Tag Archives: Cyndi Lauper

LGBT History Month 2013: Cyndi Lauper

24 Jun

cyndi  lauperToday I would like to honor and celebrate a fierce  and lifelong LGBT ally — a woman dedicated to civil rights for all and social justice, not to mention a personal hero of mine, Cyndi Lauper.  Lauper founded  the Give A Damn Campaign, which strives for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality. What a lovely voice of solidarity for the LGBTQ community.  Her activism is greatly appreciated and she uses her celebrity for the greater good.

Lauper’s True Colors tour — taking its title from her #1 ballad to being true to yourself –  is a wonderful spectacle of support for the LGBTQ community and for strong voices in the music community representing marginalized populations. She truly exemplifies the values she speaks. Activist neo-divas like P!nk and Lady Gaga owe a great debt to her bold example.

More recently, Lauper started True Colors Residence, providing housing for LGBT youth.  Yes, sadly, there are far too many LGBT youth who find themselves homeless after coming out. Announcing the facility, she stated:

These young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to go to for help. This is shocking and inexcusable!

Lauper also successfully turned her many talents in a new direction with a recent Broadway hit. Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell asked her to write the music and lyrics for a stage adaptation of the true-story movie Kinky Boots. Harvey Fierstein came on board to write the book for this story of a young man who recruits a drag queen to help him save his family shoe factory by designing comfortable and stylish drag footwear. Nominated for 13 Tony Awards, the show’s win for Best Musical may be the gayest Tony ever. Lauper became the first woman to win Best Original Score solo, adding another first to her list of accomplishments.

From the very beginning, Lauper has used her star power to help the under-represented. On her groundbreaking video for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, she insisted that the performers be as diverse as possible wanting:

every girl who saw the video to see herself represented and empowered, whether she was thin or heavy, glamorous or not. I wanted women of every race.

She has used that same philosophy to great impact in her support of the LGBT community. Thank goodness for allies like Lauper.

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Women’s History Month 2013: Cyndi Lauper

22 Mar

CyndiToday we honor and celebrate a woman dedicated to civil rights for all and social justice, not to mention a personal hero of mine, Cyndi Lauper.  Lauper founded  the Give A Damn Campaign, which strives for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality.  What a lovely voice of solidarity for the LGBTQ community.  Her activism is greatly appreciated and she uses her celebrity for the greater good.

Lauper has been an outspoken advocate for multiple social justice issues since the start of her career. Her first solo album, She’s So Unusual, is a declaration of independence from the title to the cover photo to the crisp production and quirky vocals. She lends her voice to rockers, ballads, and anthems and makes them all unmistakably her own. She bounces from the feminism of Girls Just Want to Have Fun to the sex-positive message of She Bop to the wistful class analysis of Money Changes Everything, then retains the original pronouns in her cover of Prince’s When You Were Mine, making her lost love a bisexual or a gay man finding his truth. (She’s always had a great ear for songs to cover, including a lovely reading of Marvin Gaye’s social protest song What’s Going On.)  She consistently demonstrates her solidarity with the disenfranchised and marginalized–what a great role model for us all!

Launching from that strong platform, she’s been a powerful voice in music and civil rights ever since, confounding expectations and speaking her mind. She laments the way women are treated in the music industry, as demonstrated in this anecdote about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I always have been saying [the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame] should include women. I was in Cleveland and I took my cousin’s son to see it, because he wanted to see it, and they asked if I wanted a VIP tour and I said “Not really, because you don’t really include women in your curation here.” There’s hardly any women, and I feel funny walking this kid around, explaining who the women were who were around at the time.

Lauper’s True Colors tour — taking its title from her #1 ballad to being true to yourself —  is a wonderful spectacle of support for the LGBTQ community and for strong voices in the music community representing marginalized populations. She truly exemplifies the values she speaks. Activist neo-divas like P!nk and Lady Gaga owe a great debt to her bold example.

Even more remarkably, she manages to hold on to the spirit of her first big hit, remembering that even during the fight for justice, one must find ways to have a happy heart. She certainly doesn’t “just want” to have fun, but she wants us all to celebrate as we fight together for what’s right. She’s so unusual indeed, but the world could use more like her.

Women Who Rock

20 Nov

As part of its Arts Fall Festival, PBS premiered the 90-minute documentary Women Who Rock this week. The program, hosted by the ever delightful Cyndi Lauper, highlights the impact of women on the past, present, and future of rock music. It features interviews with and performances by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Darlene Love, Mavis Staples, Heart, and many more. It’s a powerful program and must-see viewing for anyone interested in modern music history.

Part of the inspiration for the show is an exhibit currently on view at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power. It’s a long-overdue celebration at the Hall, the first of its kind in the 25 years since the first honorees were inducted. Hopefully the exhibit and the program will help underscore the significance and influence of women in what is often viewed as a men’s club. As with so many walks of life, rock women are not the exception, but an overlooked part of the total fabric of music in the last 60 years.

Lauper herself notes the irony of the Hall of Fame being part of this celebration.

I always have been saying [the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame] should include women. I was in Cleveland and I took my cousin’s son to see it, because he wanted to see it, and they asked if I wanted a VIP tour and I said “Not really, because you don’t really include women in your curation here.” There’s hardly any women, and I feel funny walking this kid around, explaining who the women were who were around at the time.

The Hall certainly has honored many important women, including Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, The Supremes, Blondie, Mahalia Jackson, writer Cynthia Weil, and many more. Sadly, however, only 11% of the inductees are women or even groups that include women. Given that there are 16 men who have been inducted twice or more (as members of groups and as solo performers), there certainly seems to be room for more inclusion.

The Hall can’t please everyone, of course, and the importance of various performers has a highly subjective quality. While the criteria are laudably broad, however, and commercial appeal or classic rock credibility are clearly not the only factors, it’s hard to credit some of the glaring omissions. Besides our Cyndi, where are Joan Baez, Pat Benatar, Mother Maybelle Carter, Cher, Sandy Denny, Eurythmics, The 5th Dimension, Connie Francis, Carole King, Patti LaBelle, The Mekons, Olivia Newton-John, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Nina Simone, Dionne Warwick, X, or Young Marble Giants to name a few diverse examples?

This is especially troubling when one considers that only five of the 28 inductees from the past three years are women (including ABBA and two male-female songwriting pairs). Five of the 15 nominees for 2012 are women: Heart, Joan Jett (and the Blackhearts), Chaka Khan (with Rufus), Laura Nyro, and Donna Summer. Let’s see how they fare.

As in every other field, women have made major contributions. From Dolly Parton’s Just Because I’m A Woman to P!nk’s Stupid Girls, from Aretha Franklin’s Respect to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way: as singers, songwriters, musicians, businesspeople, and carriers of message through music, women who rock matter. Let’s be certain to celebrate them.

Hero of the Week Award: September 9, Cyndi Lauper

9 Sep

Hero of the Week

I have to confess that I was so overwhelmed by the bigots this week that the search for a hero seemed daunting.  Fortunately, our Cyndi Lauper, founder of the Give A Damn Campaign, which strives for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality, is now opening a homeless shelter for LGBT teens in New York.  True Colors Residence homeless shelter for LGBT teens opens today, September 9, 2011, thus earning Cyndi Lauper our HWA.

True Colors Residence will serve youth from ages 18 to 24 who have been disowned by their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The youth will receive housing, social, and educational support; they will also receive help finding employment.  Brava, Cyndi Lauper.  How wonderful to build a legacy of love, strength, and advocacy in a culture of hate, discrimination, and fear mongering.

PSA: Things You Need to Know about the LGBTQ Community

2 May

I have to admit, I love Wanda Sykes and I love that Cyndi Lauper organized the “We Give a Damn” Campaign.  In the video you are about to watch, Sykes and other celebrities take time to do a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that explains why we need full equality, thus in keeping with the philosophy of TSM blog.  I am cross linking to my friend Cory’s blog, so that you can see this very powerful video.  Please stay engaged and get involved; this is the new civil rights movement.

Number 3 Hero of the Year Award

29 Dec

The Number 3 Hero of the Year Award goes to Dan Savage and the It Gets Better Campaign.  Even President Obama did a great video for the campaign.  In the wake of now over a dozen suicides, the It Gets Better Campaign is designed to give hope to all LGBTQ people struggling with orientation and gender identity.  Cyndi Lauper’s Give a Damn Project gets an honorable mention!  I hope we can join as humans regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity to make a difference for all of those struggling, and send a message of solidarity of love and acceptance.  We must stop homophobia and hate.

Nominees for Hero of the Year Award, 2010

24 Dec

Composing this post was a true delight and gave me some hope for the future.  It was inspiring to reflect on the Top 10 list of heros.  Each nominee demonstrated courage, compassion, and integrity; it will be difficult to narrow it down to five winners starting next Monday.  Here is the list wonderful souls:

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