This week blogs, gossip sites and major news outlets published reports of Madonna and Sean Penn’s alleged re-coupling. Madonna flirted with the idea during a fundraiser for Help Haiti Home in Beverly Hills on Jan. 9. In front of a full crowd, she professed her love “I want to say [to] Sean that I love you, from the moment I laid eyes on you — and I still love you just the same.”
Madonna and Sean were never media darlings. In fact, they were once dubbed the “Poison Penns” – mainly due to Sean’s hot temper. Penn landed in jail for spitting and attacking photographers outside Madonna’s old Upper West Side apartment. As a young Madonna fan, I would walk by her apartment hoping to get a glimpse – the closest I came was seeing her jogging in Central Park.
When Madonna and Sean wed at a secret location in Los Angeles on her birthday, August 16th 1985 – Andy Warhol and Cher were in attendance. The reception became a total spectacle with photographers dangling out of helicopters trying to get a shot. Madonna’s image started to change. It appeared as if Sean took Madonna away from her fans. Many kids my age stopped listening to Madonna altogether – she was no longer cool. She was a married woman devoted to Sean – his reputation rubbed off on her. Their flop of a film Shanghai Surprise put the nail in the coffin.
Rumors of abuse began to circulate. It was said, Sean had beat Madonna and tied her to a chair. Madonna supposedly, filed a police report but never pressed charges. Madonna has since denied this ever happened. Most recently, in a deposition in Sean’s 10 million dollar defamation lawsuit against director Lee Daniel’s who referenced Sean as an “abuser” in an Vanity Fair article.
Madonna and Sean’s marriage lasted four years. I never gave up hope on Madonna – I prayed she would find herself. After the divorce, Madonna returned with one of the most celebrated albums of her career, Like A Prayer (1989). Her new sound was mature, empowered and self-expressive. Madonna dancing in front of burning crosses and kissing a black Jesus in the Like A Prayer video promted Pepsi to axe a commercial starring the controversial pop star. Madonna kept the 5 Million dollar pay check. Yes, Madonna was back. And the rest is pop culture history…
Every day, we are inundated with news stories of the challenges facing the LGBTQ community. While informative and necessary, the news can be slightly depressing. It seems our stories of success and love get lost in the debates. Spotlight on David Harris and Tre’Darrius Anderson, David and Tre’Darrius made national news, in 2013, when at the age of 19, married in front of the Lincoln Memorial becoming possibly America’s youngest African American gay couple to wed in the country. It’s been two years now and these young Millennials, who meet on Twitter, are going strong. Through their non-pro-fit organization Guys With Pride, they are on a mission to promote self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights. I too met David and Tre’Darrius on Twitter and through an exchange of tweets, direct messages and emails, I learned more about their inspiring journey.
I have to ask, why did you guys marry so young?
We didn’t think getting married age 19 was such huge milestone in the world, ya know?! People called us brave, bold, and daring for getting married at such a young age. It was the love between us both that brought us together.
Getting married at 19 – whether gay or straight makes a statement. Did you feel like you were making a statement?
We did not think the world was going to take this serious. Expressing our love is what we were doing, but the outcome was truly amazing. We went from no family wanting to support us, to thousands of people sending us love from all over the world. We did not know marrying each other would make headlines. We shared our video on YouTube and we went to sleep that night. The next morning everyone was talking about our video. The world was praising us but then we had people telling us we wasn’t going to make it a week, or even a month.
All the attention must have been over whelming. No family support, really? Has that changed?
Yes, a lot of more family is supporting us now. We have the support of both of our mom’s now. Our relationship is being accepted more by our family as the days go by. Everything takes time and we believe things will work out for the better. Sooner or later.
You live in the south, what’s everyday life like in Memphis?
So normal, not so progressive. Our marriage is not legal here which also upsets us! That’s why we chose to get married in D.C.
What are your thoughts on the religious freedom act?
The religious freedom debate has touched a particularly raw nerve in Indiana, where a GOP pushed to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage and civil unions was defeated last year — exposing tensions within Republican caucuses that already have more than two-thirds super majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate. Several Indiana cities already have anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation, but the legislative fix to the religious freedom law will be the first time protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity are recognized statewide. We have faith that things will get better.
How have you been embraced by the African American community particularly?
Indeed, we have met tons of people on this journey. People of all races has supported us equally.
In gay culture, it seems, gay men in their early twenties are looking to explore their freedom and sexuality; leaning in the opposite direction of marriage. Why do you think that is?
When you’re in the early twenties you are still trying to figure out who you are as a person individually. You want to live life to the fullest, with no strings attached. Marriage is not for everyone.
What has been the best thing about marriage? Do you have plans to start a family?
The best thing about marriage, is knowing that there will always be someone to run to. Having someone to love, grow old with, and share memories is the best! Of course, we want kids! Two boys and a girl. We have already named them also, lol! We are huge on family and would love to have our own someday. We have decided that we will be going the surrogacy route.
As advocates of love and marriage equality, what do you hope to achieve? What are your dreams?
Honestly, we just want to inspire others and help make change for the LGBTQ community. Whether is through television/film, social networking or etc. We want to be that voice that uplifts and motivate our peers. Just let them know that they are not in this alone. Our dreams are to be television stars. There are so many people who come to us in support and for guidance. We get tons of emails, witter messages, and facebook messages for help. We would love to have our own show one day.
If you were to be given that opportunity to share your story on a greater platform, what would you like people to learn from you? What advice would you give to other young gay couples?
Always to stay true to yourself! Believe that tomorrow will be a new day and things get better! Not to care what others think; you can only live for yourself.
Lastly, tell me about Guys WithPride?
Guys With Pride (GWP) A non-profit organization, we started takes a positive stance against discrimination, violence and bullying toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Our mission is to promote self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights. As well as to increase their visibility as a social group, build community awareness, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance, as opposed to shame and social stigma of being gay. Our marriage equality movement starts later this year with the launch of our website GuysWithPride.org
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