Unveiling Luther Vandross’ Journey: His Struggle to Come Out

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Patti Labelle Exposes Luther Vandross’ Struggle To Come Out As Gay’ by Spill Today

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Luther Vandross struggled with his sexuality privately, but it was known in the industry; a documentary is being made about his life and music.

Key Insights

  • Patti LaBelle talked about Luther Vandross' struggle with coming out publicly and how he didn't want to upset his mother or his lady fans.
  • Luther Vandross' sexuality was an open secret in the industry, known by many in the R&B industry.
  • Luther wanted to live his life and have a boyfriend, but he kept his sexual orientation hidden until his death.
  • Wendy Williams criticized Patti LaBelle for outing Luther Vandross posthumously, believing it was inappropriate as his best friend.
  • Lenny Kravitz, who knew Luther well, mentioned that Luther was a lonely man and tried to hide his sexuality from the public.
  • A documentary on Luther Vandross is being produced by Jamie Foxx and Colin Firth, with access to his personal archive, showcasing his rise to fame and personal struggles.
  • Luther Vandross had a successful career with hits like "Never Too Much," "Power of Love," and a duet with Mariah Carey on "Endless Love."
  • Fans continue to celebrate Luther Vandross and his music, while also respecting his privacy regarding his personal life.

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Transcript

Did he struggle with the idea of coming out publicly? Was that something that you talked about at all? But he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world. And he had a lot of lady fans. And he told me that he just didn’t want to upset the world.

Are you in a good place now in your life? Depends on when you ask me whether or not it’s a good place. Are you happy? It depends.

Yeah, my friend Luther was gay. Back in 2017, Patti LaBelle got candid about her good friend Luther Vandross’ sexuality during an interview on Watch What Happens Live. LaBelle shared how she first met the late singer, who died in 2005, and how he became the first president of her fan club. It was during this meeting that Andy Cohen questioned LaBelle on Luther’s sexuality. And the world then got to know just how much the celebrated vocalist struggled to come out as gay.

Did he struggle with the idea of coming out publicly? Was that something that you talked about at all? Cohen asked LaBelle.

We talked about it, LaBelle replied. Basically, he did not want his mother to be, although she might have known, but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world. And he had a lot of lady fans. And he told me he just didn’t want to upset the world.

Luther’s sexuality is said to have been an open secret in the industry. The singer’s friend and writer, Bruce Valanche, said Luther was way in the closet. He said to me, no one knows I’m in the life. Out journalist Michael Musto also claimed, a famously openly gay singer-songwriter told me Luther was dying to have a boyfriend. It was an inside show business open secret.

Luther was best known for his hits such as Power of Love, Don’t Want to Be a Fool, and Here and Now. He enjoyed great success in the music industry during the 1980s. Patti met Vandross when she was still part of the Bluebells. Their first encounter was over 50 years ago at the backstage of the Apollo Theater. She recalled a fond memory of Luther sneaking into their dressing room, acting the part of a designer presenting them with lavish dresses that, even today, she’s not even sure where he got them.

The singer died in 2005 at the age of 54 of a heart attack. He never got to confirm his sexuality, even though many people in the R&B industry knew about his preferences. However, many fans of the late singer criticized Patti for posthumously outing the singer. Ironically, Luther, known for his romantic love songs, never got the chance to live his own love story, according to a 2001 interview he did with Vibe magazine, where he revealed, I’m still waiting. The time that I’ve spent being in love has never been reciprocated. Those are just the circumstances. I want to play house, he added. I want somebody who’s not on payroll to care about where I am.

That said, Luther Vandross will forever remain one of the most talented vocalists of our time. Patti LaBelle described it perfectly, saying, there are voices in this world, and once they sing, it’s a stamp on everybody. Luther did that, and he’s done it. And the Grammy goes to Luther Vandross. Yeah! When the superstar singer died in 2005, he’d sold more than 35 million records, won eight Grammy awards, and performed alongside the likes of David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey. He left behind 14 studio albums, all of which went either platinum or multi-platinum, and a collection of timeless hits, including Never Too Much, Here and Now, and Power of Love.

Patti, Miss Patti LaBelle. She’s talking about Luther Vandross’s sexuality. Patti’s bombshell on Luther didn’t sit well with millions of people, Wendy Williams included. The talk show host believes the soul singer should have remained mum on the subject since Luther chose not to share that information with the world. She also believes, as his best friend, that speaking on the matter was especially inappropriate. She should have said no comment. If he had asked me something like that, then it’s okay for me to talk about it. I didn’t know Luther Vandross. He wasn’t my friend. But it’s not okay to talk about it when it’s your best friend. You know, it’s like a violation, Wendy blasted LaBelle.

Another person close to Luther and knew him well was fellow singer Lenny Kravitz. Luther seemed to have it all, but according to Lenny, the late singer struggled behind the scenes. Lenny said the late singer was a lonely man and he tried to hide his sexual orientation from the public. According to him, Luther wanted nothing more than to live his life, but he held onto this secret until his death.

Since Lenny was the son of Roxy Roker, the star of CBS sitcom The Jeffersons, and Sid Kravitz, an entertainment executive, he often spent time around celebrities. In his book, Let Love Rule, Lenny says he remembers Duke Ellington playing Happy Birthday for him when he turned six years old. Furthermore, his mother was friends with singer Sarah Vaughan, whom he referred to as Auntie Sarah. His godmothers were the late Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson. Lenny used to live with songwriter David Lasley, who was also his mentor. He says he overheard Luther and Lasley speaking on the phone. They were often on speaker so he could hear their conversations clearly. Luther Vandross and Lasley would have regular phone calls late at night. Lenny says he would hear the late Grammy Award winner tell Lasley how lonely he was. According to Kravitz, Luther also told Lasley that even though he received admiration from female fans, he was more interested in his fans’ brothers. When the women were screaming for Luther, all he could think about was the fact that he would rather be with a man, according to Lenny. In his book, he says he felt sad for the singer because he couldn’t be himself.

Just recently, singer and actor Jamie Foxx and Colin Firth announced they are teaming up to celebrate one of the greatest voices in R&B history, and that is Luther. Sony Music Entertainment’s Premium Content Division announced in July this year that Jamie’s Foxhole Productions and Firth’s Raindog Films are teaming up for the first-ever full-length authorized documentary on the late singer Luther Vandross. Production has already begun on the film, with award-winning director Don Porter helming the doc that will follow the A House is Not a Home singer as he charted his own course, becoming one of the most decorated and influential pop artists of all time. According to a statement, the film, which is being produced in partnership with Trilogy Films and the Vandross Estate and estate partner Primary Wave, has the full support and participation of the late singer’s close friends and family, with access to his never-before-seen personal archive. The film will capture the intensely private, Grammy-winning artist’s passion for music, global rise, and personal struggles, the release promised.

Luther is one of our goats, said Foxx in a statement about the singer who was nominated for 33 Grammys over the course of his career. He’s one of the greatest singers in the history of music. It is truly an honor to be a part of the team to help bring this incredible story to the masses.

After singing backup vocals for Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, David Bowie, and Diana Ross in the 1970s, Vandross launched his celebrated solo career in 1981 with the album Never Too Much, and the album became a number one hit on the Billboard R&B chart. While continuing to write and produce hits for artists, including Dionne Warwick and Ross, Luther broke through from the R&B charts to the pop charts in the late 1980s and 1990s, thanks to hits including the Grammy-nominated Power of Love, the Janet Jackson duet, The Best Things in Life Are Free, the Mariah Carey collab on a cover of Endless Love, as well as his 2003 Song of the Year, Grammy-winning ballad, Dance With My Father.

Like so many, I have always loved Luther’s music, but I had no idea of the breadth and scope of his artistry, said director Porter, whose other films include the 2002 documentary about late U.S. congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, John Lewis, Good Trouble. I think people will be surprised at how much he accomplished in his tragically short life. It is a joy to be able to share his true story.

On the internet, his fans still celebrate him almost two decades after his passing, with one tweeting, Luther Vandross was and will always be my favorite singer, no matter his personal preferences. Shame he couldn’t be out and proud. I would have been his fan no matter what. While another fan posted a short clip of the singer alongside the caption, I’ve been on a binge of Luther Vandross live videos. This man was insane. For those supporting his alleged sexual alignment, one fan wrote, We should celebrate Luther Vandross’ birthday by supporting and loving black gay men so they could live the life Luther

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Patti Labelle Exposes Luther Vandross’ Struggle To Come Out As Gay’ by Spill Today