A gay, African-American singer with a flamboyant and androgynous persona, Sylvester’s unique falsetto earned him the title, “Queen of Disco.” As one of the first west coast artists of the disco era, Sylvester was a popular performer in San Francisco’s Castro. There he quickly befriended Gay rights pioneers including Cleve Jones, Gilbert Baker, and Harvey Milk.
Rolling Stone magazine described “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” as
“…the cornerstone of gay disco.” “Sylvester propelled his falsetto far above his natural range into the ether and rode machine rhythms that raced toward escape velocity, creating a new sonic lexicon powerful, camp, and otherworldly enough to articulate the exquisite bliss of disco’s dance floor utopia.”
Perhaps this is the enduring influence and importance disco and breakout artists like Sylvester had on the early years of our Community. They created dance floor utopias when all people gay or straight, of color or Caucasian, fabulous or conforming could be joyful… together.
Previous posts from theOUTfront series “Sounds of Pride –The Music of Community, Love, and Equality”