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#QueerQuote: “… Don’t be Afraid to Let Them Show, Your True Colors.” – Cyndi Lauper

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Although Cyndi Lauper is a very talented songwriter, True Colors was actually written by hit-makers Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It was both the title track and the first single released from Lauper’s second album. It was the only original song on the album that Lauper did not write.

True Colors was the Number One song for two weeks in the summer of 1986, the last Lauper single to top of the Top 100 charts. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The album True Colors produced several hits along with True Colors: Change Of Heart (Number Three), What’s Going On (Number 12), and Boy Blue (Number Seven).

Lauper said that the songs of the album:

“Have the courage of your convictions and love yourself a little, and not to be so hard on yourself”.

The album has quite the personnel line up; contributing vocals and instrumentals: The Bangles, Adrian Belew, Rick Derringer, Ellie Greenwich, Billy Joel, Aimee Mann, Nile Rodgers, and Pee Wee Herman!

The song has been covered by many artists: a hit for Phil Collins in 1998; Jenna Ushkowitz performed it in the television Ryan Murphy series Glee in 2009; a single from the album True Colors (Glee Cast Version), going to Number 15 on the Pop Charts; and in 2016, Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick covered the song for the animated film Trolls, which is not about Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

True Colors has become an anthem for the LGBTQ community. Lauper stated that the song resonated with her because of the death of a dear friend from HIV/AIDS. She co-founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating LGBTQ youth homelessness.

Lauper’s True Colors Tour 2007 featured Deborah Harry, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The B-52’s, Rufus Wainwright, The Gossip, and Erasure. The tour was for the Human Rights Campaign to promote LGBTQ Rights, benefiting PFLAG and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. There was a second True Colors Tour in 2008.

 

You with the sad eyes

Don’t be discouraged,

I realize

It’s hard to take courage

In a world full of people

You can lose sight of it all

The darkness inside you

Can make you feel so small

 

Show me a smile then

Don’t be unhappy

Can’t remember when

I last saw you laughing

This world makes you crazy

And you’ve taken all you can bear

Just, call me up

‘Cause I will always be there

 

And I see your true colors

Shining through

I see your true colors

And that’s why I love you

So don’t be afraid to let them show

Your true colors

True colors are beautiful

 

I see your true colors

Shining through

I see your true colors

And that’s why I love you

So don’t be afraid to let them show

Your true colors

True colors are beautiful

Like a rainbow

Billy Steinberg / Tom Kelly


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