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 was on her #ItsMyPartyTour, and, apparently, everyone was 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

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Exclusive: Maluma Talks Sun Collab “Rumba,” Working with The Weeknd, J.Lo And More

Latidomusic

Exclusive: Maluma Talks Sun Collab “Rumba,” Working with The Weeknd, J.Lo And More

Maluma is teaming up with the biggest star in the solar system for his new single “Rumba (Puro Oro Anthem).” As part of an Earth Day campaign with Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, the Colombian superstar joined forces with the sun. He’s also coming on a decade in the music industry. In an exclusive interview with Latido Music, Maluma talked about the inspiration behind “Rumba” and the hottest collaborations of his career.

“Rumba” is part of Maluma’s campaign with Michelob.

“Collaborating with the sun was great,” Maluma tells mitú. “Maybe I’m the only artist in the world who has the opportunity. It’s a big thing for me. I enjoyed the process. I also enjoyed working with Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold. They love the same things that I love like helping the world. I feel grateful.”

Maluma recorded “Rumba (Puro Oro Anthem)” for Michelob to celebrate the beer brand’s ULTRA Pure Gold lager that’s brewed with 100 percent renewable electricity from the sun. The warm reggaeton track was recorded featuring sounds from the actual sun. Maluma wrote it with Keityn and Edgar Berrera, who also composed “Hawái” with him.

“These two guys are geniuses,” Maluma says. “When we work together we’re a dream team. When this campaign came to the table, I told them that I needed a big song. I recorded it in Turks and Caicos around three weeks ago. The song came out great. I love it.”

This year Maluma will be celebrating 10 years in the music industry.

This year, Maluma will be celebrating a decade in the industry since the release of his debut single “Farandulera.” After dropping his breakthrough album Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy in Oct. 2015, Maluma is one of the artists that helped globalize Latin music. He’s happy to be a part of the movement, but he also recognizes the stars that came before him.

“It’s not like we started this year or last year,” Maluma says. “This has been work that started with Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ and Shakira like 15 or 20 years ago. I feel like I’m part of it. I feel proud of it. I feel like we still need to do more things, more big things.”

Next up, Maluma’s fans can see him on tour this fall.

As for what’s next, the “Rumba” music video will be released on Earth Day, April 22. Maluma is also hitting the road this fall for his Papi Juancho Tour in the U.S. The tour kicks off in September and runs through late October.

“Coming back to the stage is something that I really need,” Maluma says. “I miss being with my fans. I miss hugging them. I miss going on tour. I miss the whole lifestyle. I can’t wait to see you guys on tour and sing of course for the first time all my new songs that I released this year.”

Since Maluma is also celebrating 10 years in the industry, we had him break down some of the biggest collaborations in his career.

Jennifer Lopez

Maluma will make his big-screen debut in Marry Me with Jennifer Lopez in Feb. 2022. The movie was pushed back to that date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two singers also collaborated on songs for Marry Me like “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely.”

“I always wanted to work on a big project,” Maluma says. “In a big movie. I had a couple of opportunities to work on other things, but I said ‘no’ because I was waiting for this big moment. Thanks to Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson and the whole team to make me part of the movie. I have a lot of beautiful moments. She’s great. She’s such a master for me. She taught me many things when we were working together. I would say from the beginning to the end, the whole experience was great.”

The Weeknd

Maluma teamed up with Canadian superstar The Weeknd for a Spanglish remix of “Hawái.” They pushed the song to No. 12 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart. Maluma helped The Weeknd with his Spanish in the remix.

“At the beginning, the first vocals he recorded, I had to tell him to change a little bit,” Maluma says. “The ‘Instagram’ part because he was saying it in the wrong way, like pretty bad Spanish. I sent him the vocals, like the way he had to say it, and then he changed it. He’s great. He’s super talented.”

Ziggy Marley

For his latest album 7 Días En Jamaica (#7DJ), Maluma teamed up with Jamaican star Ziggy Marley for the song “Tonika.” He performed the song for the first time with Bob Marley’s son at the Latin American Music Awards last week.

“That was great working with Ziggy,” Maluma says. “He’s one of my favorite artists too. I always wanted to work with him because I’m a huge fan of Bob Marley. It’s one of the best things I could’ve done in the album. He put the Marley DNA in my project and that was great.”

Shakira

Maluma and Colombian icon Shakira have teamed up on a number of collaborations, including the hit singles “Chantaje” and “Clandestino.” They also worked together on “Trap,” another cut from Shakira’s El Dorado album.

“I love working with Shakira, but I have to be honest, it’s not easy because she loves everything to be on-point,” Maluma says. “She’s super strict with everything that she does. I would love to work with her again. She’s a master for me too. She’s one of the first big stars that helped me and wanted to work with me. I’m forever grateful to her for giving me the chance to work with such a big artist.”

Click here for Latido Music, 24/7 Latin music videos & more

Read: Exclusive: Maluma Talks “Amor En Coma” with Manuel Turizo and Supporting Colombian Artists

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Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Photo via Getty Images

While the United States is as of publication, has vaccinated over 75 million people against COVID-19 since mid-December, the rest of the world is still catching up. Poorer countries, for example, are struggling to procure enough vaccines for essential workers–let alone their entire population.

Luckily, certain charitable business are making it their mission to get vaccines to the most needy. For example, anti-poverty organization Global Citizen has organized a charity concert with the aim of getting COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Selena Gomez will be hosting the concert, called “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”. And none other than Jennifer Lopez will be headlining.

Selena Gomez took to Twitter to announce her involvement in the exciting project. “I’m honored to be hosting ‘VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ ” she wrote.

“This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jennifer Lopez also took to Twitter to announce her involvement with VAX Live, saying that she is “calling for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for all”. That’s a statement we can get behind!

Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only superstar performing. Other acts will include J Balvin, H.E.R., and the Foo Fighters.

Global Citizen has one goal: to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations via corporate and philanthropic donors. They’re hoping VAX Live will bring awareness to their efforts.

“There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans to the Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

Tom Hart, the executive director for another anti-poverty organization, The ONE Campaign, also reiterated the importance of getting vaccine doses into the hands of developing countries.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart said.

“The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”

You can catch VAX LIVE on ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia stations on 8:00 p.m. ET on May 8th. It will also be airing on Fox starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT the same day. You’ll also be able to catch an extended version on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel on May 8th as well.

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