Cher LLoyd Debuts New Music Video: “Sirens”

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British singer, Cher Lloyd, who became a household name after her time on X Factor, has released the music video for her new single, “Sirens”. Anyone familiar with Cher Lloyd is probably aware of the punky, upbeat nature of her music vids that her record label has developed. It works, because she seems to be just as quirky… tiny figure, pretty face, and squeaky speaking voice. However, her sass becomes immediately apparent when she begins singing… or more appropriately, when she begins rapping.

The tone of this music video, therefore, will come as a bit of a surprise to many of her fans – hopefully in a good way. I love her usually upbeat performances – “Want U Back” is a personal favourite of mine. However, I’ve gotta say that I love this video. Almost immediately, the song grew on me and by the first chorus, I’d already determined that I loved it. The music video, though, not so much. But I dutifully kept watching til the very end and I’m glad I did. I think it was the final scene that really drove it home, and now I’m pretty much obsessed. If this is an attempt to give Cher Lloyd a more mature, wider appeal, I’d say it was a job well done.

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VH1’S Anti-Bullying Ad Isn’t All That Bad

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A new anti-bullying ad by VH1 has been making the rounds recently. The ad features different so-called “nerds” being bullied in different forms, while singing revenge lyrics to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

First I was afraid, I was petrified. They flushed my head several times, exposing my behind… I’ll be your boss, I’ll make you be my slave. All my power I will abuse. I’ll be the CEO, you’ll be the one who shines my shoes. I’m going to call night and day and on weekend I’ll send texts. Ask you for all kinds of things, making sure you never rest. You’ll never get a single raise. You’ll get the same pay until the end of your unhappy days. And behind a tiny desk you’ll be saying your regret. You’ll be my pet, you’ll be my pet

Many have spoken out against the ad, accusing it of focusing on the wrong aspect of bullying, or making light of the situation. One of the harshest critics is Rebecca Rose of Jezebel, who accuses VH1 of teaching kids that two wrongs make a right, and ultimately missing the mark on their message.

I get it, VH1. You want to make a cool and funny anti-bullying PSA so you can pat yourself on the back for taking a safely non-controversial stance against something like bullying, because that’s all the rage these days. I know your heart is absolutely in the right place (or the hearts of the public relations/marketing team who came up with this are). But telling kids they should grin and shake it off because someday they might live out some classist revenge fable is some serious head-in-the-sand fuckery.

The entire piece over at Jezebel is an enlightening read, and makes several really good points. For the most part, I agree with what Rose argues, but I’m afraid that I can’t get behind her 100%. I, for one, thought the lyrics incredibly funny, and I’m happy that VH1 tackled the issue at all. Will every kid who gets bullied someday end up being the boss of their tormentors? Probably not. But it doesn’t mean that ads like this one won’t motivate them to try to excel in life, in spite of their bullied past.

Almost every campaign which seeks to reassure bullied kids tries to tell them that “it will get better” in the future, without ever really telling them how. It’s a nice sentiment – of course it is… but it’s sort of vague, and doesn’t offer much in terms of assurance to someone who is bullied on a daily basis. I think that VH1’s ad offers the same message, with an extra kick at the end.

One of the strongest criticisms against the ad is that it teaches kids to seek revenge on their bullies when they grow up. Again, I get it. But, instead of accusing the ad of instilling ideas of revenge in the minds of the bullied, how about we realise that it’s also simultaneously instilling fear of retribution in the hearts of the bullies. All bullies are ultimately cowards, and any hint of someone being able to do to them what they do to others, often sends them scurrying for cover. Almost every message of anti-bullying focuses solely on the bullied. I think VH1’s ad deserves a little praise for also targeting bullies, letting them realise that the shit they pull today won’t get them very far in life. If anything, it just might be a detriment to them in time.

The ad isn’t perfect, and yes, many of the criticisms levelled against it aren’t without merit. But, please, let’s not completely bash any effort which offers a ray of hope to the millions of kids who are desperately in need of uplifting.

Daniel Fanzese Comes Out

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Actor Daniel Franzese, of Mean Girls fame, has come out in a really interesting open letter written to his iconic Mean Girls character, Damien. The letter, posted over at Indiewire, speaks of Franzese’s fear to come out, despite playing such a proud gay character, as well as his subsequent typecast into seemingly only gay roles.

When I was cast in the role of “Damian” in ‘Mean Girls,’ I was TERRIFIED to play this part.  But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager – a character we laughed with instead of at.  (You can thank Tina Fey and Mark Waters for that.  I can only take partial credit.)

So, why the hell did it take me so long to come out of the closet?

When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles – Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty.  So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid?  I was optimistic.  Hollywood?  Not so much.  I was meeting a “gay glass ceiling” in casting.

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The entire letter is well worth the read. Most of the comments that I’ve read are of people stating their absolute non-surprise, making awful little comments like “who did he think he was fooling” or “I’m surprised – said no one”. In actuality, I really am surprised that he’s gay. I’m willing to bet that none of those people have seen him in anything other than Mean Girls. I have, and he is as convincing as a straight character as he was as Damien. And I’ve gotta say, it’s this pathetic attitude of gay-shaming anyone who plays a convincing (often effeminate) gay character is the reason so many actors are hesitant to play gay roles… particularly gay actors who really just want to make it somewhere in Hollywood. How can we, especially those of the LGBT community, be so merciless towards actors in the closet – practically verbally lynching them for not coming out – when we so quickly associate their true personalities to the campy roles that they play? I think that if we can’t learn to separate an actor from their portrayed character, then we have no business demanding that an actor “be themself in public”.

Mean-Girls---Beautiful

Pic Zimbio

MTV’s “Faking It”: Progressive and Inclusive, or Insensitive and Offensive?

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MTV is set to air the premiere of their new show Faking It, starring Hungover Games actress Rita Volk and former American Idol contestant Katie Stevens. The premise of the show is two less-than-average teenage girls who are desperate for the elusive high school popularity sphere have tried everything to improve their social position, to no avail. Their high school existence threatens to be nothing short of mediocre until they are mistakenly believed to be a lesbian couple and outed during a party, instantly launching them into social stardom. Obviously, the conflict arises in the fact that they need to keep pretending to be gay, while the threat of the truth being discovered always looms above.

I took a look at the trailer, and the acting doesn’t seem bad at all. It even appears to hold a certain level of wit (a teen mom clique… and the line “I don’t even like looking at my own vagina” actually made me chuckle). However, I’ve got to wonder if MTV missed the mark on this one.

Look, I’m really not one of those ultra-uptight, predictably-PC gays who need everyone to constantly show their support for the LGBT community. There’s nothing wrong with demanding respect, but I understand all too well that there are real hard core homophobes out there, and targeting any and everyone who is less than a little sensitive to homosexuals just makes us look petty. Honestly, sometimes we have to know which battles to pick. That being said, I’m not sure where I stand on this new show.

On the one hand, how awesome is it that we have a show depicting the idea that a same-sex couple in high school is adored! We’ve read stories of same-sex teenagers winning prom or homecoming royalty, being popular etc, so I won’t say that it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, we have to realise that this happens in the minority, and the more common occurrence is that gay teenagers are often subject to disgusting cruelty and bullying, which far too often lead to acts of attempted and attained suicide. Therefore, I also can’t help but think that Faking It is making light of – or completely disregarding – the reality of LGBT teenagers in high school.

Many people are thinking that one of the faux lesbians in the show will turn out to actually be gay and will therefore come to terms with her sexual orientation. If that’s the case, it could be a great opportunity for MTV to portray a gay teen in an amazing way (which they do! Their record really does speak for them on this one, I won’t lie!). Still, one of the worst feelings for any homosexual is falling for a straight person who will never be able to return the sentiments, and if the show does head down in that direction with a lesbian who falls in love with a hetero who’s only in it for the popularity, I think they should be ready for the shit to hit the “fans”.

Either way, I will reserve complete judgement until I check out the show. At the very least, we can’t say that Faking It isn’t provoking discussion… and it hasn’t even aired yet. Faking It airs tonight April 22nd at 10:30 pm ET/PT on MTV.

It’s Not Porn… It’s HBO

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Speaking of HBO, I know I’m really late on this, but I only recently came across this spoof of their more um… explicit sex scenes (aren’t all their sex scenes explicit? – you. Touché – me). I didn’t think it was that funny until I got towards the end and then I literally lol’d. It’s a pretty harmless video, but it kinda does beg the question “does HBO cross some sort of boundary with some of its sex scenes or do they get a pass because the shows are usually so critically acclaimed?”

Either way, I can’t really say I blame them, and while some of their sex scenes aren’t exactly necessary, I do think that they add a certain level of depth to the shows. On a side note, as graphic as the descriptions of the sex scenes are, the most disturbing part of this entire experience for me is the fact that:

1)      I’ve seen all three of those scenes

2)      I know exactly which episode of which shows they’re from.

True Blood Season 7 Teaser Trailer Released

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I’ve been a major hardcore fan of True Blood since the show’s first season. Admittedly, I’m not so much a fan of the novels on which they’re based, but HBO has done a spectacular job on the TV adaptation. Like very many fans, I do believe that the show’s storylines have plummeted in latter seasons, but not nearly enough to have me stop watching it.

Game of Thrones is one of my television obsessions, and I always hate when the season ends, but the silver lining to any GoT finale is the subsequent premiere of True Blood. That being said, we can at least look forward to True Blood in a couple of months. This is the seventh and final (NOOOOOOOOOO) season, so we can pretty much expect HBO to go all out on this one. Check out the newly-released teaser below.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson Covers Men’s Health

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Ever since I first saw Kick-Ass, I’ve had a thing for Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Maybe it was the shy nerdy character secretly fighting crime for our protection that did things to me… of course, it didn’t hurt at all that his butt in that green costume really was kick ass!

Aaron Taylor-Johnson Kick-Ass Butt

Taylor-Johnson covers the May 2014 issue of Men’s Health, and other than the fact that he’s wearing far too much clothing, it’s an amazing photograph. I don’t know what it is, but he’s giving me serious “Daniel Radcliffe on steroids” vibes, and I love it!

In the article, 23 year old Taylor-Johnson discusses the 23 year age difference between himself and wife, Sam Taylor-Wood.

“It doesn’t seem like it. She’s such a young, beautiful soul that you wouldn’t even know.”

He also discusses what it’s like having four kids, and his views on being referred to as an actor. Seems like quite the promising article. And even more importantly, he seems like quite a guy.

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Pics Men’s Health via Just Jared

… because random is awesome!