Taher Shah had been the butt of the Pakistani and Indian internet’s jokes for his music videos ever since his 2013 release of Eye to Eye. When I first discovered and started showing people Eye to Eye, I will admit it was for reasons related to mockery. Observing people’s reactions to him after his Angel video, as well as a specific aspect of the discomfort of the allistic during Eye to Eye, have brought me around to completely un-ironically thinking he actually is a beautiful and special person with a lot to teach.
Content Notice for Mentions of CSA Under the Cut
This morning, I awoke to news that I thought was a hoax. So did others. But no, it isn’t: David Bowie is dead, the cause being liver cancer (the disease wasn’t public knowledge). When the news was confirmed, I shed real tears. I am a hardcore Bowie fan. He taught me that camp was not only okay, or even awesome, but that it could be high art, a statement against the very shame so often levied against it. He taught me that reinvention wasn’t just for pretty cis girls like Madonna. He taught me that children’s movies could hold subversion of not only the obvious magic-pants kind — all hail The Area — but also of the political type.
The man, one who may have dabbled in not-quite-cishet culture and imagery but was actually straight, was integral to my eventual development into a genderqueer campy femme. I’d venture to say that he has had significant influence on many if not most of us who would call ourselves queer.
Yet, my grief is hardly straightforward, and felt punctuated by a non-Bowie song.