On Donna Summer’s Death and the Meaning of Love
By Scott Creney
Well fuck it, if nobody else is going to mention it (and so far I’ve only checked P4K and Rolling Stone, but it looks like they aren’t), then I’ll say it. In 1983, Ms. Summer, knowing she had a large gay following, began cracking, “It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” onstage. When subsequently questioned about gay rights, she [allegedly – Ed] responded, “I’ve seen the evil homosexuality come out of you people … AIDS is your sin”. She then [allegedly – Ed] went on to say, “Now don’t get me wrong; God loves you. But not the way you are now”.
Her comments have never kept me from enjoying some of the music she made (although as a former caterer, I have a deep and profound contempt for ‘Last Dance’). It revolutionized music, and not just ‘pop’. And if she couldn’t have done it without Giorgio, well he couldn’t have done it without her. The music he made without Donna Summer isn’t any better than the music Donna Summer made without him.
It isn’t nice to speak ill of the dead, but Donna didn’t seem to have a problem with it. Yeah, that Giorgio Moroder stuff is incredible. And respect is due to anyone who can make it out of Dorchester, Massachusetts and play a role in transforming popular music, but that was some hateful, nasty shit Donna Summer said [allegedly – Ed]. I’m not glad she’s dead, or anything like that, but I think people should be remembered for everything they were, whether we loved their music or not.
Donna Summer’s faith in God was so strong that it allowed her to [allegedly – Ed] feel comfortable judging the actions of others and to condemn them as evil. That deserves to be thought about. There are a lot of people I know out there who are posting public tributes to her on Facebook who a week ago dismissed the entire state of North Carolina as a collection of homophobic assholes for voting to outlaw gay marriage. This doesn’t make these Facebook people hypocrites, any more than Donna Summer’s [alleged – Ed] comments made her evil. It just reminds us that people are complicated, that life is messy and painful, and we all stumble through it as best as we can, full of contradictions.
It’s important to remember that no one ever lived a life without hurting someone else, but every person is capable of growing and learning from their mistakes. When we ignore those mistakes, when we try to sweep them under the rug and pretend they never happened, we do a disservice to the power we all hold within us – the capacity to improve ourselves. We can do better. All of us. Even Donna Summer eventually apologized for what she [allegedly – Ed] said (it was through a publicist, but hey, you do what you can).
This is the electronic ‘Sister Ray’. It’s fucking brilliant. It’s one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded. I hope that in her next life, all Donna Summer ever feels is love. I hope that all of us feel it, including myself.