Noteworthy GLBTQ* highlights and lowlights
Here are recent and memorable moments when musicians became allies or foes to the GLBTQ* community.
Winnipeggers have an ally in DJ Mama Cutsworth as she continues to offer workshops for women and transgender people on the art of spinning. She is a pioneer among women DJs and empowers individuals using an already powerful medium: music! Music has the power to unite us, no matter how different we are — it allows us to feel, and it’s good to feel something.
Lou Reed passed away in October 2013. The 1972 hit “Walk on the wild side” was a raw account of a trans prostitute. Rare are those who are able to resist singing “do de do, de do, de do, dooooo”. Some even sang gleefully, “shaved her legs and then he was a she.” The vulgar honesty of the song made it sad and powerful instead of crass and offensive. For that, Lou Reed remains an ally to the marginalized.
R&B singer Flo made the news not for her impressive voice but for what she chose to say with it. She declined performing at Winnipeg’s Pride Day in 2012 because of her strong religious beliefs, subtly hinting at her fervent beliefs that “homosexuality” is wrong, or a sin, to use a religious term. The news hit when she was performing at a youth conference hosted by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Unfortunately, or rather pathetically, Flo was not instantly dumped nor did she try to nuance her position outside of saying; “I’m not going to be the one who is ever going to judge for their sexual orientation. I mean, for goodness sakes, I’m coloured, right?”
Eminem released The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013, marking the return of a no BS Eminem, not afraid to defend his lyrics, including the word “faggot.” The song “Rap God,” for example, has him rapping: “I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table over the backs of a couple faggots”. The derogatory term does nothing to help our cause and confirms that any number of other words could’ve been used in its place.
– Eric Plamondon is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.