Something is happening in pop culture right now. Something that is a very welcome change.
This past week, Same Love by Seattle artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (who I might add are both straight) found its way on to the charts at number 28. The song, which features vocals by Mary Lambert (who is gay), deals with the struggle for gay couples to find the same recognition for the same love straight couples have shared for years. The message that love is love and that needs to cut through hate is simple, but some consider it still controversial.
Even with that, the song is playing on mainstream radio, and the video has gotten over 55 million views on YouTube since it was posted late last year.
It's a beautiful video, and a beautiful song.
Every time I watch that video, the tears well, but that's not the only important song and video out there on the internet.
For singer and model Steve Grand, this past week has no doubt been special.
On July 2, the budding country singer and model released a simple original country song about a boy pining for his seemingly unattainable love. The difference with that song and the tons of other country songs on the same topic is that this one is called "All-American Boy" and the object of Grand's affection is a man.
(caution...VERY brief nudity in this video)
The reaction on the video has been largely positive with Grand due to appear on Good Morning America today. Reading the YouTube comments is mostly a fun experience to this point because it's full of people talking about how this song describes or is reminiscent of a deeply personal moment to them.
The song and video have been criticized as well. Bilerico Project blogger Mark S. King wrote this piece taking the video apart and criticizing those that made it for portraying gays negatively as sad drunken predators.
I can't disagree with this assessment more. When I watch the video, I see one and maybe two somewhat confused guys fumbling through what is perhaps their first gay kiss. If you're gay, you've probably been there. Perhaps you read the wrong signals and end up in a heartbreaking situation. That's what I think the video is about, and I think that's why so many of the (as of press time) 516,400+ views have come along with positive reviews.
The larger picture here is that these gay-themed videos are no longer being age restricted on the internet simply because they may contain a gay kiss or gay couples showing affection to each other. With Same Love, mainstream radio is starting to pick up the great message of equality that's been so welcomed and embraced in such a quick way. We'll see how it works from here for Mr. Grand.
These two videos and songs illustrate how far the pop culture continues to advance at breakneck speeds on LGBT issues, but there's still a long way to go. I like where we are headed.