Britney Spears is trying to get gayer.
The singer and pop culture staple, whose new CD “Femme Fatale” drops March 28, seems to be aggressively courting the LGBT community these days.
She’s appeared on the gay-friendly TV show “Glee” in September and is on the cover of this month’s Out magazine (with some sizzling photos that should put to rest any questions of how many trips she’s making to McDonald’s these days).
Spears is also coming to San Francisco’s Castro District to perform March 27 in front of the famous Castro Theatre for “Good Morning America.” The five-song mini-concert in the street is slated to air on the show March 29.
And while she has yet to achieve the legendary gay-icon status of such divas as Madonna or Lady Gaga — who plays the Oracle Arena on Tuesday — she has succeeded in drawing a new set of fans.
“I don’t know if she’s an icon, but she’s very popular in the (gay) community,” says Scott Wiener, the San Francisco supervisor whose district includes the Castro and who’s been involved in some of the logistics in bringing her to San Francisco. “She made a comeback and people like comebacks. Some people like her music, and some people are drawn to the drama.”
It’s not a bad start, says Matthew Pilecki, a Philadelphia-based writer for Edge Media, a media analysis and marketing firm. “She’s making an effort, I think,” he says. “And I think she needs to, at this point. She’s growing older and is not as commonly connected to the teeny boppers. It’s a smart move on her behalf and her team’s.”
Spears has previously connected to the LGBT community through her energized dance music and glittery concert tours. She’s also become a sympathetic figure for many, with the ups and downs in her personal life.
But Spears turns 30 later this year, which, in the pop-music world, can be ancient. She’s at an age where pining for lost love and dishing on weekend plans may not resonate with the teen demographic on which she used to rely. Plus, many of the fans who grew up on ” “… Baby One More Time” and “Oops “… I Did it Again,” have careers and families, and have graduated to other types of music.
Not that the gay community is the only demographic left for Spears. But courting gay listeners, intentionally or otherwise, has certainly helped the careers of Cher and Madonna.
“It sure seems orchestrated,” says Joshua Gamson, who teaches sociology of pop culture at the University of San Francisco. “It’s a way to extend an adult career. She’s certainly aged out of (her tween and teen demographic). With the gay community, it still gives you some hipster cache and a little bit of edge.” Gamson doesn’t believe Spears’ moves are disingenuous, but notes that they are effective ways to expand her fan base without posing much of a risk to her career.
But if it’s one thing to warm up to the gay community later in your career, it’s another to establish real ties to it, says JC Alvarez, another editor for Edge Media who specializes in night life. He says that’s what separates Spears from true gay icons — Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera and Cyndi Lauper — is that Spears has never recorded an anthemic song or done something that identified with the cause.
“I don’t think she has that kind of connection yet,” Alvarez says. “But we hear her cries.”
Alvarez says the gay community relates to Spears because of her struggles and apparent comebacks, plus her mid- to late-career dance music, which is a staple in gay clubs. He’s heard her new record and says it’s “definitely her gayest album, because it’s really dance driven.”
But he says she needs to do more to reach the “icon” status. She needs a message. He said she could use some help, much like Christina Aguilera got help from Linda Perry in writing “Beautiful,” a hit anthem for people who feel different.
“She needs a creative muse,” Alvarez says. “It’s important to align herself with someone organically creative.
“Britney needs a gay,” he laughed.
Pilecki says Spears needs to get away from her handlers and show a more human side to truly be embraced as a gay icon. “We don’t really hear a lot from her anymore,” he says. “When we do hear from her, it’s kind of robotic. In the Out (magazine) interview, they asked her maybe two questions related to gayness (one which she answered that she would accept her children if they were gay and the other affirming she’s only attracted to men). If she’s trying to connect with the gay community, she could be a little more wordy.
“If she doesn’t try a bit harder to connect with us,” Pilecki adds, “she may lose us.”
from The San Jose Mercury News
Britney Spears’ Latest Romance: The Gay Community
Britney Spears is trying to get gayer.