PHOTO COURTESY NYTIMES
By: ABIGALE RACINE
I will state the truth: January 2016 has been complete utter ****.
Our culture has lost so many icons this month, it’s to the point where I am afraid to log onto the Internet and see which inspiration the world has lost today.
For me, the most devastating loss is that of artist/actor/producer David Bowie.
With the transcendent pop culture legend’s recent passing on the morning of Monday, January 11, there has been a flood of emotional tributes. This is just another one.
It seems appropriate that I detail my first Bowie experience in my tribute to him.
I remember the first time I listened to Bowie’s Hunky Dory album, my first exposure to his music. It was a snow day and I had just finished watching John Hughes’ 1985 classic The Breakfast Club.
For those unfamiliar, the film opens with this breathtaking message, “… And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they are going through.”
It was from my first viewing of Breakfast Club as a high school sophomore that sparked my interest in this speaker. This sounded like someone who would not underestimate or undermine my feelings or the passions I felt so intensely at fifteen years young.
This voice was David Bowie.
I spent the remainder of the evening listening to many of Bowie’s records, and I was hooked. As I researched more, I grew to love the person behind the songs as well.
David Bowie never belittled his audience members. And unlike the prominent celebrities in our culture, he was never brutal in his advocacy nor self-serving. Bowie lived, breathed and celebrated the message of unshakable individualism that he conveyed to his fans, under the basis of human rights for his 69 years of life.
I dare any donut-licking pop-stars prevalent in popular music today to transcend past multiple generations as Bowie has, and to stick up for anything that does not aid their own agenda in some way.
Bowie stood up for those underestimated or undervalued in society in a genuine way.
Such as his performance at the Berlin Wall, performing for both sides of the conflict. Bowie was also vocal about Civil rights and protection of indigenous people.
He understood that art is essential to all He once said, “There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means.”
From Bowie I learned that gender and sexuality is not as black and white as I was being taught.
So rare is it to find an artist or a teacher so active against inequality. That is why I, like so many in the world, are grieving over someone we felt we knew.
I’m just very sorry that Bowie won’t be around to hear the voices of the ones who have celebrated his life and his artistry- the lives that he had enriched so deeply.