Entertainment

A Valedictorian Wasn’t Allowed To Give A Speech Because He’s Gay, So J.Lo Came To His Hometown To Bring His Noise

J.Lo has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and she’s not slowing down any time soon. Just last week, the Puerto Rican superstar took the time to lend her support to 18-year-old gay-identified Nat Werth. She heard that Werth was silenced from speaking on his experience as a gay teenager and denied his right to give a valedictorian speech. Lopez was shocked.

Werth worked hard to graduate from Sheboygan Lutheran High School at the very top of his class. While he didn’t give the speech he was entitled to, his courage has certainly sparked several opportunities to empower the LGBTQ+ community since then.

J.Lo is on her #ItsMyPartyTour, and, apparently, everyone is welcome.

Credit: @NewNowNext / Twitter

She invited Werth to the Milwaukee concert and arranged to meet with him backstage. She wanted to make sure that he felt some support for being out, open, and courageous enough to share in a vulnerable place.

The fact that Werth even wanted to open up about a painful, personal experience to an audience that is likely unreceptive is courageous.

Credit: @JLo / Twitter

Werth decided to take the staged opportunity to talk about his experience of being gay at the Christian school and to offer his understanding of the Biblical passages that are often used by homophobes to condemn homosexuality. 

The school refused to let him give the speech.

Credit: @JLo / Twitter

He let them know that he was willing to cut the parts they didn’t like, knowing it was a controversial move on his part, but one worth taking. The school ultimately told him that, given his “track record,” they couldn’t trust him to stick to the script. Let us remind you his track record landed him a valedictorian title.

The salutatorian gave the speech instead, but Werth was honored with an even bigger stage.

Credit: @mkepride / Twitter

PrideFest Milwaukee honored him with its 2019 Valor Award and gave him an opportunity to finally deliver that speech. He started by telling the crowd, “I came out to my family on my 18th birthday. I knew that being forced out of my home was a very real possibility. I knew that my parents did not approve of gay people but I also knew they needed to know the truth in order to overcome their prejudice.”

“At church, I was taught that there was something wrong with me and that I had to change in order for God to accept me,” he told a [now, sobbing] crowd.

“I took it upon myself to examine the six passages in the Bible that talk about homosexuality. It quickly became clear that God, in fact, does not hate gay people,” he announced to a round of applause. Werth laughed off an “Amen,” in response. 

Werth is also meeting with the Department of Public Instruction to correct Lutheran High’s discrimination towards its LGBT students.

@JLo / Twitter

Since the time of Werth’s graduation and his speech at PrideFest, he’s been getting to work on some policy changes. He informed the crowd that, “the Wisconsin School Choice Program allocates vouchers to students who qualify for financial aid in private institutions. Sheboygan Lutheran participates in this program. It is important to know that School Choice requires participating schools to follow certain guidelines, which include nondiscrimination, the option to take religion classes and the opportunity for students to speak with the board of directors if they would like, all of which Lutheran does not do.”

“No child should be taught by their school that they have to hate themselves to love themselves,” Werth concluded.

@JLo / Twitter

We know that J.Lo–a GLAAD Vanguard Award recipient, is in absolute agreement. Werth had to endure his own school teaching him that the essence of what allows him to love is wrong. The “Free Mom Hugs” signs at Pride make us all weep, but seeing this mami taking the time to give this wronged young man a hug is breaking our hearts into a million pieces and glueing it all back together. ❤️

J.Lo also made sure to tweet out her support for both Werth, and the entire gay community.

@JLo / Twitter

J.Lo is “always standing with” Werth, and what a beautiful way to graduate high school. Werth himself said that meeting J.Lo was “absolutely an amazing experience he will never forget,” Today anchor Carson Daly reported.

READ: Receiving High Praise, J.Lo Uses Gender Neutral Pronouns To Describe Her Sister’s Second Child

Italian Mayors Are Showing J.Lo A Lot Of Love After She Mentioned Wanting To Move To The Country

Entertainment

Italian Mayors Are Showing J.Lo A Lot Of Love After She Mentioned Wanting To Move To The Country

jlo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez has checked off more than all the bucket list life experiences “Jenny from the Block” could have even imagined, but there’s still one more she yearns for: to live abroad in a small town in Italy or in Bali and enjoy the simple things in life. The 50-year-old singer, actress, producer, and businesswoman has graced the cover of Vanity Fair alongside an in-depth interview that affirms the importance of Latinas gaining power in the U.S. and a long-held desire to leave it all behind for a “more simple and organic” life. In the wake of J.Lo’s recent Academy snub for her role in “Hustlers,” she confirms that she is very intentional about why she’s only hired female directors for all her productions to date. “It’s about breaking the mold of what people are used to,” she told Vanity Fair’s Britt Hennemuth.

It’s clear that J.Lo is committed to breaking the glass ceiling for Latinas and all women alike here in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped mayors across the Italian countryside from wooing Jenny from the Block to move to their idyllic town.

Lopez revealed that all she wants to do is “ride a bike, and buy bread, and put it in my basket, and then go home and put jelly on it.”

CREDIT: @JLO / TWITTER

For Lopez, that kind of life may only be possible somewhere very far on the other side of the world, more removed from her celebrity. “I would love to live somewhere other than the United States, in a small town in Italy, or on the other side of the world, in Bali. Find another life where it’s a little bit more simple and organic and where I get to ride a bike, and buy bread, and put it in my basket, and then go home and put jelly on it, and just eat and paint, or sit in a rocking chair where there was a beautiful view of an olive tree or an oak tree and I could just smell. I have fantasies like that,” Lopez told the magazine.

“If you ever do move overseas don’t forget to take Arod with you,” one Twitter user implored of J.Lo. While it doesn’t seem like Americans are taking her fantasy too seriously, the rest of the world certainly is. 

Several mayors around Italy have publicly reached out to the Puerto Rican Renaissance Woman.

CREDIT: @JLO / TWITTER

The mayor of San Quirico d’Orcia, a town in the Tuscan countryside, announced, “We are the Italy that Jennifer Lopez is looking for. We are a small but beautiful town surrounded by endless olive groves and a landscape recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage area.” Mayor Bartoli didn’t forget to mention that “we have great bakeries that produce wonderful bread.”

Cagliari’s mayor, Paolo Truzzu, tossed his beloved town into the running as well. “Dear Jennifer, come and live with us in Cagliari” to enjoy “good things to eat, a slow rhythm of life, contact with nature and a lovely climate,” he said. The residents of some of these towns have reached out to Lopez to second their mayor’s invitation. “Hey @JLo! Did you receive the invitation from Cagliari’s mayor Paolo Truzzu to come to live here? He’s available to host you. Let us know!” one Cagliari resident tweeted at J.Lo. JLo, come to live in Italy there are many beautiful villages!! come on the Amalfi Coast or in Cilento,  I recommend also San Valentino Torio the land of lovers, 20 min from  Pompei,” another Italian Twitter user informed the superstar. 

Lopez also emphasized the importance of hiring female directors.

CREDIT: @JLO / TWITTER

Vanity Fair aptly acknowledged that Lopez had mostly been directed by men, but that she has an exclusively female line-up of directors for her future projects under her own production. “It’s about breaking the mold of what people are used to,” Lopez added, saying, “There are so many great female directors; why aren’t we using them more? It’s hard to break patterns, even in yourself, so we have to make a conscious effort to change the paradigm.” The 2020 Oscars snubbed all women when they only nominated male directors during a time when there are more female directors than ever before. 

“It’s also a great time for Latina women to take the stage at the biggest all-American event,” Lopez said of her upcoming Superbowl Halftime show with Shakira, emphasizing its importance “with everything that’s going on in the country right now.” Lopez added, “I’m super-happy to represent my community, to represent women, and to represent everybody, you know? “

READ: Defamation Of Character Is One Reason The Inspiration Of ‘Hustlers’ Is Suing J.Lo’s Production Company

The Super Bowl Just Hit The Latina Trifecta Thanks To This Big Announcement

Entertainment

The Super Bowl Just Hit The Latina Trifecta Thanks To This Big Announcement

ddlovato / Instagram, jlo /Instagram , shakira/ Instagram

Looks like the Super Bowl is officially going to be fire. Late last year it was announced that , Jennifer Lopez and Shakira would headline the halftime show. News of their duo performance sparked both delight and, in light of the NFL’s anti-Black Lives Matter stance, some controversy. Still, whether you love it or hate, the show will go on and Demi Lovato is now taking part.

On Thursday the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer announced that she will be performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

In a post to her Instagram account, the singer shared an official photo and a caption that read, “Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV See you in Miami @NFL.”

The announcement is proof that Latinas and Demi in particular are setting 2020 on fire.

After all, Lovato’s announcement comes just two days after she announced that she had accepted an invite to performat the 2020 Grammy Awards at the end of this month. The news sparked excitement amongst Lovato’s fans particularly because the singer hasn’t performed live since 2018 when she was hospitalized for a drug overdose. 

This year, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will also headline the halftime show.

Super Bowl LIV will be played on February 2. Fox will televise the game starting at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff shortly thereafter.

We don’t know who will face off in the 54th Super Bowl but we know who will be serving up delicious cuisine at Hard Rock Stadium the day of the big game and the big performance — a dominicana chef.

Chef Dayanny de la Cruz the Centerplate Executive Chef of the Hard Rock Stadium will be feeding guests with delicious sazón on Super Bowl Sunday. 

The woman responsible for coordinating the food experience for Super Bowl LIV is Dayanny de la Cruz. The mom of three is the executive chef of the Hard Rock Stadium. FIERCE recently spoke to Chef Dayanny about her beginnings, her connections with the world of food, breaking through the glass ceiling and what it’s like to design a menu that matches JLo and Shakira’s superstardom. 

Chef Dayanny was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and grew up in a home where everything happened around the kitchen table. It was the kind of childhood where her mother always insisted she eat before she play and she was able to run outside and pick ripe mangoes straight from surrounding trees. Chef Dayanny credits this early association with fresh foods and the warmth of a lively kitchen with her decision to enter the culinary world. 

She first went to school to get a degree in hospitality management from Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic. It was here that she decided to move to the United States with her parents and pursue a career in culinary arts. After getting her degree in Grand Rapids, MI, the newbie chef accepted her first position in a kosher kitchen at the DoubleTree Hotel in Chicago — an experience that she says was one of the most difficult and rewarding of her career. 

It was during this time in Chicago that Chef Dayanny was exposed to the world of sports luxury entertainment. She quickly started building her resume with some of the most elite sports events in the US, such as the US open in New York, the Kentucky Derby and the NBA All-Stars. Chef Dayanny explained to FIERCE, the experience was a different challenge than what she was used to, but she was drawn to that difficult task.

Her experience eventually led her to Miami and the Hard Rock Stadium.

 As the executive chef, this means she would be in charge of the kitchen staff for each of these locations. Chef Dayanny also oversees the menus for each concession, kitchen and restaurant at the stadium, and ensures the quality of the food leaving the kitchen. Currently, the stadium has 7 kitchens, 167 suits, 7 all-inclusive clubs and 25 concession stands.

Among those responsibilities is a self-imposed rule that Chef Dayanny expects of her kitchens: to keep them extremely diverse. Listing Central America, South America, Africa and other countries as some of the sources of inspiration for the cuisine she serves, the chef explained to FIERCE that she not only includes her own Dominican flavors into her kitchens but she encourages the native flavors of her kitchen staff to be utilized as well. 

The road leading up to her high-profile career hasn’t been easy. Unfortunately, Chef Dayanna also experienced something many women — Latinas especially — experience coming up in her career.

Like in many industries, the culinary world is still very much a boys’ club. As such, women are given an especially difficult time when they enter the industry to gain experience. Sometimes the interactions are so traumatizing that women leave their industry completely to avoid facing more injustices. 

Chef Dayanny confirmed that as a Latina she bumped into the infamous glass ceiling several times before climbing up the ladder. However, it wasn’t her own struggle she was concerned about, but the struggle of the next generation of women. Acknowledging that we still have a ways to go in making strides in equality, Chef Dayanny explained, “If we are standing still, not moving forward, we aren’t clearing the way for the next generation.” 

As thrilled as she is about the upcoming Super Bowl, when asked how she feels knowing that she is somewhat responsible for feeding JLo and Shakira, Chef Dayanny left us with a reminder of what’s most important. 

Anyone who talks to Chef Dayanny can hear how much she loves to cook and how she adores food in general. So, to reach this point in her career where she receives this honor is obviously a big deal for her. In her interview with FIERCE, we hear in her voice how proud she is to land this role. While Chef Dayanny admitted she is excited about organizing the menus at the Super Bowl, for her, the real excitement comes when the party is over.