A Tribute to the Weirdos or Why 2016 Sucks

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One of the things that is particularly disturbing and upsetting about the group of celebrity and musician deaths so far in 2016 is that the world has lost some of it’s finest weirdos. People who bravely championed how wonderful it is to be different than what is generally accepted to be “normal.”
74145_D4_1_43Prince Rogers Nelson. A gender bending virtuosic performer and infectious pop songwriter who found a way to make heterosexual male androgyny undeniably sexy and possessed a sound so distinct you could never confuse it for anyone else. He even went so far as to change his name at one point to the male gender symbol overlaid with it’s female counterpart, unmistakably showing his desire to blur gender lines. He was often misunderstood to be gay, despite making it exceedingly clear in his lyrics and lifestyle choices that he was, in fact, quite into women. This serves as a reminder that our culture can coldly stereotype any man that doesn’t dress like a lumberjack and chew tobacco as gay when that is often not the case and shouldn’t be an issue either way.
BowieDavid Robert Jones, AKA David Bowie. A gaunt, other-worldly chameleonic genius songwriter who constantly defiantly reinvented his image and music. Despite his offbeat visage, he put himself on the cover of every single album he made until his final release Blackstar. Many artists and celebrities have cited seeing how unashamed he was of how he looked in his many incarnations as an inspiration to them. Bowie also consistently challenged racial boundaries including with his Blue-eyed Soul 1975 LP Young Americans, marrying a black women, and plainly questioning MTV’s reluctance to play black artists in regular rotation. And of course, like Prince, he routinely blurred what it meant to be a man or a woman.
IMG_0074Ian Frazer Kilmister, AKA Lemmy. A beacon of outsider culture in an era ruled by beautiful pop stars who was unapologetically rough, had a tattoo on his arm that read “Born to Lose,” and left a successful prog rock band to form “a band so dirty if they moved in next to you, your lawn would die.” Many other performers have said that Lemmy’s tough-as-nails conviction and confidence in his unconventional look served as a great motivator for themselves to cast aside their own insecurities.
Fortunately, Prince, Bowie, and Lemmy’s music and messages will live forever, but we are left to wonder who will carry the banner for freaks, geeks, losers, outcasts, and oddballs. To help teach impressionable youth and remind us all that our differences not to be hidden and repressed, but are to be celebrated and embraced. These great talents may be gone, but we still have much to learn from them.

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