2016 has helped this generation discover musicians they wouldn’t have otherwise.
So, 2016 has definitely been a tragic year, especially for music. We lost three major personalities in the industry – David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. While every ardent fan of these singers/musicians will definitely hate to look back at the year done gone, we have to admit that it did trigger something very beautiful, probably the first greatest moment of a generation trying to understand the sorrow of the other.
Millennials discovered these artistes
While many of us have been brought up with George Michael as a staple diet, us millennials were still generations away from Prince and Bowie.
I have always been fan of Bowie, and my fandom capers somewhere close to a quasi cult-worship, and I noticed the enthusiasm that built up among people when internet stormed with the classic image of Aladdin Sane after the Master of Reinvention’s tragic demise (though tragic is less a word). It was an exhilarating experience which would never have been possible otherwise. There was a sheer curiosity which developed around this extraterrestrial, androgynous figure who shook the world of glam-rock with his extreme theatricality of performances.
Unfortunately, Prince never sold the rights of his music to record labels, and we do not have much of an archive of him on the internet. However, the limited number of songs circulating, especially Purple Rain, Compassion, When Doves Cry, have made people understand that probably the reason why music today is increasingly sounding the same, barring a few artistes is because there is essentially no experimentation with the same fervour as Prince and Bowie carried it out.
Femininity is beautiful
Music industry has always looked the idea of femininity as something that will jeopardize the success of an artist because it does not cater to a society which would appreciate such representation. The industry has been especially hostile towards women – the only thing that can guarantee massive success is the objectification of the body.
Prince wrote songs which provided agency to women. It did not throw them about as objects. The sexual urges of a man were seldom thrust down the woman’s throat to be accepted as affection.
“All of us in minerals and chemicals of space
You carry within your womb, that’s how we got to this place.
This might be a bit serious, but if it turns you on
Come with me now let’s get nice till serious is gone.”
– “Beginning Endlessly, Prince
Above all, you look at Prince’s bands and you’ll discover myriad women deployed either as vocals or guitarists or percussionists. Not to forget the great Sheila E, who broke records with her wonderful, wonderful song “The Glamorous Life”. And if you didn’t know, the song has Prince written all over it. So, on stage, we look at this massive celebration of femininity. Prince made purple desirable. He went against the flow and completely dismissed myths around/about women by achieving monumental success because of the strength of his band.
And about Bowie? Well, I’d just ask you to imagine a deeply masculine world of 1970s. This man appears on TV and cross-dressing isn’t peripheral anymore.
Prince, Bowie and George Michael are artists the LGBT community will always look at and find strength. They should be credited for making our lives easier. Tackling homophobia from the 70s till 90s was a far more difficult task than it is today. Thanks for existing, you all. Thanks for imparting our existence in the minds of people who would dismiss us as a myth.
It wasn’t easy to wear bikini and high heels on stage and perform without being called out for being “under influence” as in case of Prince. They were under influence of solely one thing – their identity.
George Michael has put everything we ever feel in one single, sassy sentence – “I am not interested in selling my records to homophobic people.”
Well, that pretty much says everything.
All we have is to cling to what they had to offer us. Music is both a reflection and a recreation of ourselves. Bowie, Prince and George Michael had everything to teach us. What we can take is what they had to offer – a world full of limitless possibilities that goes beyond legitimate limits set for an individual.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.