Sue Kerr's post from last Thursday, "Melissa Etheridge Rocks Pittsburgh Pride After They 'Show Her the Money'," got folks talking about what responsibilities LGBT celebrities have to the community. Sue took umbrage that Etheridge had never played a pride festival before and admitted to the local paper that she did it because the organizers "showed me the money." Reader Kat Horne disagrees:
All too often society expects artists, in fact often feel they are OWED by artists, to receive freebies from them. Melissa is a highly respected musician who has sold tens of millions of albums and it costs her a lot of money to put on a show like this (hauling her band and equipment and staff and all the salaries involved in that - it costs her tens of thousands to just put on her show). Melissa, just by being there, drew a big crowd and that is what she donated - her name and talent - just by agreeing to do this, she drew a ton of people who would likely not have otherwise come which drew money, donations, and increased awareness to the LGBT community. That was her role and she filled that commitment...plus an hour.
I might have a slightly different opinion if she did nothing else for charity, but Melissa has done a lot for charities like breast cancer and donated a lot of time and effort to those causes.
So what do you think, Projectors? Do queer celebrities have an obligation to help our community out when they can? What should they do? Is there a difference between openly lesbian Etheridge who talks about her queerness and Queen Latifah or Anderson Cooper who refuse to even talk about being gay?