When I was in my early teens, I felt like I was the stinkiest, most awkward teen to walk the planet. Puberty was rough, and when you happen to grow from 5’9″ to 6’4″ you tend to stand out. It would be no surprise that I sought out individuals to who were not awkward themselves and had the capacity accept what is and change the world to what they envision. David Bowie fit that bill.
David Bowie, through all his changes as a cross dressing singer songwriter, androgynous, alien rock star, blue eyed soul singer, pop star and electronic music pioneer stood as an individual that understood that change was life. By his example, millions of people like myself felt safe to live our lives according to who we are. David Bowie made western society a safer place for the LGBT community. David Bowie made it dangerous and sexy to be intellectual. David Bowie made it safe for musicians to explore theatrics. David Bowie made it safe for people to live an examined and expressed life.
Once I entered my early 20’s, my freak flag flew at full mast. I was proud of who I was despite not knowing the depths of what I was or who I was going to be. David Bowie’s music was the soundtrack of that era in my life. David Bowie, the man, proved that being free meant to stand up against injustice. When black artists on one hand were celebrated for their music but on the other hand screwed, David Bowie openly embraced his black influences while being a strong ally for equality in the media. Here’s an example of the latter .
As a man in my 30’s, Bowie made me comfortable with being myself. There is often a fear that comes with knowing that you are a socialist and wearing it on your sleeve. If I lived my life with half the courage of David Bowie, I would be able to die the bravest man alive.