Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cyndi Lauper

Today’s WOD is Cyndi Lauper, born in New York, NY in 1953 is a singer, songwriter, actress, LGBT rights activist and a True 80’s fashion Icon! As a teenager in the 80’s I loved her style, her music, her voice and most of all her attitude. She had a loyal fanbase of anarchists and outcasts for her funky, punk rock image. She was the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album. Cyndi herself was known for bucking the norm and giving the middle finger to anyone who tried to keep her down. When she lost her voice, she was told by three different doctors she would never sing again. She went on to make 11 albums and release over 40 singles. Her most popular song, “Girls Just Wanna Fun,” was originally written for a man – but Cyndi thought it was sexist and changed the lyrics, and as a result it became one of the world’s most recognizable feminist anthems.

Although Cyndi has had quite an accomplished career, her activism for the LGBT community has made her a woman truly worthy of praise. She embodies her hit song “True Colors”. An unwavering advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality since the start of her career, Cyndi created the True Colors Tour in 2007. The Tour has brought together artists like Erasure, The B-52s, the Indigo Girls, Deborah Harry and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts for shows that successfully merge great music and public awareness about the issues facing the LGBT community.

To further her role as an activist, Cyndi founded the True Colors Fund in 2008. The non-profit seeks to inspire and engage everyone, particularly the straight community, to become involved in the advancement of LGBT equality. The Fund recently launched the Give a Damn Campaign, an extensive and innovative online public education and awareness initiative.

Once again, Lauper will put her money where her mouth is. Cyndi Lauper is set to open a 30-bed housing facility for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth in Manhattan on September 1st. The True Colors Residence, named after her 1986 hit "True Colors," will be located on West 154th St. near Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem. The residence, the first permanent housing facility of its kind in the city, was conceived by the singer, her manager and the West End Intergenerational Residence, a non-profit focused on providing housing for homeless families and the elderly.

Lauper, a longtime supporter for LGBT rights, was moved to pursue this project because up to 40 percent of homeless youth in the city identify as LGBT. "These young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to go for help," she wrote in a letter seeking donations for the residence. "This is shocking and inexcusable!"

"Our primary goal is to provide a physically and emotionally safe and supportive environment that will empower our young residents to be the self-loving, happy and successful individuals they were meant to be," said Lauper.

In appreciation for her work, Cyndi has been honored by many organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN and PFLAG.

Cyndi is also a tireless participant in the struggle to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Most recently, Cyndi has joined with Lady Gaga to be the spokespeople for the 2010 MAC Viva Glam Campaign and to educate woman about HIV/AIDS around the world.

She also continues to participate in efforts and events for organizations like AMFAR, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in order to speak out about the need for education and greater resources to fight this disease.

“It’s an honor to always have the genuine affection of the gay community,” Cyndi says. “They have never turned their back on me. I will never turn my back on them. We’ve had a long and enduring love affair.”