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|Is radio gayer than it's ever been?|
|by Bo Shell|
|April 06, 2011 11:28|
It seems like every time I turn on my radio there's a gay-affirming song blaring from the speakers.
Even though I'm not a fan of the repetition — even good songs can be worn out — we're lucky to live in a time where we are inundated with positive messages thinly veiled (or not) by pop pulp.
Maybe I'm leaving a song out, but a look at Billboard's radio charts shows that celebrating individuality, and in some cases our sexuality, is very en vogue, especially for straight performers.
According to the most recent Billboard Hot 100 chart, which weekly measures radio play and downloads of music across all genres, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is currently No. 3, Pink's "F***ing Perfect" is No. 4, Katy Perry's "Firework" is No. 9, and Pink's "Raise Your Glass" is No. 18.
Of course, some of the songs listed above hit number one closer to their debut.
These aren't the only songs playing in heavy (although not Hot 100 charting) rotation on the air waves. Love her or hate her, Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" speaks to freedom through individuality. Taylor Swift's latest release "Mean," is currently No. 19 on the Billboard's country radio chart and speaks to the anti-bullying trend.
I wonder what's spurred this new wave of support from straight artists. The entertainment industry has always been loaded with gay and gay-friendly folks, but has there ever been this many hits with this kind of content at one time? Sure, there are artists that have been celebrated by gay people across the board, some gay (Melissa Etheridge, Elton John) and some straight (Madonna, Cher, Janet Jackson), but has the content at the top of the charts ever been this gay?
Could it be a reaction to the current political climate for LGBTs? Could it be actually creating elements of the movement? What does having this kind of music around mean for younger generations?
All of this is not to say that there haven't been successful gay-affirming tracks before now. Some of my favorites include Cyndi Lauper's "Shine" and Mama Cass' "Make Your Own Kind of Music."
A quick check online for gay-affirming music led me to a blog that covers ground on older tracks from Sylvester, Tom Robinson, Bronski Beat, Pet Shop Boys and several more. I was happy to see that he too lists Mama Cass' "Make Your Own Kind of Music."
What are you favorite gay-affirming anthems? Which ones are from straight artists?
Top photo: Lady Gaga (publicity photo)
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