Tag Archives: musician

LGBT History Month – Day 27 – Grace Jones

Grace Jones (1948 – ) is our inspiration for day 27.

grace jones

Grace Jones is a Jamaican singer, lyricist, supermodel, record producer, and actress. She began her career as a supermodel, then began producing music, with 10 studio albums and 8 compilation albums to date. Film credits from 1973 onwards include Conan the Destroyer, Boomerang and A View to a Kill in 1985.

Jones’ distinctive androgynous appearance, square-cut, angular padded clothing, manner, and height of 179 cm (5’10 ½”) influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s.

You can read a post celebrating her life and works here: http://www.gradientlair.com/post/119408598533/the-great-grace-jones

LGBT History Month – Day 23 – David Bowie

We couldn’t do a series like this without him. Day 23 celebrates the life of David Bowie (1947 – 2016)

david bowie

As a musician, actor and fashion icon, David Bowie constantly reinvented himself, developing challenging music and alter egos regularly throughout his career. His musical success began with Space Oddity in 1969 and continued up until the release of the album Blackstar just a few days before he died in January 2016.

A beloved, much-admired icon, for sure – but what puts him on our list for this month?

Bowie could be seen as something of an LGBT enigma. As with his overall performance persona, his sexual identity is a story of layers. In 1972 he declared himself gay. In 1976 he said he was actually bisexual. And years later, he explained that, in fact, he had always been a ‘closet heterosexual’, and suggested that his G and B identifications had been simply a product of the time and of his cultural environment.

This is perhaps a good illustration of the fact that people can have many aspects and elements to their identities, and regardless of how Bowie truly saw himself, his artistic work has had an enormous positive influence on the LGBT community. His alternates and stage characters were sexually ambiguous, gender-fluid, and unashamed to be who they were. These were themes he developed extensively in his portrayals of the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust.

His presentation of ‘Otherness’ as something to be embraced challenged assumptions and broke down barriers, and inspired many people who found his messages relevant to their own struggles. Musicians including Boy George, the Pet Shop Boys and Scissor Sisters have all acknowledged owing much to Bowie’s work, both personally and professionally.

As an actor, Bowie is probably best known for his portrayal of Jareth, the Goblin King, in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986). He wrote five songs for the movie, including Magic Dance (and wore those tights…) . He also appeared in 1983 vampire fantasy The Hunger, 1976 sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell To Earth in 1973, and the 2006 mystery The Prestige.

You can explore his website here: http://www.davidbowie.com/ and read his obituary here http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jan/11/obituary-david-bowie

LGBT History Month – Day 17 – Meshell Ndegeocello

For Day 17, we celebrate the music of Meshell Ndegeocello (1968 – )

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell Ndegeocello is a bisexual American singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist, and vocalist. Her music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including funk, soul, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. She has had ten career Grammy Award nominations and has been credited for having “sparked the neo-soul movement.” She released 11 albums between 1993 – 2014, and contributed to the It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living book of accounts and essays, published in 2011. She married her wife, Alison Riley, in 2006.

You can read more about Meshell on her official site, here: http://www.meshell.com/