Todrick Hall on ‘Being Black and Gay in America’—WATCH

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Todrick Hall has been killing it for a while now. While his “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” and “Dripeesha” (with comedian Tiffany Haddish) probably vie for his most well known songs, he fucking brought it with “FAG” a song that virtually no one would touch or promote. Which is 90% of the reason I love him and why I think he deserves to be Billboard magazine’s 2020 cover for Gay Pride.

Todrick’s coronavirus quarantine  parody of “Heels” called “Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs” was a viral hit and was as hilarious as it was relevant.

With lyrics capturing everything about the surreality of the last few months:

Mask, gloves, soap, scrubs
TikTok, Grubhub
Twinks, jocks, bears, cubs
Zoom is the new club
Six feet, no hugs
Still beat these mugs
Sick beat, cut a rug
Joe Exotic is a thug
Kitty cat cat, tell me Carole Baskin
Where is the husband, everyone’s asking?
Stimulus check, everybody better cash in
Mask and gloves, yeah, that’s a new fashion
Girl, what did that girl just say?
Girl, ooh girl!
I don’t go to work (work)
I don’t leave, I stay (stay)
I don’t care I eat, eat, eat, and sleep all day (okay)
And then I watch TV (yup)
That’s just the tea, hunty (yes ma’am)
Until they set us free (free)
Then I’mma let you see
Whatchu gonna let them see?
My mask, gloves, soap, scrubs
Mask, gloves, soap, scrubs [Refrain]
But “FAG” was something else. When it was released last September Mark S. King, the founder of My Fabulous Disease wrote on Facebook, “This. Is. Everything. These lyrics aren’t simply next-level That Bitch. They are profound and political and so, so 2019. (“This shit is gaggy. Not to be braggy. But yeah I’m living in that mansion with that rainbow flaggy. They want her picture. They want to tag me. They try to drag me. Now I’m making millions and I’m doing it in draggy.”)

And I agreed.

“They called me fag, now I’m the one with the bag, they called me bitch, now look who’s famous and rich,” he raps on the powerful track, before questioning: “Where are you now haters, speak up?”

The music video features Todrick and his two backing dancers rocking crop tops with anti-LGBTQ slurs on them (fag, sissy and punk) but when they turn around, it reveals the phrases: winning, bawlin’, and famous and rich.

 

Billboard says of Hall, “[he]  has thought a lot about that legacy he wants to build — and the obstacles he faces — not just lately, but throughout his career. As a black gay man in the entertainment industry, he is used to paving his own yellow brick road. During a FaceTime tour of his house in late May, he showed off the memorabilia that decorates his hallways: His schoolboy costume from his 2016 visual album, Straight Outta Oz; the thigh-high red boots from his starring role as Lola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots; the MTV Video Music Award he accepted in 2019 alongside good friend and collaborator Taylor Swift for her star-studded “You Need To Calm Down” music video. But despite all that — plus regular appearances on competition shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and an enviable contact list in his phone — Hall still feels like an outsider in the industry.”

It continues, “Hall is an unconventional celebrity: He’s part old-school theater showman, part new-school internet personality, part drag queen, with a sound that draws equally from club-ready dance music and contemporary hip-hop. That makes him hard to categorize — even easy to dismiss — for those used to more traditional résumés and less openly ambitious performers. With songs like “Fag” and “I Like Boys,” he’s also pushing the boundaries of LGBTQ representation in a business that has historically been unwelcoming to queer people of color and bristled at out stars who came across as too showy or too sexual. “The thing that moves me the most about Todrick is that he represents the thing that my generation fought for, which is a black man who could be gay and out in the music industry,” says Hall’s friend Billy Porter, a Broadway veteran who has garnered recent attention for his role on FX’s Pose and his extravagant red-carpet looks. “They laughed my gay ass out of the business in the mid-’90s.”

That confidence is treasured by his other good friend, Taylor Swift, who has publicly credited Hall with inspiring her to be more vocal about her stance on LGBTQ equality. “From day one, Todrick has always been very honest with me about his life and his experiences as a gay man of color,” Swift tells Billboard over email. “He never holds back or smooths over conversations or topics. It’s always something I’ve been grateful for, that he never felt the need to edit who he is around me or be a different version of himself. I think that unapologetic sense of self is also what people connect to in his work. He’s just Todrick. He’s never EVER going to even attempt to be anyone else.”

Read the full article here.