Patti LaBelle Explains Why Luther Vandross Never Came Out

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by OckyDub, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. OckyDub

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    After discussing the origins of LaBelle’s friendship with Luther, Cohen slipped in: “Did [Vandross] struggle with the idea of coming out publicly? Was that something that you talked about at all?”

    “We talked about it,” said LaBelle. “Basically, he did not want his mother to be...although she might have known, but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world. And he had a lot of lady fans and he told me he just didn’t want to upset the world.”

    Vandross was long rumored to be gay, though he never said as much—in interviews, he’d generally either roll with a line of questioning that assumed he was straight or refuse to answer direct questions about his sexuality. I’ve never heard someone so close to him effectively confirm it (Bruce Vilanch and Michael Musto discussed it not long after his 2005 death). If LaBelle’s assessment is correct, it’s unfortunate that Vandross declined to share who he was for the sake of his audience’s comfort, though given the state of queer acceptance back then, it’s not exactly surprising. Sounds like a hard life, though it didn’t impede Vandross’s art—perhaps it made it even more aching. I’m glad Patti LaBelle, though, filled in some details of Luther Vandross’s humanity. That’s what a good friend does.
     
  2. African King

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    Worked at a restaurant with a woman who was a songwriter/producer who pretty much confirmed to me that Mr. Vandross was a non-heterosexual man. Who knows if hiding his sexuality and the stresses that could come with that could have been a contributing factor to his early demise.
     
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  3. Aejae

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    I first heard about his "possible" homosexuality back when Wendy Williams was on the radio. Ever since then I'll sometimes watch a video of him performing and then I'll be like "oh okay." It doesn't change my view of him because I loved his music ever since I started listening to people like him when I was like 12, and I still love his music today. And from what Patti said, I 100% agree with her. He had LOTS of females loving him and it would've been harder coming out back then than it is now. Sad to say, especially knowing that he never really lived the openly gay life he wanted to live
     
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  4. ControlledXaos

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    Did The Gays™ make it okay now to out people after death?

    Yeah, dude definitely had struggles. I think he was more discreet than closeted. Like, he wasn't hiding he was gay but wasn't making it the forefront of his life either. I can imagine that his weight struggles did not help matters. Kinda hard to attract dudes while you are in the closet as a bigger man. I think that's partly why people allege things about Freddie Jackson and his dramatic weight loss.

    As for Luther's fan base at his prime, I think those same types of black women then, are the same ones who are at every Tyler Perry movie showing. The Fat Pretty Lisas with Good Hair. I honestly think they would have gotten over it. Had Luther still been alive today, I think he would have likely came out eventually during these times.
     
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  5. Boaxy

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    Part of me understands why Luther Vandross stayed closeted, the other part of me doesn't understand. I can't say that everyone would have been supportive of his sexuality. Because the black community is not all accepting of homosexuality. But then again, I part of me says, I doubt it would have had a worse impact on his career or would have mattered to a point to where it would have been an issue. I don't know.
     
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  6. BlackguyExecutive

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    Does it really matter after you are dead? With that being said, if this is true, it is so sad. My old gay neighbors were so jealous of the Younger Gays and their ability to be so free and open. They often said, they missed out in their prime years because times were different. So many men (and women) struggle in silence and it is really sad, that someone as famous as Luther Vandross, with that voice, was trapped into silence because of fear and anxiety.
     
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  7. ControlledXaos

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    Well everyone is so quick to get offended these days I had to ask. Lol The Gays® are sensitive.
     
  8. OckyDub

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    From a historical point yes...I do think its relevant. Folk need to know we've always existed.
     
    #8 OckyDub, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  9. machoBLKnerd

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    not sure any of us can understand. none of us is famous and luther is significantly older than (most of) us so he was also raised in a different time. i've been dealing w dudes for 10 yrs and still not willing to have a conversation with family and friends. every one has their reasons and their journey. while it's a less juicy topic than who is and is not gay or undercover, i think the most helpful conversation is how do we collectively create a world in which ppl, famous or not, feel comfortable living openly.
     
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  10. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I can understand why Luther Vandross never came out. I remember the horrible things homophobic members of my family said about him concerning rumors about his sexual orientation back in the day. If he had come out I have no doubt he would've been vilified by the black community. Luther would've gotten the persona non grata treatment.
     
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  11. Kobalt

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    He most likely would have lost some of his fanbase, but my mother and aunt subscribed to rumors of him and Freddie Jackson being lovers, but still loved them some "Lutha."
     
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  12. DFW Brutha

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    lol my great aunts were the same way... they loved to gossip, & luther was no exception.

    to this day you cant tell them eddie murphy and johnny gill aint lovers.
     
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  14. jusrawb

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    I think it matters. When they are alive I understand why one may not want to come out but when they are dead why not let it be known what they struggle with? It may help someone that's going through it now and they can decide they don't want to die that way.
     
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