Why MiMi Still Matters


Recently I hit up Las Vegas for the third night of Mariah Carey’s residency at Caesars Palace. Me and six of my friends, who are all part of the diva’s “Lambily” (one of Mariah’s many catch phrases she has come up with for her devout fan base) all sang along as she actually hit most of the high notes from her 18 number one singles. She was the Mariah that we love and expected. Diva-like, various costume changes and threw around the word “Daaahling” like she was Andre Leon Talley. The hair was big, the outfights exceptionally tight and of course an abundance of Butterfly imagery.

I remember when I realized that Mariah Carey was a gay icon. No, it wasn’t when she brilliantly started re-recording club remixes of her hits for Junior Vasquez and his contemporaries to play at gay parties, or when she had her hair teased larger than Charo at VH1’s Divas Live in the late-90’s. Nope- it was when I heard Sandra Bernhard take a few humorous jabs at her. While performing her one woman show “I’m Still Here Dammit” in the late 90’s in New York, the performer was riffing on Mariah’s music video for Butterfly when she is seen crying in a field scantily clothed. Sandra, who only makes fun of people that she in someway appreciates like Madonna, Donatella or Naomi- added Mariah to her roster. That’s Gay icon status.

According to Bernhard
“You know, I’ve always found Mariah Carey to be incredibly talented, otherwise I probably wouldn’t waste my time talking about her. She’s always—as we know, Mariah is intense. [Laughs] You know, she takes it way out there, she’s completely over the top. Never am I trashing Mariah Carey, because she’s too talented, she’s a genius and she’s an original. It’s really coming from a place of sheer funny irony, and tipping my hat to the crazy of it all.”

Haters, backup and put down the hateraid. Many singers today (not to throw any shade, just fact) who have number one hits often sound like they are half diva half robot with the help of autotune. They do not have the pipes that Mariah has. Who is to say in 25 years we will still be discussing Kesha, Rihianna or Katy Perry. The industry and the critics are a beast and the truth is youth sells and there is always a younger face with a fresher image waiting in the recording studio. Even though some of the conversation about Miss Carey recently has been less than positive, we are still talking about her and she can still sing.  We love divas because they symbolize something that we all strive for: a human determination that endlessly tries to have a comeback in spite of what anyone says. As humans we are always trying to comeback from one obstacle or another.

To those who love her, she is the epitome of some of her greatest hits: she’s a Dream Lover, a Fantasy, a Butterfly and even if you think she is on the verge of a Breakdown she will always Make It Through The Rain.  A recent review in The New York Times stated that in regards to her opening right of her residency at  Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, “The Struggle is Real”. Struggle or not, the talent is very much real and she ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Let me leave you with this, Lambs..pour yourself a glass of something bubbly, and tip your hat to the creature that is Mariah Carey. Let me tell you what Mariah is not. She is not a 20-something soft spoken kid with an untamed mane of curly hair from Long Island. She is not rail thin wearing a black one-piece bodysuit, and winning every possible award. That was 25-years ago.  Comparing her voice to what it was when Paula Abdul was still a household name just isn’t fair. Our voices, bodies and hair all change with age. For the lucky ones- the talent still sticks around and yes, Mariah is still very much talented.

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