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Lez Dish It Out: July 7, 2021

Queen Latifah officially addresses her sexual orientation

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Queen Latifah’s sexuality has long had a massive question mark hanging over it. She has “savvily sidestepped inquiries into her sexuality since she first stormed the pop culture continuum as a militant mistress of the mic with the classic hip-hop track “Ladies First” in 1989,” according to the NY Post. “I don’t have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life,” Queen Latifah said to the New York Times in 2008.

However, Queen Latifah has made the bold move to finally address her sexual orientation on her own terms this pride month, during her Lifetime Achievement coronation at the 2021 BET awards. “Eboni, my love,” Queen Latifah (real name Dana Owens) said, touching her heart while addressing her decade-long partner, Eboni Nichols. “Rebel, my love,” she added, acknowledging the son Eboni Nichols and Queen Latifah welcomed in 2019. She ended the speech with “Peace — happy pride!”

Eboni Nichols works as a choreographer on major Hollywood productions, including Girls Trip and Fresh Off the Boat. Eboni and Queen Latifah met on the set of Dancing With the Stars in 2009 yet reportedly didn’t start the private relationship until 2013.

Frida Kahlo’s art exhibited in virtual tour

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Cleve Carney Museum of Art (CCMA) and McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage are offering virtual tours of Frida Kahlo: Timeless. The exhibition features original artwork by bisexual Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, on view until September 6th. On-demand individual tours are guided by commentary from curator Justin Wittle and Executive Director Diana Martinez. Group tours are led by museum docents and offer the opportunity for discussions and questions, with the choice between two sessions a day between Monday-Friday. 

CCMA states that the exhibition “is the most comprehensive presentation of Kahlo’s work displayed in the Chicago area in over 40 years.” The 26-piece collection, loaned from the Museo Dolores Olmedo, will focus on Frida’s life, legacy, and art. It highlights themes of “identity, politics, sexuality and death,” Frida’s childhood and personal struggles, and celebrates Frida as a “symbol of female empowerment, individual courage and mexican pride.” More information is available on the CCMA website.

Taryn Manning is engaged to Anne Cline

Taryn Manning, who stars as Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett on Orange is the New Black, recently got engaged to singer-songwriter Anne Cline. Anne, who was performing at an intimate concert at the time, proposed mid-song. Anne surprised the crowd by walking off the stage, towards Taryn, getting down on one knee and pulling out the ring box. After Taryn gasps, the DJ can be heard saying “I think that’s a yes. Y’all make some noise!” Anne placed the ring on Taryn’s hand and the couple embrace amidst excited cheers. Taryn said to TMZ, “it was the easiest YES I ever said.”

It’s unclear how long Taryn and Anne have been together but, in 2017, Taryn was clear she’d merely experimented with the same-sex, and preferred men, in an interview with People. “I’m not gay, meaning I love men…I love gay people. I’ve experimented. It’s good. I just prefer men.” And yet, a woman stole her heart and put a ring on it!

Hannah Hart and Ella Mielniczenko get married

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Much-loved lesbian YouTuber, Hannah Hart, and marketing coordinater, Ella Mielniczenko, finally got married on the 12th of June, after a three-year engagement and two postponed wedding dates. The couple said “I do” in a beautiful Californian wedding that was well worth the wait. 

Brides report that “the couple first met in 2013 while working together — Ella, a marketing coordinator, was producing a film that Hannah, a digital content creator, starred in — but, since they were dating other people at the time, they were just friends, at first. Hannah asked Ella on a date in August 2016.” 

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The couple got engaged in 2018, on a private beach in Hawaii. Despite undertaking much wedding preparation in 2019 — including shopping for their wedding attire at Say Yes to the DressKleinfeld — the chaos that defined 2020 meant the couple decided to postpone their wedding for at least another year. On postponing, Hannah said “we want glamour and gladness. And we are willing to wait for as long as it takes.” 

The couple decided to minimise their guest list to 96 and require COVID-19 vaccines for all who were willing to attend the celebration. The wedding planning was originally “seamless,” according to the couple. “Emily, our planner, totally got our vision; Hannah cried when she saw the venue for the first time; we had a blast tasting the food, picking out the décor,” recalls Ella. “Everything was set to go until the pandemic hit…and then, there was an almost agonizing process of moving the date TWICE, and refining the entire wedding from 250 to about 100 people.”

Luckily the couple were able to stick to their beloved venue, Holly Farm in Carmel, California, as well as their vision: “Our theme for our wedding was California—we wanted a getaway, multi-day affair, outdoors, and an exquisite Festivus of food and drink,” describes Ella and Hannah. 

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Hannah decided against the traditional white dress and went for a white satin jumpsuit, by Pronovias, found at Kleinfeld, New York. “She made it her own with a custom gold-and-white cape with fringe caps on the shoulder,” reports Brides. Ella wore “the showstopper dress” by Hayley Paige. She accessorised with white boots and a veil adorned with rhinestones. 

Hannah’s father wouldn’t attend her wedding because she’s a lesbian. “Hannah’s mother walked her down the aisle as a string quartet played “Annie’s Song” by John Denver for the processional. “Here Comes the Bride” played for Ella’s entry alongside her parents,” according to Brides.

AJ Kelly

Contact AJ at [email protected] or view the rest of her work on aj-kelly.tumblr.com

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