Cyndi Lauper hailed as a pioneering activist for queer people in a new documentary

Author: Tracy E. Gilchrist

Clad in vintage clothing and tulle and a shock of red hair shaved on one side long before it was popular, Cyndi Lauper slammed into the ’80s music scene like a sprightly meteor. Her soaring, fearless vocals led her to a number-one hit with “Time After Time” and two Grammy wins including one for Best New Artist following the release of her 1984 smash album, She’s So Unusual. Lauper’s out-sized talent and her over-the-top theatricality made her an instant hit with queer audiences.

Now, the trailer is out for Allison Ellwood’s documentary Let the Canary Sing, which chronicles Lauper’s rise as much for her music as for her activism around LGBTQ+ rights and visibility, reproductive freedom, and more.

“Queer people weren’t allowed to be queer and out. It was our allies having the conversation,” Billy Porter explains in the trailer. Boy George also appears in the film to sing her praises.

Regarding her unique style, Lauper says, “When you’re that different, you view other people as having a problem.”

The title track off of Lauper’s sophomore 1986 album, True Colors, became an LGBTQ+ anthem validating queer expression. Decades later, she co-founded the True Colors Fund, now called True Colors United, a charity to support unhoused LGBTQ+ youth.

“We each have a personal responsibility to make sure LGBTQ+ youth are treated with dignity and respect,” Lauper says on the True Colors United website.

If that weren’t enough of a commitment to LGBTQ+ lives, Lauper wrote the music and lyrics while Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for the musical adaptation of Kinky BootsKinky Boots(inspired by a true story) in which Billy Porter originated the role of the drag queen Lola who works in a shoe factory.

WeHo Pride named Lauper awarded Lauper the Lifetime Ally Icon for the 2024 WeHo Pride Parade. She is the first person to earn that honor.

The documentary also features Lauper’s fight for reproductive freedom. In a play on her first smash single “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” the sign “Girls just want to have FUNdamental rights,” can be seen in a part of the documentary where Lauper marches for reproductive freedom.

Let the Canary Sing premieres on Paramount + on June 4. Watch the trailer below.

Let The Canary Sing | Official Trailer |

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Tracy E. Gilchrist

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