It would have taken unbelievable star quality for a Black, gay music act to rise during the Lavender Scare era of the American ’50s.
Thankfully, singing duo Charlie & Ray had dazzle to spare.It almost seems Charlie Jones and Ray Williams were renowned not in spite of their flamboyant stylings, but because of them; their catchy songs and undeniably fey voices (along with the entire taboo concept of effeminate men) made for a captivating show for audiences of the time.So captivating, in fact, that the duo won their debut amateur night at the Apollo Theater in the early ’50s — and went on to win for the next four weeks straight.An excerpt from David Bowie Made Me Gay author Darryl Bullock’s accompanying blog quotes music historian C.J.
Marion, who saw the duo play the Rockland Palace in Harlem in early 1955, as saying:“[Charlie & Ray were] easily the most unique duo of the 1950s, and light years ahead of their time.
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