For those of us who came of age in the late ’80s and ’90s, we remember a time full of post-’80s optimism, the rise of hip-hop in the grunge era and the unabashed flamboyance of the “club kid.” All were in full effect at the New York City-area college I entered in 1993.
Actress Laverne Cox turned 21 in 1993, and is clearly tapping into that era’s nostalgia with her new single, “Beat for the Gods,” which premiered Friday. In the accompanying 3:32 video, she gives us Tae Bo chic, Versailles realness, and lots and lots of voguing, all on a white soundstage. Basically, the “beat for the gods” Cox walks us through the creation of a well-made-up face—complete with splits and death drops.
As I write this, the hashtag #ImShowingMyAge is trending on Twitter. I’ll definitely be showing my age when I say that “Beat for the Gods” brought me back to both Madonna’s and RuPaul’s biggest hits, with a healthy dose of one-hit wonder Right Said Fred’s 1991 release, “I’m Too Sexy” (though I also gather that Cox may have also borrowed heavily from Jesse Vega’s off-key 2017 single, “Beat Your Face”).
And because Cox is a savvy style icon as well as a transgender activist, I’m guessing this is no mistake. Much like the ’90s-era push for political correctness (followed by subsequent decades of pushback), we have entered a new era of civil rights. Now, as much as any other time in history, it’s imperative that we affirm folks’ right to be exactly who they are, in whatever form that appears. And while we’re not entirely sure of the meaning behind Cox’s retro-inspired iteration, it’s no less a reminder that, at the end of the day, we all deserve to feel pretty.
At the very least, let’s remember who really started the ongoing voguing phenomenon.