This is the second time I’ve picked openly gay country artist Drake Jensen as a Weekend Diversion—the first repeat artist, as far as I can remember. But I like promoting independent artists, gay artists and fun music and Drake’s latest video ticks all three.
The video is basically a modern gay man’s look at a fast-moving world and how he responds to it. To me—definitely a non-expert on country music—it’s a little bit honky tonk and a little bit country pop rock, and a whole lot of fun.
However, when he posted the video, Drake wrote on his Facebook page:
“Lets hear em bitch that this one aint gay enough!!..lol...one thing about me..I do it in my own time ...when Im ready...and btw Sean you are a true STAR in this one...I love you..thanks for standing by me always even when Im at my WORST!!...and btw this is the real deal...true country music and about the most truly "gay" themed video created thus far...one thing I have learned..I know who I am and what I stand for....this video is very true of Sean and I's relationship..its exactly how it all started...”Typos and grammar aside, I thought it was an interesting that he’s been criticised as not being “gay enough”, whatever that means. Personally, I don’t care if a gay artist always sings songs with gender-correct pronouns (though I want them to do so at least sometimes) as long as they’re open and honest about who they are. In other words, if a gay artist sings “universal” songs, that’s fine with me as long as they’re open about who they are, as Drake is.
Last month, I posted the video of “All-American Boy" by Steve Grand. One thing I didn’t take on in the post itself was the fact that Steve was being hyped as the first gay male country star when there have been others like Drake. I did mention this in some of my social media postings, but I wish I’d been more explicit in the post itself. I gather that there’s been some skirmishing among the fans of the two men, which is really unfortunate.
I think that this was at the heart of the criticism that Drake was responding to: Steve’s song is clearly about gay love and, apparently, some people felt Drake wasn’t open enough. I never got that impression at all; maybe I’m just too used to "filling in the blanks" as I recently called it.
The video below is of Drake Jensen featuring Willam Belli, who is apparently best known for her participation in RuPaul's Drag Race Season 4, and Drag U. It’s a cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”, posted some 8 months before “All-American Boy”. And it’s pretty damn gay.
I suppose it’s a sign of progress that there can even be a discussion of whether a gay artist is “gay enough”. When I was younger, artists who were gay didn’t dare come out and certainly didn’t have to deal with being accused of not being “gay enough”.
In any case, it’s tough being an independent artist: Singers, writers or any artist who isn’t a huge star or being managed by a big media corporation will struggle to make a living. It’s not always hand-to-mouth, of course, but it’s always a lot more work than it is for artists who work for the big companies. And, even now, independent gay artists may have to work just a little bit harder.
And that’s why I like to share their work on this blog. Sometimes, more than once.