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Look For The Silver Lining: Leslie Odom Jr. To Leave Hamilton

Jerrica White

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All good things must come to an end.

In a heartfelt and personal Facebook Live video, Leslie Odom Jr. addressed a couple of things us #Hamilfans have been wondering. Yes, it’s true. July 9,2016 will be the last day we’ll see Leslie Odom Jr. in the role of Aaron Burr. Our hearts are broken and, well, #TheWorldTurnedUpsideDown.

While we’re happy to see Leslie Odom Jr. venture into new endeavors, we can’t help but be in our feelings as we remember the things he’s taught us as Aaron Burr.

Things like: Talk less, smile more.

We learned what it means to want to be in the room where it happens and what it takes to do so.

We learned the world is big enough for all of us.

Leslie, we’re so proud of you. You’ve blown us all away from Leap of Faith to Smash to Hamilton. We’ve seen you grow as an artist and we’re happy to have you as one of our own.

Raise a glass to Lin, Phillipa, and Leslie, and raise a glass to the legacy they’ve begun; something that can never be taken away! Look for the silver lining! There’s so much new work to look forward to from our Hamilton favorites.

As if scooping up the 2016 Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical wasn’t enough, Leslie Odom Jr. recently blessed (and I do mean BLESSED) the world with a solo jazz album. Jonathan Groff, who left Hamilton in April, is filming footage as he takes the lead role in David Fincher’s new Netflix series, “Mindhunter.” Phillipa Soo is leaving to star in the musical, Amélie. As for the creator and original Alexander Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting ready to star in the sequel to “Mary Poppins,” as well as writing music for the Disney film, “Moana,” amongst other projects.

The good thing about good work is the story continues to be told, just through a different lens. I don’t know about y’all, but we’ve got tickets for Hamilton next year, and we’re equally excited to see this masterpiece with new principals!

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Award Nominations

Cynthia Erivo Nominated for BAFTA’s Rising Star Award

Drew Shade

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Cynthia Erivo at Opening Night of the Color Purple. Photo by Drew Shade

Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo, known for her transformative performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple is now one of five actors nominated for the British Academy of Film’s 2019 Rising Star Awards.

Most recently seen alongside Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s Widows, Erivo says:

“I’m ever grateful to BAFTA and the jury panel for nominating me for the 2019 EE Rising Star Award. It means the world to me to be acknowledged by the community that, for most of my life, I’ve known as home. Thank you for this incredible honour.” – Cynthia Erivo

The BAFTA Awards will take place on February 10th.

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Get Your War Clothes On: Billy Porter Energizes in GLAAD Acceptance Speech

Jerrica White

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billy porter

So, I have a question.

In the same line of thought as “innocent until proven guilty,” do we grant the assumption of positive intent in our expectations of our brothers and sister in regards to woke-ness, à la woke until proven problematic?

Now don’t get me wrong, there was no doubt in my heart that Tony and Grammy Award-winner, Billy Porter, was woke. Nope, none. What I wasn’t ready for, was the way he fixed his fingers to pen one of the greatest acceptance speeches of my lifetime, and how he turned the Gospel classic “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” into a battle song.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honored Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award, presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.

He started by affirming the room full of members of marginalized communities, with my personal daily mantra: “You are enough. we are enough.”

Since the beginning of time artists are the folks who engage critically and encourage those who think they are powerless to question the status quo.

Brothers and sisters across the room leaned in.

The days of shut up and sing are over.

Alliteration informed and illustrated as Porter preached on remaining “vigilantly visual” as we tell our stories. Acknowledging the reality of our times, he spoke on Number 45:

Where they slipped up this time is in that declaration of war. It’s not only against Black and Brown people and Queer people anymore, it’s against ALL of us. And as a result, the good news is: white folk, and straight folk, and all those fierce women folk, are mad now. And NOW maybe something might get done!

Get. Your. War. Clothes. On.

From slavery to emancipation, to the 13th Amendment, to Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights Movement. From Stonewall to AIDS, to marriage equality— we gotta remember the shoulders who we stand on—the ones who fought and died for those freedoms that we hold so dear. Let’s use these historical strides we’ve made as a nation to empower us as warriors on this battlefield of equality.

Amen.

Until we can figure out how to love one another unconditionally, no one wins. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Have always come at a cost and evidently the always will.

If that’s not the truth.

Stay strong. Stay vigilante. Stay visible. Stay hopeful. Stay focused. Be brave. Be fierce.

Resist.

RESIST.

RESIST.

RESIST.

For a full list of this year’s winners, honorees, and guests, visit GLAAD.

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