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There is no question that Betty White is, well, an icon in the gay community. I don’t even need to tell you what she is famous for. So when I got the chance to talk to her, I jumped at it.
White has been working with the Lifeline Program for several years. Since 1989, the Lifeline Program has been at the leading edge of the growing life settlement industry. Founded in Cleveland, it began with a very simple mission: to assist terminally ill patients. Through a transaction called a viatical settlement, the company helped terminally ill patients (most suffered from AIDS) sell their life insurance policies for immediate cash. The terminally ill patients received money to pay medical bills and were able to live out their lives with dignity.
Lifeline co-founder Stephen Terrell tells us that finding the perfect spokesperson was easy. He immediately thought of Betty White, not just because of her role on The Golden Girls, but because her personality makes her so trustable.
Terrell grew up in the country without a lot of friends and was bullied in school. Television filled a lot of his free time (like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family.) Having posters of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond earned him his first gay card, and he came out of the closet at the ripe age of 14. He got most of his support from gay hotlines like today’s Trevor Project.
Terrell said, “When I was a kid, you didn’t think it could get better. But it does. Having come out in the ’70s, I didn’t have many role models to follow, so I had to go through a lot of painful years looking for me.”
Terrell says he found his calling with the Lifeline Program: “The company was created as a financial option for people with AIDS in the ’90s. My business partner had a partner with AIDS, and they could not afford his medical bills and keep food on the table -- something had to give. When they had to decide whether or not to let a life insurance policy lapse vs. pay it, he had the brilliant idea to ask friends to buy the policy at less than the face amount, leaving some money in the pay-out for them as interest on the investment. So an idea was born.”
Today, many medical advances later, HIV has become a more manageable condition rather than a terminal sentence. The Lifeline Program then restructured, offering the same service to seniors to give them financial freedom in their golden years.
Terrell wanted to have a project that the Lifeline Program could use to target a younger market, so he came up with the idea to create a viral video that captured White’s sense of humor.
“YouTube is quickly becoming a major entertainment power and sharing catchy videos on Facebook and Twitter is the avenue of communication,” Terrell says. “Bringing it to life required a major team of talented and energetic people. I have to say, I am working with some of the best people I could find. When you put them all in the ‘Betty Bubble,’ magic occurs.”
Terrell and the Lifeline Program are releasing a music video starring Luciana and featuring Betty White, two of today’s hottest stars. The role of Sue Ann that White played on The Mary Tyler Moore Show may have prepared her for the collaboration with Luciana on “I’m Still Hot.”
White says, “Sue Ann would definitely say she was still hot. She was one of the first hot girls on television. It’s a great song, and we’re so glad that Luciana and Sony let us use it. I don’t know if I’m still hot, but Luciana sure is, though I wasn’t so happy with how skinny she is – I kept trying to feed her a sandwich! We had a wonderful time on the set, and the song is catchy and fun.”
Terrell adds, “Betty is … still hot to me and most of the country with a whole new fan base of kids enjoying her warmth and humor. At 89 and up for another Emmy with 64 years in the business – that’s hot! For our company, I want to show seniors and baby boomers that age is just a number and you can still be hot.”
Luciana is a huge Betty White fan, and sources say she was brought to tears when she met White. They bonded immediately. On set, it seems, White may have bonded with some of the hunky models as well.
She says, “These boys were built like brick outhouses. I kept thinking, if I was 10 years younger?! There was so much energy on the set, and while I told Steve at the end of the day that he could never get me to do it again … he knows I would.”
Terrell says, “We put love drugs in the cheesecake, but that’s our secret. LOL. There was an invisible force field love bubble over Siren Studios on the days we shot the video. Everyone was crazy in love with each other. I don’t know anybody that wanted to go home. I had to tell the “Betty Boys” they were cut, and none of them left for two more hours or so. I hated that … not.”
The Top 5 Q&A with Betty White:
What was it like working with Luciana and those hunky men on set?
Seeing all those hunky men and Luciana, I knew there wouldn’t be a line at the craft services table. They were all so fit. One of the lines in the song is about cheesecake and we had plenty of it on the set, so I fed cheesecake to my beefcake!
Why do you think candidates should choose to use the Lifeline Program?
The boys at Lifeline really care about people and helping them pay for retirement. I’m lucky because I don’t really worry about retirement. As long as I keep getting a chance to work, I’m going to show up on the set … and I might show up even if they don’t ask me.
Is there any advice you would give to Luciana on having longevity in the entertainment industry?
I would tell her to always be professional: Learn your lines, be on time and respect the business. But I would also say that she should always continue to have fun, which she does… and for goodness sake, eat something!
Why do you think the LGBT community embraces and loves you so much?
Throughout my career, I’ve always portrayed characters that were humorous, but also weren’t afraid to speak their minds, especially when it came to racy or controversial topics. I think this struck a chord with the LGBT community. We both also share a very strong love for animals. When you combine the two, it’s a very strong match.
The world continuously sees you on TV/ movies and every entertainment outlet possible. How do you keep your energy up and your body so fit?
Well, I’m certainly not built like those boys in the video or as skinny as Luciana, but I have always tried to stay fit, get my rest and eat right. Everything is OK in moderation, and I have also been blessed with good genes.
The Lifeline Program world premiere of Luciana and Betty White’s “I’m Still Hot” will be at 7 p.m. PDT on Oct. 11, the same time it debuts at the Abbey in West Hollywood, Calif. The song is available for purchase on iTunes, and a portion of the net proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Zoo. For Betty White video clips/downloads and more on the Lifeline Program, go to www.thelifeline.com
Worldwide opera star Renée Fleming will perform in Kansas City on Thursday night, November 18, but the day before, she'll be part of a panel discussion for "Music and the Mind" — a conversation about how music affects the brain, cognitive development, healing and quality of life.
WHAT: Music and the Mind with Renée Fleming
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021
TIME: 4:00-5:30 PM
WHERE: The 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods, KS, 66205
Music has a profound impact and the ability to shape 86 billion neurons in the brain for cognitive development, healing, and therapy. Science research has clearly shown that music therapy interventions can improve quality of life across nearly all neurological disorders. And there is tremendous public-interest in applying music to creative aging, childhood development, and community wellness.
But scientists want to know more.
Join soprano Renée Fleming and a distinguished panel of local Kansas City experts in neurology, music therapy, music and healing, and more for this cutting-edge discussion. Audience members will be able to participate in a Q&A following the panel discussion.
*Please note this Music and the Mind Event is not a musical performance*
As Artistic Advisor at Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Renée Fleming has spearheaded a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, with the participation of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Sound Health initiative explores and brings attention to research and practice at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience. This collaboration has led to workshops at the NIH, and events and performances at the Kennedy Center. This initiative has also led the NIH to recently award $20 million dollars in funding for music and neuroscience research over five years.
As part of her advocacy, Fleming is also advisor to the recently launched NEA/UCSF Sound Health Network and co-chair of the Aspen Institute/Johns Hopkins NeuroArts Blueprint, both working to advance the field of arts and health.
This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Please call the Harriman-Jewell Series at 816-415-5025 to reserve your seat.
WHAT: Renée Fleming, soprano in recital
WHEN: Thursday, Nov 18, 2021
TIME: 7:00 PM
WHERE: Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
COST: Tickets from $25.00 *discounts available for students, educators, first responders, active duty military and veterans with valid I.D.
Pair a glorious voice with a winning personality and you have a diva for the ages. Renée Fleming is a longstanding Harriman-Jewell Series favorite. With her many television and Broadway appearances, Fleming has been embraced by music lovers of all genres.
Whether singing at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Olympics, or Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Renée Fleming represents opera to the world. In addition to her numerous operatic performances, Fleming often works classic show tunes and the Great American Songbook into her recitals. Fleming’s trademark rapport with audiences will give her Kansas City performance a warmth that is personal and sincere.
Rob Ainsley is pianist for the recital. His diverse career as a musician, conductor, educator, and administrator has taken him to top organizations and colleges from coast to coast. He now serves as Director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists and American Opera Initiative. Ainsley performed with Renée Fleming in The Metropolitan Opera’s August 2020 “Met Stars Live in Concert” that was streamed worldwide.
ABOUT THE HARRIMAN-JEWELL SERIES
Renée Fleming's recital will mark the 977th performance since the Series was founded in 1965. From free education events that allow interaction with musicians and dancers, to our free Discovery Concerts that are open to the community, the Harriman-Jewell Series continues to offer life-enriching opportunities for its community's youth and lifelong learners.
Whether you're spreading truth, information, or love, traveling abroad for humanitarian reasons can have risks. Detained American journalist in Myanmar, Danny Fenster, is to be released from jail, and to fly home soon. But it doesn't always end well for every foreign national attempting to do good in a foreign country.
The missionaries consisting of sixteen Americans and one Canadian kidnapped by the Haitian “400 Mawozo” gang on October 16, is extremely scary. The gang has threatened to kill the humanitarian Christians if a million dollar per person ransom is not fulfilled. The group consists of men, women, children and an eight-month-old baby.
These missionaries have sacrificed their time and paid their own way to go to the poorest place in the Western hemisphere to try to spread God’s love and save some souls. In turn, the missionaries are experiencing a nightmare like they’ve never imagined. They’re imprisoned and being threatened with a bullet in the head.
Most of us will never get over seeing journalists being beheaded and tortured in Syria and Iraq by the barbaric Islamic extremist group called ISIL. Burning people alive and beheading others were too graphic and gruesome to ever be forgotten.
Years ago, I traveled to a third world country on a “missionary trip” with others thinking it would be a nice break. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.
Sadly, the 17 missionaries in Haiti are undergoing a cruel experience that may end with the cost of their very lives. What are they thinking now? What is going through the minds of the little children who traveled to a world to help others and spread God’s love?
Haiti has been the site of years of humanitarian efforts. The United States and other countries have given billions of dollars to help Haiti. Sadly, hurricanes, political unrest, underdevelopment and extreme poverty have all made for a sad scenario.
How much money would the world have to give to Haiti to make life better for this nation? This is a question no one can answer because usually aid is a short-term solution. We spent a trillion dollars in Afghanistan and they aren’t any better off today.
Good missionary people went to Haiti with good hearts for helping others in the name of God’s love. They went to share a message they hoped would bring about change and better lives. They may now lose their lives.
Christians point to Jesus as the model for such missionary efforts. He came preaching and teaching in an effort to demonstrate and spread God’s love and it cost him plenty – his life, executed in public on a cross.
There are some Christians today who, like Jesus, are willing to risk their lives for the sake of others. Did these men and women literally go to Haiti taking their children with them truly believe they could be killed? Would they purposefully do this to their children? Who convinced these people that such a trip with small children was a good idea?
My goal here is to simply say, think about such trips to places like Haiti. Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Nigeria and numerous others countries are not vacation spots. Foreign travel may sound exotic and adventurous but consider the possible cost.
Many missionaries and Christian workers have paid the ultimate price in order to spread the gospel of Christ. Only eternity will reveal what their selfless sacrifice has meant to those whose lives they impacted.
By chance, if you decide such an international trip is not for you, don’t feel bad. Consider helping in an American inner city, Appalachia or maybe your own neighborhood. Service at home is needed across America.
Let’s pray for the safety of these missionaries and for those negotiating their release. May God help them and all who may consider such endeavors.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 13 books including Uncommon Sense, Grandpa's Store, Minister's Guidebook: insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. Glenn Mollette has been on numerous International humanitarian and missionary group trips. Hear Glenn Mollette every weekday morning EST at 8:56 on XM radio 131. Editor-If you need to tweak or do a small edit for you paper or website that is okay. Please respond to this email if you need a picture for this column. Scroll down for additional biographical info. Buy his latest recording titled "Black Coffee" on iTunes. Learn more at www.glennmollette.com
The Black Trans Fund, incubated at Groundswell Fund, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color launched the Holding a Sister Initiative, the first-ever national fund explicitly dedicated to transgender girls and gender-expansive youth of color.
Dr. Monique W. Morris, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and Bré Rivera, program director of the Black Trans Fund are together spearheading the Holding a Sister Initiative to bring attention and resources to organizations supporting trans girls of color, normalize concern and investment in their success, and create learning opportunities for cis and trans girls of color to move in deeper community with one another.
The initiative will award $1 million in grants in the first year, and will ultimately engage trans girls and gender-expansive youth of color in the decision-making process for selecting grantees on an ongoing basis.
While there has been an increase in donor attention to work led by people of color, it has yet to translate into significant gains in funding for trans and gender-expansive youth of color.
According to recent regional studies in Detroit, South Florida and New Orleans, trans women of color face higher levels of hunger, homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and discrimination. At the same time, the majority of this year's record-breaking anti-trans legislation are targeted to affect youth, including bills that prevent transgender athletes from playing in school sports and the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act." Research has show sharp rises in suicide attempts among trans youth during 2020 and 2021.
"The reality is transgender and gender-expansive youth of color require more attention, and resources to interrupt the staggering intersections of trauma and crises they experience," said Bré Rivera.
The initiative joins existing funding intermediaries who have been leading the work to resource trans communities and engage trans people in the direction and distribution of resources, including the Third Wave Fund, the Black Trans Travel Fund, and Fund for Trans Generations. As funding partners, the Black Trans Fund and Grantmakers for Girls of Color aim to expand and transform philanthropy's investments in trans and gender-nonconforming youth. The initiative will move resources to organizations serving and led by trans girls and young women of color. It will also amplify narratives that elevate the humanity, dignity and leadership of trans and gender-expansive youth of color, as well as the ways their experiences and contributions have been overlooked, minimized and targeted by oppositional and systemic forces, and larger social justice movements.
The Holding a Sister Initiative will be led by a manager, who will steward culture change through grantmaking, capacity building, narrative shifting and philanthropic organizing. The position is currently open for applicants.
About Grantmakers for Girls of Color
Fiscally-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Grantmakers for Girls of Color (G4GC) works to mobilize resources and amplify transformative organizing work to dismantle systems of oppression led by girls and gender-expansive youth of color. Grantmakers for Girls of Color openly invites partners and stakeholders to co-create an inclusive space in support of girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color across programmatic issues and geographic areas. Learn more by visiting Grantmakers for Girls of Color.
About the Black Trans Fund
The Black Trans Fund is a groundbreaking endeavor: the first national fund in the country dedicated to uplifting and resourcing Black trans social justice leaders. BTF seeks to address the lack of funding for Black trans communities in the U.S. through direct grantmaking, capacity building support, and funder organizing to transform philanthropy. Learn more by visiting Black Trans Fund.