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Lenny Kravitz Pays Homage to His LGBT Influence, "They Raised Me...Protected Me"

Entertainment News | Music

lenny kravitz talks about the lgbt community being his influence
Lenny Kravitz | Source: depositphotos.com

Lenny Kravitz's LGBT influence has always been evident but now he gives his flowers. Even at the tender age of 59, the black rock legend ceases to limit the freedom of his expression.


Not all black rockstars have a vibrant wardrobe, revealing tops, a flamboyant disposition, or dabble in makeup.. but most of our favorites do. Little Richard. Prince. Slash. Among these is Lenny Kravitz, who is arguably the most passing ally to the LGBT community.


While he has declared his heterosexuality on several occasions, in a recent interview with Esquire magazine, Kravitz paid homage to community that inspired the bold, stylish rock legend we know today. Though his most significant identifier other than his music alone, Kravitz says his fashion choices are the bare minimum of things he learned from the queer community.


"Not in fashion and style because that's just something on top. They raised me," he told Esquire.

During the 80s Kravitz was a product of the West Hollywood streets, surrounded by artists, musicians, hair stylists, and designers.


"I wanted to be around the creatives and most of the people I met were from that [LGBT] community."


His environment somewhat imitated that of ballroom culture -- families overseen by house "mothers and fathers', whose children were typically homeless LGBT youth.


"They protected me. Educated me. Fed me," he added.


Throughout his career Lenny Kravitz remained in the midst of queer themes; if not from mere speculation then by association. He would eventually become a creative pillar by his ability to resonate with queer identities through performance.


Most recently, in November, Kravitz penned "Road to Freedom", an original song for Netflix's new biopic 'Rustin', which details the life of unsung gay Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin.


"Road to Freedom", is soulful, triumphant, and invokes the essence of struggle with its aggressive horn cadence. Kravitz expressed his pride for the film and movement it represents in an Instagram post.


"I was honored when George C. Wolfe approached me to write a song inspired by 'Rustin', he said in the caption. "Bayard Rustin, one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known, was all but erased from history for being an openly gay black man."


Director George C. Wolfe spoke with Variety magazine on his initial inspiration and how the "Road to Freedom" came to manifest.


“I first met Lenny very early in both of our careers…and the first time I heard him sing was acapella, and I remember the sound quite vividly, and there was something about the quality of his voice that seemed viscerally perfect for the end of the film," Wolfe shared.


"The one note I gave him was the song needed to help deliver us as an audience, from feeling to action. And trombones. I begged for trombones.”


In 2012, Kravitz was casted in dystopian film 'The Hunger Games' as Cinna -- the often speculated but never officially declared gay character -- a stylist and companion to main character Katniss Everdeen.


"I'll be quite frank with you -- I didn't know about Hunger Games -- so when I'm telling kids and they say, 'Who are you playing?' and I say Cinna, they go, 'Oh you're playing the gay guy.' That was an actual answer, he told Celebuzz."


Unlike the adolescent fanbase of The Hunger Games, Kravitz chose to see beneath the gold eyeliner by diving into the book himself. “So I thought about it, and I read the book and I don’t see that he is or isn’t [gay]. He’s a designer, he’s a stylist, he has gold eyeliner—that doesn’t mean anything either way.”


Kravitz perspective on his character's image and personality fits his own unapologetic expressiveness. Ultimately his execution of the role stemmed from inspiration through a bisexual friend. “I actually have a friend who is a dancer who is bisexual, and he was a lot of inspiration for my speech pattern and my rhythm, and kind of the way I sauntered in and out a little bit.”



Shortly after the release of "Road To Freedom", Kravitz dropped "TK421", the lead single to his upcoming album "Blue Electric Light". "TK421", is accompanied by a video showcasing Kravitz gripping is crotch in a bath tub, shooting finger guns, and just shy of naked.


Audiences haven't witnessed new music from Lenny Kravitz in over five years. "Blue Electric Lights" is set to release on March 14, 2024 and is now available for pre-order.


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