Entertainment

Christina Milian Is Replacing Naya Rivera as ‘Collette’ in the Starz Show ‘Step Up’

The producers of the Starz show “Step Up” announced on Monday that they would be recasting the role of Collette, previously played by the late Naya Rivera, with singer-actress Christina Milian.

“Step Up” originally starred Naya Rivera and Ne-Yo as Collette Jones and Sage Odom–business partners and lovers who run the prestigious High Water Performing Arts School in Atlanta.

The series premiered in 2018 on YouTube Red and ran for two seasons before being cancelled. It was renewed and picked up by premium cable channel Starz in May of 2020–just months before Naya Rivera’s tragic drowning in July.

In a statement, Milian acknowledged her predecessor while also expressing joy at being able to take on this new role.

“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” Milian said. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”

Ne-Yo, who worked closely with Naya Rivera in the previous seasons, also put out a statement praising the legacy of Naya Rivera.

“There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight,” Ne-Yo wrote. “Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be.”

He added that Milian has “big shoes to fill” but he was is “certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love.”

He concluded: “We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”

According to Starz, the decision to recast the character came after careful consideration and consulting with Rivera’s family.

“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” said creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen.

“It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss, while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas. Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer and we are so happy she has joined our family.”

Starz will start airing the first two seasons of “Step Up” on their channel starting in early March, when viewers will be able to watch Rivera in one of her final roles.

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Ryan Dorsey Penned An Emotional Mother’s Day Tribute to Naya Rivera On Instagram

Entertainment

Ryan Dorsey Penned An Emotional Mother’s Day Tribute to Naya Rivera On Instagram

Photo via dorseyryan

While Mother’s Day is a happy and joyous occasion for so many people, it can be a tough day for others. For many people who have lost their mothers, Mother’s Day is a sad reminder of what they’ve lost. Naya Rivera’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, made that apparent when he posted a heart wrenching tribute to the mother of his child on Instagram.

On Sunday, Ryan Dorsey took to Instagram to celebrate the woman that gave birth to their son, Josey.

Dorsey posted a candid photo of Naya Rivera and Josey sitting and smiling in front of a bowl of ice cream. “We can’t say the word happy but we’ll say thank you for being a mother & giving me this sweet amazing boy,” he wrote in the caption. He hash-tagged the post #MothersDay. This year was the first time that Ryan Dorsey and his son spent Mother’s Day without Naya Rivera.

Naya Rivera’s friends and fans flooded Dorsey’s posts with comments and well-wishes. Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Tina on “Glee” added a flurry of heart emojis to Naya Rivera’s Mother’s Day tribute. Heather Morris, who played Santana’s girlfriend, Brittany, on “Glee”, wrote: “This broke me [heart emojis] I love you.”

This isn’t the first time Ryan Dorsey opened up about the grief he’s been experiencing since Naya Rivera unexpectedly died last July from a boating accident.

On January 12th–Naya Rivera’s birthday–Dorsey also posted a tribute to Rivera on his Instagram page. “Just as surreal as it is real that you’re gone. If that makes sense, but none of this still makes any sense,” he wrote. “34…I could just hear you saying ‘Ah, I’m old AF now!’ Ha…Rest easy old lady.”

Last September, Dorsey also opened up about how difficult it was to raise a young child who is actively grieving the death of his mother. Dorsey explained how he has had to help his son cope with the death of his mother. “You tell him [his mother is] an angel now and she’s with God and she’s in heaven, and he says ‘I wanna go there. How do I get there?’” Dorsey explained in a candid Instagram video. “I wouldn’t wish that upon any of your ears to have to hear that. To hear those words come out of the sweetest soul you know.”

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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