Two women kissing for a brief second in a Pixar film should not be controversial. We're getting tired of fighting homophobia, because it's not just about kissing, it's about who we are and who we deserve to be. Climbing the Everest of queer liberation is Lucky Love, who a couple of weeks ago saw his harmless beautiful music video Love censored. Apparently, YouTube couldn't handle such a simple powerful statement and decided to censor the clip as 18 plus viewing. But is it love that bothers them? Or is it the lovers who passionately kiss each other?
“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” Tammy Baldwin made history by becoming the first openly gay Senator in the United States in 2013, and these words from her speech at the Millennium March for Equality of that year sum up the reality LGTBQI+ people have to still face in every corner of the world, and also, the internet.

Luc Bruyère is not only resilient, but he is also an artist whose fearless imagery is full of creativity, and he has a lot to say, he has an experience and an identity to share with the world. This week he comes back with an important message: "What about my masculinity? It's a middle finger to patriarchy and toxic masculinity” whose video is an interesting visual reflection on the subject directed by Jordan Cardoso.

His first two singles Paradise and Love have racked up over 100k streams, he just premiered his own documentary Lucky at the Tribeca Film Festival 2022, he’s on the cover of the French magazine Têtu this month and was recently invited to the main stage of Munich Pride in July. At only 27 years old, the young man embodies the exuberance of a rockstar and the modesty of a poet. Lucky Love's voice is a work of art, inspired by James Blake or Antony and the Johnsons (Anohni), that fluctuates between English and French.

Dancing on stage, Lucky Love says, “was the first place where people celebrated my body and my differences. To me, that’s political”. He is a star who uses his body to tell a story we all need to hear. And that we do in the following interview with him, following the premiere of his new single Masculinity last Friday.
Hello Luc. You have a new single out since last week. It’s called Masculinity, it sounds brilliant, the lyrics are quite touching as they reveal a very important topic about identity that is current. How did you approach its writing?
I was thinking about making a very personal song, and it just so happened that I was in front of my mirror with my microphone, naked and looking at myself as the instrumental was playing, and the gimmick “What about my masculinity?” came up instantly. The idea I had behind that song was to show that masculinity does not exist without femininity. While society rehashes numerous examples of how masculinity should be, unrightfully so, I preferred deconstructing the social norm to show that it is more of a complex spectrum, where each and every one of us lie. I intentionally interrogate it in the chorus to show the absurdity of this imposed social norm.
“What about my masculinity, what the fuck is wrong with my body, am I not enough?” This is such a statement that unfortunately so many of us have experienced, at different intensities, in our upbringing and in all sorts of social situations. How have you dealt with discrimination or insecurities when it comes to this subject?
I don’t think we deal with it per se, I think we fight it, as much as we can. Of course, when I was younger, I was more insecure, so it was harder to voice what I had to say. But as soon as I understood the man I was becoming I decided that no one should tell me what a man is supposed to be. I am my very own example of what a man is. This song is also supposed to raise awareness and help others come to the same conclusion as me. For me the key is to believe in who you are, what you stand for. Being unapologetic of my identity was my way of dealing with discrimination.
This is your third single as Lucky Love, and probably the one with a deeper meaning. For its video, you put together an amazing combination of talented people. Directed by Jordan Cardoso, filmed by Christopher Ripley and featuring Prince and Majesty , François Sagat and Hanabi the K. They represent different facets of the exploration of masculinity, alongside yours and your artistic vision. What was it like to work with this team to create the video?
Working with all of them was a dream! Jordan has been my manager for a few months now, I was honoured to have him direct his first music video ever. Our ideas fit so well together and we were completely on the same page regarding the imagery that I had in mind for Masculinity. He also gathered a wonderful production team around the shoot, namely Christopher Ripley who has worked with big stars in the US such as Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish and many more… Even the casting was perfect: I wanted to be able to represent all kinds of masculinities in this music video hence why it was important for me to cast all these different people. I loved working with all of them, they’re all so talented and each of them have such a strong personality. It was actually really easy, we worked in happiness, joy and without judgement, it was really cool!
Let’s talk about Love, your previous single. The song is ridiculously good, and the video has been much talked about, particularly the simply gorgeous scene at a supermarket where two boys kiss each other, romantically. Can you tell me about the making of the video?
This video was very important for me because I wanted to get the message across to the countryside youth, for example Tennessee in the US, that now, in 2022, we are supposed to be considered as normal people, that we can meet the love of our life anywhere, like a supermarket. I didn’t choose this specific location for the aesthetic, I chose it because I wanted to show how everybody is allowed to love anyone, anywhere, and that you should be proud about it. It is also an attempt to give back to homosexual imagery the romanticism it deserves, and show to world what is love to me, Lucky Love. That’s why I was so disappointed when I saw that YouTube censored the music video. Nevertheless, you can count on me to continue to spread love everywhere I go!
So, YouTube has censored the video and it is now forbidden to under 18s because they consider it pornographic and inappropriate content. This is quite upsetting and enraging, I mean, two boys kissing in a YouTube video is mild. It’s especially dangerous to set an age restriction on something so beautiful and natural, as it associates homosexuality with something that is wrong. How did you and your closest friends react when you found out the news? Have you heard back from YouTube?
When I realised YouTube had applied censorship to my video, I was furious. I didn’t and still don’t understand how in 2022 such things can still happen. On the other hand, it also means that this video, and why and how I made it, makes a lot of sense: it just shows the importance to voice and address these kinds of issues, and give the opportunity for people to represent the LGTBQI+ community.
The worst part is that YouTube’s algorithm was really pushing the music video, we’ve never [had so many views] in such little time, until they decided, 10 days later, to apply censorship. We tried disputing it, but their decision was final. In a way it confirms the legitimacy of the fight I have engaged myself in and the need for representation of our community. I shall continue to act upon it, and I hope to gain more support from my entourage and the community.
There’s something very special to your songs, your voice is husky and dark sometimes, but it also shines with falsetto. What are the main artists that have inspired you throughout your career?
I have a lot of different inspirations: from Patti Smith to James Blake, but also big pop icons like Michael Jackson or even Lady Gaga, for her symbolism and all the imagery she carries. My music comes from a lot of different genres, even classical music like Max Richter, as I used to do ballet as a kid, and it still inspires me today.
Masculinity, Love, Paradise… You’re on a roll! When and what can we expect form your first and upcoming album? Up until now, you swing from English to French when singing your songs. Which language serves as a better expression channel?
I’m not quite sure yet because I think an album is a big step. All the songs are finished and ready to be released but I want to split the project into two phases. It’s important for me because I’m sure it will help people grasp the two aspects I have within me: between sadness and happiness. I’m a very nostalgic person, I always sway between the party and the sadness after the party!
When it comes to language, I decided to mainly sing in English because I want my songs to be as universal as possible, to be heard and understood everywhere because the message that I want to spread should travel all around the world, hence why it is important for me to use an international language. However, France is part of my identity and personality, so it was important for me to incorporate a little French touch to it.
It's June, Pride month, and you are on the cover of Têtu Magazine. What is your perception of LGTBIQ+ rights in France? What do you think should be the main goal of the community to fight for this year?
I think the LGTBQI+ people really struggle in Paris because I feel that we are a lot of LGTBQI+ individuals, but we lack cohesion to form a community. I think the main goal should be to bring together every individual towards a same objective of helping those in need. A lot of us still need help, for example regarding transgender rights. We need to be less egotistical and stand with each other.
Lucky the film you star in was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. The synopsis reads: “27-year-old French gay artist Luc Bruyère is a model, musician, dancer, and drag queen who lost his left arm at birth due to agenesis and is HIV positive”. I find resilience is the word to describe your artistry as your difficult personal life and its challenges have inspired most of your work and its outcome. Your work is really inspiring and has the nature to help others in similar situations. What was the filming like? And can you tell us about the experience of working along Loren Denis and Anthony Vibert for such a personal portrait?
I loved making this movie: the whole production team became a bit like my family, we shared so much together: they were here during my divorce, when I found out I was about to become an uncle; having them follow me for such a long time was great. At the beginning the camera was a bit scary but at a certain point you just forget about it. It was such an incredible human experience, Loren is so talented, and her sensitivity was much appreciated, Anthony is a very smart guy – they form a great team to work with. Also, Sylvestre Dedise (DOP of the documentary), is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met – I am really happy to have entrusted my image to them, they never disappoint me.
Dancing, pole dancing, cabaret, theatre… Is there something about the physicality of stage that you consider almost political? Why is dancing so important for an artist like you?
I’m a dancer because it is the first form of art I performed; I’ve been dancing all my life ever since my legs could support me. It was the first way of expression I found, but also the first place where people celebrated my body and my differences. It is political to me: I realised my body, while I was dancing; had a message to be delivered, a message that transcended my own cute life, and that message was also celebrated.
You’ve worked as an actor, dancer, screenwriter, author, model and now singer. What drew you to the arts in the first place? What of these different disciplines suit you better when it comes to express yourself?
As a kid, I really wanted to belong to our society. I had to observe other individuals and experience what I saw, I think that drew me to art in the first place. I needed to understand my own existence and the world that we live in, to find my place in it. Art became my realm because this is where I felt true to myself.
I chose music because it is the best way to express everything, but I want to say more importantly it reunites everything that I can and have learnt to do: as a singer I can dance, I can choreograph, I can direct my music videos, I can act in my music videos. It’s the most complete form of art for me. I used to interpret other people’s art, in fashion, on screen, on stage… But this time, it’s my very own project, coming from the bottom of my heart and my guts. All my talents I have developed in the past few years are put to work for one single goal, the development of my career as a singer.
Along with the conversation about pink-washing now that we’re approaching pride, there’s also an important issue to tackle when it comes to the fashion industry. And that is the pretence of virtue that some so-called inclusive brands and marketing campaigns have when they claim to be inclusive and diverse, but they don’t practice those values within their own structures. This includes equal pay, conditions of work, respectful behaviour among co-workers, or horizontal care. In that sense, how has your experience been when being approached for this type of campaign?
To me it’s obvious: the fashion industry is an industry using us like a product or packaging to sell other products. I guess I had to play the game and take advantage of it, because being represented has no price – using me for a pink-washing purpose gave me the opportunity to endorse the representation of queer community and give us increased visibility. Somehow, we must change industries from the inside, and I believe I have a role to play in it.
Researching I read that you mentioned in an interview that your biggest dream was to be loved. How is this going? Because every time we step onto a new song of yours, we feel like we love you more and more.
Well, I really hope you’ll continue to love me more and more! I think I understood that if I wanted to continue to be loved, I have to first and foremost love myself – love is key! But I’m still working on it, it’s a work in progress!
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