There have been many singers crowned the “Queen of Disco” (Donna Summer and Gloria Gaynor immediately leap to mind), but there are none quite like Sylvester.
With his captivating falsetto, Sylvester’s career spanned counter-culture, pop music, disco, drag, Hi-NRG and performance art. He infused his work with San Francisco hippie ethos and a flamboyant sense of style. Sylvester defied characterization, but he oozed authenticity.
"I've never been a crusader, but I've always been honest,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 1988. “I may not volunteer details to the media, but I've never believed in lying or denying what I am to anyone."
In addition to being openly gay throughout his career, he also was a vocal activist as the AIDS crisis spread through his community in San Francisco. He became particularly outspoken about the effects of the disease on the black community. Later in that same interview with The Los Angeles Times, he said "The black community is at the bottom of the line when it comes to getting information, even when we've been so hard hit by this disease. I'd like to think that by going public myself with this, I can give other people courage to face it."
Celebrate more of what made Sylvester so special, AFTER THE JUMP ...