Jheri Curl June: Jermaine Stewart’s “Jody”

This month is of course not only the holiest month on the Dystopian Dance Party calendar, but also Pride Month for the LGBT community, commemorating the Stonewall uprisings of June 1969. So I thought today was as good a time as any to talk about one of our favorite LGBT Jheri Curl artists (LGBTJC?), Jermaine Stewart.

Stewart is best known for his 1986 hit “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”–which is, for the record, the fucking jam–and for having quite possibly the most iconic blowout-and-thin-moustache combo in the game. But he had an illustrious career behind the scenes, as well: starting out as a dancer on Soul Train, then just missing a place in the group Shalamar, for whom he went on to dance and sing backing vocals; he can also be heard singing backup on Culture Club’s 1984 hit “Miss Me Blind.”

It was the Soul Train/Shalamar connection that led to “Jody,” Stewart’s second-best-known solo song, inspired by his close friend and former Shalamar frontwoman (/previous JCJ profilee), Jody Watley. It’s also a jam, with a dark electro-funk vibe reminiscent of 1999-era Prince.

Sadly, Jermaine Stewart’s life ended in a way his ebullient spirit didn’t deserve: he died of AIDS-related liver cancer in 1997, at just 39 years old. His passing echoes that of many other gay men who came of age before treatment and prevention of HIV were widely accessible–a reminder of one of the many reasons why Pride Month is important. Which, I realize, is a bummer of a way to end this post, but hey: if listening to Jermaine Stewart can’t put a smile on your face, what else can? You can hear him, and the rest of this month’s artists, on the playlists below.

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Dystopian Dance Mix Vol. 4: Remedial Sex Ed.

Editor’s Note: It may not always seem that way, but we’re actually pretty busy people here at Dystopian Dance Party. So when it came time to put together our Dystopian Dance Mix for August, we decided to try an experiment and outsource it to a guest poster. Unfortunately, the only person willing to do it was Blake Whiteman, a representative from Sexual Health and Abstinence Resources and Training of Howell, Michigan, who saw it as the perfect opportunity to educate today’s youth on the dangers of premarital sex. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about the results; like I said, though, we’re busy people, so fuck it, I’m posting it anyway. Please enjoy this guest playlist, and remember to direct all complaints to Mr. Whiteman. Or just post them in the comments, I guess. – Z.H.

Back in the good old days, there wasn’t any need for “sex education.” Teachers, pastors, and other authority figures like yours truly used to be able to just round up a bunch of twelve-year-olds, explain to them that the hair growing on their bodies is because they touch themselves at night, and send them home with a Bible and a chastity belt, knowing they’d keep it in their pants because that was what their Lord and Savior commanded. These days, things aren’t so easy. Our culture has become saturated with sex; it’s gotten to the point that decent people can’t turn on the TV, visit our Internet sites, or close our eyes without being assaulted by images of nubile young bodies grinding all up against each other. So some of us–including my organization, Sexual Health and Abstinence Resources and Training–have decided to fight fire with fire: to teach abstinence using the same depraved popular culture that otherwise turns teenagers into frothing-at-the-mouth, inhibition-less hornbeasts.

The music on this playlist is intended to educate our youth about the dangers of premarital intercourse: from STDs to pregnancy to bad relationships and beyond. Load it onto your Walkman or your touch phone and play it every time you or your friends think about “doin’ the nasty,” or whatever you kids call it these days. Hopefully, after listening to these songs, you will never want to have sex again. But if you do, just remember: you’re probably going to Hell.

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