"So the thumpa-thumpa continues. It always will, no matter what happens, no matter who's president. As our lady of disco, the divine Miss Gloria Gaynor, has always sung to us, 'We will survive.'"
Heather Small had already proved her talent when recording vocals for some Black Box tracks back in the early 90s and as the lead singer of M People. But a powerful dance track featured in the groundbreaking show Queer As Folk became her signature song: Proud, written by Petter-Jhon Vetesse and Heather herself.
The original album version displays the singer’s incredible vocal ability. However, the Peter Presta QAF V Mix took the song to another level. It is a gay anthem by all means, though anyone can relate to those amazing, upbeat lyrics.
Proud is played during the first Queer as Folk episode. It was a subtle invitation to the audience to watch the whole series back in the time when coming out was still a huge deal for every gay or lesbian person in the world. And even today, there’s still a long way to go, but someday equality won’t be a dream anymore.
If you listen closely to the lyrics, you will forget if you are gay, straight, bi or whatever you might be. The song desperately urges you to break the rules and forget the world around you: “I step out of the ordinary, I feel my soul ascending”. Yet, so many times we tend to procrastinate that magical experience waiting for something else to happen, whether having more money, beauty or health to feel empowered again.
We have not been told that right where we are, we can change our own destinies if we dare to dream just a little bit. We don’t need anything else: just a change of perception can perform miracles, and a song like this can be the perfect soundtrack to those extraordinary moments.
Proud was also the last song played on Queer as Folk. There could not have been a better closing theme. Michael and Brian get together in an already closed Babylon. Then, they start to dance with no music and voilá!: the magic was done once again. After five years, the unstoppable pair was burning the dance floor one more time and in very good company. The song never sounded so mighty and maybe the new generations watching the show for the first time will realize how important is to fight for their own rights.
|Brian and Michael displaying affection as usual.|
|Robert Gant as 'Ben'.|
|Peter Paige as 'Emmet' bringing down the house.|
This is not about politics as much as it about human freedom: every human being in this world does deserve to love and marry whatever person they choose as a lifetime partner. That right itself is above any dogma and bigotry.
On a more personal note, now that after a decade I watched QAF again and I rediscovered this track, it will be forever part of these January-July 2016 memories: hitting the gym for the first time, walking every day ten minutes back and forth and feeding stray dogs on my way home. It was a surreal experience seeing their innocent faces enjoying that food while the song was playing as loud as possible on my headphones.
Once again, it wasn’t about being gay or straight. It was about being human and doing something good for another living being. Even that small, maybe insignificant action made me feel great. Maybe for the rest of the world it means nothing, but for me feeling that kind of unconditional, pure love from those four legged angels is actually worth gold.
So here’s the ultimate question: what have you done today to make you feel proud?
July 29, 2016
Writte by Peter-John Vettese and Heather Small
Sung by Heather Small
Produced by Peter-John Vettese, Simon Climie, Steve DuBerry, Ollie Marland
Remixed by Peter Presta
From the album "Proud" released in 2000
Featured in the first (2000) and last episoded (2005) of the TV show "Queer as Folk".