Cyndi Lauper has been standing behind 'unpopular ideas' for decades
Cyndi Lauper isn't afraid to say what everyone else won't -- but we already knew that, right?
The iconic performer, who was awarded Logo's 2017 Trailblazer Award earlier this summer, has long been an advocate for causes that were previously unpopular or taboo in mainstream culture, and there's a reason for that.
"When an idea is bigger than yourself, it’s the one you should do," Lauper told AOL Entertainment during a recent sitdown. "The unpopular ideas and causes are the ones you should stand behind."
Five years ago, Lauper realized that she was doing just that with one of her most important projects, Kinky Boots. During the musical's initial 2012 trial run in Chicago, the performer -- who wrote the Tony-winning music and lyrics with Harvey Fierstein -- foresaw the impact that her work and the real-world themes it was touching on would have.
"We were speaking about acceptance and sharing the planet," she remembred. "People were on the steps of Washington asking for civil rights and marriage equality, and that’s when I realized we were saying the right thing at the right time."
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Though the timeliness of Kinky Boots allowed it to have an even greater impact on culture and society at large, one of Lauper's decades-old projects recently resurfaced in an unexpected way. At the Women's Marches back in January, the singer's sister sent her photos from the ground that lit a fire beneath her -- women all around the world were holding up signs that read, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights." Almost 35 years after its initial release, Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was reentering the zeitgeist as part of a political movement.
"I saw women with sisters and grandchildren and mothers -- whole families! -- walking with these signs," she said with a smile. "I was inspired! You know, you try to put your best foot forward, but sometimes there’s a full circle that comes back and shows you something that inspires you to take action again."
This summer, while on tour with Rod Stewart, Lauper played a montage of photos of women holding up their signs while singing her timeless hit, which she hoped would encourage women to "just keep going."
That message hasn't always been easy for Lauper to remember in her personal life, though. A couple of years ago, the 64-year-old began battling psoriasis, a skin condition that was exasperbated by her constant touring, tight clothing and refusal to slow down.
"It eventually flared from head to toe," she recalled as she showed us photos of her worst moments. "My husband wanted to take me to the hospital, but I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know what I was going to say, and I didn’t think there was anything they could really do."
Though she eventually found a treatment that works for her, she was careful to note that "this disease is very unique and every individual reacts differently to it." That's the message that she hopes to spread through the SEE Me campaign, for which she'll pen a song that she hopes inspires people to seek treatment and know they aren't alone in their struggles.
"When you're sick you feel powerless," she told us. "When you get information, that will give you back some of your power. Information is power, so empower yourself by reaching out for treatment."
Cyndi's original song will be released for World Psoriasis Day later this year.
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