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!