Some of you may remember that last year at this time (NYC’s Black Pride AKA Pride In the City hosted by People of Color in Crisis (POCC)), I did an entire series called So Black and So Gay!, where I featured videos with implicit and explicit queer themes by Black artists. Well I am gonna serve up a few this week, as well as a guest blogger tomorrow.
Today’s So Black and So Gay! video is none other than Jermaine Stewart’s 1986 smash hit, We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off!
It’s hard to find queens like this in the public pop culture realm anymore–especially Black queens. A lot of homophobic Black nationalist and middle class “racial uplift” Blacks were always deeply troubled by people like Stewart’s presence in the community and in mainstream pop culture, but they were there. Rather than seeing their images as troubling and de-stabilizing racist notions of Black masculinty, they were seen as undermining the Black community, and regressive masculinities that spoke to our defeat as a race of “men.” The HIV/AIDS epidemic became the physical manifestation of 30 years of increasing social death of Black queer men and transwomen from Black public life.
But Stewart was still able to push the Black sissy into public view during the early years of AIDS, even though this particular song is celebrating a kind of middle-class moralistic view of sex and relationships. But you know what? It’s still alot of fun!
For more on Stewart, please check out the Wikipedia entry, which is pretty interesting. Here’s to Jermaine Stewart, So Black and So Gay!