By the time I was 13 years old without delay, I learned not to replace gender pronouns in my songs performed by my favorite female artists. For some reason I couldn’t understand why I would sing freely around my room and mimic Aaliyah’s entire dance sequence from “Are You That Somebody,” and never change the phrasing to sing about my girlfriend. I was watching him like a hawk in the sky, rocking my denim Tommy Hilfiger overall set and ski goggles.
Here we are, 13 years later – and though the name brand and size on my waistband may have changed, some things haven’t changed a bit . As I go through my current playlist, I notice a huge disparity between male and female artists. When it comes to singers, I prefer females; however, I have no preference when it comes to hip-hop. Is there a void in my playlist depicting my various emotions? Would I enjoy my music more from a rising gay pop star?
Since gays have a huge infatuation with female pop icons, this quickly replaces the void of a homosexual artist. Many of these celebrated artists are engulfed in the culture, lingo and even sometimes exploit our way of life.
Black gay men adore these women, we continue to time over time. If you were to ask any outstanding homosexual in the community his favorite artist, the names Rihanna or Beyoncé are sure to be mentioned.
For example, Rihanna has found a way to connect with her followers – her Navy – and maintain her fan base. It’s no secret that many of her fans are black gay men who are inspired by the latest fashion trends she rocks and unrestricted thoughts she shares in interviews and on Twitter. Recently, she has coined a word that gays have used to describe a man’s ass and turned a less-than-two-minute song into a chart-topping single, “Birthday Cake.”
Comparatively Beyoncé has quickly crossed over, with her drag queen stage persona flourishing around on stage and in her music videos. All of her ‘Sasha Fierce’ aesthetics reflect those found at any Monday night drag show. She glitters when she enters, dances for her life, sings and plays to the audience. The difference, though, is that she’s not getting wrinkled single dollar bills, but multi-million dollar checks.
On the same token Sylvester James, sometimes known as the “Queen of Disco,” blazed a path yet to be traveled today by gay men – especially black gay men. The soul singer and damn right drag queen was open and honest about his sexuality and had no problems expressing it on or off stage. It was the 70s, a time before huge attitude shifts in racism, sexism and homophobia. There is nothing much a gay artist could bring to the table other than sexuality. But now, artists like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj play the line about sexuality. Exploiting their sexuality is a good look for these artists where gays can relate while still being accepted by their peers.
After all gays continue to help make female popular artists into a multimillion-dollar entities and a daily part of our existence. Many of our leading and chart-topping entertainers already know the key to profitability is to tap into the gay market. Understanding gay culture is a pre-requisite if you want to be successful. From Patti LaBelle, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson to Mariah Carey, popular female artists have been over the top and gay-influenced for decades. It is not only acceptable to have a gay man backstage styling hair and attire, but now it is as important to have him as a close member in the circle, giving input and lending creative criticism to turn out the audience.