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Openly Gay Artist Will Sheridan Breaks Down His New EP 'LexIcon'

Brooklyn's Will Sheridan, who also goes by GIANT, is a jack of all trades when it comes to being a life-sized version of what the word "fabulous" really is.

The 33-year-old was originally a major college basketball player at Villanova University in 2003-2007 before shifting gears and immersing himself in the entertainment world. During these years, he came out publicly at the age of 26 after retiring from basketball, which eventually became a must-see interview on ESPN's Outside The Lines.

Music has been his focal area for several years now, where he has released two critically-acclaimed efforts: his first full-length album called G.I.A.N.T. back in 2012 and an EP called Ngoma in 2010. Both of which highlighted his beautiful lyricism, great beats and persona that matches who he is in real life.

Now he's back with his latest effort entitled LexIcon, which is a breath of fresh air in the boring world we live in today when it comes to what the music industry puts out. I spoke with Will exclusively about Lexicon, why he would love to work with Nicki Minaj, and so much more. Take a look.

What inspired you to get into the music industry in the first place?

I always loved to freestyle rap in my free time in college. I also have an undying passion for writing. When I first moved to NYC, I wrote for Source Magazine. While covering artists such as Kid Cudi, Wale and Drake, I thought to myself I can do this too. I never thought of getting into the music industry. I thought I want to make music that represented my journey and my narrative. Ten years later, here I am.

How would you describe your overall sound?

Eclectic, Energetic, based in Hip Hop with House influence. 

Do you have anyone in your life that you consider to be your biggest musical role model?

I never had a role model beyond my mom. I’ve always felt like there’s no blue print for my success or happiness in my life. So, I’ve just followed my heart and did it. 

Tell us about your EP LexIcon and how it came to be.

LexIcon is a result of me constantly asking DJ Lorant, my friend, tour DJ, producer and label exec for beats. He sent me mystic Data and I knew upon first listen that it was special. Then I asked him if we could revisit Fundamentals, a record from my first EP, NGOMA. He agreed to rework the song and I wrote all new lyrics with all new flows and it turned out to be amazing. Then we decided to package it with an eclectic group of remixes from some amazing producers and Boop- we had an EP. The title comes from my love for words and is a play on #GIANT being an Iconic word user.

Do you have a preference over which of the two songs you like more?

I love them all equally. “Do You Have Any” and “Mystic Data” are high level art!

Is this EP part of something bigger in the works?

All of my work, when looking back, is cohesive and fits together even the unofficial records that are SoundCloud exclusives. I’m was working on a full LP about the struggles on my life journey since late 2016 til now, but really wanted to put out something more fun and upbeat to showcase my rhyming talents while also reminding people that I’m chasing legendary iconic status. Right now, LexIcon is the most important project of my life because through adversity, I’m still here, still queer and still making next level music while getting better and perfecting my craft.

Picture you are on stage and a surprise guest comes out to perform with you. Who would it be and why? They can be dead or alive.

Hands down Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj is my favorite. She has so many different styles and hands the best female rapper of All Time! I wish She would sign me- I’d love to even be her hype man because I know all the words to all her songs and if we did a song together I know it would be larger than life, actually it would be #GIANT and that’s FACTS!

I really love Jay Z, Kanye, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott. I honestly wish queer rappers would collaborate more, but I’ve realized who I want to work with does not want to work with me for whatever reason. So I push forward. 

What are your biggest hopes in your career?

I just want to tour.  I’d love to have people really embrace my music and my brand. I really feel that when I pop through people will look back and discover all the musical gems I’ve cooked up and appreciate the artist I am.

Check out the official link for Lexicon here. For more information on Will, you can follow him on Twitter here, and Instagram here.

Rotten Tomatoes Unveils Epic Lists for Pride Month!

Rotten Tomatoes' users have spoken out regarding what they think are the ten best LGBTQ films and television shows of the 2010's.

It is known for being one of the top websites for users to review movies and television shows, and has also drawn a major influence on whether both elements will fair well at the box office and on the small screen. Being certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes over a certain percentage generally means that success is on the way for what you produced.

Now they have curated a list of the best LGBTQ films and television shows since 2010 by their Tomatometer score. The diverse lists celebrate the best storytelling of the queer community from Academy Award and Emmy Award-winners to less well known foreign language projects. 

Take a look at what made the top 10 of both lists below:

TOP 10 LGBTQ FILMS OF THE 2010’s BY TOMATOMETER:

  1. God’s Own Country (2017) - Certified Fresh at 99%
  2. Moonlight (2016) - Certified Fresh at 98%
  3. BPM (2017) - Certified Fresh at 98%
  4. Tangerine (2015) - Certified Fresh at 97%
  5. Tomboy (2011) - Certified Fresh at 97%
  6. Call Me By Your Name (2016) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  7. Behind The Candelabra (2013) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  8. Carol (2015) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  9. Pariah (2011) – Certified Fresh at 94%
  10. A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) – Certified Fresh at 94%

TOP 10 LGBTQ TV SHOWS OF THE 2000’s BY TOMATOMETER:

  1. Banana (2015) - Fresh at 100%
  2. The Fosters (2013 - 2018) Fresh at 97%
  3. Queer Eye (2018 - TBD) Certified Fresh at 96%
  4. Pose (2018 – TBD) Certified Fresh at 96%
  5. Orange is the New Black (2013 – TBD) Fresh at 91%
  6. Cucumber (2015) Fresh at 91%
  7. Looking (2014 – 2015) Fresh at 90%
  8. Will & Grace (2017 – TBD) Certified Fresh at 86%
  9. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (2018) - Certified Fresh at 86%
  10. Sense8 (2015 – 2018) Fresh at 86%

Rotten Tomatoes' editorial staff also named their 150 Best LGBT Movies of All Time.” For more information on Rotten Tomatoes, click here.

Justin Bieber Hugs and Comforts a Gay Fan

Justin Bieber showcased his support for one particular member of the LGBTQ in a really amazing way earlier this week.

A viral video has hit the web that shows the “Sorry” singer talking to a gay fan after leaving church. He’s surrounded by a ton of fans, one of which asks him if his church welcomes LGBTQ people.

“Isn’t your church, like, really inclusive of the gay community?” she asked. He told her that everyone is welcome.

She then opened up to him about recently coming out as queer and her struggles to find an inclusive church because of her own homophobia that she’s experienced in the Catholic community.

“Yeah, that breaks my heart for you,” he replied. "I’m so sorry. That’s not okay. If you ever want to come to any of the services, we’d love to have you in there. You’re more than welcome to come any time.”

Christian singer Trey Pearson, who fronts the band Everyday Sunday, challenged Justin on how his church operates, saying:

Pearson spoke to Billboard about it on Wednesday where he further discussed Hillsong and his beliefs that they are not really down for the LGBTQ community.

"I wonder where Justin Bieber stands, because he has a bunch of LGBT fans, but he goes to a church that is not affirming," Pearson said. "I wonder if he believes it’s wrong to be gay, because his church does. His church forced staff to step down at the New York Hillsong, people that were on the worship team, because they were gay and wanted to get married and be out publicly."

What does he suggest Justin do now?  "I think he could force the conversation. If you’re going to be so vocal for a church that does damage to at least thousands of LGBT lives, if you’re going to at least associate yourself with that, if you’re silent, then you’re an accomplice in it. You are part of that problem. I just want him to think that if he really does care about LGBT people and he’s going to stay with that church, then I think he needs to speak out about it and say something. If not, your silence is continuing to do damage just like everyone else’s that continue to allow churches like that to marginalize our community."

Justin has spoken up for the LGBTQ community in the past and his support for us. He was called "gay" on social media back in 2015, to which he replied "I'm not gay but even if I was that's not an insult."

Fierce! Christian Siriano Hosts Super Fun Pride Event in Philly

It doesn't get any fiercer than this, folks.

Fashion designer Christian Siriano took his fashionable behind to the "City of Brotherly Love" over the weekend to help celebrate Philly Pride in a truly major way.

He Hosted SugarHouse Casino's Philly Pride Day Party yesterday, where his adorable open-mouthed expression was seen throughout the exciting day. 

 

Christian, who has dressed the likes of Viola Davis and Angelina Jolie, had a blast with the casino's guests and staff as he helped cut their massive pride-related cake while enjoying some of the fun games they had inside.

For more information on SugarHouse Casino, check out their official website. For more on Christian, check out his site here

New Hampshire Bans Two Major Anti-LGBT Issues

New Hampshire is giving us two more fantastic reasons to celebrate pride month.

They have officially outlawed gender-based discrimination as well as gay conversion therapy for minors. What's even more incredible is that the man who signed the bills banning this happens to be a Republican.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the corresponding bills (House Bill 1319, House Bill 587) into law on Friday, even though he did this against the advisement of his social conservative supporters and faith-based constituency according to local affiliate WMUR

He was, however, praised for doing this by civil libertarians and LGBTQ rights advocates who praised the Republican chief executive. 

“Discrimination – in any form – is unacceptable and runs contrary to New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Spirit,” Sununu said in a statement after signing HB 1319. "If we really want to be the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, we must ensure that New Hampshire is a place where every person, regardless of their background, has an equal and full opportunity to pursue their dreams and to make a better life for themselves and their families."

“This bill will ensure equal rights, equal opportunity, and nondiscrimination protections in the areas of housing and employment," Sununu also said. The law takes effect on July 8th. New Hampshire will become the 19th state nationally to provide nondiscrimination protections on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. 

The transgender rights bill passed the New Hampshire House and Senate with all Democrats in favor and significant majority Republican support. The conversion therapy ban, on the other hand, passed the House, 179-171, and the Senate, 14-10.

Your Sign Doesn't Matter: All Gays Are Allowed Everywhere

A hardware store owner in Tennessee once again made national news yesterday because he decided to put back up a sign that read "No Gays Allowed" after the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling this week. 

This is a pebble in what could eventually become bricks being thrown at this incredibly strong house that the LGBTQ community has built for decades, so its better to address this issue now than to let it fester and allow people like this owner to do what they are doing because they think they have the right to.

Here's the deal: I am not going back into the closet just because you feel like you are empowered to do these sorts of heinous acts given the political climate that we are in. This community didn't shut up when s**t like this was happening many decades ago, and we aren't shutting up now.

Let's take a look at the logical side of this sign, just for s***s and giggles. Do you really think it matters if someone is gay and they are looking to purchase an item FROM YOUR BUSINESS? They are in your store, they are an interested customer, their sexuality has nothing to do with it. This goes for a cake, a combination lock, a piece of pizza or anything else... you are there to sell your business not your religious beliefs (in my honest opinion).

It's truly disheartening how our community feels like we need to work at this all over again given how far we have come over the years. My sexuality has no influence on a purchase from your brand, the influence it should be having is the increase in cash flow that this homosexual is helping by buying what you are selling. Don't you get that? I don't for the life of me understand how homophobia has crawled itself from under the rug in the workplace in this sort of manner, when the logistics in all of it really doesn't make sense.

You want to practice homophobia in your home life and the people around you, then that's your unfortunate choice. But putting a sign up that says "No Gays Allowed" makes no sense when you don't even know who is gay and who isn't gay when they walk into your stores. Does your hardware location sell gay tracking devices so they know if a gay person is present? How would you even know if the customer that is there is truly a member of our community? Maybe think of these things before putting up a badly drawn piece of cardboard on your storefront. 

If what you are doing, though (and this goes for anyone who feels compelled to put up a similar homophobic piece) is strictly for your "own religious beliefs", then the resistance you will feel from our community will be present regardless. As stated before, we are not going to back down because of where we are politically. This does not equate, as the right side has called us, an "agenda" of sorts, its finally getting everyone in this entire world to realize after all this time that we are all the same underneath all of this and that our sexuality doesn't give you a free pass to hate. 

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

Zach Adam & Adam Joseph Battle Mental Illness in 'Gravity'

Multi-talented out musicians Zach Adam and Adam Joseph are uniting on the first single from Zach Adam’s new LGBTQ music label, Magic Town Media, and fans will not be able to escape their “Gravity.”  

“Adam and I have been collaborating for years as songwriters, but this is the first time we are releasing an original track together,” explains Zach Adam, the international music and video maker whose incredible skills on stage and in the recording booth have earned him the moniker as “gay music authority.”  “Originally, we had the idea to do a song about love being a force of nature but a new, deeper, meaning and feeling began to develop as we started laying down vocals in the studio.”    

“Suddenly, our love and break up song revealed a layer that might raise awareness and give comfort to those who need it most,” says Adam Joseph.  Written by the powerhouse duo and produced by Zach, “Gravity” is a soaring pop track about yearning to overcome addiction and depression.  It features Adam Joseph’s soulful tenor vocals over lush synths, sweeping choruses and intense percussion. It is the first release from Zach Adam’s new LGBTQ music label, Magic Town Media, as well as the first single from his upcoming album, and to gain attention across a wide array of dance floors and media platforms, Magic Town Media is supporting the record with a superstar collection of remixes and a captivating music video. “Zach Adam Feat. Adam Joseph: Gravity” is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Zach Adam and Adam Joseph have had experience with depression and suicide, both personally and through people they loved. Says Zach, “We’re artists.  We feel things deeply and have had to go through the motions. I’m hoping this song and its music video spark a conversation about suicide and help to bring it out of the dark because change will only happen when the stigma loses its power.”

“It has taken me years to work through my serious battle with addiction and depression,” reveals Joseph.  “It is something I am still fighting today and will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life.  It’s not a feeling one can ever completely get over and that is why songs like ‘Gravity’ are so important.  They are tools of encouragement that help people like me by reminding us to keep moving forward.”

Adam Joseph is an award-winning vocalist, producer, recording engineer and songwriter. He has released two solo albums and been a featured vocalist on songs with Grammy nominated DJ/Producer Bob Sinclar, Wet Fingers, Plastik Funk, and Lem Springsteen of Mood II Swing.  He has been remixed by Bass Jackers, David Jones and Deeplomatik. Joseph has also written songs for #1 Billboard artists Inaya Day and Lea Lorien, among others. His latest viral smash, "Linda Evangelista,” featuring Aja from RuPaul’s Drag Race was featured on the reunion special of the popular Vh1 show. Adam Joseph has been featured in Billboard, OUT and Paper magazines, as well as The Village Voice, The LA Times and CNN.

Zach Adam, too, wears many hats.  He is an international songwriter, producer, instrumentalist, singer, photographer, director and music video producer. He’s the winner of the Billboard Pop Songwriting Award, Composer and Song Of The Year Awards,  and has had 17 number 1 hits in Asia and Europe as well as five Top 15 American Billboard hits. Zach has had success working in various genres with artists from Martha Wash, The First Ladies Of Disco, XELLE and Offer Nissim among many others. His most recent Billboard hit was “Light Beams” featuring Rony G. He also has a large Instagram following @zachadammusic.

“Zach and I started writing together a few years ago when I was still living in NYC,”  explains Adam Joseph. “I was a fan of the work he was doing with the group XELLE.  He kind of reminded me of myself except way better at everything. We started chatting online, then got together and clicked really fast from that first writing session.”

Many of their works have been recorded by other artists.  “Gravity” is the first to come along that Adam Joseph thought was right for him to sing on.   “Not only was it the perfect song for my register, it had a message I could connect with,” he says.  “With so many crises plaguing us from the opioid epidemic, teen bullying, trans rights, soldiers suffering PTSD… I really think the world needs ‘Gravity’ right now.   Its another gentle reminder that no one is alone in their struggle and that we must recognize our obstacles in order to overcome them.”

In addition to the radio version, Magic Town Media is releasing a remix package  for “Gravity” featuring dance versions of the song by DJ Pacifico, GSP, Max Grandon, Melodika, Angelino Loren, Pumpkin Spice, Thiago and Adam Joseph.

The accompanying music video was directed by Zach Adam and shot in New York.   Adam Jospeh flew in from Los Angeles and he and Zach shot it in two days.   “I will never forget how unhappy I was putting my face on that Brooklyn sidewalk,” Joseph admits.   “Just imagining how many dirty shoes and dogs that cement had seen before me was very unsettling but I sucked it up and did what I had to do.” 

“It was just one more thing that proved this multi talented guy can do it all,” laughs Zach. “Adam’s voice and energy shine brilliantly in ‘Gravity’ and I’m happy we did this together.”

Zach Adam Feat. Adam Joseph: Gravity” is available on iTunes. The “Gravity Remix Pack” is also available.  Follow Zach Adam on Instagram @zachadammusic and visit www.zachadam.com.

Welcome! Here's Andrew Christian's First Trans Model

A personal trainer in the San Diego area has become the first trans model to be featured in an underwear campaign for a well-known underwear company named Andrew Christian.

His name is Jesse Diamond.  The Tacoma, Washington born model spoke with Gay Stars News about landing this incredible gig, where he revealed how his aspirations in life were to be somewhat like Mark Wahlberg from the early stages of his career.

"When I started working out about five years ago, my dream was basically to become Marky Mark," he said. "I wanted to be an underwear model, a buff guy, and I’ve been buying Andrew Christians for years. So it was definitely like a dream come true for me."

 

Just a friendly reminder

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Jesse began the transition process four years ago, which has had some setbacks along the way including his debut go-go dancing at a gay Los Angeles strip club and the challenge of finding work as a personal trainer.

"Most of the other people I’ve worked with have been trans people. Cis males don’t seem to want to work with me because of my stature. I’m too small. And then women don’t want to work with me because I’m too muscular."

Jesse is featured in Andrew Christian's annual Proud campaign, produced each year to promote the well-known underwear brand around Pride season. What's even better is that this is his first ever modeling job... not too shabby.

"We are so proud to have Jesse Diamond, our first FTM trans model, as one of our brand ambassadors", designer Andrew Christian told GSN.

Congrats to Jesse! Read more on the interview here

 

R&B Crooner Benjamin Hey! Releases Video for 'Drank, Cup!'

He defines himself as "Black, blonde & bold," and "what the game has been missing," on his official bio. His name is Benjamin Hey! and his musical presence is one that you'll be getting to know as his star power continues to rise.

The Brooklyn native, who now calls New York City his home, has been gaining a ton of traction in the music industry due to his musical efforts that combine the powers of Usher, Michael Jackson and many more R&B crooners who have become legends in their own rights. Now, it's Ben's turn, as he just released another stellar effort that will definitely get the crowd going throughout pride and the rest of the summer.

The song is called "Drank Cup!" and the concept of it rings true to the title of the song. He is flanked by a couple of good looking dudes in the background, as the three of them party it up poolside to his irresistible track. Definitely one you'll want to bop your head to while cruising around with your hunties. 

See the clip below, and for more info on Benjamin Hey!, click here:

 

Watch: Older Gay Men Try New Gay Slang

This can't get any cuter!

INTO just uploaded a video featuring three very handsome older gay men who are trying to pronounce words and phrases that are commonly used by younger gays and then react to their meaning. And yes, "Bussy" happens to be one of them. 

Other phrases that young gay men are saying that they try to figure out the meaning of include "beat for the gods" where one of them translates it to "one wild masturbation session," "extra" or in their case, "someone who is special," and so much more.

The hilarity continues over the five-minute clip, but there is something so endearing about these men as they were ones who paved the way for us to be able to use many of these expressions as freely as we do today.

Watch: 

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