Most pioneering pop queen: Cher or Diana Ross? | The Tylt
Most pioneering pop queen: Cher or Diana Ross?
Cher's sexuality, femininity, androgyny and deep contralto paved the way for more androgynous female pop stars to come. She won an Oscar for "Moonstruck" in the '80s and scored the biggest hit of her career with "Believe" in the '90s. Her longevity as a pop star is unparalleled. Joe Lynch wrote for Billboard:
Female pioneers are typically under-celebrated when it comes to critical retellings of popular music's history, and Cher -- Billboard's current cover star who will receive the Icon Award at this Sunday's Billboard Music Awards -- is a partial victim of that.
Yes, it seems odd to say anyone as famous as Cher is under-appreciated: the woman has five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, an Oscar for best actress and has remained a household name for half a century. Even so, Cher's impact as a musical force is unfairly disregarded or minimized. Part of that is because music history is typically refracted through a male, rock-privileging lens. But it's also a casualty of music fans' obsession with authenticity -- and by her own admission, Cher didn't always exercise creative control over the direction of her music. Sonny Bono and David Geffen steered her toward music she didn't personally care for, and in the latest Billboard, Cher herself speaks dismissively of key hits in her catalog, saying early '70s smashes such as "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves" and "Half-Breed" didn't fall in line with her "aesthetic taste."
Diana Ross was one of the first Black female pop stars (alongside Dionne Warwick) in the '60s, even while fronting The Supremes. She broke out on her own in the '70s, garnered a string of #1 hits throughout the decade, and received an Oscar nod for "Lady Sings the Blues." Diana brought a star power never seen before to crossover popular music. That star power, glamour and talent paved the way for future pop singers to come.
You know someone is a pioneer if they're loved by generations of LGBTQ people, women and people of color. Da'Shan Smith wrote for Billboard:
As a large portion of her fan base, the LGBTQ community has considered the legendary diva an OG gay icon for her dynamic personality and inspirational rise to the top. Billboard Pride celebrates The Boss’ latest accolade with six reasons on why she’s earned the title of gay icon.
Check out "6 Ways Diana Ross Has Earned Her Gay Icon Status."
Also be sure to listen to Fiercely Fandom with Deron.
Senior Fandom Editor Deron Dalton hosts this fun podcast about pop culture through the lens of fandoms and stan culture. Deron is a fanboy and his expert guests are fan people! Join in on listening to some fan talk and let us know exactly where you stan.
He recently caught up with Entertainment Editor Keydra Manns about the impact of the rising women in hip-hop.
Kedyra also shares a special clip of her interview with Charlamagne tha God, co-host of "The Breakfast Club," giving his two cents on the hottest women rappers.