This ARTBOUND article by Kai Green, “Catching the Incurable Contagion: Black Los Angeles’ Disco Queers,” was not only a great read but also reminds me of how culturally illiterate so many of us are—particularly those of use whose lives are no celebrated but instead pushed into the dark. The gist is that blonde ambition wonder 4.0 (yes there were models before her) Lady Gaga did not only riff on blonde ambition wonder 1.0 (herself a copy) Madonna’s “express yourself” but also on a message put forth over 20 years prior. I guess the question is why did the gay public embrace her message and not collectively shout from the choir stands, “hey we have been singing and saying this” for years? Oh well, here is the vocal genealogy:
The first out black gay singer Valentino singing “I was born this way” in 1975 honey.
Carl Bean’s more famous 1977 version:
The Lady’s version