Boy George urges LGBTs to ‘love yourself’

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Music icon mourns the senseless deaths of the Orlando tragedy
British music icon Boy George turned 55 on Tuesday but hardly felt like celebrating. His birthday came two days after the deadliest mass shooting in the United States stunned the world from an Orlando, Florida gay club.

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“My sentiments would be the same as any sane person. I’m very sad about it; I tweeted about it immediately. Obviously it’s an attack on gay people but it’s really just an attack on everybody… It’s very, very sad,” conveyed the openly gay international artist when he faced print and television media on Thursday at Novotel Hotel Manila in Araneta Center, Cubao.

Boy George is in the country with the original members of the Culture Club for a one-night-only concert on June 18, as part of a 40-city tour reuniting the band after 12 years. The highly anticipated first performance of the New Wave superstars in Manila will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“What’s been really great in America is [that]there’s been amazing stuff on the news, [which has]made people kind of more aware of the issues facing the LGBT community,” the Grammy Award-winning singer continued. “Obviously as a gay man, it’s much difficult for me… I can‘t even put it to words how I felt, and unfortunately it happened around my birthday so it was very, very difficult for me to really enjoy my birthday. I just kept thinking about all those people, all their families.”

He took comfort in the mass tributes that have been since held in key cities around the world like London and New York, “where people have been touched by [the tragedy]as they should be.”

“I don’t know how people are going to get over it,” he grieved, “but they will.”

To hear what Boy George—an artist whose success and appeal to the world over has been driven not only by his music, but in a large part by his bold and passionate expression of individuality, especially in his style of dressing—has to say to LGBTs who may now fear simply being themselves should lift many spirits.

As he endeared himself more to the local media talking about the day he discovered makeup and never let go of it, or how he finds his style on what to wear by flipping through the pages of Vogue and coming up with the very opposite of what’s in fashion, Boy George, declared: “The message is be who you are, love who you are. I always say to people self-love is the most powerful thing—I don’t mean arrogance—[by]self-love [I mean] confidence; [be]proud of you are. And there will be people who love you and don’t. But don’t worry about the people who won’t [love you].”

While he is all for diversity in expressing one’s self, he also calls on people around the world to see one another as simply human beings, and in that sense, the same as one another.

“The fact that I’m gay is important and not important. I joke about how my gayness takes about four hours a month, but other than that, I’m a real person like everybody else. I’ve got family, I’ve got bills to pay… I think people get really hung up on sexuality, and I would love to live in a world where it’s not an issue,” he pronounced.

Adding to what their front man had said, Culture Club guitarist Roy Hay shared, “What I think has always been very nice about Culture Club is that we never really made big statements about how we felt about these things, but we put that poster on the wall, and look, it’s a real diverse the culture that we have… the symbolism…”

And turning to the rest of the group, drummer John Moss, bassist Mikey Craig, and of course the one and only Boy George, Hay concluded, “There’s power in there, for the cause.”

And as a hush fell on the entire ballroom, the ever fabulous Boy George, in perfect timing, turned the somber mood around and asked Hay, “Are you coming out?”

With that, trust that the world can count on Boy George to always bring in color, laughter and incredible music even in the most troubling times, as he surely will on Saturday night.

Culture Club Featuring Boy George is presented by Royale Chimes Concert & Events Inc., with The Manila Times a media partner.

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