1. South Africa's first elected black president, Nelson Mandela, died today. The 20th-century giant, a peaceful liberator who dedicated his life to securing justice and dignity for all, died today at the age of 95. "Our nation has lost its greatest son," South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday in a televised address. "His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him our love."
As The Advocate noted: "In addition to being the face of the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and a leader in peaceful liberation, Mandela was also an avid luminary in Africa's fight against HIV and AIDS. South Africa was one of the hardest hit nations with millions of people in the population living with HIV."
2. Gay details were removed from the U.S. version of Morrissey's autobiography. As Spin reports, although Morrissey had a two-year relationship with photographer Jake Owen Walters, that section of the bestselling book has been edited for the Stateside version of the Smiths' frontman's Autobiography. "When the book first hit shelves in the U.K. via Penguin Classics, one of the major revelations came via the anecdotes that detailed Moz's time spent with the man," Spin reported. "Though the book didn't specify whether they were lovers, the author's fondness is quite clear."
3. Johnny Weir apologizes after calling gay activists ‘idiots’ for anti-Russian protests. During a speech at Barnard College on Monday—which sparked a demonstration at the private college by Queer Nation—Weir called activists "idiots" because they said he's supporting Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws by not criticizing the country. By Tuesday, he'd apologized for his statement in a written response, saying he felt "remorse." On Wednesday, NBC released a statement that said Weir feels “remorse” for insulting protesters during his appearance at Barnard College. “We’re supportive of Johnny’s apology for his choice of words last night in an emotional setting. As we’ve previously stated, NBC will cover all newsworthy issues as they are relevant to the Games, including the LGBT law."
4. The AIDS epidemic in America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and Hispanic men who have sex with men. In a bleak story from the New York Times, it seems mainstream media finally realizes that poor black and Hispanic men are the ones most often facing H.I.V. without support. As one statistic points out: "Nationally, 25 percent of new infections are in black and Hispanic men, and in New York City it is 45 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city’s health department."
5. Britney Spears says she may retire from music sooner than later. In an interview with Extra TV! to promote the launch of her upcoming Las Vegas concert, Brit told host Mario Lopez that she may call it quits when her contract is up in two years.
6. Rep. Jared Polis, a gay Democrat from Colorado, lost his cool on the House floor last night. When the presiding officer chastised a colleague for daring to mention the undocumented immigrants sitting in the House gallery to hear the chamber debate the languishing immigration reform bill, Polis couldn't stand it anymore and chastised House Republicans.
Watch Polis' epic rant in the CSPAN video below, with the confrontation starting at the 2:45 mark.