The Rebel Yell of the 70’s was founded in Punk Rock. It was controversial and not liked by the establishment. One of it’s stars that came out of London’s underground scene was Billy Idol. A rebel yell of the current generation is the unapologetic Miley Cyrus. Recently Billy F***ing Idol and Miley F***ing Cyrus were onstage together performing “Rebel Yell”. The pure energy of their performance delighted and inspired me and my child. This is an important moment. Being authentic in the face of judgement is always important.
Billy Idol, born in 1955, is very candid about his life. In his autobiography, “Dancing With Myself”, Billy Idol speaks very openly about his heavy drug, alcohol and sex addictions. It was driven by the punk philosophy that there is no tomorrow. Billy Idol was thought by some, like Johnny Rotten, to be a pretty boy on the face of punk. But many of us who needed that voice in our lives needed Billy Idol’s good looks to deliver punk to us via MTV. From there we would discover The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and many others.
Punk was the language to many in Generation X that lived in the underground. The Brat Pack movies taught us that the Duckie’s of the world would always be less than the popular preppy with the BMW, great clothes and good looks. Punk was one of those genres for those of us who were abused, ignored and put upon. The underground needed kings and queens to welcome us into the kingdom where the ugly abominations were now beautiful. The world had space for us as well. No apologies, no compromise and no BS about how pretty the world was. We had permission to question authority, look at the system full of corruption and flip it the bird.
Miley Cyrus, born in 1992, is very candid about her sexuality and gender identity. The former Disney icon hit us like a wrecking ball as she left her Hannah Montana persona in the past to step out into an authentic self. With no apologies to society she showed genuine love to the LGBTQ community many times. As an open pansexual she has spoken about how her marriage has not changed her sexual orientation. Many straight (and gay) people forget that someone who is bi or pan does not change their orientation because of whom they are in a relationship with. Miley has also been open about being gender neutral.
LGBTQ kids know what it is to be not only in the closet, but in the underground. Like Billy Idol, people like Miley Cyrus welcome them to a kingdom where the “abominations” are beautiful. The world has space for them as well. No apologies, no compromise and no BS about how pretty the world of religion is. They have permission to question those in authority, look at the system full of corruption and flip it the bird.
Authenticity Should Never Be Suppressed
Authenticity should never be suppressed. In today’s world, Evangelical Christianity and Trump want immigrants, minorities, women, Muslims, Atheists and the LGBTQ community to not only be suppressed, but silent. There are important leaders in civil rights that are leading the charge to change. There is, however, those voices that we can identify with that are on stage and the television that we can see a piece of ourselves in. We need those voices to entertain and encourage us by living in an unapologetic example of authenticity that will not be silenced.
In both cases, one generation showed another authenticity. Billy Idol is a Boomer, but even his first band was named Generation X. Idol’s punk message was largely to my generation. I am Gen X. Miley Cyrus is a Millennial, but her audience is largely Gen Z. This is the generation my child is in. Slightly older than us, these authentic voices had a finger on the pulse of who we were and identified with it. Maybe they did not intend to be examples of living an authentic life, but by living the rebel yell, they inspired us while entertaining us.
The Importance of Living Authentically
In a world where Christians think those of us who are not part of their religion think we are less, the power of authentic living matters. In a world where people are stuck in the binary world of cisgender and heterosexual white anglo “normative”, being authentic matters. Black lives need to matter, women with a metoo story need to be heard, LGBTQ people should not be relegated to closets of shame.
Do you know why so many cisgender people (of which I am one) are so offended by the term cisgender? They want to be called normal. At the point they own normal, they get to live in the comfort that everyone else is not normal. The truth is, there is no normal. We are a diverse and colorful world full of difference. That needs to be celebrated. Diversity makes for a stronger species. Inbreeding creates problems. We live in a pluralistic world and anyone who would oppose and suppress that instead of celebrating that wants to limit human potential, beauty and our evolution as a species.
A world without closets and shame is a world without boundaries.
The Effect Authenticity Has On Father and Child
To this day I still wear skull rings, leather bracelets and have a penchant for biker jackets and black clothes. That is merely an exterior show. It reflects an inside. My rebel yell is that I am a liberal who no longer practices Christianity and no longer wastes my time defining sin. I try every day to rise above the shame of the past. I assert who I am. In this world I have a place and I matter.
In the world of my child, there is a celebration of self and pride. Pride is more than a flag, it is an attitude. In their life the rebel yell is leadership, expression, vibrant friendships and an inspiration that has changed their alma mater. My child’s life has just begun and it is off to a great start. My life is in the second half and in many ways is just beginning.
We were the generations the rebel yell was sung to. We heard the cry and followed the example.
The Rebel Yell
Take a moment, enjoy the video of two voices of two different generations celebrating each other and the rebel yell. Tell me what your rebel yell is in the comments.
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