We’re Not Saying Mika Is Gay–But If He Is, Could That Be A Bad Thing?

Mar 27th, 2007 // 19 Comments

mika.jpgThe last time we checked, things were going just great for pop-rocker Mika: Perez Hilton loves him, as does Brian May. But according to the Evening Standard, the singer’s success has had some unwanted side-effects:

Chart-topping singer Mika has revealed that he is getting death threats from fans – because he won’t admit whether he is gay or not.

The 23-year-old singer, real name Mica Penniman, has told how he receives messages from people threatening to kill him over his sexuality.

Mika, who hails from Lebanon and shot to fame in January when his single Grace Kelly topped the charts – making him into an instant star – said: “I get hate messages all the time, a death threat.

Not surprisingly, Mika’s comments have started a mid-sized controversy on gay-beloved blogs like Towleroad, where readers are debating whether Mika (who may or may not be gay) would be better off if he just came out of the closet (that is, if he’s even in the closet–we don’t know for sure, people!). It’s an interesting debate, and it all boils down to one big, gay question: Can an “out” musician find pop stardom in America in 2007?

Well, we don’t know. But we did chat with some gay friends (and trust us, they are chatty), and we can now semi-authoritatively present two schools of thought on the matter, neither of which will help you make up your mind. It’s like reading The Week!

The “Gay? Nay!” argument Even in the post-Brokeback Mountain era, most Americans prefer that their emerging pop stars stay in the closet. Classic-rock queers like Elton John and Freddy Mercury are all well and good, but younger, more unproven gay acts will generally be known more for their sexuality than for their music–and, in a country that hosts a still-virulent strain of homophobia, that could make for a poor reception. The most commonly cited example, of course, is Scissor Sisters, who are stadium stars seemingly everywhere but in the U.S., where the group is perceived as “too campy” (which is polite-conversation code for “I can’t believe how gay their videos are, especially the one with the tight outfits and science-fiction stuff”). Why do you think [name redacted] is still in the closet?

The “Gay? You don’t say!” argument It’s 2007, people–no one’s going to be shocked if an entertainer is gay. And while out performers always run the risk of being pigeonholed, in the current music-industry climate, this could be a good thing: Gay fanbases tend to be loyal, and with CD sales down, record labels could use some of that loyalty. It certainly hasn’t hurt the Gossip, who just signed a deal with Music With A Twist, Columbia’s LGBT-friendly subsidiary.

Clearly, we don’t know which answer is correct. But we do know this: Mika may be. Also: He may not be gay.

  1. nicoel

    Where is the Sanjaya joke I clicked through for?

  2. katie_a_princess

    my vote: not gay

  3. dollywould

    I don’t really know how it could hurt him to come out. I, the queen of crushing on British pop stars, don’t want to sleep with him – I just want to braid his hair and put eyeshadow on his pretty, pretty eyes.

    Also, he needs to stop hanging out with Perez if he ever wants to be taken seriously.

  4. Bob Loblaw

    Even Johnny Weir’s like, “Dude, this is embarrassing. Come out already.”

  5. drjimmy11

    Of some import is how that “a little Freddy – nnnnnh!” part in that “Grace Kelly” song comes SO close to sounding close to sounding sort of like the real thing. A couple more vocal tracks and some tighter compression would have sealed it.

    Yes, he sounds a lot like Freddie all the time. Not sure why this would make him “not the real thing,” except maybe vague unfocused snarkiness. And I heard him sing live on “Jonesy’s Jukebox” and he sounded great.

    he makes great, fun pop music, which is a welcome relief from the pop music we’re repeatedly told is “actually good” and ok for grown-ups to like, when really it’s just awful awful shit (ie Timberlake, Aguilera)

  6. Nicolars

    Perez Hilton loving you is supposed to be a good thing? Wouldn’t it just lead to a lot of nasty STDs?

  7. JedTheMime

    One thing is not in doubt: Mika’s MUSIC is gay gay gay.

    If I may speak for the gays, this is what’s frustrating and confusing about his don’t-ask-me-if-I’m-gay-but-here’s-another-song-that-demonstrates-how-gay-I-am stance.

    Come out or don’t. But no one likes a tease, Mika.

  8. NickEddy


    re: “real thing”: uust meant he sounds very much like Fred M. but for a couple of more vocal tracks piled on, recording-wise, Mack-style. I do dig this song quite a bit.

  9. LooseLips

    I really don’t think this is an issue. I’d be more interested in the discussion that comes up from dudes in hardcore bands coming out. Talk about being in a hostile environment!

    Being a pop-star and a homo is way more accepted.

  10. valet_of_the_dolls

    @Nicolars: Not necessarily. I’m guessing that Perez has eaten way more Pop Tarts than pop stars…

  11. MJ

    He’s the “Grace Kelly” guy? Ugh.

    It seems like a no-win situation. Some people get very rabid about stars who are rumored to be in the closet -they think it’s the artist’s responsibility as a public figure to come out and contribute to the acceptance of homosexuality. Every second that passes by while said artist hasn’t come out is for them a reason for scorn.

    On the other hand, homophobia may make people who would otherwise consider you “harmless” start boycotting you, or simply dismissing you and your work. And that’s obviously not good for your moneys and your career.

    What you’d have to do, then, is try to get to a reasonable position of notoriety, and then come out whenever you like. Your mid-to-big-sized fame might buffer the blow. Just be sure to do it after you buy yourself a ride to the ISS.

  12. mcmattyb

    The speculation os the whole gay or not is tedious and unnecessary – an artist should be judged by his talent; his uniqueness. It has always struck me odd that this sort of speculation only seems to affect musicians and actors/ actresses. Historically, mainstream artist (painters, etc..) have been spared this problem. Many of the most famous artist (living and dead) were known to sleep with the same sex, but this never stopped the crowds at the gallery openings and/ or museums.

    A song is a song is a song, judge it on the artists’ merit, talent, uniqueness – not over his bedfellows

  13. Andro_moon

    I believe I understand how artist can atract more fans by there sexuality. But I don’t think that people should stop listening an start hating an artist over such a thing. It’s the music that counts!
    Anyway, I like a lot it that Mika doesn’t want to tell us. It’s so fun to read all these discussions haha. :-p

  14. jaso272

    Why do we seek to categorically define a person? To me this appears that that is all the public is doing; trying to fit Mika into a nice little all-encompassing category that defines his entire person.
    As a young gay man myself, I think Mika is entitled to say what he wants about himself, trying to define himself in the public eye as he so sees himself. Whether he is gay or not doesnt define him as a person, it only affects the public’s view and reaction.
    I think that this idea of defining someone is too much focused on a physical and sexual sense. We should look to Mika’s music to understand him better. Mika is one of the most individual and exciting artists in the popular music market at the moment, and through his music we should be able to see a window into his life.
    The whole “Oh my god, is he gay or not?” thing is extremely overrated, homophobia is present in society today, in many more forms than what most people think. If it wasnt present, then Mika’s sexuality would be a non-issue, whereas even people who claim to be accepting of homosexuality still spark controversy when it is arised in the media.
    All in all, Mika has answered this question with a non-answer, and he should be entitled to that and let be.
    And yes i am aware that this is an ironic post.

  15. MinneapolisUSA1984

    You ask the question, “Can an ‘out’ musician find pop stardom in America in 2007?” I am an American, and I am also gay. I know that the majority of young people in this country are fine with gays. It’s our parents and the elderly who aren’t – and since they turn out to vote in numbers higher than young people, it gives the world the impression that America is less gay-friendly than it actually is. Mika would do awesome in the U.S., provided he had a little more publicity here. Look how well Elton John, George Michael, etc. have done in America. Besides, Mika is downright sexy and Americans would find him intriguing. Ahhh…such a foolish question you ask!

  16. Anonymous

    Hi there I totally agree with those that think what matters if MIKA is gay or not? He still gives out beautiful music and in my opinion that matters most. I know everyone has the right to write down his opinion but let’s not make an issue upon all this. It only hurts MIKA as see he is being threatened on this subject come on…let’s be more open minded. Many famous people have been persecuted by journalists, fans etc….and some of these famous people are ill just because of these demanding persons. So please let’s enjoy this prodigyof music MIKA. Good day to all.

Leave A Comment