Just in time for Pride, Amazon Music has released a mini-documentary on Sylvester.
Created by filmmaker Lauren Tabak and writer Barry Walters, Love Me Like You Should: The Brave and Bold Sylvester follows the journey of the "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)" singer from a choir boy in Watts, Los Angeles to an international disco star.
Pose's Billy Porter, Martha Wash, sister Bernadette Baldwin, biographer Josh Gamson, and producer James Wirrick are among the interviewees who recount the making of the queer icon, who was the first Black genderfluid performer to go mainstream.
"When I saw Sylvester, my life was altered, my life was changed for the better," Porter attested. "As a Black queer gay man, any glimmer of seeing oneself reflected back at them, through our culture, changes lives."
"He crossed over, he was a genderfluid Black man in mainstream music. That hasn't happened since. There's been a lot of us who have tried -- and I've been trying for 30 years --nobody did it like Sylvester," he added.
"Sylvester was always ahead of us. He did things like talk about being married to a man before gay marriage was a thought," Gamson said. "He responded to Joan Rivers saying that he was this drag queen by saying, 'But I'm not a drag queen, I'm Sylvester.' He wasn't saying there's something wrong with being a drag queen, he was saying that's not how gender works. It was gender fluidity and nonbinary gender before we were really there."
In addition to interviews, the 15-minute doc shows rare archival footage of Sylvester, including performances at The Stud, the historic San Francisco gay bar that recently shuttered. It also depicts how a 1979 show at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House was a healing, joyous moment for the city in the wake of the assassination of gay politician Harvey Milk.