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.

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!