Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Gayest Music Videos Ever

When I made the pronouncement that "Pop Music Could Use Another Decade as 'Gay' as the '80s" in my latest HuffPost Gay Voices blog post, I was envisioning a future pop world that was less "bro"-centric, with fewer affected macho-isms and more sensitivity. (Bruno Mars is a nice start, but he's so vanilla -- i.e., "straight acting" and, well, straight.) I was hoping for the antithesis of "Blurred Lines" -- the video, not the song.

Then along came the following tweet from somewhere in England (actually, London).

AKA Sam wasn't kidding. Not even Boy George, for all his flamboyance and out-ness, ever got to kiss the boy (or Culture Club drummer John Moss, with whom he was on-off) in his videos. True to AKA Sam's teaser, the video for The Plastics' cover of "XO," otherwise known as track 10 on Beyoncé's current self-titled album, is a bold celebration of gay love (or lust, depending on how you want to look at it) that probably would have been too hot for the 1980s. In my mind, the video, which was posted on YouTube on April 10, cements Beyoncé's spot as pop's reigning female gay icon, now that everyone seems to have lost interest in Lady Gaga.

Here's the interesting thing about Beyoncé that The Plastics inadvertently made me realize: Gay men adore her, but is there a straighter female pop star on the planet? Katy Perry kissed a girl and liked it, on her MTV Unplugged Miley Cyrus came on to Madonna, who's made out with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards, while Rihanna, whose Rated R single "Te Amo" (see below) promoted Sapphic love/lust, came pretty close to jumping Shakira's lovely bones in the recent video for their duet "Can't Remember to Forget You."

Beyoncé, from a musical standpoint, couldn't possibly be more straight and narrow. She sings about holding out for an engagement ring (in "Single Ladies" -- natch!), limo and kitchen sex (in "Partition" and "Drunk in Love," respectively), and even switching genders (in "If I Were a Boy") from a decidedly hetero point of view. She's publicly supported gays and lesbians, but to my knowledge, she's never gone there in her work, which makes me wonder what she really thinks of the legion of fans that she says she appreciates but still more or less ignores when she's on the clock. Would she approve of The Plastics' video? Her husband, Jay-Z, has, like his wife "Miss Carter," publicly supported gay marriage. I wonder what he'd think.

Will the future in music videos look more like The Plastics' "XO" more often? I hope so. I long for the day when a video like this one won't need a "NSFW" disclaimer, when the most remarkable thing about a video for a Beyoncé cover that features young, shirtless gay men expressing their sexuality with their asses hanging out isn't the boy-on-boy aspect (or the tame nudity, compared to "Blurred Lines" and Justin Timberlake's "Tunnel Vision") but that the new arrangement of a Beyoncé original, so haunting, so sad, so throbbing, might actually be even better than the real thing.

10 Other Music Videos That Play for the Other Team

"DJ" David Bowie (1979)

"Physical" Olivia Newton-John (1981)

"None of Your Business" Salt-n-Pepa (1994)

"Outside" George Michael (1998)

"Beautiful" Christina Aguilera (2002)

"Trapped in the Closet" R. Kelly (2005)

"The Last of the English Roses" Pete Doherty (2009)

"Te Amo" Rihanna (2009)

"Shame" Robbie Willams and Gary Barlow (2010)

"Same Love" Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert (2012)

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