by JONATHAN BROWN
Singer Nick Jonas probably assumed that his well-meaning speech during Monday night’s Stonewall Inn vigil for the victims of the Orlando Pulse massacre would garner him a major “win.” For months before the release of his self-titled 2014 album, all the way up to his most recent release, Last Year Was Complicated, the former Jonas Brothers leader has teased his gay following with provocative photo shoots, intimate interviews and his portrayal of a closeted gay boxer on the DirectTV series, Kingdom. He’s even gone so far as to insinuate there’s a possibility that he’s maybe, sort of, kind of had sex with the same gender.
“On Kingdom, I have a sex scene with a guy,” he explained to British publication The Sun back in May. “[But] have I, as Nick? No. But it’s my lips, it’s my hands, it’s my body, even if I’m playing a character. So technically, I have done that, so I wouldn’t say I haven’t, because that would be lying.”
Actually, Nick, that would be acting, but I digress.
As the “Jealous” singer took to the podium to address the mostly-queer crowd, an audible, collective groan was heard. It was hard to miss, to be honest. Even during a time of collective mourning, it couldn’t be denied that Jonas had managed to finally piss us off by overstepping a queer-bait boundary — one that many had allowed him to keep redrawing for far too long. Onlookers at the vigil were not afraid to let the 23-year-old have it; not just while standing several feet away from the performer, but on social media, too.
Interestingly, for all of the naysayers who claim that Nick had no right placing himself at the head of a disaster that targeted LGBT+ people, there were some who seemed to back his play, going so far as to state that it was the first time he actually proved that he hadn’t just been toying with gay men’s fantasies to sell albums. And maybe there’s some truth in that; we can never really know just how genuine his involvement was — we’re not him, after all — but for the sake of keeping things relatively neutral, let’s just say that Nick Jonas maybe really gives a damn about the gay community, and he wanted nothing more than to show love at a time when hate seems to be overpowering us.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, hear this: he still had no right being there. At all. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that he identifies as “straight.”
The devastating killing spree that eliminated 49 beautiful people of different sexual preferences obviously affected more than just the LGBT+ community — I get that, you get that and Nick gets that. Pain, just as love, is a universal feeling and many of us (minus the common ignoramuses whom we share air with) are currently feeling a lot of it as we work toward a way to deal with, heal from, and ultimately, move past what has been noted as the deadliest mass shooting in American history. It is not going to be an easy process and we’re going to need all of the support we can get, and we can only get that if we bond together — not just as straight people and queer people, but as people.
From that angle, Nick definitely has a place among us, but it is not one that allows him to be front and center as he was last night. Speaking to a crowd of mostly-queer mourners about an instance of anti-queer violence was a huge overreach for someone who has barely recognized us past our disposable incomes. That’s not to say that a straight ally shouldn’t have been at that podium. In fact, there are several straight people who could’ve been up there — and no, we’re not just talking about the divas we all go gaga over (no pun intended).
Why not Daniel Radcliffe or Jack Falahee from How To Get Away With Murder (before you judge, know that he hasn’t identified as anything other than “straight,” so stop it)? Or maybe even Josh Hutcherson or Macklemore? Jon Stewart? What about Lin-Manuel Miranda (after that sonnet at the Tonys, he can definitely speak for us)? I mean, those are just some of the more recognizable names. Trust me when I say that there are plenty others; mostly ones who don’t have notable names, but should. You know them, too, I’m sure: the guys who have actually done things for our community. Helpful things. Things that have progressed us as a unified society. Things that matter.
With that being said, what exactly has Nick provided us other than some good tunes and the occasional spank bank fantasy? Again, that’s not to say he won’t truly show-and-prove someday down the line, but that day was most definitely not Monday night, in the face of so many people who needed someone who actually understood what we lost as the pulses of those poor Pulse patrons faded away forever.
We needed someone up there who really could speak to the piece of our hearts that were destroyed over a senseless and deplorable act. We needed someone who really knows what it means when we say, “it could have been one of us that night.” We needed someone who is really in this fight for our lives, and has been there since the beginning.
What we didn’t need, in no shape or form, was Nick Jonas. We appreciate you, boo, but you haven’t impressed us past your abs just yet.
Pop-culture obsessed, opinionated and not afraid of either aspect, Jonathan Brown tends to have a lot to say about everything and anything — especially when it pertains to the world of entertainment. Check out more of what he has to say on his Facebook page and his Twitter profile. Be warned, though: he’s not afraid to respond when necessary.