Chely Wright: Wish Me Away is the story of Chely Wright, the first Nashville music star to come out as gay. It is now available for purchase on DVD. Order now and save 25%.
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Comedian John Fugelsang interviews Chely Wright, who two years ago became the first major country music artist to come out of the closet, a process she documents in the new film ''Wish Me Away.''
Country star Chely Wright -- the first gay country singer to come out of the closet -- tells TMZ, she was moved to tears when she read Frank Ocean's declaration that he's gay (or bi), but she says freedom comes at high cost.
Chely says, "I can't think of a better way for Frank to celebrate Independence Day. It's spectular."
But Chely also says she realizes many country and hip hop artists and fans have an intolerance toward gays, and it certainly has had an impact on her career.
She says her record sales have dropped to 1/3 of what they were before she revealed in 2010 that she's a lesbian. She also said that a number of venues have made her persona non grata, because they fear fans will boycott her performances.
Chely also notes that no other country star has come out of the closet since she did, but says both she and Frank are forging a path that will eventually allow people to live their lives openly and without shame.
When Odd Future's Frank Ocean came out last night, people praised his method - Ocean wrote about a man he'd been in love with on his Tumblr - and his choice to be honest about his sexuality.
But country singer Chely Wright, the first openly gay star in her genre, cautions about the persecution she has faced. While she does commend Ocean on his decision (''I can't think of a better way for Frank to celebrate Independence Day''), she also suggests that being a gay R&B singer, like being a gay country star, won't be easy.
According to Wright, her album sales have dropped to a third of what they were. And she's no longer booked at certain venues that don't want to risk a protest if they invite Wright to perform.
Since Wright came out, no other country star has stepped forward. But she still believes that someone has to be the first in order to encourage more people to be honest about their sexuality, regardless of the stigma among their peers.
When it comes to the hip-hop community, Def Jam co-founded Russell Simmons feels the same way. In his short blog post, "The Courage of Frank Ocean Just Changed the Game," Simmons begins, ''Today is a big day for hip-hop.''
"It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we?"
Simmons goes on to praise Ocean's "courage and honesty." He continues, "These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they do, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the greatest new artists we have."
Only time will tell if the seal of approval from the third-richest figure in hip-hop has an effect on any future coming-out decisions.
(CBS News) Country music artist Chely Wright, who revealed two years ago that she's gay, thinks the way CNN host and "60 Minutes" contributing correspondent Anderson Cooper came out was "perfect."
Chely Wright and Entertainment Weekly Managing Editor Jess Cagle appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss EW's recent coming out issue and Anderson Cooper's subsequent coming out.
Wright, who became the first major country star to come out of the closet in 2010, praised Cooper’s grace in coming out, which he did via an email to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan on Monday.
''The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,'' Anderson Cooper wrote in an email that he agreed to have published on The Daily Beast.
As someone who's been through a public coming out, chronicled in Wright’s documentary Wish Me Away, she said of Cooper's coming out, ''I think it’s perfect the way he did it. It was perfectly Anderson.''
Wright goes on to say ''We know there’s not been a more fierce advocate for antibullying measures and efforts than Anderson Cooper. No one doubted he was for us, now everyone knows that he is.''
We're so excited to let you know that the LA Premiere of our Documentary feature film CHELY WRIGHT: WISH ME AWAY is
coming to Laemmle's MUSIC HALL 3 in Beverly Hills this Friday, June 15 , 2012. We will be doing Q&A after the 5:00PM and the 7:30PM screenings.
Please tell your friends as BOX OFFICE COUNTS! Tickets available online and AT THE BOX OFFICE.
Other screening times in case friends can't make it to the premiere:
Friday 5:00, 7:30 & 10:00 Sat 12:00, 2:30, 5:00, 7:30 & 10:00 Sun 12:00, 2:30, 5:00 & 7:30 Mon-Thu: 5:00 & 7:30
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE AND THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT!!
Bobbie and Beverly
Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf
CHELY WRIGHT: WISH ME AWAY
by Krista Wick
It's not often that a country star comes out of the closet-- and with good reason. Singer Chely Wright hopes to change all that.
"I haven't been invited back to do a country music event," Wright confides of her career since she outed herself in 2010, telling Brooke Anderson of The Insider that despite once being an "it" girl of her genre, living "openly and honestly" has come at a high price.
Award winning documentry Wish Me Away opens with a video diary clip of country singer Chely Wright as she counts down to her public coming out. What follows is a compelling and engaging film about Wright’s own journey to that point. We see her putting the finishing touches on her autobiography (which launched the same day as her coming out announcement) interspersed by interviews with her family, friends and industry insiders, including both her former and current managers.
The new documentary, CHELY WRIGHT: WISH ME AWAY -- about a famous country music star who, after years of success, including a couple of hit songs, one of which soared to number one on the charts -- is fascinating for a bunch of reasons. It offers the fullest view I've yet seen of what publicly admitting yourself to be gay is like for a celebrity, and in doing so tackles not just the public persona involved, but the private person, that scared little girl with a need to be loved underneath all the "personal appearances," the PR, the glitz and the ever-present fans. The better-known you are, the more difficult coming-out has to be.
Chely Wright: Wish Me Away, the spirit-lifting, prize-winning documentary about the country music star's bold decision to stride out of the closet and stand tall as a role model, opens June 1 in "limited release." Look for it at a theater near you. And if it's not playing near you, look for it on VOD. Why? Well, here's the best case I can offer, in my original Variety review.