Natalie Hope McDonald


Natalie Hope McDonald is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. You can reach her at and on Twitter @NatalieMcD.

April 14, 2023


A beloved drag star returns to Philly

It's a very interesting time to be a drag performer in America. As states like Tennessee have begun trying to ban drag shows, other drag-related events have attracted protests in the Philly area. Just last year, a conservative group protested a drag queen story hour at the Cherry Hill Library. It often takes a few outraged people to get an event canceled, though many others advocates and performers are showing up like never before - often in even higher heels.

May 19, 2021


Film director with local roots revisits cold-case homicides of Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur in 'City of Lies'

Brad Furman, a native of Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, directed 'City of Lies,' which is about the unsolved homicides of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in the late 1990s. The movie stars Johnny Depp as real-life LAPD detective Russell Poole, and Forest Whitaker, as a journalist writing about the cold cases. "City of Lies" is available to stream via on-demand video platforms.

February 15, 2021


New Orleans' deep-rooted culture and resiliency amid COVID-19 pandemic on display in band's new Mardi Gras anthem

While the parades and large crowds may have been canceled this year for Mardi Gras, the culture, decorations, king cakes and music are still alive and well in New Orleans. - I thought something like that as part of a description for the story/social media would work and gets some key words in there

February 8, 2021


Inside Camden County’s mega-vaccination clinic

Camden County’s mega-vaccination clinic in Blackwood has vaccinated more than 10,000 residents against COVID-19, however more vaccinations are needed in order to achieve the goal of herd immunity. The vaccination site is located at Camden County Community College.

November 26, 2020


Urban beekeeping has Philly rooftops and backyards buzzing

The honeybee populations sustained by urban beekeepers in Philly enhance the overall health of the city's ecosystem. In the summer Independence Blue Cross installed hives on the eighth floor roof of its Center City building that are home to 30,000 bees. Honeynees are responsible for pollinating a third of the world's food supply.

November 14, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court

With Fulton v. Philadelphia, U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide a new LGBT rights issue

Legal arguments have taken place in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case raises questions about whether the archdiocesan adoption agency, Catholic Social Services, in Philadelphia can legally be permitted to discriminate against potential adoptive and/or foster parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. As the first case to come before Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the implications could be long-lasting for both LGBT rights and religious freedom advocates.

October 16, 2020

Public Art

What will happen to the Gayborhood mural honoring LGBT activist Gloria Casarez?

When it was announced that the site of the 12th Street Gym had been sold to a New York City developer, not only was the community shocked to see the 30-year-old Gayborhood gym close, a big question loomed about what would happen to the mural of LGBT icon Gloria Casarez painted on the building's facade. For nearly three years since the gym closed, that uncertainty lingered, but now for the first time there is hope the memorial to Casarez could be preserved – in some way.

September 11, 2020

Mental Health

From 9/11 to father's fatal plane crash, New Jersey paramedic has learned lessons in coping with tragedy

Scott Coppolo got the call that clear and sunny morning when he arrived to work in Newark. It was an all-hands-on-deck situation at the Jersey City pier just across from Lower Manhattan. Coppolo, then 20, was new to the EMS job in North Jersey. "All you saw was smoke," remembers Coppolo, who heard the first World Trade Center building collapse in a matter of minutes. After that, it was havoc. Injured people covered in dust and debris were being brought in on ferries that usually transported tourists and commuters. "I remember feeling apprehension, but going into a kind of autopilot," he says. "We got inundated with people."

June 15, 2020


Economic questions linger as Philly begins gradual reopening process

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe effect on the Philadelphia economy. The retail, real estate, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries are all hurting as Philly begins its reopening process. Consumers are saving instead of spending, business experts say.

June 12, 2020


Death of transgender woman ruled a homicide; gruesome slaying shakes community

The body of Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells was pulled from the water near Bartram’s Garden Dock & Community Boathouse earlier this week and on Friday her death was ruled a homicide. Fells, a 27-year-old transgender woman, suffered trauma to her face and head, and her legs were severed mid-thigh, according to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. The gruesomeness of the crime has shaken the LGBT community during the usually celebratory Pride Month. Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans activist who first shared the news of Fells’ death on social media, said, “We need to come together and keep our focus on yet another black trans woman murdered.”

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