Every once in a while we come across a video that is going to make a difference and needs to be heard. Sometimes it comes in the form of an honest vlog, or perhaps the livestream of a badass Texas senator standing up for her beliefs. Today it’s “All-American Boy,” a music video by independent singer-songwriter Steve Grand. Watch first, talk later:
So here’s the thing. This is important. The first openly gay major country music star was Chely Wright, who came out publicly in 2010, nearly thirteen years after her first Top 40 hit. Three years later, Grand is taking a different approach and beginning his career by being incredibly open and honest, while funding himself completely. This is, apparently, Grand’s first song, first YouTube video under his real name, and his own personal message to the world. As he writes in the description:
“I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself. But starting today, I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe…
I went all in. I’m nervous/excited/horrified/anxious about the effect that all of the choices I am making (and have made throughout my journey of discovering myself as a man and as an artist) will have on my future. But then I remind myself that I never really had a choice. This is the story I’ve been aching to tell my most of my life… the universal story of longing to be loved…it is what I hold dearest to me.”
When Wright came out, response from her country music colleagues was varied. Discussing the issue in 2010, she explained:
“I think some of the artists really have a fundamental belief that there’s something wrong with me, but I think most of the artists don’t want their fans to know that they’re supportive of me because they don’t want to lose a record sale.”
But there is plenty of room for support from country artists, and Grand’s video comes at time when, as the Advocate article cited above notes, there is a handful of country musicians who have already voiced support of the LGBTQ community, including Wynona Judd, Willie Nelson, and Rascal Flatts.
Grand’s video isn’t kitschy or gimmicky. It’s just a tuneful, passionate song about the struggles of young relationships. And not only that, but it shows that if the relationship isn’t right, it doesn’t have to ruin a friendship. It happens. As Grand wrote on his Facebook: “We have all longed for someone we can never have… we all have felt that ache for our all-American boy.”
The instant popularity of this video speaks to its relevance in our current social climate. Grand has already been interviewed in detail and featured in both Time and the Chicago Sun-Times. This morning he appeared on Good Morning America (see the clip below). Grand is certainly not the only gay musician out there, but he is making a large impact in a short amount of time. And that’s something.
Photo credit: Joem Bayawa
Edited by: Cameron Brown