Cameo's 'Word Up': So Black and So Gay!
This is the gayest video in the history of humankind.
Really. It is. Wait till you see it.
If you’ve seen it before, maybe when you were a kid, well, look at it now, with fresh Black and gay eyes.
Cameo, that funk band from the 1970′s and 1980′s that had their biggest pop hit with Word Up (though my favorite is the follow-up single, Candy). Larry Blackmon, the frontman, became famous for wearing that bright-red plastic cup–on the outside of his lycra pants. Leather jacket. No shirt. Handle-bar mustache.
I’m just stating the facts, people.
If I were a PhD writing an academic essay on this video, it would be titled Cameo’s Word Up: An Audio/Visual
Exlporation Interrogation of Black Gay Club Culture, Policing, and Desire.
Confused? Let me break it down.
So the video opens with actor Lavar Burton as a police detective, flanked by two tall, dark and handsome officers (nightsticks in hand!), telling the Cameo crew to “come out” with their hands up. And they do indeed “come out” and then do a dance sequence and flee the scene on motorbikes.
Verse two. Alone by themselves in some seedy location, they take on hip-hop, and it’s hypermasculine images (in 1986!)with Blackmon singing:
Now all you sucker D.J.’s
Who think you’re fly
There’s got to be a reason
And we know the reason why.
You try to put on your airs
And act real cool
But you got to realize
That you’re acting like fools…
Those of you who know me, know I fully support that sentiment. In 2007. I suported it then, too. I didn’t like “rap” until De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, and Queen Latifah (aka the Native Tongues) would hit a couple years later.
Now, the duo makes their way into the club, where the gayest dance sequence ever choreographed happens–and boy is it long. Look out! in bursts
The Village People Lavar Burton (as detective) and his two officers. After cruising getting a good look around, Burton spots Blackmon and the boys doing some obscene crotch thrusting dance, and he says “Get those queens” to his officers. Only one of his officers gets taken in by the music and dancing and red cupped crotch thrusting, and takes of his clothes and fuckin’ queens out right there!!!
So now Burton whips out his handcuffs, and handcuffs himself to Blackmon , and makes his way to the
bathroom stall exit, only to be duped, and hadcuffed to a woman. He’s miffed. The last shot is of Blackmon with two band members walking under a bridge somewhere, when Blackmon grabs the dude to his left, and they walk off, arm in arm.
Don’t believe me? See it for yourself…Cameo’s “Word Up” is so Black and so gay!