In Which I Argue That Puff Daddy Is A Gay Icon or How I Spent the Gchat Downtime

24 Jan

Some of the main qualities of a gay icon often include glamour, flamboyance, strength through adversity, and androgyny in presentation. Such icons can be of any sexual orientation or gender; if LGBT, they can be out or not. Although most gay icons have given their support to LGBT social movements, some have expressed opposition, advocating against a perceived “homosexual agenda“.

West Hollywood isn’t terribly far from where I grew up, but as a kid with no car, I was stuck in the ghetto, and WeHo might as well have been another country. WeHo, like most gay enclaves, is the epicenter of a gay culture that elevates and maintains the gay icon. These enclaves are predominantly white and mostly well-off, and their gay icons are reflective of this.

Most gay icons aren’t even gay, they don’t have to be, they are creatures of fame and beauty (sometimes of ironic ugliness) who seemingly warp the space around them to make them queerer. There are the obvious gay icons who work for gay causes, and the not so obvious ones who subtly pay homage to the very idea of gayness/otherness.

Ask two gays for their icons and you will get two disparate lists with icons  separated by substance and by space. Someone’s gay icon may have been old Betty Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, while someone else will defend Madonna to the death. They all have one thing in common though; a thrown lifeline, however ephemeral, from a star to a lonely gay boy or girl at some point in time.

Puff Daddy was my gay icon.

Puff Daddy needs to be recognized. Puff Daddy, Diddy, Sean Combs, all of them, he is the quintessential hip-hop gay icon. Flamboyant, sweet, menacing, even as hip-hop music became rougher, there he stood on top of the charts being fundamentally WEIRD.

I’ll Be Missing You was a monster world-wide hit, but was also reviled. Critics said it was mawkish, and it is, it’s also campy with P Diddy literally falling off of a motorcycle. It’s sentimental, and it is shocking in its sincerity in expressing longing between one man to another.

Diana Ross is sampled in this GODDAMN SONG, and it is Coming Out, her gayest song, quite possibly THE gayest song of all time. Are any of you reading up to this point still shaking your head at my claim to Puffy? Because i have more.

Puffy’s Come With Me from the Godzilla soundtrack has aged about as gracefully as Baby Jane. Watching that again now and I’m reveling even more in the tackiness of it. Can he do that? Can he have an orchestra cover Kashmir while he dances around in a white suit? I don’t think Puffy cares, and it is this uncaring that binds me to him. Look at him act now He’s legitimately funny and self-aware.

Also, Come with Me. Okay?

Oh look it here. Puffy sampling David Bowie, god of all gays, Bowie from whence we queer came from out of a split in his belly in the 70’s (Amen). You might have noticed that most of P Diddy’s music videos are remarkably different from the hyper masculine macho posturing of his hip-hop colleagues. Many of these videos are pure camp and excessively indulgent of glamor.  There is less of a pressure to posture and more of an assertion of “who cares?” and “fuck the rules.”

One of the things I always loved about these songs is that they embody a sort of resistance that doesn’t break a sweat. Reminds me sort of Willam telling Phi Phi that her tone was very pointed. It is a type of shade, a pointedness that requires one to be above their persecutor by remaining calm. Also of note is the choreography in this which I LOVE since it reminds me of Missy Elliott another gay icon who needs her due.

Do I even need to explain this one? Come on.

Listen, I think I’ve built up a solid case here, but I have more. Before I proceed I would like to posit that the reason Puff Daddy is not recognized as a gay icon is because he is a black man who works in hip-hop, and quite frankly, a lot of people who appreciate him don’t have a big enough voice to defend him. But I am telling you that Puff Daddy is every bit the gay camp icon that Madonna and Cher are, he just played to a different audience.

Want more?  Let’s look at who he produced.  Hmmmm

Mary J. Blige.

Oh look TLC

Faith Evans

Mariah Fucking Carey

J LO

Hey it’s a treasure trove of divas of color! All your favorites!

Also, do you know Janelle Monae? She’s young, cute, quirky, all around amazing, every gay boy loves her.

Guess who got her that big break? You’re welcome homos

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