Marina and the Diamonds has spoken about her relationship with the LGBT community, and commented on the role gays play in pop music.
In an interview with Pride Source, Marina had some candid, interesting and intelligent things to say about the gay community and how they connect to pop music and pop acts.
She began by observing:
“A lot of the reason I think I have a gay fan base is because a lot of the themes, and the core of the songs, are usually stemming from something to do with identity or acceptance… Anyone who feels rejection, prejudice or discrimination in some way would connect to that.”
And then when asked “When does talking about one’s gay fan base become a cliche?” she really let rip:
“It’s not that it’s a cliche – it’s more that, perhaps, I was cynical about it. I felt that people in pop use that to express themselves in that way for calculated means because they know the gay fan base is extremely loyal and extremely expressive and is a tastemaker demographic. You know what I mean? It’s like, “Oh, god.” It’s insulting to both sides.
“I kind of feel the same way now, because, yeah, of course I have a really strong gay fan base, and the fact is that it is a really enjoyable factor for me to have a really strong demographic because it makes the shows a lot more fun, for one, and because they are really expressive. But all types of people should be appreciated. I’m sure the gays would back me up on that!”
At the risk of editorializing, I’m going to offer my opinion in response because it’s something I feel strongly about. In short, I completely agree with Marina. I approach artists who appear to insincerely embrace the gay community with extreme suspicion. As a gay man, I find nothing flattering about being used because my sexuality theoretically indicates that I’m a loyal fan. Whilst I think that Marina’s statements are a little broad, if we take the core of what she’s saying, which seems to be that artists shouldn’t embrace LGBT fans simply because they know they can make money off of us, I think that’s something that’s hard to disagree with.
Marina does have a strong and loyal gay fan base, but she hasn’t achieved that by talking endlessly about gay issues that she can’t relate to, or gratuitously featuring half naked male dancers on her tours. Instead, she’s done it by talking about her own problems, which some queer people can identify with. Her issues of disenfranchisement, loneliness and isolation are unfortunately things which still affect a large portion of the ‘gay community’ (whatever the phrase really means, anyway) and as such gay people frequently connect with Marina on an intellectual rather than superficial level.
It’s almost embarrassing how much I fawn over Marina, but she remains one of the most intelligent and engaging popstars in the industry, and I make no apologies about being a dedicated fan of this woman. She earned my loyalty with her music and her mind, not empty promises and calculated PR moves.