Diana Ross ‘didn’t understand that “I’m Coming Out” was a gay thing’, says Nile Rodgers

Singer’s 1980 hit became an anthem of the gay community

Louis Chilton
Friday 22 May 2020 10:23 BST
Grammys 2019: Diana Ross performs on her birthday

Music producer Nile Rodgers has said that Diana Ross “didn’t understand” that her hit 1980 song “I’m Coming Out” ”was a gay thing”.

Speaking to The New York Post, Rodgers discussed his collaborations with Ross and fellow producer Bernard Edwards.

He said he was inspired to write "I'm Coming Out" after seeing a group of “Diana Ross impersonators” in the bathroom at GG’s Barnum Room, a club in midtown Manhattan with mostly transgender clientele.

“All of a sudden a lightbulb goes off in my head,” he said. “I had to go outside and call Bernard from a telephone booth.

“I said, ‘Bernard, please write down the words: ‘I’m coming out.’ And then I explained the situation to him.”

Ross loved the song, Rodgers said, adding: ”she didn’t understand that that was a gay thing - that that was a person saying, ‘I’m coming out of the closet’. She didn’t even get that.”

“I’m Coming Out” peaked at No5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, but has endured as an anthem in the gay community.

Since 1980, Ross has used the track to open her live performances.

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