Dec 26, 2014

Our Favorite Things from 2014!










As the year comes to a close Edugaytion would like to extend a mammoth-sized thank you to all of our kickass readers. Your continued support and help in making our site a hub for the urban LGBT community is much appreciated. This year has been filled with many changes and we promise more exciting developments in the future. But for now get into our 2014 favorite things list we’ve curated especially for you. This is a small token of our appreciation as each of these things are sure to put a smile on your face. Leggo!

MUSIC

+ Renee Fleming’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl


Super Bowl XLVIII made history in more ways than one. Not only was it the most watched TV program in U.S. history, pulling in 111.5 million viewers, it was also the first Super Bowl ever played in an outdoor, cold-weather climate. The event gave us another inaugural moment when Renee Fleming, an American opera singer, blew everyone away with her amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. This marked the first time an opera singer had ever performed our national anthem at the game. It was a great arrangement, and she did it LIVE. Well done, Ms. Fleming.



+ Meghan Trainor
“Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘bout that bass, no treble…” 

Chances are you've probably heard those words at least once this year. And if you haven’t, just jump off a cliff now. No, no, we’re kidding. But really, who doesn't know Meghan Trainor's hit, All About That Bass? Trainor ruled the charts this year with her debut single. The song served as a self-empowering anthem for curvy girls everywhere, and has topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts longer than any other female artist’s song in 2014. That’s cause for celebration:









We’re also digging Trainor’s latest groove, Lips Are Movin. We have a feeling she's gonna be around for a long time to come. 

+ White, Jarell Perry










Jarell Perry is a musical trendsetter. Since his emergence, the LA native has steadily built his own brand of R&B. This year saw the release of White, a follow up to to his debut project Simple Things. The 7-track EP is a charming and sophisticated compilation, and a huge departure from today’s current R&B scene. Perry, along with his longtime producing partner HSVN, gives irresistible vocals, celestial lyrics and pulsing beats with White. Although Perry is pretty much an underground artist at present, we forsee the masses taking note of his excellent artistry very soon. 

Peep the genius in action here.

TV

+ Free! Eternal Summer












One of our guilty pleasures this summer was the Japanese anime series Free! Eternal Summer. The action-packed sports show follows a group of buddies navigating the world of swim competition. Beautifully animated and full of drama and excitement, second season did not disappoint and left us wanting more.










+ The Mindy Project 









Currently in its third season, The Mindy Project is super hilarious. The series details the life of Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN, as she attempts to balance her personal and professional life. Aside from its humor, what makes The Mindy Project even more appealing is the fact that it’s helmed by a woman of south Asian descent which is a much needed break from the generic all white casts typically seen. We give the show two thumbs up. 

+ The Fosters






The Fosters is a special show for many reasons. Probably the most significant being that it highlights same-sex marriage and parenting in a way that is respectable, and also inspiring for young LGBT viewers who rarely get an opportunity to see their future family unit represented in media. Set in San Diego, the dramedy covers a conventional range of topics usually explored in family TV shows. However, throw in gay parenting, blended families, adoption, the foster care system and the juvenile justice system, and you have a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking series. We LOVE The Fosters!

You can catch the winter season premiere on ABC Family on Monday, January 19th at 8/7c p.m.


FILM

+ The Normal Heart












Back in May HBO delivered a compelling drama called The Normal Heart. Based on true events, the movie chronicles the early AIDS crisis in NYC, and pays tribute to the extraordinary courage and fight exhibited by gay activists and medical allies who pushed for national attention and aid. Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story) does a superb job as director, as well as lead actors Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts. The movie also features an appearance by the NYCGMC, a group that our beloved Johnathan and Carlos belong to. This is definitely one of the year’s must sees. 

+ Any Day Now











Inspired by a true story, Any Day Now recites a tale of romance, acceptance, and family. In the 1970s a gay couple fall in love and later take in a teenager with down syndrome after he's been abandoned by his mother. The committed pair attempt to adopt the young man, but when authorities discover their living arrangement they must fight to keep him. Starring Alan Cumming and Garret Dillabunt, this movie is a great watch. And a tearjerker, so have a box of tissue near. 









+ Blackbird












After hearing about the indie film Blackbird, Edugaytion’s Deon traveled to Austin, TX in September for a special screening during aGLIFF. It lived up to all the hype. The coming-of-age story directed by Patrik Ian Polk (Punks, Noah’s Arc, The Skinny) centers around a talented teen (played by newcomer Julian Walker) in a small Mississippi town struggling with his sexuality, his religion and a troubled home. An adaptation of the novel by Larry Duplechan, Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington also star. The film is currently making its rounds on the film festival circuit. But we’re hoping for a major release in the near future. 

Check out the trailer here.

PEOPLE

+ Michael Sam










Michael Sam forever changed the history of football this year when he announced he was a gay man. Sam, a defensive lineman, made his public declaration in an ESPN interview shortly before entering the NFL draft in May. Though his courageous act continues to inspire hundreds of young gay athletes all across the country, Sam’s bravery hasn't come without penalty. The SEC co-defensive player of the year has endured relentless, and at times idiotic, media coverage; homophobic ridicule in and outside the league; and has potentially lost all chances of playing at the highest level of American football. Yet and still, Sam continues to hold his head up high and push forward. We salute him for being a trailblazer and paving the the path for many others to come. 

You can catch a documentary featuring Sam this Saturday, December 27th at 9/8c p.m. on OWN; followed by a sit down interview, his first since being cut from the NFL.




+ DJ Baker












As  the creator of the longest running LGBT radio program, Da Doo Dirty Show, DJ Baker is nothing less than a pioneer. The NYC shock jock has become a staple in the urban LGBT community being one of the few go-to spots for LGBT hip-hop/R&B, interviews, and social commentary. This year will mark the show’s final season as Baker recently announced its retirement after ten years. There will definitely be a void left once the show goes off air. But with enough persuasion, maybe he’ll reconsider. Either way, major props to him for establishing a platform for so many within our community.

PRODUCTS

+ BluePrint Cleanse


One of the hottest juice cleanse on the market, BluePrint offers certified USDA-organic fruit and vegetable juices designed to help you feel energized, nourished, and rejuvenated. Super easy to follow, the cleanse includes six 16oz bottles of juices along with a guide and detailed instructions. It’s a bit pricey but an excellent option to regain control of your health, especially with the new year just around the corner. 

+ Hex









Hex has some of the most stylish bags, cases and sleeves. And when the iPhone 6/6Plus debuted, we knew exactly where to go for a premium case. The Icon wallet case is our favorite. Engineered to protect while remaining true to the brand’s signature design that fuses classic touches with street style, it includes three card slots, a cash pocket, a camera cutout, and an elastic strap closure. Even the shipping packaging is high quality coming with a handwritten thank you note for purchasing. Show your phone some good lovin’ and buy Hex.

SERVICES

+ Logo TV









Logo TV is one of the few cable networks making conscious decisions to air programming aimed at LGBT viewers. From Noah’s Arc to RuPaul’s Drag Race, Logo has consistently provided original and inclusive entertainment. This summer the channel premiered its Trailblazers Awards. The first of its kind, the ceremony honored top individuals who have actively worked on the behalf of the LGBT community. If you missed it, check it out here.

Do you see a familiar face below? Look at our boy Johnathan on the second row! He performed with Sia during the Trailblazers Awards. Major!












+ Seamless








On those days when we simply couldn't be bothered to leave the house, Seamless was there to rescue our hungry souls. The online/mobile food ordering service allows users to purchase meals for delivery and takeout. In just a few taps or clicks you could have a pepperoni pizza, orange chicken, a slice of cheesecake waiting for you at your doorstep. Yum!








+ Birchbox











Trying out new grooming products can be an expensive hit or miss risk. But thanks to Birchbox you can try before you buy. For a smooth $20/month, you can get your hands on a variety of deluxe samples from brands like Dear Clark, ERNEST SUPPLIES, and MeUndies. Each shipment is tailored to suit your personal profile, and if you like what you get, you can go to their website to purchase full-size versions. It’s that easy.


“Handsome is about to get... handsomer.”






EVENTS

+ PAX East







PAX is the premier gaming festival in the country. Every year thousands of gamers gather to get up on the latest and greatest developments in the industry. Attendees enjoy keynote speakers, concerts, panel discussions, exhibitors booths and more. This year’s edition was made even more special when steps were taken to be more inclusive, including a “safe space” for gamers who identify as LGBTQ. The new additions were definitely a step in the right direction, and for that we give a nod to PAX East 2014.

+ Millions March NYC








On December 13th  thousands of protesters flooded the streets of NYC in one of the largest actions against police killings of unarmed black men and boys in the U.S. The multicultrual group called for the immediate firing of Daniel Pantaleo (the NYPD officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner); the creation of an independent prosecutor's office to handle police misconduct and use of excessive force; the release of the names of officers involved in fatal shootings within 48 hours of the incident; and a statewide policy not to hire police who have been fired with cause or deemed unfit for duty in one jurisdiction by any other department in the state. Always one to stand up for justice, our Johnathan, along with Carlos, participated in the demonstration. Both said they were beyond inspired by the unity and activism displayed.



+ Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports Awards 












Edugaytion’s Deon got the random opportunity this summer to attend the first ever Kid's Choice Sports Awards, a spin-off of Nickelodeon’s annual Kids’ Choice Award. The event  celebrated sports stars that kids around the country love. Hosted by Michael Strahan of “Live! with Kelly and Michael” and former New York Giant, KCS was one day after the ESPY Awards which brought an ensemble of well-known entertainers and athletes including David Beckham, Gabby Douglas, Kevin Durant, Russell Wilson, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Tia Mowery, Pharrell Williams, Floyd Mayweather, Florida Georgia Line, Meghan Fox and Will Arnett. Definitely a memorable moment!

BOOKS

+ Genki, Volume 1












This year Edugaytion’s fearless leader Johnathan vowed to learn the Japanese language.  To do so he turned to Genki. The textbook, a standard in universities across the country, covers all the basics including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The book works wonders and here’s all the proof you need:



+ Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber












Pastrix is a collection of memories and spiritual thoughts from Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran female pastor in Colorado. Bolz-Weber has proven to be a beautiful and radical voice in the Christian movement, and through her work she seeks to welcome the stranger and love all people inclusively. You just might want to make this your next read.

+ The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd












From the author of The Secret Life of Bees, this book tells the story of a young girl who is given a slave for her 11th birthday. Readers are taken on a journey of discovery, love, guilt, hardship and a complete mix of emotions as the girls change one another’s life over the course of 35 years. Oprah dig’d it, we dig’d it, and you will too. 

YOUTUBE CHANNELS

+ JPCMHD








Hands down JPCMHD is one of our favorite YouTube channels of 2014. We gotta give it up to the channel for their consistent uploads of the most current and non-subtitled Japanese commercials available anywhere. Here's the best of 2014:



+ MikeDiamondTube










If you're looking to be entertained, you definitely want to check out MikeDiamondTube. He defines LMAO. The channel features a variety of things including the series On The Scene and HOMEWERQ, as well as music videos, comedy skits, and whatever else Mike's brain spits out. 

Check him out below:



+ Justinj1232








Known as the King of Reads, JustinJ is the last person you want receive a tongue lashing from. And if you see him in a black v-neck, you might as well get some potatoes to go along with the “roast” he’s about to serve.  But there’s more to Justin than reads and roasts. For one, he’s a proud Black gay man using his platform to bring awareness to topics concerning the LGBT community. You can also find recaps  on some of today’s most popular reality shows and social commentary on a wide range of topics. Forever telling it like it is, there’s no sugar coating on this channel.

PODCASTS

+ Nerdist









Anytime we wanted some fun conversation this year we tuned into the Nerdist. Hosted by Chris Hardwick (Web Soup, Talking Dead, @midnight), the weekly interview/hangout session takes some of the most notable names in entertainment and sits them down for an hour long chat. The episodes are always a “kiki” and totally inspiring. This is absolutely one to add to your list for 2015.

+ The Read












Every week we made sure to listen to pop-culture comedy podcast The Read. Kid Fury and Crissle (the hosts) consistently gave us life with their hilarious take on the latest happenings, and their ever so potent advice given to listeners who write in. And we can’t forget about their EPIC reads that left us like:











This show had us completely addicted, no rehab wanted.  And we predict the same for next year.

BLOGS/WEBSITES

+ BuzzFeed







What would 2014 be without BuzzFeed? Always bringing the hottest, and most social content on the web about almost everything, you have to be living under a rock to not know about BuzzFeed. We particularly enjoy their list making us LOL daily. Keep ‘em coming BF. 

+ Laurie Ruettimann












Laurie Ruettimann is a (former) HR lady with an attitude. Pushing boundaries, Ruetiimann has been an HR leader in Fortune 500 companies such as Pfize, Alberto-Culver, and Kemper Insurance. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and CFO Magazine. Clearly the woman knows her stuff, and that’s why we can't get enough of her blog. On it you can find Ruettimann's brilliant and distinct perspective on topics like HR (obviously), cats, money, sex, power, and politics. Such an inspiration she gives hope to HR employees all over the world.

+ ThisisRnB











The site of choice for R&B heads, ThisisRnB.com, has been a full-service media point since 2008 giving us top content in the form of interviews, editorials, reviews, podcast, show coverage, and. They also have a knack for discovering new talent introducing many of today’s most prominent R&B artists, including August Alsina, Bruno Mars, Emeli Sandé, Eric Bellinger, Frank Ocean, K. Michelle, Luke James and many more. The blog was named Best Entertainment/Music Website at the 2013 Soul Train Awards and has been mentioned by other media outlets such MTV, BET, Vh1, MSN, SPIN, Vibe, EBONY, PerezHilton, and Power105.1. Head over and prepare to jam.








NONPROFITS/CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS 

+ Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)






GMHC is the country’s first AIDS agency and a pioneer in HIV services and prevention. Offering hands-on support services, along with education and advocacy nationwide, the organization continues to break new ground with it latest ads in NYC subway stations. A great big thank you goes to all the people behind GMHC. Your tireless efforts are unmatched and saving lives everyday.


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