Pride Anthem History – Sylvester’s “Mighty Real” Music Video
I posted bits of this to my insta but due to the copyright, I couldn’t share the whole song. So below is the whole video in all it’s glory! I believe it has been a rule since the ‘80s that this song must be played at every Pride parade at least once per year. While the driving disco beat and Sylvester’s heavenly tone will not fail to make you shake your booty, you really need to take in the video to truly understand Sylvester better.
There are no less than 5 outfit changes, (check the turn around and outfit reveal every time, which kills me), a disco light up stair case (I already searched Ikea and they don’t have it), a rainbow sequin look Taylor Swift would probably murder her assistant for, and a dance break featuring some sort of relative of Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” video. I truly admire that Sylvester is not in this dance break, just bringing in some random proto-Soffe-short wearing ladies so he can probably get into his next outfit change.
Sylvester Queen of Disco ✨
Sylvester, who became known as Queen of Disco, challenged the gender binary before there were terms for it.
When Joan Rivers asked him “what did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a drag queen?” he said “I’m not a drag queen, I’m Sylvester.”
This reminds me of when I was little, maybe 5, since my name is Jesse, many adults would call me Jessica (which is not my name). I got into the habit of telling them “just Jesse”.
Also in this interview with Joan, (who had worked with him before on some charity events and was actually quite friendly to Sylvester, she wasn’t calling him a drag queen in a negative way as it could have been for the time period), he discusses his husband Rick and when Joan says “what do you wear when you want to be Mrs. Rick”. Sylvester says “we are an equal opportunity household” – even though it could be taken as a cute question from Joan, he rejects the sort of “who wears the pants” narrative, but in a kind way.
Anyone who has watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, will also note that I wasn’t the only one inspired by Sylvester. Titus Andromedon seems to pull tons of visual inspo (caftans, sequins, capes, turbans, lots of draping dahling) from his glamour loving predecessor.
“If there was one artist … who truly exemplified disco’s new language of ecstasy it was Sylvester, whose use of his gospel trained falsetto in the service of gay desire and pleasure is surely the most radical rewrite of pop’s lingua franca ever attempted.” Peter Shapiro