Jody Watley: So Black & So Gay

I have to say that I am having too much fun blogging about frivolity while the world’s economy comes crashing down, McCain & Palin pull every stunt in the book short of a physical attack, and the gays can now rock a Vera Wang in Connecticut–perhaps I should have never left acting! I could have ignored politics forever! LOL!!! Anyhoo, this is the next-to last in this installation of So Black and So Gay.

It’s hard to select one video or song from dance music artist Jody Watley that is Black and gay. They kind of all are. But I am gonna narrow it to two. Watley began her career as a regualar dancer on Soul Train in the 1970s, and then joined the group Shalamar, and had several hits with that band, before going off on her own with the release of her debut solo album in 1987. The second single, Still A Thrill, was the least successful as a single, but I think is one of the funkiest tracks of the decade by any artist, period. The Andre Cymone (a high school friend of Prince, and the Minneapolis sound is all over this track) produced track is about a love affair that remains steamy after many years, and has a killer bassline, and a funky guitar lick over a synthesized drum. The video is simply Jody and Tyrone Proctor a dancer, clearly a Black gay man (who’s name I can’t remember nor locate), who vogues with Watley through the video. This video pre-dates Madonna’s “Vogue” by 3 years, and is often given credit for being the first mainstream video to feature voguing. Shot in Black & White in what looks like Paris, the video is super sexy, and I also see a lot of where Aaliyah got her look and movement influences, which I had never thought of before.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nArOa8OViw]

I could not mention Still A Thrill and not talk about Real Love, from Watley’s second album, Larger Than Life, which definitely was a move toward a sound more associated with the 1990’s, though it was released in 1989. A much bigger hit for her than the previous single, but is no less relevant. This song kills as a dance track, it’s still fresh and interesting to listen to 20 years later. And the video, so black and so gay, is a tribute to Jody’s career as a model, and as someone who was very fashion-forward. Watley is giving you looks in this video. She’s giving you fierce runway (in an over the top way reminiscent more of the Ball/Vogueing scene than an actual fashion runway show), and even though it’s a video that doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the song, it somehow completely fits it. Real Love, and Jody Watley in general, is so Black and so gay!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl8MrB7MlJ4&NR=1]

9 thoughts on “Jody Watley: So Black & So Gay

  1. Odd. I don’t remember this song. And I may be wrong on this, but I’m almost certain the male dancer’s name is Tyrone Proctor. Jody and Tyrone could ALWAYS be seen dancing on Soul Train back in the 70’s. Even back then, he would execute dance moves that would later be adopted by the Ball Culture and become known as voguing.

  2. Oooo you dug up the remix of Still a Thrill from her 1990 remix CD! Still a Thrill is SUCH a hot song. Someone should remake it…but only with Ms Watley’s blessing and assurance they’ll do the song justice.

  3. This blog was forwarded to me by a friend of mine at my myspace page. (www.myspace.com/jodywatley).
    I just wanted to thank you for the props :), it’s such a nice and complimentary post.
    Tyrone Procter is in the video ‘Still a Thrill’, which was filmed in Paris. Tyrone was one of my icons, before I got to Soul Train. When I was just a kid in the midwest with aspirations, Tyrone and the other kids on Soul Train were such a big influence. Of course, we became fast friends when I arrived. Tyrone taught me so much about really ‘giving it!’
    I had to have him in the video – my way of saying thank you! “Real Love” – well…. it still speaks volumes too :)
    Thank YOU Kenyon!

  4. Corey– thanks for letting m know about Tyrone Proctor! My google searching could not pull it up.

    Jody!–Thanks for responding to my blog post. I am glad you liked the post, and I’ll just say that I loved “The Makeover” and thank you for demonstrating how an artist can walk away from the major labels, and still produce work that has integrity and remains interesting and relevant. Looking forward to the future work!

      1. he is not gay he is in fact a very close cousin of mine and my side of the family and its not just vouging its waaacking a dance that was popular during his time and men and woman did it and later it was adapted as vouging

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