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Nearly fifty years after his debut, Francois Clemmons, or “Officer Clemmons” as many of us grew up knowing him as on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” is reporting in his new memoir, Officer Clemmons: A Memoir, that Fred Rogers encouraged him to stay in the closet and marry a woman. Francois tells People Magazine, “I forgive him. More than that, I understand.”

via Entertainment Weekly 

mr. rogers and officer clemmons francois clemmons memoir gay

Francois Clemmons and Fred Rogers

over the years, Rogers — known to Clemmons as either Fred or “Doc” because of all the honorary degrees — became Clemmons’ mentor, father figure, and ultimately “the spiritual love of my life,” he tells PEOPLE.

But the relationship wasn’t always easy for Clemmons. By the time the two met through Rogers’ wife Joanne at church, Clemmons had survived a tumultuous and at times violent childhood. He quickly became both an integral part of the Neighborhood and Rogers’ own life.

As he writes in his new memoir, Officer Clemmons, one day he was called into Rogers’ office at the studio.

“Franc, you have talents and gifts that set you apart and above the crowd,” Rogers told him, Clemmons writes in his memoir. “Someone has informed us that you were seen at the local gay bar downtown. Now, I want you to know, Franc, that if you’re gay, it doesn’t matter to me at all. Whatever you say and do is fine with me, but if you’re going to be on the show as an important member of the Neighborhood, you can’t be out as gay.”

Clemmons tells PEOPLE that he began to sob. “I could have his friendship and fatherly love and relationship forever,” Clemmons remembers today. “But I could have the job only if I stayed in the closet.”

He had given Clemmons inspiration and stardom but told him there was a cost. “ ‘You must do this Francois,’ he told me, ‘because it threatens my dream.’”

“I was destroyed,” Clemmons says. “The man who was killing me had also saved me. He was my executioner and deliverer. But, at the same time, I knew that he would know how to comfort me. I didn’t have another mother or father to comfort me. I had no one to go and be a boy with. I was just vulnerable. He got in a few slaps, some tough love, a good spanking. But I was not kicked out of the family.”

“‘The world doesn’t really want to know who you’re sleeping with — especially if it’s a man,’” Clemmons says Rogers told him. “ ‘You can have it all if you can keep that part out of the limelight.’”

But then, Rogers had a suggestion. “Have you ever thought of getting married?” Rogers asked Clemmons. “People do make some compromises in life.”

“By the time I left his office,” Clemmons writes in his memoir, “I had made up my mind to marry La-Tanya Mae Sheridan. At the wedding reception, Fred and Joanne approached me and my new wife. It felt as if Fred and I were sealing some kind of secret bargain.”

He and Sheridan would amicably divorce in 1974 and he would begin living life as an openly gay man.

“Lord have mercy, yes, I forgive him,” Clemmons says today about Rogers. “More than that, I understand. I relied on the fact that this was his dream. He had worked so hard for it. I knew Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was his whole life.”

mr. rogers and officer clemmons francois clemmons memoir gay

It had to be hard for Francois to not only be his true self. However, the seventies and the next couple of decades thereafter were extremely hard for gays. No one could comfortably be out and proud, furthermore society was outright hostile towards anyone who was not strictly heterosexual. We understand Fred Rogers’ stance and it is still a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” to us.

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“Hollywood” Actor, Jeremy Pope, To Star as Sammie Davis, Jr. in Biopic!

The breakout star of Netflix’s hit series, “Hollywood,” Jeremy Pope, is winning! The Emmy-nominated actor is poised to star in a biopic on the life of legendary singer, Sammie Davis, Jr!

The biopic will be produced by Pose writer and trans advocate, Janet Mock, and filmmaker, Lena Waithe. The film will most likely air on Netflix as Janet has a multi-picture deal with the streaming giant. 

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jeremy pope sammie davis jr

The breakout star of Netflix’s hit series, “Hollywood,” Jeremy Pope, is winning! The Emmy-nominated actor is poised to star in a biopic on the life of legendary singer, Sammie Davis, Jr!

The biopic will be produced by Pose writer and trans advocate, Janet Mock, and filmmaker, Lena Waithe. The film will most likely air on Netflix as Janet has a multi-picture deal with the streaming giant.

via Deadline

jeremy pope pose season 3

Jeremy Pope

Another pic package has Emmy-nominated Hollywood star Jeremy Pope poised to play Davis Jr with Janet Mock (Hollywood and Pose) directing a drama about the interracial love affair between the entertainer and actress Kim Novak, who at the time was the top box office draw in Hollywood. Jonathan Glickman (the upcoming Aretha Franklin film Respect) and Jon Levin are producing that one. It looks like Netflix will get first crack at that one with Mock’s deal there, and the intention is to start in April.

Jeremy is an amazing actor! We loved him in Hollywood and we are sure he will do Sammie Davis, Jr. justice. Also, as we previously posted you can expect to see him in the upcoming third season of Pose as “Christopher,” Blanca’ Evangelista’s (MJ Rodriguez) love interest.

What do you all think of Jeremy taking on this role of a lifetime? Sound off in the comment’s section below!

 

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ICYMI! Jussie Smollett Makes His Feature Directorial Debut w/ “B-Boys Blues!”

Jussie Smollett is back in the news, and not for news surrounding his alleged hate crime hoax. Instead the controversial actor is making his feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novels, “B-Boy Blues!”

B-Boy Blues follows the tumultuous relationship between Mitchell Crawford, a 27-year old journalist, and Raheim Rivers, a 21-year old bicycle messenger and B-boy (banjee boy). They meet in a gay bar in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1993. The B-boy hangs out on street corners, cool and menacing. Raheim is the third B-boy in Mitchell’s life, but underneath the former’s tough exterior, Raheim is smart and talented and a loving parent to his five-year-old son. But Raheim has a violent streak. B-Boy Blues spawned a series that has sold millions worldwide and remains a staple within the black LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving community.

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jussie smollett b-boy blues

Jussie Smollett is back in the news, and not for news surrounding his alleged hate crime hoax. Instead the controversial actor is making his feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novels, “B-Boy Blues!”

via Deadline

b-boy blues

B-Boy Blues follows the tumultuous relationship between Mitchell Crawford, a 27-year old journalist, and Raheim Rivers, a 21-year old bicycle messenger and B-boy (banjee boy). They meet in a gay bar in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1993. The B-boy hangs out on street corners, cool and menacing. Raheim is the third B-boy in Mitchell’s life, but underneath the former’s tough exterior, Raheim is smart and talented and a loving parent to his five-year-old son. But Raheim has a violent streak. B-Boy Blues spawned a series that has sold millions worldwide and remains a staple within the black LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving community.

jussie smollett

This is actually a great and strategic move for Jussie career wise. Due to the hate crime hoax allegations he has become persona non grata in Hollywood. Going the indie route with a story untouched by any live action medium is extremely smart and lucrative; especially with the increasing interest in stories of LGBT people of color.

This is not Jussie’s first time directing either. In fact, he directed two episode on Fox’s Empire before he was terminated from the series. Despite his pending legal issues, Jussie is still a powerful gay figure and there are for people more qualified to tell the stories of an entire, often overlooked, group of people.

There is currently no news of who he will cast in the roles of Mitchell or Raheim. We hope he will do multiple films surrounding the book series. We will keep you posted on news surrounding this momentous event.

What do you think of Jussie’s latest career move? Will you be checking out his feature film directorial debut with “B-Boy Blues?” Sound off in the comments’ section below?

 

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Tory Lanez Charged w/ Shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Social Media Reacts!

Rapper, Tory Lanez, has been convicted of firearm assault in the shooting of fellow rapper and former friend, Megan Thee Stallion.

As you may recall, the rapper shot Megan in both of her feet earlier this year. Earlier today the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officially charged Tory with one felony count each of semi-automatic firearm, person use of a firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle.

He stands to face up to twenty-two years in prison.

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tory lanez charged with shooting Megan thee stallion

Rapper, Tory Lanez, has been convicted of firearm assault in the shooting of fellow rapper and former friend, Megan Thee Stallion.

As you may recall, the rapper shot Megan in both of her feet earlier this year. Earlier today the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officially charged Tory with one felony count each of semi-automatic firearm, person use of a firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle.

He stands to face up to twenty-two years in prison.

tory lanez charged with shooting Megan thee stallion

Naturally, social media has been in an uproar–mosty applause–over Tory’s conviction! Check out the most outrages responses below!

We do not wish jail on anyone, but we want to see justice served, and above all else, a Black woman protected. We do not agree with how Tory Lanez handled this situation; and to release an album bashing Megan on the tailwinds of this is just heinous and tacky!

What are your thoughts on Tory’s convictions? Sound off in the comments’ section below!

 

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