Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Patti LaBelle

If gay men have a better friend than Patti LaBelle I'd sure like to meet her; for over forty years - since many years before it was de rigeur, even - Patti's been on our side, choosing to believe that Christ's message was one of love, rather than hate.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIn recent years she has turned the focus of her loving work on the black gay community, which has naturally raised the ire of many black leaders, most of whom would prefer not to be reminded that such a thing exists; their bigotry is chiefly to blame for the higher than average rate of HIV and AIDS infection among black men (since it encourages the shame-based behaviour of the down low).

Born on this day in 1944, LaBelle first achieved prominence as a member of Labelle, along with Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash; she went solo in 1977, and finally made her crossover from R&B to pop in 1985, with the release of New Attitude, which featured on the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop. She's been a steadfast fixture on the record charts and concert circuit ever since.

Currently a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association - since diabetes, like homophobia, seems to strike the black community at disproportionate levels - she continues to record, appear on television and has even tried her hand on Broadway, appearing as Motormouth Maybelle in the musical adaptation of Hairspray.
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2 comments:

rowtha said...

I think I'm a pretty good friend of the gays. But I don't want to steal props from Patti, she's pretty freaking awesome.

michael sean morris said...

She certainly is!