t Go for That” which makes absolute the greatest use of Kreis vocal prowess and range, and features some endurably fantastic production by Rich B, as well as some hearty EDM and House reimagined works from Lee Harris and Division 4 with Matt Consola. A more expansive remix package is also available on iTunes.

Levi Kreis and Rich B last worked on the hit remixes for the club favorite “So Much Better” and “Love Revolution” both from his 2013 album Imagine Paradise. Check out those remixes also available on iTunes.

On his most recent work the full-length album Liberated Kreis is front on center on what he has called some of his most personal works yet. Turning his own recent emotional turmoil into art, he exercises his privilege to bring his fans into his own world, sharing songs of uplifting eloquence and introspection. Liberated benefits from a beautifully eclectic production that has elements of pop, r&b and country swooning through its 12-song setlist.

For more on Levi Kreis goto www.levikreis.com.

iINTERVIEW | Black Lightning’s NAFESSA WILLIAMS :: It’s Like Thunder!

On The CW’s newest superhero series Black Lightning NAFESSA WILLIAMS is preparing to bring down the house as the iconic DC Comics hero gets back into the game and brings the “Thunder” down on social injustice.

When Greg Berlanti had announced that he and his production team had begun to lay the ground work for another DC Comics property to emerge in primetime, many speculated that the bubble was near about to burst on the superhero genre. Berlanti and his squad had co-opted most of the primetime line-up on The CW beginning with the hit Arrow and followed up the success of that series with the spin-off of The Flash. Without missing a beat they would soon launch the team-up series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and when CBS gave up on Supergirl they simply brought the Maid of Might over to The CW properly aligning with the rest of the primetime legion of wonders.

Where Berlanti and his production team would find the slot on The CW for another DC adaptation was just incomprehensible, especially after adding the seminal reimagining of the Archie Comics with Riverdale. There are other networks on the air after all, so they persevered. They had come up with a decisively different premise, pitched not as an origin story, but a reintroduction of one of DC’s most groundbreaking characters. It wasn’t long before the show was announced and Black Lightning had found a home — on FOX. The network is home to another DC property; the Batman prequel Gotham. A modest draw for the network, but not a ratings monster.

FOX requested a pilot based on the pitch, and the partnership between Berlanti and the series’ creators/show-runners Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil two of the entertainment industry’s most outspoken creatives dedicated to championing cultural diversity and awareness got to work. Black Lightning hadn’t even gone to lens and it was already proving super-charged! Audiences were getting amped…and then FOX “passed” on the show, but before it even had a moment to make news, it broke that Black Lightning had already found a new home — and of all places: The CW! The annual crossover stunt just got EPIC!

When Lightning Strikes Twice

Black Lightning follows the story of Jefferson Pierce (played by Cress Williams) a single father, celebrated Olympic athlete and high school principal, who at one-time had led a double life as a costumed avenger defending the streets and urban neighborhoods of Freehold against drug lords and crooked politicians. The hero became a beacon of hope for his community, and struck fear in his adversaries. Unfortunately, where his contemporary super-powered friends in nearby metropolises won the adulation of its citizens, the Black Lightning was hunted as a vigilante. 

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Cress Williams as the titular hero .

The late nights avenging took a toll not only on Pierce’s own body and soul, but created strife in his marriage. Ultimately hanging up his suit, Pierce returned to life as a private citizen. He now takes on a different kind of challenge. Jefferson has his hands full keeping an entire student body on the straight-and-narrow, and he’s the principal of a charter school dedicated to empowering those who might otherwise feel disenfranchised. Although his marriage dissolved largely due to his super heroics, he maintains a strong bond with his wife Lynn (Christine Adams), and is a single father raising two daughters in a radically toxic climate and an era of growing social concerns.

Already it’s easy to frame how unlike its predecessors Black Lightning is. The series is not centered on the heroic journey of discovery as the hero navigates the responsibilities of wielding great power for good and carries the weight of that burden. Jefferson Pierce knows all too well exactly the high voltage potential he’s capable of generating, and the consequences of using that force, especially when it comes in defense of his family and in service to his neighbors. The times are growing more uncertain and the Black Lightning is needed once again!

A Thunder Storm

His two daughters, fiercely independent and conscious of daddy’s helicopter parenting — never mind living in the ably impressive shadow of their father, have their own obstacles to face. Stepping out from under the cloud of comfort is Anissa Pierce, the eldest daughter played by Nafessa Williams who is proving as formidable in real life as her primetime alter-ego. Stepping up and into a spotlight that is undoubtedly much more scrutinized than the average new primetime drama. DC Comics fans are a unique and fiercely dedicated group, but Williams has already familiarized herself with much of the hero’s backstory and its primal significance.

Nafessa Williams Photo credit: Ricky Codio

“Black Lightning was the first black character to stand-alone in his own comic published back in 1977 created by DC Comics,” Williams reveals. “Black Lightning’s not your typical superhero, [or] in his earlier twenties — you watch him navigate those challenges of having to come out of retirement — and the effects that might have on him physically, mentally along with his family.” Williams agrees that for her superhero father Jefferson Pierce to decide to return to his secret identity is not a decision he approaches lightly, but fortunately for him, he won’t be alone in his battle for truth and justice.

Similarly Nafessa identifies heavily with her primetime alter-ego, Anissa Pierce. “I come in as his older daughter, who is a fighter, the advocate, the activist, the lesbian, the medical student — the superhero — overprotective big sister,” she details. “There are so many dynamic layers to who she is — that was one of the reasons why I was really excited to take on this role. It was unlike anything I had ever done before. She just comes with a really strong voice that I believe little brown girls who look just like me need to hear from.” The way that Williams describes Anissa it appears that there is a lot of her father in the character.

“I love what Jefferson Pierce stands for,” Nafessa asserts. “He’s an advocate for education; he believes that through education we can all come out superheroes.” The fiercely determined actor dove deep into knowing as much as she could about the world of Black Lightning. “I studied as much as I could about who he was, the essence of who Black Lightning was knowing that I inherit a bit of that essence. Black Lightning is a hero to us — he’s a savior, and when I’m working on my character I imagine that Anissa is like the son he never had.” Indeed Anissa does literally inherit some of her father’s strength and power, and will eventually assume her own dual-identity.

Black Lightning — Image BLK_FIRST_LOOK_THUNDER.jpg — Pictured: Nafessa Williams as Thunder — Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Though she still revealed the excitement she and the cast all felt the first time that Cress Williams walked on set as his powered-up namesake: “We freaked out when we saw him! He is Black Lightning — his voice, his physique — he really just embodies Black Lightning. He just gives you the vibe!” The pride in her voice is evident, as is the enthusiasm she has over the camaraderie that is developing among her TV family. “The chemistry we all have — was just instant!” It’s a trait that follows into all of the Berlanti shows; the casting is pivotal especially if the audience is to believe in this nuclear family that can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

“When I first got to my audition and I saw China Anne McClain (who plays little sister Jennifer, the soon-to-become “Lightning”) in the hallway and we spoke,” Nafessa said, “it was like an immediate sisterly bond — from the minute we saw each other. It was beautiful — it was destiny!” Which is exactly what series creators Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil are hoping will come through on screen for fans; Akil has said he has had to remind himself that he and his wife are producing a superhero series, especially when at the core the authenticity of the family is what is driving the drama forward — their fierce love and devotion is the true force powering Black Lightning.

Nafessa admits that working with the Akil’s is a dream come true. “The fact that they were a part of the show was the number one reason why I wanted to do it,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to work with them since the beginning — I love the way they tell stories. They are keeping things really true and authentic to who we are as people and as a culture — and it’s not just about being a black family — it’s about love, and inspiring people. Being true to who you are makes us all superheroes.” The Black Lightning family won’t always be fighting the metahuman villain of the week. Sometimes Anissa might have to face more complicated issues at home.

“Although she’s very feminine, there’s a masculine side to her — a tomboy inside of who Anissa is.” In the series pilot episode several references are made about Anissa’s own activism, including her sister’s pet name for her: Harriett Tubman referring to the civil rights heroine who saved countless lives braving the Underground Railroad. “There are these wonderful messages placed so well within our script, and I’m honored to be named after Harriet Tubman — it keeps these legends alive.” While in the midst of celebrating Black History Month and especially highlighting the importance of cultural diversity, the arrival of Black Lightning is well apparent.

The series debuted in the nation’s capital during the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr’s weekend, and the placement of such an honor was on the forefront of the actress’ mind. “It’s such an emotional ride for me,” Nafessa revealed about premiering at an event celebrating the late civil rights icon. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., just one of those people that you’d wish you could have met. He’s the epitome of ‘everything’ to me! It’s a blessing — I’m so honored.” Pulling it all together for the rising star, who gave up a particularly significant position in the DA’s office in the homicide division, Williams charted her own path that’s led her to Black Lightning.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, while pursuing a degree in law, Williams never lost sight of her passion for acting. “The creative process is awesome — I’m very particular of the music that I listen to as I’m preparing for my role. Beyonce’s ‘Freedom’ is getting pumped up — you have no idea!” She carves out a place in trailer, alongside her formfitting crimefighting ensemble, to remind herself of the trailblazers that have paved the way. “In my dressing room I have pictures of Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. — I want to be a voice for them — reminding myself in my creative process that I am a voice for them.”

Indeed as politics continue to carve up the pieces creating strained divides, Black Lightning will endeavor to remind us that in coming together, we are stronger. “He’s a hero for today,” Nafessa proclaims with fierce certainty. “I’m from Philly, which is very similar to Freeland (the city in which the story of Black Lightning evolves) and this black superhero is coming to save us! That image alone…when kids turn on the TV and they will see themselves — It is time! It is necessary and it’s needed — here we are!”

Black Lightning starring Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce aka “Thunder” airs on The CW, Tuesday nights @ 9pm.

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Nafessa Williams Photo credit: Ricky Codio

TuneIN :: Kim Syms “Turn It Up” (The Dirty Disco Music Remixes)

With PRIDE Season in full-effect it’s time to crown the Queen of the Summer Anthem! “Turn It Up” by Kim Syms is just top of our charts

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In the 90s Kim Syms joined a legion of artists that were climbing the pop charts as Dance and House music were securing their place in the mainstream. We all remember her hit track “Too Bling To See It” from her 1992 album of the same name. The saucy pop diva is back (not that she had gone anywhere) with a powerful new anthem “Turn It Up” which has been reimagined by the remix masters at Dirty Disco Music!

Check out the remixes here on SOUNDCLOUD and TURN IT UP!

https://soundcloud.com/dirty_disco_music/sets/kym-sims-turn-it-up-dirty-disco-remixes/s-vmxj9

 

iReview :: DC Comics Rebirth continues with TEEN TITANS #6 “The Rise of Aqualad”

The DC Comics “Rebirth” continues and Aqualad returns to TEEN TITANS and from the looks of it…just in time! The latest arc in this revamped title is shaking (or “sharking”) things up!

There were several components lost to readers when DC Comics decided to practically eradicate a good chunk of the DC Universe after the events of the publishing wide event “FlashPoint” which reestablished a new continuity on the Prime Earth (Earth-0) of the newly constituted multiverse. One of the greatest casualties lost in that reboot was the introduction of the “new” Aqualad who was introduced to readers during the “Brightest Day” arc, the aftermath of the Green Lantern’s “Darkest Night”.
The newly minted Aqualad (real name Jackson Hyde) has been reintroduced into the DC Universe in the just released Teen Titans #6 as part of the latest slow roll-out reform entitled “Rebirth” and will assume a very important place alongside the teen heroes. In the current arc “The Rise of Aqualad” Part One, Jackson is demonstrating the same metahuman abilities that fans have come to associate with the young hero — the tattoos on his arms light up and grant him the ability to control water.
While the Teen Titans reformed and under the leadership of Batman’s son Damian Wayne, the current Robin settle into their new headquarters in San Francisco (ironically their more grown-up counterparts in the Titans are moving into their digs on the opposite coast) something in the bay is attacking the local wildlife and has also taken a local newswoman prisoner! When the Titans proceed to investigate they learn that the culprit is the merciless King Shark!
Fortunately for them Jackson has just arrived, after leaving his home in the deserts of New Mexico and moving on from under the oppression of his mother who doesn’t support her son’s metahuman abilities or the fact that he’s also gay, but when Jackson shares his powers with his boyfriend Kenny — it is clear that Kenny doesn’t want to continue in this relationship — not if Jackson is going to go around flaunting his metahuman abilities.
Jackson can’t help but feel that he has a proper destiny and seeks out the Teen Titans, hoping they can answer some questions about his abilities, where they have come from and most importantly help him become a hero! Written by Benjamin Percy with pencils by Khoi Pham the introduction of Aqualad, the latest opening gay character taking the forefront in a major book for DC Comics, continues the imprint’s desire to create diverse characters that are more reflective of the real world.
The new Aqualad gained some major traction when he was aligned with the animated universe and proved a leader among the members of Young Justice. It was also revealed that he was the son of one of Aquaman’s greatest adversaries Black Manta. Whether or not the newly introduced Aqualad will also be revealed to share his predecessor’s lineage and be also related to Atlantean blood remains to be seen.

DC Comics MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO :: Go To Hell?!

They are the most out-loud and proud avengers ready to save the day! Midnighter and Apollo continue their stellar run in the latest 6-issue miniseries from DC Comics.

Love transcends all barriers even those guarding the gates of hell! Especially in the case of superpower couple Midnighter and Apollo. The macro-mighted, swift-kicking crimefighter has had his work cut out for him ever since reconciling with his more powerful than the rising son super beau, but after taking on a deadly demon Apollo is struck down and his soul is sent into the afterlife. The latest issue of the 6-issue arc in Midnighter and Apollo #3 written by Steve Orlando with are by Fernando Blanco continues the adventures of two of DC Comics most popular and out-spoken characters.

Ever since the vigilante Mignighter struck out on his own (see the recently wrapped solo title Midnighter also by Orlando) he hasn’t been having the best go of single-hood that you’d imagine or expect from a cat who’s packing a heck of a six-pack and an even more charming roguish attitude. Admittedly, by end of that series’ run, and a couple of pretty harrowing knock-down drag-out fights, including several capers that had him teaming up with none other than Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. Obviously you can’t keep a good man down — though many have tried — and the dark finally saw the light as Apollo returned!

Now this dynamic duo (the comparisons between Batman and Superman aren’t going unnoticed) are back together again, fighting crime and winning hearts as the DC Universe’s most out-loud and proud gay super heroes.

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It appeared that the two heroes had struck the most perfect of balances. Apollo has come to terms with the Midnighter’s penchant for kicking bad guy ass. For someone has powerful as Apollo, whose powers would rival those of perhaps the Man of Steel’s, killing is not an option. Where the Midnighter prefers to strike down his enemies with his own brand of justice, he understands and never underestimates Apollo’s restraint. Grateful that the two, after several break-ups are now rallying to make their way as a couple, trouble is still looming darkly round every corner for these two. Though that’s just another day and night for this pair.

After confronting the archdemon Mawzir Apollo is fatally and ends up in hell at the mercy of the Neron. Desperate to bring his lover back from the precipice of despair, Midnighter learns that the only way he can avenge Apollo’s “death” is by using an ancient weapon an eldritch rifle called the Ace of Winchester. Midnighter learns about the weapon from his colleague the magician Gregorio de la Vega, El Extraño and one-time “New Guardian” a remnant of the Millennium event. Gregorio tells Midnighter he needs to use this weapon to destroy Mawzir and also casts a spell that will help get Midnighter into hell so that he can rescue Apollo.

When I spoke with Orlando about the direction that this latest adventure would be taking for these tier characters, he promised that there would be some very colorful supporting players waiting in the wings that would enhance the story. Given the obscure nature of the hero Extraño who made his debut in the Millennium crossover event published by DC Comics in 1988, the inclusion of this hero also harks to the imprints current company-wide “Rebirth” initiative that is looking to reestablish many of the legacy elements that may have gotten retconned recently.

Apollo faces his own obstacles while held prisoner in hell challenging Neron to a game of his own devising that tempts the hero with doubt — presenting Apollo with an inevitable future hopelessly paved with blood, death and murder — or an eternity as part of a corrupted menagerie. Apollo ever hopeful plays Neron’s game even though the demon continues to plague him with doubts, demonstrating to the “false god” just how vulnerable he really is and how unworthy of a happy ending he is, unaware that Midnighter is on his way to release him from captivity.

Though the nature of the story is magnificently opulent and wrapped up in the sci-fi/fantasy elements of the Midnighter and Apollo format, it is at its base the truest of all heroic adventures where two lovers face the most dangerous of opposition to emerge complete at the other end. That the story is centered on the tale of these two male archetypes is even more compelling and easily the most contemporary. Good on Steve Orlando for giving these heroes a place to carry on their adventures and even better on DC Comics for championing their tale.

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Midnighter and Apollo may only have a six-issue run to unravel this epic, but in the end it will make all the difference especially entering into a particularly uncertain time after the recent election. Many are feeling scared and disenfranchised by what they expect may be some unforeseeable obstructions to basic civil rights and concerns in the structure that the government may be taking given the unpredictable energy of the incoming administration. Fortunately there are heroes out there fighting for us!

No matter how dark it might get in the shadows, we’ve got an avenger prepared to fight for us, and he’s got the brightest light to guide him by. This is why Midnighter and Apollo is a must-read!

Visit The Fanzite for a special look at the upcoming Midnighter and Apollo #4 on sale next week!