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WHHY, All The Hits, Y102 Cumulus Broadcasting, 1 Commerce Street, Suite 300 Montgomery, AL 36104 Business: 334-240-9274 Fax: 334-240-9219 Request Line: 334-860-1102 General Manager: Don Pollnow, don.pollnow@cumulus.com Program Director: Rick Hendrick, rick1.hendrick@cumulus.com Business Manager: Jennifer Ruff, jennifer.carter@cumulus.com Engineer: Herb Connellan, herb.connellan@cumulus.com Promotions Director: April Taylor, april.taylor@cumulus.com Y102 offers unparalleled advertising opportunities. Whatever your business, whatever…More

PODCAST – “As Me” with Sinéad

PODCAST – “As Me” with Sinéad

What’s the first step towards becoming more empathetic? Listening. Academic, TED alum, fashion enthusiast, and advocate Sinéad Burke leads candid conversations with diverse, notable guests who explain what it’s like to be them.  SUBSCRIBE for FREE to this Westwood One podcast; CLICK HERE!More

PODCAST – Zach Sang: Just The Interviews

PODCAST – Zach Sang: Just The Interviews

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Chris Brown Shares First Photo Reveals His Newborn Son’s Name

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Ariana Grande Announces New Live Album

Ariana Grande Announces New Live Album

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The Black Film Archive wants to show the world just how limitless Black cinema really is

The Black Film Archive wants to show the world just how limitless Black cinema really is

Though they go by different names, almost every major streaming service has some type of “Black film” collection, often promoted during the month of February or, during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, in the summer.

These collections mainly act as an exhibit for the Black movie titles the streamer already has, and as a result, the movies are often from the last 10 years, or maybe the last 20. It’s rare to see movies prior to those made in the 1980s. Clicking through the titles, one might think that Black cinema simply didn’t exist in the years before that.

But Black Film Archive, a new internet tool developed by Maya Cade, aims to change minds. By chronicling historic Black movies — starting in 1915 and stretching all the way to 1979 — Cade recontextualizes what Black cinema can be. Featuring more than 200 titles, the archive showcases each film by decade, giving a brief description of the movie, written by Cade, along with some context and a link for folks to watch the movie themselves.

For now, the Black Film Archive only highlights movies that can be found somewhere in the corners of the internet, on YouTube or other small streaming sites.

“A part of my intentionality here, is bringing these films to the conversation,” Cade, whose day job is at the Criterion Collection, told CNN. “When we have these conversations about what Black film is, it’s really devoid of history. So really, I hope that now it won’t have to be.”

This, of course, isn’t to say that movies from the 1980s or 1990s are any less important, Cade said. But they do tend to be more accessible, and titles like “Do The Right Thing” (1989) and “Love Jones” (1997) often ring bells.

In the decades before, though, Hollywood was actively investing in Black cinema, Cade explained, and the period produced a wealth of iconic Black movies, like the musical “Carmen Jones” (1954) or the romantic comedy “Claudine” (1974).

But over time, a number of films released in the last three decades shifted their focus to topics surrounding Black trauma — these include critically acclaimed slave narratives such as “Beloved” and “12 Years a Slave.” Recent conversations surrounding Black film have been critical of the emphasis on such narratives, pointing out that there are also stories of Black joy worth celebrating.” There also tend to be generalizations about what Black film is, or what it has been in the past. Cade wanted to shift those conversations.

“I think when we have a deepened relationship with the past, we realize quickly that these generalizations don’t hold up,” she said. In the movies featured in the archive, “we see there’s romance, there’s joy, there’s tenderness, there’s light in these films.”

One movie Cade mentioned specifically is “Killing Time,” a 1979 short film by Fronza Woods, about a woman trying to find the best outfit to end her life in. The movie is a dark comedy, Cade said, and many might not associate Black people with the genre, especially in the past.

“What I hope to remove (with the) Black Film Archive is the assumption that a Black person has not done something as it relates to film,” she said.

Cade recognizes that she’s not the first person to bring these older Black films to light. And other archival preservation projects on Black film — like the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film & Television Archive — also exist.

But, with an emphasis on user-friendliness, her website makes these movies accessible to a younger generation, one that might be internet-first and unlikely to delve deep into Black film scholarship on their own.

And so far, hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from the site, and Cade has received “countless” messages and emails from people thanking her for the work she’s done.

The site has “captured individuals,” Cade said, and it’s given her encouragement to continue the project.

Soon, Cade plans on expanding the archive, eventually hoping to encompass every film that exists from the pre-1980 period — showing just how limitless Black cinema can be.

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How televangelist Tammy Faye Messner became a gay icon
Randall Michelson/WireImage/Getty Images

How televangelist Tammy Faye Messner became a gay icon

Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker) was camp incarnate. With her wildly over-the-top makeup and garish animal-print ensembles, a penchant for singing Christian disco anthems despite her lack of voice training, and a sense of childlike wonder with which she preached her gospel, she made for compelling TV viewing.

Though the televangelist is remembered for all of those things and more (including her first husband, Jim Bakker, getting convicted for defrauding churchgoers out of more than $150 million), what endures is the seemingly sincere love she had for her gay fans.

Messner, who appeared on TV for nearly all of her adult life, could come off as artificial onscreen. But it was groundbreaking in 1985, when she interviewed a gay man living with AIDS and showed him compassion (amid some very personal questions about her interviewee’s sex life). It was a departure from the norm to hear a person in her position — half of an evangelical Christian couple — support gay people, especially as evangelism became increasingly conservative. Messner spoke out about that, too.

“I think I have a lot in common with the gay population because they’ve been made fun of and put down and misunderstood and have really had a rough row to hoe in life,” she told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2002, ahead of a live show she performed for primarily gay audiences. “They identify with me and I certainly identify with what they’re still going through.”

Messner, who died from cancer in 2007, takes the stage again, this time portrayed by Jessica Chastain in the film “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” which shares a name with a 2000 documentary on the icon. In both films, Messner’s support for gay people and people diagnosed with AIDS is amplified — and by doing so, both films attempt to redeem her memory.

She interviewed a gay AIDS patient

The HIV/AIDS epidemic had barely been discussed by the US government, let alone a televangelist couple like the Bakkers, in the 1980s when it reached its peak. But in 1985, Messner invited AIDS patient and minister Steve Pieters onto her show to discuss his diagnosis, his faith and his sexuality.

When speaking to Pieters, who was recovering from chemotherapy, Messner started to tear up over his parents’ reaction when he came out as gay.

“No matter what happens to a young person in their life, they’re still your boy, they’re still your girl,” she said. “And I think it’s so important that we as mom and dad love through anything.”

After telling Pieters she wanted to “put [her] arms around him,” she went on to ask him about his sexual relationships with women and whether he thought he just hadn’t given women a “fair try.”

Pieters told CNN affiliate KABC he thought Messner was “pretty savvy” in asking what she did, even though some of those questions could be considered offensive today, since her audience likely didn’t know many gay men or people with AIDS.

“I’ve had so many people tell me over the years those were such stupid questions or such silly questions, but for her audience they were the right questions,” Pieters told KABC earlier this month.

She teared up again during the interview after Pieters discussed losing his friends, asking her live audience and the viewers, “How sad that we as Christians, who are to be the salt of the earth, we who are supposed to be able to love everyone, are afraid so badly of an AIDS patient that we will not go up and put our arm around them and tell them that we care?”

In a 2002 interview with the LGBTQ outlet Metro Weekly, Messner said she was aware of the impact that episode would have with gay viewers.

“I was probably one of the first ever to have a gay man on my show,” she said of the episode with Pieters. “And so I think they remember that. They knew that we accepted them.”

She showed up for gay supporters

Following Jim Bakker’s fraud conviction and the couple’s divorce, Messner grew more vocal about supporting gay people as a Christian, even when the evangelical Christian community disapproved. (It was also around this time she married Roe Messner, who also went to prison for fraud related to the Bakkers’ theme park, and changed her last name.)

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, she was a regular attendee at Washington’s Capital Pride Festival, even co-judging a Tammy Faye lookalike contest with raucous drag queen Lady Bunny. She assisted gay advocacy groups at charity events and befriended notable gay figures like RuPaul and the filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and the pair eventually directed the 2000 documentary about Messner’s life.

That documentary was largely sympathetic toward Messner and highlighted her popularity among gay fans — and it helped reshape the image of Messner from a disgraced televangelist to a pillar of accepting Christianity.

In an appearance on “The RuPaul Show,” Messner shared an easy rapport with the famed drag queen. When asked by RuPaul what she made of comments that Messner is a drag queen herself, the former televangelist smiled, made a face, then got serious.

“I say everybody must be who they are,” she said, speaking to the camera like she did for so many years on the PTL Network. “Young people, don’t ever let anyone make you something that you’re not.”

She called out anti-gay Christians

In a scene in the new film “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Messner (Chastain) states her support for gay people early on, years before she invited Pieters onto her program.

“I don’t think of them as homosexuals, I just think of them as other human beings that I love,” she tells a stunned Jerry Falwell, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. “You know, we’re all just people, made out of the same old dirt. And God didn’t make any junk!”

Messner defended her support of gay people as a devout Christian later in real life, too. She said she saw it as her mission from her God to extend her love to all of humanity.

In her interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Messner said Christians had “gotten far away” from the church’s teachings of acceptance and love for all people.

“[Christians] have become condemning,” she said after reasserting her love for her gay fans. “It’s just sad to me what has happened to Christians today.”

Her support for gay people stood in sharp contrast from evangelical leaders like Falwell, who took over the Bakkers’ Praise the Lord Network. In a 2000 interview, and repeatedly in his broadcasts, he called homosexuality “so wrong.”

The limits to Tammy Faye’s support of gay rights

Messner’s support had its limits. In 2002, NPR reported that Messner refused to speak about political issues like same-sex marriage and said she wouldn’t participate in Pride parades, though she often appeared at Pride events, where she’d ask attendees to forgive those who discriminated against them.

Randy Shulman, then a publisher of Metro Weekly, told NPR at the time that Messner’s message was muddled, and that he suspected she didn’t fully approve of her gay fans’ sexuality.

“It comes back to this forgiveness thing,” Shulman told NPR. “If you read between the lines, she’s not saying to me, ‘It’s OK that you’re gay; she’s saying, ‘I forgive you for being gay and when you go off and die, it’s going to be between you and your maker.'”

In a 2002 interview that same year with Metro Weekly, Messner was asked what advice she would give to a young gay person whose parents haven’t accepted them.

“Don’t throw your gayness in anyone’s face, just live your life,” she told Metro Weekly. “But I also think honesty is always the best policy.”

It was clear, though, that Messner understood her second wind of success was largely owed to her gay fans. In her last interview, a conversation with Larry King the day before she died, Messner said that when she and Jim Bakker lost everything after he misused funds from the PTL Club’s ministry, “it was the gay people that came to [her] rescue.” She’d always love them for that, she told King.

Messner’s recognition of the LGBTQ community was still significant during her lifetime. Though he was skeptical about her motivations, Schulman told NPR “we could all stand to learn from” her, adding, “If you can find it in your heart to love everybody, no matter what their flaws, then how is that a bad thing?”

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TV OT: How the Emmys sounded the alarms for the award-show ratings nightmare. Plus: Casting ‘LuLaRich,’ and ‘On the Verge’

TV OT: How the Emmys sounded the alarms for the award-show ratings nightmare. Plus: Casting ‘LuLaRich,’ and ‘On the Verge’

The record-low ratings for last year’s Emmys turned out to be the canary in the coalmine for steep across-the-board drops in award-show viewing — the alarm for an unwelcome wakeup call. Yet if hope springs eternal that those shows can at least partially rebound, challenges associated with the pandemic and shift to streaming only heightened problems already plaguing TV’s highest honor and awards in general.

The 73rd edition of the nighttime Emmys will air Sunday, after drawing a record-low 6.1 million viewers last year, despite what most agreed was an impressively resourceful virtual ceremony. While there was some modest hand-wringing over that number, in hindsight it served as a warning for the 50-plus-percent ratings swoon by the Golden Globes, Grammys and Oscars that followed.

The pandemic and going virtual surely played a role in that. The dour state of the world not only made Hollywood back-patting appear even more inconsequential but robbed the events of the red-carpet glamor and “Who wore it best?” fashion debates that elevate these shows beyond just who wins or doesn’t.

Still, even before coronavirus award-show ratings have declined. Part of that has to do with the challenges of an industry in transition, one evolving from the broad appeal of TV’s earlier days to siloed-off viewing by a splintered audience choosing its own pay-to-view menu.

The Emmys, in particular, have wrestled with abundant content that has fragmented viewing to the point where most people haven’t heard of, much less avidly watched, many of the nominees.

Including programs like Disney+’s “WandaVision” and “The Mandalorian” (each winners of multiple Emmys at the Creative Arts ceremonies) could broaden the appeal, particularly among sci-fi/genre fans who have seldom earned much recognition in award circles historically.

At the same time, the push toward streaming has only hastened the balkanization of TV, with subscribers to certain streaming services not sharing even the same options as those who might pay up for others. On top of that, we don’t know how many people are watching nominated shows like “Ted Lasso” or “The Boys” on Apple TV+ and Amazon, respectively, since those outlets don’t share viewing data.

Everyone, naturally, has an explanation for why award-show ratings have fallen, starting with the ready availability of clips that lessen the need to tune in live. Conservatives put the blame on Hollywood’s politics and outspoken liberal stars — a factor, surely, but not one by itself that can account for the pace of the losses, especially since those dynamics are hardly new.

Of course, award shows serve a purpose that goes beyond ratings, reflecting career-topping achievements for those in Hollywood eager to receive such recognition from their industry peers. But they are also commercial enterprises for the networks that air them and the organizations behind them, which draw most of their revenues from TV fees.

The Emmys will go on, as will the Oscars and Grammys. Thanks to the hunger for web traffic, they’ll be covered and analyzed by media outlets, overlooking how much those lights have dimmed.

The truth, at this point, is that there might be no fixing a problem with so many moving parts. About all networks can do is to try making these presentations as appealing as they can be, and hope that’s enough to stop the bleeding.

Failing to crack the ‘Code’

After two movies based on Dan Brown’s books starring Tom Hanks, “The Da Vinci Code” character Robert Langdon gets a bland series spin for the streaming service Peacock. “The Lost Symbol” goes younger (don’t they always?) by casting Ashley Zukerman in the central role of the Harvard symbologist, embarking on an adventure with a shadowy voice pulling the strings.

Basically, the first few episodes feel like the TV version of the franchise that someone would have made in the 1990s, which is fine, but not really the stuff of streaming. Forced to put it in Langdon’s terms, the emoji for the show — which premiered Thursday — would be a shrug or a thumbs down, take your pick.

Casting the ‘LuLaRich’ miniseries

The cast of “Tiger King” has had their 15 minutes. The newest docuseries obsession of the masses is Amazon’s “LuLaRich.” CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez shares her dream cast for the inevitable miniseries.

“In taking on the story of multilevel marketing company LuLaRoe, ‘Fyre Fraud’ directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby traded stories about sad cheese sandwiches for those about hamburger crotch leggings. The result was, unlike the thought of the aforementioned food items, delicious.

It took about 10 minutes — around the time Mark Stidham, one of the founders of the company, said “out of our 14 children, two of them are married” (to each other!) — to decide this needed to be made into a miniseries.

For anyone willing to take it on (paging Adam McKay?), I’ve done some of the casting work for you:

Mark and DeAnne Stidham, CEO and president/founder of LuLaRoe: Woody Harrelson and Katy Mixon. These roles demand people who can pull off homespun charm, which these two actors have in spades. Mixon is quite young for this role and would require one heck of a physical transformation, but her experience playing a mom-in-charge on “American Housewife” makes her particularly qualified to portray a woman who built a billion-dollar company by speaking their language.

Sam Schultz, DeAnne’s nephew and former director of events: Chris Sullivan. Sam is a big personality and the ‘This Is Us’ alum has had plenty of practice doing exactly that. Also, for a brief moment when Sam was introduced in the documentary, I thought it WAS Sullivan.

Derryl Trujillo, former home office employee who is so disgusted with the company that he won’t listen to Kelly Clarkson because she performed at a LuLaRoe event: Paul Walter Hauser. This was a hard one because Trujillo, who is having a moment since the release of this doc, is one-of-a-kind. But I can see Hauser quoting Gen. Martok from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” with believable conviction.

Ashleigh Lautaha, one of the first LuLaRoe retailers who says when her marriage hit hard times, it was suggested that she read ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,’ which ‘is geared toward being submissive’: Alexandra Breckenridge. The ‘Virgin River’ star would nail the role of this no-nonsense mom.

LaShae Kimbrough, former home office employee who called out the lack of diversity in the company: Ptosha Storey of BET series ‘Tyler Perry’s The Oval’ and ‘Empire.; Kimbrough was one of my favorites in the docuseries, if for this quote alone: ‘You guys should be held accountable, whether you be sued or your story be told because remember you started in the trunk of your car. So you never forget you was just selling skirts, sweetheart, out the trunk of your car, and now look at you. So the least you can do is show the people who put you where you are some respect.’ Storey is an actress who can unleash a truth bomb with the grace usually seen only in those who recite poetry.”

I wish more people were talking about ‘On the Verge’

CNN’s Megan Thomas shares that she watched the entire first season of “On the Verge” almost as fast as “LuLaRich,” like a “glass of sauvignon blanc on a Friday at 5 p.m.”

“Julie Delpy, the Gen X heroine of the ‘Before’ franchise, helped turn a long conversation between two people into three beautiful films. Her latest project, ‘On the Verge,’ is a conversation between four women, friends who are dealing with strained marriages, career change and parenting.

The 12-episode Netflix series is set in Los Angeles over two months in early 2020, on the verge of the pandemic and big changes for each character. Delpy created the show and wrote and directed several episodes. Her humorous, thoughtful and at times cringe-inducing look at the lives four specific women may only resonate with a particular demographic, but that’s kind of the point. Women in their mid 40s and 50s aren’t often at the center of stories on screen — and are frequently made to feel like a secondary character in their lives off screen. ‘On the Verge’ explores the messiness of midlife with candor and confidence. ‘The show is talking about not having to lie about your age,’ Delpy recently told The New York Times. ‘Or pretend you’re something else.'”

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Snow Tha Product has proved her doubters wrong
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images North America

Snow Tha Product has proved her doubters wrong

Snow Tha Product is the socially-conscious raptress the world needs right now.

Born Claudia Alexandra Feliciano in San Jose, California, to undocumented Mexican immigrant parents, the rapper is set to the judge the US Finals of Red Bull Batalla, the world’s largest Spanish rap battle, this weekend.

Despite more than a decade in the music industry, she sounds like she can hardly believe she’s involved.

“I’m honored to be able to be there and be invited as a celebrity judge.” she told CNN. “I don’t even know if I should be judging people with their freestyles. I’m honored.”

The woman who started out as an independent artist who just wanted to be heard, now has millions of followers on social media and a Video Music Award win, courtesy her appearance on “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “The Hamilton Mixtape.”

She said she encountered skepticism early on.

“Most of my peers laughed at me like ‘You really think you’re going to be a rapper,'” she said. “It was like ‘You’re a Mexican chick from Cali, what do you know about rapping?’ I’m glad I stuck with it.”

Snow, who identifies as lesbian and Latinx, uses her platform to talk about things like immigration and social justice. “Putting the medicine into the candy” is how she describes some of the messaging in her music.

The bilingual rapper credits Nicki Minaj and Cardi B among the artists who have raised the platform of women in hip hop, and she celebrates the range of style among current female rhyme artists.

“Thanks to the internet we all have a lot more visibility,” Snow said. “It’s awesome. It’s a great time.”

There’s also plenty of cross over.

Trap music, a subgenre of hip hop which began in the South and often focuses on urban living, is growing in popularity in Latin America and Latinx communities, Snow said.

“I think there’s a lot of similarities in what the subject matter is in trap music and what Latinx people go through,” Snow said. “I think Black and brown have always been in kind of the same neighborhoods and always gone through similar struggles. It’s very relatable, the rags to riches story.”

It’s a story, she said, we love to see in films and on TV. She knows a bit about television having starred as Lil’ Traviesa, known as Lil’ T, on the crime drama “Queen of the South.”

“I loved it, I loved every bit of it,” she said. “I’d take acting lessons just to be able to do that again.”

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Kid Cudi writes tribute to Lil Nas X, while criticizing homophobia in hip-hop
AP/Getty Images

Kid Cudi writes tribute to Lil Nas X, while criticizing homophobia in hip-hop

Lil Nas X and his sexuality have somehow become a hot topic of discussion among rappers and hip-hop fans alike. And now, rapper Kid Cudi is standing up for rap’s wunderkind.

When Lil Nas X dropped the tracklist for his debut album “Montero” earlier this month, some people criticized the young rapper for having no Black men featured, despite having multiple Black women on the album.

In response, Lil Nas X wrote, “maybe a lot of them just don’t wanna work with me.”

That made veteran rapper Kid Cudi “sad,” Cudi wrote in a piece for Time’s “100 Most Influential People” while praising Lil Nas X.

“There’s a homophobic cloud over hip-hop, and he’s going to break that sh-t down,” Kid Cudi wrote in the piece, published Wednesday. “We have to stand with him. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to let him know — you have my support.”

Since coming out as gay, Lil Nas X has been the subject of rampant backlash from some members of the hip-hop community who have painted him and his sexuality as a threat to Black men. This happened most notably when rapper Boosie used slurs against Lil Nas X, threatening to “beat [Lil Nas X’s] a**.” Boosie’s comments came days after rapper DaBaby insulted gay men and shared misinformation about HIV during a performance at the music festival Rolling Loud.

“To have a gay man in hip-hop doing his thing, crushing records — that is huge for us and for Black excellence,” Kid Cudi wrote Wednesday. “The way he’s unafraid to make people uncomfortable is so rock ‘n’ roll. He’s a true rock star.”

After months of teasing, Lil Nas X’s debut album “Montero” finally dropped Friday. Though there’s no Kid Cudi feature yet, Lil Nas X did hint on Twitter earlier this month that it could be coming on a deluxe version.

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