Bella Thorne Blasts Public Scrutiny Britney Spears Faced: ‘No One Gives Disney Kids Enough F***ing Credit’

When Bella Thorne first watched Hulu’s Framing Britney Spears in early February, she was irate — and has yet to shake the feeling.

“It made me so sad, just all the wrongs that society did to her,” she says. “It’s disgusting what she went through, what she is still going through, the whole nine yards, it is literally terrible. And thank goodness they made the documentary so that people can change their fucking perception on situations.”

The actress, 23, shares some similarities with the pop star, after all. They both were groomed for stardom as children and came up through the Disney ranks, Thorne via “Shake It Up” (opposite Zendaya) and Spears as a Mouseketeer, and both suffered the predations of paparazzi and negative scrutiny. She vividly remembers meeting up with Kylie Jenner at Urth Caffe when they were both about 15 years old, and the photographers descended.

“What they would say to get a reaction, the disgusting things that they would scream, ‘Oh should I f*** your sister too. Your sister can get it like this,’” she recalls.

As for assigning blame, she says everyone is complicit.

“Even if you didn’t take that photo of Britney Spears, even if you weren’t that paparazzo pushing her, you were that person talking in your basement with your group of friends about this photo and people were laughing, people were joking about her mental health,” Thorne says. “People were joking about very serious things that no one should be joking about.”

Careerwise, she says there are other dark spots to Disney fame. “No one gives Disney kids enough f***ing credit. Like, come on, Dove Cameron is one of the hardest workers I know, and she’s an amazing actress. And people still wanna say, ‘She’s Disney.’ It’s like an immediate ‘X’ mark that you have to work out of,” adds the actress-singer, who recently shot the high school romance drama Time Is Up in Rome with Italian pop star Benjamin Mascolo and is releasing new songs, beginning with “Shake It,” which dropped Feb. 19. Thorne also directed the song’s video, out Feb. 26.

Disney alums aren’t the only public figures that Thorne feels are being over-scrutinized in what she dubs a “cancel/hate culture.”

“I’m sure Elon Musk is always thinking about this. You know, ‘Why don’t they just appreciate that I’m a genius?'” she says. “Why you guys all still hating on Elon Musk?”

This article originally appeared in THR.com.

‘Rent’ Musical Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, stage actors Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega had been cast in a new, edgy musical downtown and wondered if anyone would remember it.

“Can you imagine us in 25 years talking about this show and singing these songs?” Pascal wondered to his co-star. “We laughed about it, as if like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s crazy. That’ll never happen.’”

Well, it’s happening.

The musical was Rent and it’s celebrating its silver anniversary this year with an online gala and a lot of gratitude from generations of fans.

Jonathan Larson’s tale of free-spirited artists and street people in New York’s gritty drug- and AIDS-plagued East Village of the early 1990s was inspired by Puccini’s “La Boheme” and found a ready-made audience in young people.

“It gives people hope who feel that ‘I’m different’ and ‘I don’t fit.’ This says ‘It doesn’t matter,’” says James Nicola, artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, which nurtured “Rent.” ”It says, ‘You can go out and make your own community.’”

New York Theater Workshop will celebrate “Rent” with a gala on March 2 that will be available to stream through March 6. Original cast members will be joined by theater stars such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Ali Stroker, Eva Noblezada and Christopher Jackson. Tickets begin at $25.

Rent won Tony Awards for best musical, score and book and a Pulitzer Prize. It lasted on Broadway for 12 years and more than 5,000 performances, launching the careers of Pascal, Rubin-Vega, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Anthony Rapp.

There was a 2005 film version, several tours, an off-Broadway revival, international productions, a Hollywood Bowl concert and a live staging on Fox in 2019, all fueled by songs such as “Take Me or Leave Me,” “Out Tonight” and the crowd-pleasing “Seasons of Love.”

“Rent” has since been referenced in everything from “The Big Bang Theory” to “The Simpsons” to “I Am Legend.” In the film “Team America: World Police,” puppets act out a show called “Lease.”

Larson never lived to see his triumph: He died at age 35 of an aortic aneurysm after its final dress rehearsal in January 1996.

The 15 original actors stay in touch and share a text thread. “We really kind of immediately fell into a rapport and trust with each other, especially after the tragedy,” said Heredia. “There’s nothing that bonds people more than tragedy.”

The musical had an unpretentious start. New York Theater Workshop had just moved into its space in the East Village in the summer of 1992 and was undergoing construction. Larson rode by on his bike and poked his head in.

“He was curious because he’d written this musical for the East Village and was looking for a home for it that was in the East Village,” said Nicola.

A few days later, Larson dropped off a script and a cassette tape of him singing all the songs. The timing was perfect. “We were looking for something to do about our neighborhood in the literal sense and in walks this musical,” said Nicola.

It was quickly clear that Larson was steeped in classical music, pop and everything in between, what Pascal calls an “incredibly unique, eclectic influence soup.” Larson’s musical went to the top of the company’s list.

“People can write music. People can write words. Not so many people can write words and music together,” says Nicola. “And then even fewer can understand putting words and music into a dramatic context.”

The show attracted Rubin-Vega, who usually wasn’t interested in musical theater. “This was talking to me,” she recalled. “I knew these people. These are the kind of people that I hung out with.” It was, she adds, a musical that she herself wanted to see.

She would earn a Tony nomination for her Mimi, an HIV-positive heroin addict and stripper. She recalls looking out and seeing audiences singing along — weeks before a cast album was even available. They were repeat customers.

“It was a supernova,” she said.

Just being in “Rent” was lifechanging for Heredia, a then-24-year-old who never thought he’d be in a musical, much less one that made the leap to Broadway.

“I never saw my face in the faces of people that were on Broadway,” says Heredia, who played the doomed drag queen Angel.

It was Heredia, a self-described hyperactive club kid, who one day during a break in rehearsal leaped onto a table in heels — to the astonishment of director Michael Greif. That move was put in the show.

“The trick of that whole number wasn’t the jumping on the table. It was the jumping off of the table,” Heredia says, laughing. “My back and my knees are paying for it now.”

Heredia won a Tony for his work, but he says he cherishes more the dozens of people who have approached him to say Angel helped them come out to their parents, accept their son or just inspired them.

“The impact that it’s had on the generations to me has affected me even more than the Tony,” he says. “It’s one of the best thing that’s ever happened to my life.”

“Rent” also helped put New York Theatre Workshop on the map, where it has continued to nurture shows like “Hadestown,” “Once” and “Slave Play.”

“You really can look at the history of New York Theater Workshop divided neatly between before ‘Rent’ and after ‘Rent,’” said Nicola. “It’s that significant. It transformed the organization.”

One “Rent” fan is Miranda, the visionary behind “Hamilton,” noted Rubin-Vega. “In no uncertain terms, he is a legacy of Jonathan’s, just like Jonathan was a legacy of Sondheim,” she said.

Adds Pascal: “It’s a gift that continues to give.”

Paul McCartney Memoir Due Out in November

Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him.

“The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” will be released Nov. 2, according to a joint announcement Wednesday from the British publisher Allen Lane and from Liveright in the United States.

McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction.

“More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right,” McCartney said in a statement.

“The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.”

Financial terms for “The Lyrics,” which has a list price of $100, were not disclosed. Publishers have long sought a McCartney memoir, even though he has spoken often about the past and has participated in such projects as Barry Miles’ biography “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” and the 1990s documentary and book “The Beatles Anthology.” The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards has been equally open about himself, but his 2010 memoir “Life” still sold millions of copies.

No Beatle has written a standard, full-fledged account of his life. Lennon published two works of stories, poems and drawings and was considered the most gifted with words, but he was murdered in 1980, at age 40. Ringo Starr’s “Another Day In the Life” is centered on photographs and quotes, because, the drummer has said, a traditional memoir would require multiple volumes. George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, issued the scrapbook/retrospective “I, Me, Mine” in 1980.

According to McCartney’s publishers, his songs will be arranged alphabetically, and will include McCartney’s comments on when and where they were written and what inspired them. The U.S. edition of the book will be broken into two volumes, contained within a single box.

“Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” according to Wednesday’s announcement.

McCartney has often received more acclaim for his melodies than for his lyrics, but he has written some of the most quoted songs in recent history, including “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Muldoon said in a statement that their conversations in recent years “confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”

Muldoon is known for such poetry collections as “Moy Sand and Gravel” and “Horse Latitudes,” and also has a background in music. He has given spoken-word performances backed by the musical collective Rogue Oliphant; published a book of rock lyrics, “The Word on the Street”; and collaborated on the title track of Warren Zevon’s “My Ride’s Here.” He even mentioned McCartney in a poem, “Sideman”:

“I’ll be McCartney to your Lennon/ Lenin to your Marx/ Jerry to your Ben &/ Lewis to your Clark”

Trisha Yearwood Tests Positive for COVID-19, Garth Brooks Tests Negative

Trisha Yearwood is the latest celebrity to test positive for COVID-19.

A health update from the country music superstar and husband Garth Brooks on Wednesday (Feb. 24) noted that the power couple began quarantining at home following positive coronavirus test by a member of their team.

Brooks, fortunately, has tested negative.

“The Queen and I have now tested twice,” he said in a statement , adding, “Officially, she’s diagnosed as ‘on her way out of the tunnel’ now, though, which I’m extremely thankful for.”

“Anyone who knows me knows my world begins and ends with Miss Yearwood, so she and I will ride through this together,” he continued, noting that he’ll be spending some time laying low, pausing his weekly Inside Studio G conversation on Facebook for the time being. “And anyone who knows her knows she’s a fighter and she’s been doing everything right, so I know we’ll walk out the other side of this thing together.”

While Yearwood is doing alright, Brooks asked for prayers and good thoughts from fans, as she is still experiencing symptoms. “If anyone asks, that’s what you can do for her. That’s what I’m doing,” he said. “Living with her, I sometimes take it for granted she’s one of the greatest voices in all of music, so the possible long-term effects on her concern me as her husband and as a fan. We’re very lucky she is currently under the greatest care in the best city for treating and healing singers.”

Back in July, Brooks shared that his 24-year-old daughter Allie Colleen had a mild case of the coronavirus. Later that month, Brooks and Yearwood postponed their July 7 Facebook concert due to potential exposure. “While Garth and Trisha are fine, the Garth/Trisha camp has possibly been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. To be smart about this, they are all quarantining for 2 weeks and thank everyone for their concern,” a press release announcing the postponement read.

 

Jill Biden Tells Kelly Clarkson ‘Things Will Get Better’ After Divorce

Jill Biden offers comforting advice to Kelly Clarkson, telling the singer and talk-show host who is going through a divorce that things happen for the best and that life will eventually “look better.”

The first lady — a divorcee herself — also reveals what she looks forward to when COVID-19 clears up and explains why women should take time for themselves every day, as she does. She spoke during an interview with Clarkson that is set to air nationally on Thursday.

Clarkson recently brought her show to the White House for a socially distant conversation with Biden in the East Room. NBC released interview excerpts Wednesday, including a clip of the first lady offering comforting words about carrying on after a relationship breakup.

Citing her late mother’s advice, she tells Clarkson things happen for a reason. She also says her divorce freed her to meet Joe Biden and have a family with him.

“My mother always said to me things are going to look better, tomorrow,” Jill Biden said, encouraging Clarkson to “take one day at a time, and things will get better.”

“I look back on it now, and I think, you know, if I hadn’t gotten divorced, I never would have met Joe,” she continued. “I wouldn’t have the beautiful family I have now. So I really think things happen for the best and I think, Kelly, over time, I don’t know how long it’s been for you, but I think, over time, you heal, and you’re going to be surprised and I can’t wait until that day comes for you.”

Clarkson has spoken in other interviews about the pain of her public breakup. She filed for divorce last year from Brandon Blackstock after nearly seven years of marriage. They have two children.

After marrying Joe Biden, Jill Biden helped raise his sons Beau and Hunter after their mother and baby sister died in a car crash in 1972. The couple later had a daughter, Ashley. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. The Bidens also have six grandchildren.

During her first solo television interview, Jill Biden also discussed her interest in education, military families, cancer research and healing the country. She also answered questions from members of the show’s virtual audience.

“Maybe go have a martini and some french fries,” she told one audience participant who asked what she would do when COVID-19 clears up.

She explained why she loves to exercise and carves out time for herself.

“I run, I bike. It clears my head, so that’s really important to me and I think all women should have something, it doesn’t have to be exercise, although hopefully it would be,” she said. “Just to take a moment for yourself.”

“So I get up early, and that’s my time that I have for myself,” Biden said.

Sunmi Channels Catwoman in Frisky ‘Tail’ Video

Cat got your tongue, or rather your heart? Sunmi’s the likely culprit in her frisky new single “TAIL” and its accompanying visual.

She released “TAIL” — which she wrote, and tapped frequent collaborator Frants to help produce — and its rhythmic B-side “What the Flower” on Tuesday. The K-pop star told The Korean Herald that she wanted “TAIL” to sound “sharp and temperamental like a cat, while placing the animal’s uniquely cynical yet listless traits here and there” with the help of guitar riffs and slinky beats.

“The song is about a super sensitive catwoman villainess who wants love with all her heart, expressing her deepest instinctive feelings,” the 28-year-old singer said of her latest single during a press showcase. “‘TAIL’ is my first step into my 30s and I feel like I’m taking it boldly and confidently. I’ll try and release a full album within this year.”

She also told The Korean Herald about the animalistic inspiration behind “TAIL” and how she wanted to physically express her emotions. The song and video also find inspiration from the DC Comics character Catwoman. Renowned choreographer Janelle Ginestra (Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Red Velvet) created the K-pop artist’s fiesty and sultry routine that showed off every elongated aspect of her body, from her braided high pony whipping around to her multicolored manicures.

“Animals use their tail to express their emotions. They’ll shake their tails gently when they’re in a good mood and flick it hard if frustrated. I liked the frankness of this instinctive behavior and the word ‘tail’ just left a huge impact in my mind,” Sunmi said in her interview. “I don’t have a tail, so I wanted to illustrate how animals express their emotions with their tails. I told Janelle to really go bold with it so the animal rawness can really come across. I loved how she made it.”

Watch her “TAIL” music video below.

Taylor Swift Files Her Own Lawsuit in Escalating Theme Park Battle

Taylor Swift’s intellectual property management company is taking action after an immersive fantasy theme park in Pleasant Grove, Utah, filed a lawsuit against the artist earlier this month.

While Evermore Park is suing Swift over the use of the “Evermore” trademark — the title of Swift’s ninth studio album released Dec. 11 — a new lawsuit filed by TAS [Taylor Alison Swift] Rights Management is focused on a different matter. The company claims Evermore Park willfully used Swift’s songs without the proper licenses for some time before it filed its lawsuit.

Swift’s attorneys claim that more than a year before the park filed its lawsuit, TAS had been tipped off that the singer’s songs were being performed and played there without the requisite licenses. As early as 2019, BMI, the performing rights organization which protects and collects revenue for the works, began informing the park that they were infringing on Swift’s copyrights by playing the songs and provided a contract for legal usage. Subsequently, BMI sent multiple letters to the park with a draft music license agreement for the songs, asking for the agreement to be signed and returned to BMI’s Nashville location.

Swift’s legal team said park officials ignored the messages from BMI and continued to use the works without proper licenses in performances by the park’s musician character actors for visitors. In addition, after the park learned of this impending lawsuit, its CEO and founder Ken Bretschneider called BMI seeking to purchase a retroactive license to cover all public performances, according to court papers.

Swift’s legal filing comes three weeks after the park sued the singer, TAS and Taylor Nation LLC in federal court in Utah, accusing them of infringing the park’s name by using it as the title of her Evermore album and accompanying merchandise. Evermore Park, which bills itself as providing an immersive experience where performers portray fantasy characters in an interactive world, argued in court papers that it has been the registered owner of the Evermore trademark since 2015.

Swift’s attorneys countered that the park’s lawsuit was merely “a meritless trademark claim” and an attempt to force a settlement based on Swift’s December 2020 release of the evermore album.

The park is also reportedly playing, without licenses, the works of Katy Perry, Abba, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Green Day, Gotye, Journey, Nirvana, Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, Tom Petty, Queen, Weezer and Whitney Houston, among others, according to court papers filed by Swift’s legal team.

Swift is asking the court to order that the park pay damages and be permanently enjoined from playing her works. Her team is also demanding a jury trial.