By Nicholas Hatten
It's been interesting watching the fallout over Adam Lambert's American Music Awards performance. Lambert's fans declared him a trailblazer for his in-your-face queer sexuality. The religious right screamed foul over the man-on-man action taking place during prime-time network airtime. My reaction? "Meh." I'd get worked up over Lambert if the song (and his music in general) was worthy of all the attention. Strangely enough, the take away from all this hoopla should be, when did pop culture's memory become so short?
The Millennial Generation and paparazzi websites quickly declared Lambert the first LGBT pop superstar. Something tells me Elton John, David Bowie, George Michael, Melissa Etheridge and RuPaul missed that memo. It's been "hip" to be queer in today's pop world for some time now. Heck, even Lambert's use of gay sexual imagery to shock and awe wasn't groundbreaking. Dave Navarro (a self-admitted bisexual), busted slob with hetero Anthony Kiedis in a Red Hot Chili Peppers video years ago. Marilyn Manson, while claiming to be straight, perfected oral simulated sex on stage years before American Idol was even conceived. And then there was Sylvester.
Born Sylvester James, Sylvester was an out and proud black beauty who refused to be boxed in by society's straight standards. Theatrical and flamboyant, Sylvester wore who he was with pride. Upon being asked to "butch up" his image, Sylvester showed up to his label's executive meetings in full drag. Yet, Sylvester understood that beyond the flash and make-up, it's the music that makes a legend. Tunes like, "Do You Wanna Funk," "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," "Dance (Disco Heat)," and "Can't Stop Dancing" are songs that continue to earn airplay and be spun by DJs because the songs stand on their own--sans Sylvester's flair for theatrics.
Does anyone even remember the song Adam Lambert performed during the award
show? Can anyone hum the tune? With LGBT artists like Wendy
and Lisa, Rufus Wainwright, Tracy Chapman, Meshell
Ndegeocello, Antony and the Johnsons, and
R.E.M. pushing artistic boundaries, does the LGBT community really need a queer
Madonna? For equality’s sake, yes . . . for artistic sake, HELL NO!
What do you think?