Today I would lobby hard that we remember St. Freddie of the Mercury, Reformer and Musician.
Freddie (birth name Furrohk), was born in Zanzibar (modern day Tanzania) to Parsi-Indian parents. During the Zanzibar Revolution, Furrohk’s family fled and settled in Middlesex, England.
In 1970 he formed the rock band Queen and became the unlikeliest of frontmen. With an amazing four-octave range, which is almost unheard of, Freddie’s stage persona was as lively as his personal life, despite his intense shyness when not on stage. He interacted with his audience. He craved the spotlight while performing, but had few people he considered true friends. And despite having a serious overbite, never sought dental intervention for fear it would ruin his voice.
Mercury wrote 10 of Queen’s 17 greatest hits. His ambiguous and fluid sexuality caused many tabloids to stir with rumors. In a day when anything but heterosexuality was seen as deviant, he kept people guessing. He was diagnosed with AIDs in 1987, and confirmed he had the disease the day before his death in 1991. He was 45 years old. His birthday, September 5th, is still revered by rock enthusiasts and activists alike.
Mercury is a reminder to the world that the underdog in life should never be underestimated nor counted out. He challenged contemporary tropes relating to masculinity and what it means to be a rock star, and with a unique voice changed the way we think about both.
He was born to sing, and he did what he was born to do…may we all be so fortunate.