Finally, this week on the American soap The Young & The Restless Michael finds out the truth that his wife Lauren is having an affair. I like this storyline because it is nice to see a romance between an older woman and a younger man. I think Carmine really does love Lauren even though she’s married. Lauren and Carmine have better chemistry than Lauren has with Michael. Michael has gotten boring and dry.
Last night, the American gossip website Mediatakeout splashed the provactive pics of NFL player Kerry Rhodes embracing his male assistant. Immediately, people began speculating if Rhodes is the first gay NFL player to come out. However, Rhodes told TMZ he is not gay as he attempted to squash the gay rumours. The fact that Rhodes felt the need to announce his heterosexuality is not surprising. The problem is the intense media attention about this elusive gay male athlete means the general public is now paying close attention ttrying to figure out who these gay athletes are. This just puts even more pressure on the closeted athletes to remain in the closet.
Although the mainstream North American media want a gay male athlete from the NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLB to come out I am not sure if it is going to happen. There are numerous arguments as to why a top male athlete has not come out. The gay community is also to blame because we place so much of our expectations on gay celebrities. We forget that gay celebrities are also people they have flaws, they aren’t perfect, yet we expect them to live up to our impossible unrealistic standards.
For instance, Robbie Rogers the young American soccer player came out as gay a few months ago on his blog. However, on Queerty, Towelroad, and other gay blogs Rogers was attacked and called a coward because he refused to be the gay Jackie Robinson. Rogers told The Guardian, and the New York Times that there is a pack mentality in the sports lockerooms. The heterosexual men use gay slurs, and make jokes about homosexuals. Rogers doesn’t want to deal with the homophobia and I can’t blame the man. Who would want to be subjected to abuse? Rogers is also worried about fans in soccer giving him a hard time when he is competing. This is probably going to happen if a gay man does come out in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. When the first gay male athlete comes out it is going to be a mixed response. Some people are going to be supportive while others are going to be homophobic.
Meanwhile, female athletes are already coming out and declaring they are lesbians yet they are treated with such disregard and disrespect. In Nigeria, there is new controversy that their soccer Federation is screening out lesbian athletes from joining the women’s soccer team. In North America, lesbian athletes and coaches in women’s basketball also experience discrimination.
Last year, Megan Rapinoe a top American female soccer player came out declaring she is a lesbian yet there was hardly any media attention. Rapinoe brave decision to come out was treated like an afterthought, as though it didn’t matter. Why are courageous lesbian athletes treated with such disdain as though they don’t matter? Rapinoe’s decision to come out is amazing, she’s not afraid of speaking out about homophobia in sports but because she’s a woman she’s treated as inferior by the sports media.
The misogyny of the mainstream sports media is often ignored about the struggles and contributions of lesbian athletes. In professional tennis the only players coming out are the lesbians not the gay men. In modern tennis history numerous lesbians have come out such as Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Amelie Mauresmo, Renee Stubbs, Gigi Fernandez, Conchita Martinez, and Lisa Raymond. Lesbians are treated with respect on the WTA Tour. However, on the ATP men’s tennis tour no gay man has come out since Bill Tidlen in the 1920s.
Even though, professional tennis is an individual sport the gay male tennis players on the ATP Tour are not coming out. The question remains why?
The unknown is a barrier for the gay male athletes, nobody knows what the reaction of sponsors, agents, media, fans, are going to be. Since nobody wants to take the first step to come out the closet door remains firmly shut. The internet is also a lightning rod of homophobia in the fan forums such as ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports the homophobia is intense. The
core message of the homophobes online is they want a don’t don’t tell policy to remain intact. The homophobes believe if a gay male athlete comes out he’s being selfish, taking attention away from the team and coming out in order to obtain media attention. This argument is weak because homosexuality is still viewed as being private while heterosexuality is treated as public in society. Heterosexual male athletes broadcast their girlfriends, wives, children, talk about their marriages, their love lives to the media. Meanwhile, the gay male athletes have to hide their sexual orientation in order to maintain the peace.
The homophobic comments on blogs are adamant they will not accept a gay male athlete. This homophobia online is often ignored in the press. The subliminal message is masculinty and homosexuality are like oil and water they don’t mix. A gay male athlete would challenge the homophobia that a gay man cannot be masculine and cannot excel in professional sports.
The closeted gay male athletes of course, read the sports websites, they know some sports fans are homophobic and this is probably one of the reasons they remain in the closet.
Another point to consider is, maybe these gay male athletes don’t want to be the gay Jackie Robinson? Maybe, these gay male athletes don’t want the intense media and public attention? Think about it, a gay man who is closeted can live his life discreetly he can date whomever he wants, and nobody knows.
It is interesting that the gay activism in the NFL have been the heterosexual allies such as Chris Kluwe and Brendan Ayanbadjeo. Ayanbadjeo was criticized by the gay media when he announced last week that up to four gay NFL players might come out at the same time. I believe the gay media attacking Ayanbadjeo is counterproductive because he has been very passionate and vocal about gay rights. Ayanbadjeo didn’t have to speak out about homophobia in the NFL he could have kept his mouth closed and followed the status quo.
Sometimes the gay community we are our own worse enemy. I think the gay male athletes are cognizant that if they do come out the gay community is going to put so much pressure on these men to become gay activists. Robbie Rogers has already illustrated that it isn’t fair to expect so much from a gay male athlete. All these guys want to do is compete, play sports, make their money and be the best they can be. The media, the gay community, and the general public need to dial down their expectations of gay athletes.
On the ABC talk show The View, the ladies discuss the recent controversy of the young white female tennis player Caroline Wozniacki so-called joke about Serena Williams body. At a tennis exhibition in Brazil, Wozniacki decided to stuff her bra and tennis skirt with towels to make fun of Serena’s body. In the mainstream media the consensus by white tennis writers are that Wozniacki was just making a joke. The question these white writers fail to ask is why is Serena Williams constantly the one being made fun of?
Sports websites such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Fox Sports, have all claimed Wozniacki’s attempts at being funny isn’t racist. However, the vast majority of these sports writers are white men and they also have white male skin privilege. It is very easy for people who do not experience racism to tell black women they need to be quiet about racism and sexism. White privilege allows white tennis writers the ability to ignore race since they don’t have to think about race on a daily basis. White privilege also means white people have the luxury to not deal with race when they don’t want to and ignore it. The white tennis writers have chosen to ignore Wozniacki’s racism because the harsh truth is racism and sexism is very much a part of the professional tennis industry. The tennis industry is still very uncomfortable with the fact women’s tennis is being dominated by Serena Williams a black woman.
The white tennis writers lack the racial sensitivity, knowledge, and the awareness to discern the history of racism and sexism against black women. For centuries, since Sara Baartman tragedy in the early 19th century, black women are constantly mocked, ridiculed, and demonized for not having bodies that conform to the Eurocentric ideal. The ideal female tennis player body is supposed to be blonde, thin, such as Maria Sharapova or Caroline Wozniacki. Tennis writers for years have mocked Serena Williams because she’s a black woman, due to the fact her body has curves, and her buttocks is larger than her white female counterparts.
I am glad people on twitter, You Tube, Facebook, and the internet are saying enough is enough!
The racism Serena Williams experiences in professional tennis is more subtle. Nobody would dare call Serena a racial slur to her face.However, I believe there is still discomfort by some white people in the tennis industry about Serena Williams domination of women’s tennis. Tennis is still a very elitist sport, dominated by rich whites and the country club set.
Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shephard pointed out as black women they have a right to speak out against racism when it relates to the black female life experience. Goldberg and Shepard explained that Wozniacki’s joke is indeed racist against black women.
Goldberg makes a cogent argument, why are these white male and female tennis players such as Caroline Wozniacki and Andy Roddick making fun of Serena’s body? Why is it a black female tennis champion is ridiculed because her body does not conform to racist Eurocentric body image standards? Why should black people be silent to this prejudice and bigotry?
Serena Williams is constantly criticized and ridiculed by the racist tennis establishment because she’s a a black woman dominating women’s tennis which is still a predominately white sport. Let’s be honest here, Serena Williams is thirty one years old, a part time player yet she is clearly the best female tennis player in the world. Serena won Wimbledon singles and doubles, Olympic gold medal in singles and doubles, US OPEN, and the WTA Championships. Serena has dominated the so called number one and number two ranked women Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova with a stunning 8-0 record this year.Wozniacki’s joke I believe is due to jealousy, Serena also dominates Wozniacki she has a 4-1 record against her. Since Wozniacki can’t beat Serena on the tennis court she has to find another way to ridicule her by mocking her body because she’s a black woman.
By James Montgomery (@positivnegativ)
Christina Aguilera’s Lotus album was supposed to signify her return to prominence, a high-powered collection of songs penned by the biggest hitmakers in the business (Max Martin, Shellback, Alex Da Kid), preceded by a supercharged first single and paced by duets with not one, but two of her fellow judges on “The Voice” (she already ticked Adam Levine off the list last year with “Moves Like Jagger”).
Of course, when the folks at SoundScan released sales figures Wednesday morning (November 21), we learned that things didn’t quite pan out the way Aguilera had intended: Lotus sold slightly less than 73,000 copies, a number not quite disastrous but not exactly inspiring either. It debuted at #7 on the top 200, behind new albums like the “Breaking Dawn” soundtrack, the Weeknd’s Trilogy (the overwhelming majority of which was available for free online last year) and Soundgarden’s King Animal. And, somewhat tellingly, it came nowhere close to matching the sales of Taylor Swift’s Red — currently in its fourth week of release — or One Direction’s Take Me Home, which outsoldLotus by nearly 500,000 copies.
So while it’s not entirely accurate to call Aguilera’s latest a bomb, one can’t escape the fact that it wasn’t a triumphant comeback album either. Then again, maybe it was never supposed to be in the first place.
Because, while Aguilera certainly commands a massive — and maniacal — online fanbase (just write anything less-than-complimentary about her to see proof of this), perhaps it was unfair of us to heap such lofty expectations on Lotus, especially given Aguilera’s recent history. We all know how her last album, Bionic, fared (you can debate whether it was“ahead of its time” all you want), but album sales being what they are nowadays, that only tells half the story. It’s more telling to look at how she’s fared on the singles charts — the true test of any pop star — because, really, we probably should have seen all this coming and tempered our expectations accordingly.
Aguilera has had only three solo #1′s on the Billboard Hot 100, and two of them came during the Clinton administration. Her fourth was “Lady Marmalade,” a song also featuring Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim, and her fifth was “Moves Like Jagger,” a Maroon 5 song on which she received a featured credit. Since 2002, she’s only had three singles land in the top 10 (2002′s “Beautiful,” 2006′s “Ain’t No Other Man” and 2008′s “Keeps Gettin’ Better”), and her best showing in recent years was “Not Myself Tonight,” which made it to #23. Lotus‘ first single, “Your Body,” peaked at #34, and eight weeks after it was released, it’s currently at #84. None of this is meant to pile on, mind you, it’s simply repeating the facts.
So why has Aguilera failed to replicate the dominance of fellow pop stars like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna or Beyoncé? There are plenty of theories — the prevailing thoughts (whether real or imagined) that she’s not as likable as Perry or Bey, does not work overtime to channel the same outsider spirit as Gaga (and therefore isn’t as relatable) or simply hasn’t been as smart with her choices as someone like Rih Rih — though I tend to believe that each of them are half-baked at best. Perhaps the truth of the matter lies in her lack of singles success, because it suggests that Aguilera is no longer a pop star; she’s a niche artist.
And that’s not a slight. In her best moments (and I wish there were more of them on Lotus), she can out-sing just about anybody, and as the recent crop of pop stars has proved time and time again, well, singing isn’t their primary concern. She still releases interesting stuff — I’m in the camp of folks who loved “Your Body” and think there are plenty of equally worthy follow-ups on the new album, like “Make the World Move” or “Sing for Me” — and, shoot, her backstory is as compelling as they come. She has a loyal fanbase, one that has thinned in recent years, but remains nonetheless. She can still work with anyone she pleases and make the kinds of albums she wants. As far as niche artists go, Aguilera’s got it pretty good. But I really think that it’s time for her to stop trying to compete with her contemporaries and embrace the uniqueness of her situation.
And that goes for us in the media too. Was it unfair to expect big things — the kinds of things she was capable of 10 years ago — from Lotus? Probably. Was it also inevitable? Most definitely. But why did Aguilera need a comeback anyway? From where I’m sitting, she’s fine exactly where she is.
Finally, it took almost a year but the Days of our lives writers and NBC got it right with the gay storyline! For months fans have complained that Will and Sonny’s gay romance lacks passion.
On the October 26th 2012 episode, Will and Sonny relationships advanced to the next level. I commend Freddie Smith and Chander Massey for giving 110% in the make out scene. The kisses were powerful, passionate, full of lust and desire.
Freddie and Chandler are hot and it was so sexy that I felt like a voyeur watching them make out!
After Christina Aguilera’s last album Bionic bombed two years ago some people thought she was finished. I thought Bionic was a solid album I was stunned that if quickly fell off the Billboard music charts. However, the NBC talent show The Voice has helped keep Aguilera in the spotlight. Now, Aguilera’s new album Lotus will be released in November. The first single from Lotus, Your Body is doing well and climbing the Billboard charts.
The beginning of the video is funny there is a public service announcement that no men were harmed.
According to some critics, since Christina is a mother and over the age of thirty she needs to tone down her sexuality. However, I think this form of sexism is nonsense, Christina is a grown woman and she has a right to sing about sex.
Your Body is a feminist song, because Christina is taking control and liberating herself by having sex on her own terms.
In the Your Body music video, Christina is reclaiming her sexuality and singing about a one night stand and enjoying sex. Since men can enjoy sex and sing about one night stands why can’t a woman? I don’t see the big deal, women have a right to enjoy sex just like men. Isn’t it a powerful statement for a young female entertainer to speak frankly about her sexuality? I think this video is powerful because Christina is not being shy she loves sex.
Christina Aguilera: Billboard Cover Story
Artists in this Article
Christina Aguilera will participateas a keynote speaker at the 2012 Billboard and Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference being held at the W Hotel in Hollywood Oct. 24 and 25.
“Lotus” will blossom on November, with “Your Body” due this Friday.
Christina Aguilera has previewed forthcoming fifth album “Lotus” with “Your Body,” a sweaty, uptempo lead single produced by Max Martin and Shellback.
Showing contestants on NBC’s “The Voice” how it’s done, Christina Aquilera soars onto Pop Songs at No. 33 with “Your Body.”
CeeLo Green will add a little quirky soul to the holiday season with “CeeLo’s Magic Moment,” his debut Christmas full-length, set for an Oct. 30 release on Elektra Records.
Christina Aguilera hasn’t felt this way in a decade. The singer is reflecting on the eventful two years leading up to the release of her fifth studio album, “Lotus,” from her home in Los Angeles — a period that heralded the commercial disappointment of her album “Bionic”; a divorce from husband Jordan Bratman; the release of her first movie, “Burlesque,” and its accompanying soundtrack; her highly successful stint as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice” and accompanying appearance on Maroon 5′s mega-hit “Moves Like Jagger.”
The last time she felt so inspired, the result was 2002′s Stripped-a creative breakthrough that helped distance Aguilera from her teen-pop peers and produced memorable hits like “Beautiful,” “Dirrty” and “Fighter.”
|Enrique Badulescu Photography
Christina Aguilera + BillboardBUY A COPY | SUBSCRIBE | LARGE COVER
Due Nov. 13 on RCA, “Lotus” refers to the “rebirth” Aguilera underwent both personally and professionally, opting not to work with longtime songwriting partners like Linda Perry in favor of such newer collaborators as Alex Da Kid, Sia, Candice Pillay and even pop maestro Max Martin, on first single “Your Body,” which hit radio and iTunes last week and bows at No. 33 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart this week.
Like on Stripped, Aguilera dips into many genres-from dance-pop on “Your Body” and “Make the World Move” (a duet with fellow “Voice” coach Cee Lo Green), piano-driven power ballads (“Sing for Me,” Sia collaboration “Blank Page”) and rock-tinged empowerment anthems (“Army of Me,” “Cease Fire”). The album even opens with a quick sample of M83′s “Midnight City” on the title track, an experimental table-setter where Aguilera resolves to “leave the past behind/Say goodbye to the scared child inside.”
Alex Da Kid, who first teamed with Aguilera for 2010′s “Castle Walls” on T.I.’s No Mercy, worked with Aguilera on several Lotus cuts with songwriter Pillay, many of which were recorded at her home studio. “I’ve worked with big and smaller people, and the more established people can get stuck in their ways and say they’re not open to critique,” Alex Da Kid says. “She definitely had a strong opinion, but she’ll go with the best idea in the room. That’s really rare for someone that’s had so much success.”
With Aguilera more or less based on the West Coast for the entire period leading up to Lotus’ release to finish taping the current season of “The Voice,” that means an aggressive Los Angeles-based promotional schedule during the next few months-with expected stops on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” as well as prominent use of “The Voice” to premiere the video for “Your Body” and a performance during album release week.
“Nobody knows better than Christina that success doesn’t come from simply having the voice, but from believing and trusting in that voice,” “Voice” producer Mark Burnett says. “That knowledge and experience makes her an incredibly nurturing coach, and one who not only challenges her artists, but encourages and inspires them to challenge themselves.”
“I have no time to even watch my own show.
So there’s your answer.”
- On whether she’ll watch Britney Spears on “The X Factor”
“The Voice” is winning the music-competition show race and beating “The X Factor” in the ratings. But as the show shifts into full-year production, the singer confirmed that she would be taking a break for season four, set to air next spring, with Shakira filling in her chair and Usher taking that of Cee Lo Green. She’s anxious to go back out on the road for the first time since 2007′s Back to Basics tour, having canceled 2010′s Bionic tour due in part to poor ticket sales. “It’s been a joy to be a part of other people’s journey, to be able to inspire and be a part of new singers coming up in this business,” she says. “But I was starting to get really worried and concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to go and be an artist again.
“Mark made it very clear that these chairs are always our chairs,” she continues. “He said, ‘I understand the only reason the show’s going to work is if it doesn’t get stale.’ And he totally understood that I needed something to fulfill my creative soul, and said, ‘This chair will always be yours to come back to whenever you do what makes you the best.’”
However long Lotus keeps her away from “The Voice,” it likely won’t be permanent. “I’ll probably be back. I just need to do my thing for a minute, then I can come back and be that much better of a coach. I just need a second to get back to me.”
Billboard spoke with Aguilera — who’s keynoting the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference, to be held Oct. 24-25 — on the eve of a live Twitter Q&A where she officially announced the details around “Lotus.”
“Lotus” is an evocative title for your new album, given the events in your career and personal life during the past two years. What does that name signify to you?
This album represents a celebration of the new me, and to me the lotus has always represented this unbreakable flower that withstands any harsh weather conditions in its surroundings, that withstands time and remains beautiful and strong throughout the years. Once I could start writing my own songs, beginning with Stripped, I tried to infuse as much as I could to promote strength and inspire people with that message. And now I’m at a place at 31, where the last time I felt this way was when I was 21 with Stripped and I had a lot to say and a lot to express.
Some of the songs on Lotus are thematically similar to “Stripped,” too. Was that intentional?
Absolutely. There’s a song called “Army of Me,” which is sort of a “Fighter 2.0.” There is a new generation of fans from a younger demographic that might not have been with me all the way but that watch me on the show now. I feel like every generation should be able to enjoy and have their piece of “Fighter” within. This time, the way it musically came together it just felt right for this time and this generation. There’s always going to be a fighter in me getting through some obstacle and some hurdle.
|Enrique Badulescu Photography
Christina Aguilera + Billboard
“Lotus” is also a return to putting your vocals front and center in a way that you didn’t always do on Bionic in 2010. What did you learn from that experience?
With Bionic I fully went in there with [the idea], “I’m going to experiment and not be commercial or pop.” I wanted to play with different sounds and textures of my voice while bringing an electronica feel to it because that’s what I was listening to a lot at the time. And it was a blast.
Were you disappointed with how it was received?
I can proudly say it was ahead of its time, to be honest. It wasn’t so commercialized. You had to really be a music lover, be a true fan of music and the love of being open to really appreciate that record. It’s just a special piece in my body of work that will forever live on. The older the record gets the more people will come to appreciate it actually and check it out.
How has your experience with “The Voice” influenced you as a performer?
Seeing all the singers, you really come face to face with a lot of people-my teammates especially this season that you’ll get to know-that are predominantly younger. That’s inspiring, because they come up to you and they’re such big fans and they share with you what song touched them the most and how they had to learn every single ad lib and dissect it. As a vocalist it brought me back to, “Yeah, that’s what I used to do to my Whitney Houston record and my Mariah Carey record and my Etta James record.” It brings you back to a place where it becomes your personal responsibility to infuse the next generation with more information about learning every intricate note. That’s why a song called “Sing for Me” is special song. It’s one of those singer’s songs where if you’re not a vocalist you can’t mess with that song.
“Your Body” marks your first time working with Max Martin, which is surprising to a lot of people given the teen-pop era where you got your start.
[laughs] Max is legendary in the business. He’s known about me but we haven’t crossed paths. I think when I came in you heard his name with Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears — those records were the kind I wanted to stray apart from. If you look at what I did in the past [after my debut], I always try to do things that will challenge me and challenge the listener, too. Could this have worked 10 years ago? I’m not sure. It’s taken us a decade in the same business and watching each other from a distance, so for us to now come together and respect each other’s work ethic and how we like to be heard and making a marriage out of it, I think “Your Body” is the best culmination of that.
You’ve expressed interest in taking a break from “The Voice” in the near future. When might that open your schedule for a tour?
We’re still trying to figure that out. My fans do deserve to see me back out on the road. It’ll be exciting for me. The road is a lot of work. I want to make sure the timing is right and that I’m fully ready to go, otherwise I would have to pull tickets if I’m not feeling it. I want to press the fact that I want to be feeling it before I go out.
Going back to the current season of “The Voice,” what’s been exciting for you so far?
I’m actually very excited about this season in particular. It’s absolutely the most young and full-of-hungry-energy group we’ve had yet-this little next generation of future pop stars. Last year I had a different team as far as different genres, but this year it so happened to come together that they were all pop.
One of your contestants from last season, Chris Mann, will be the first season-two alum to release an album this year. Will you be involved with that project?
Absolutely. He’s working with [Front Line Management Group consultant] Ron Fair, the man who signed me and is still a very, very dear friend of mine. I know he’s in totally safe hands and in great hands musically. Ron Fair really gets it and gets him. One of the songs was sent to me for my participation and I said, hands-down, “yes.” It’s a beautiful song, the way he’s expressing himself on the album-his tone, his richness, his soul. He’s not overdoing it, just coming through strong, clear and rich. I’m very happy for him.
Beyond the technical aspects of executing a melisma, what are some career pointers you’ve been able to hand down to your own artists on “The Voice”?
A lot of these kids are coming from their own kinds of dance and arts schools, which is just like what the Mouseketeers was for obviously me and Britney and Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling-need I say more? We all come from that training camp mentality, but then it was a matter of us to be able to absorb everything, take it all in and now throw it all away. That’s what I’m trying to teach those kids. Everything can’t be so structured, so learned or taught. You guys have an individual self in all of you.
Speaking of Britney, will you be watching “The X Factor”?
[Laughs] I have no time to even watch my own show. So there’s your answer.