David Bowie: Cultural Vanguard


The iconic singer’s biggest contribution was not entertainment but pushing social acceptance


David Bowie died over the weekend and while many will merely remember him as a wildly successful pop singer, his bigger contribution was promoting acceptance of all people.

In the 1970s, after the convulsive 1960s, the World War II generation and those who came of age in the 1960s were still entrenched in deep cultural disagreement, albeit much more quietly.

Homosexuality was clearly one of those topics that was to be ignored and rejected according to the older generation and even the children of the ’60s didn’t embrace the acceptance of gay people.

As many musicians do, David Bowie promoted social themes, one of which was the acceptance of people no matter how out of the mainstream they may seem


Mr. Bowie led what was labelled the glam rock movement which was characterized by male performers wearing exaggeratedly flamboyant clothes and makeup. There was no missing the underlying as well as overt tones of the alternative lifestyle and its people.

By becoming famous and mainstream with his breakout album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, he showed that not only could what was considered abnormal be acceptable, it could also be celebrated.

This, coupled with the Stonewall Riots a few years earlier that was the birth of the modern gay movement, laid the groundwork for the ultimate acceptance of homosexuals as well as others.

While his music is not what this writer would ordinarily listen to, his social effects are greatly appreciated.

-I.M. Windee

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