Jermaine Stewart, The Word Is Out, 1984. The slender, effeminate Stewart first gained notice for his flamboyant dancing on Soul Train, leading to gigs as a backup vocalist for Shalamar and Culture Club. Co-written with Culture Club bassist Mikey Craig, The Word Is Out, Stewart’s first single, was taken by gay audiences as a coming out anthem of sorts, even though its accompanying video hinted of a relationship with an older woman. Stewart returned to the Top Ten in 1986 with his cautionary HIV-related We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off, which reached #2 UK, #5 U.S. pop. Over the next decade he scored several more R&B Top Ten hits in the states, but had his biggest successes in Europe, where 1988’s Talk Dirty To Me was one of the year’s greatest sellers. Sadly, Jermaine Stewart succumbed to AIDS-related liver cancer in 1997. Just a few years earlier, I had seen him perform at South Beach’s Paragon, after which he joined an exuberant group of banjee boys for a dance floor vogue battle. Yet another beautiful and highly talented gay artist lost. So many, so many.