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4 comments | Thursday, February 04, 2010

This post is for Alan.

It's amazing how music has the ability to heal. The idea of healing an entire community that has been wounded by society through one popular disco anthem was a lofty goal but one woman and two amazing singers took on the challenge.

I'd heard of the gay liberation anthem "I Was Born This Way" recorded in the late 70's by musical theater performer Charles Valentino Harris and later released on Motown Records by Carl Bean, but I hadn't listened to the song until last night.

The lyrics go a little something like this:

I'm walking through life in natures' disguise
You laugh at me and you criticize
Just because I'm happy
I'm carefree
And I'm gay
Yes I'm gay
T ain't a fault 'tis a fact
I was born this way

The background on how this song was created and marketed in 1975 when there were few, if any, black gay men boldly proclaiming their sexuality is described in detail in The Advocate from that year.

Carl Bean, who is now Archbishop Carl Bean and founder of Unity Fellowship Church in Los Angeles, an affirming ministry for the black LGBT community spoke to the Advocate in 1978 about the song during the height of its popularity.

"I suppose this song and it's message is sort of a ministry to gay people. I am using my voice to tell gay people that they can still feel good about being gay even if there are people like Anita Bryant around", Bean referring to the singer/citrus spokesperson who led a successful anti-gay campaign to repeal protections for gays in Florida.

Bean would later coin a phrase that would become synonymous with the Unity Fellowship Movement: "God is love and love is for everyone".

This song ministered to my soul yesterday when I desperately needed it and I have a feeling that someone reading this blog today needs to hear it.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

are you kidding me in that you have never heard this song until just last night?


kind of sad especially with the garbage that is played on radio these days and how much you like to spotlight what is going on in the LGBT community!

Well I do hope you have heard some songs from Slyvester. LOL

February 04, 2010 1:42 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...


Your sarcasm is cute. I'm not ashamed to say I hadn't heard the song before last night. As I mentioned in the post I'd heard of the song before but it was until recently that I had an opportunity to hear it. I'm familiar with Carl Bean's work and have even attended Unity Fellowship in LA.

You must not be a longtime reader then you would know Sylvester has been written about several times on this blog.

February 04, 2010 2:12 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Thank you - where have the Black gays come since the original proclamation in 1975?

February 05, 2010 6:47 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have never heard or listened to this song until now. It's very liberating and I'm shocked that I have not. I'm going to be sure that many of my other friends, who I'm sure have not heard it either, take a listen. Thanks for the education D...as always.

February 09, 2010 11:11 PM


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