Klymaxx: So Black and So Gay!

Bernadette Cooper, with the firece asymetrical Bob to the left.

Bernadette Cooper, with the firece asymetrical Bob, next to last on the right.

No one brought Black gay culture, in terms of the language and the unique kind of camp/pretense of Black gay life to the mainstream in the 1980s more than Bernadette Cooper. Consider her lyrics, which open her band Klymaxx’s first single from 1984, The Men All Pause

I knew I was looking good

I had my Kenneth Cole shoes on, My Gianni Versace blue leather suit.

My nails were done, and my hair was FIERCE!

I was riding in a Coupe S Limousine…

The song get’s even gayer. But it is Cooper, with her not quite butch, not quite femme persona who continues the camp factor ripped right from the runways of the balls. It was as if she was writing songs for queens to get ready to the club to, or drag queens to perform…

‘cause they all love’d me
Slap me, no, somebody slap me
‘cause i know i’m lookin’ good
I’m givin’ attitude all over the room
People are starin’ at me
I just look too good for these people

As it turns out, I would meet Ms. Cooper years later when she lived in Jersey City, and operated a high-end vintage clothing store. She was still fab then. She also penned other such “I look too good” songs like Salt-N-Pepa’s “The Body Beautiful” and Bette Midler’s “I Look Good.”

For her camp factor and drag-a-licious performance, Bernadette Cooper & her band Klymaxx is so Black and so gay!

FUCKING UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP has blocked people from being able to embed the video, so you have to follow this link to Youtube.

7 thoughts on “Klymaxx: So Black and So Gay!

  1. did you see them on bands reunited on vh1 years ago? they found them all but cooper refused to reunite over serious $$ beef with the guitarist (i think her name was cheryl something) who was living off the klymaxx name without paying royalties. does that make sense? anyway they got together to play “meeting in the ladies room” at a reunion show without the guitarist – the knucklehead shows up wanting to reconcile and play together just one time and cooper was like, NOPE! You still owe me $$$! and they played without her. i think i might have cried a little – it was so FIERCE, just like you said.

    thanks, kenyon!!! :-) i can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment

  2. I did!!! It was interesting because I knew Bernadette from the neighborhood but I didn’t recognize her until I was watching Bands Reunited and realized the woman who owned the shop a block away was THE Bernadette Cooper.

  3. Kenyon said….”It was as if she was writing songs for queens to get ready to the club to, or drag queens to perform”.

    Well, from what I remember that’s EXACTLY how it worked out ! I clearly remember posing in the mirror with my friends Kelly and Greg to this song as we got ready to hit the clubs. Those were the days!

  4. Hey Cutie,
    So I’m sitting in my studio when I get a call from my friend stating he read your interview. He sent me the link ….and even though you are somewhat un diva like in your description of me…lol. I would like to say thank you for doing the article. The new CD will be out soon entitled “Real Divas Never Die” Let me know when you want to do a sexier interview….Good Luck!
    Diva Love,
    Bernadette Cooper

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