The 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.