Ari Gold, the groundbreaking LGBTQ musical artist who broke barriers for so many other artists, has passed away. Gold had been battling leukemia for several years, a battle he documented both online and via his podcast, Kiki From The Cancer Ward. He was 47 years old. During his recording career, Gold worked with musical legends like Boy George, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, and Cyndi Lauper, and appeared in RuPaul’s Starbooty. Gold also served as the music supervisor and composer on the 2006 documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema.
And then there is his music. Ari Gold’s music was ethereal, groundbreaking and innovative. The video for his song ‘Wave Of You’ (itself a tribute to photographer Herb Ritts who passed away from HIV-related complications in 2002) was the first video by an out artist to premiere on Logo TV. Subsequent albums like Transport Systems (2007) and Space Under The Sun show Gold experimenting with various types and styles of music, but he always returned to the dance floor. Remixes for a great deal of Gold’s material remain part of nightlife’s soundtrack, with his single ‘Where The Music Takes You’ remaining as a single on rotation in many nightlife spaces today. His work as an out artist was career defining (and in many circles, precarious) but Gold was unmoved. His insistence on standing in his own truth can be credited with making it easier for artists of today like Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X (among others) live in their own truth that much easier.
RuPaul tweeted several messages about Gold, including their last interview which was recorded as part of Gold’s podcast series. Ru’s last message simply said “Until we meet again, dear friend”
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) February 14, 2021
Emmy nominated actress Laverne Cox, a longtime friend of Gold’s, posted a collage of pictures of the two together, starting it by simply saying “So many memories”…
Emmy nominated actor Billy Porter also posted on Instagram a post aptly titled “Gone Too Soon”.
Nightlife performer and recording artist Kevin Aviance considered Gold his best friend, and recorded an intimate message as well as a recording of Aviance’s single “Home.”
Peppermint spoke of Gold’s influence on her own life and career in a heartfelt way…
Mila Jam paid tribute to Gold’s impact not just on her, but on artists that came after him as well..
The other tributes online to Gold were heartfelt, emotional, & spoke of Gold’s consistent championing of his friends careers, almost as much as much as his own.
Sirius/XM Host Larry Flick commented on his sometimes rocky relationship with Gold and how it blossomed into a relationship of “love and mutual respect”
DJ Lina shared some still images of her co-starring with Gold in the video for ‘Wave Of You’
Nightlife legend Raven Oh recalled a recent conversation that she and Gold had…
I personally interviewed Ari late in 2019. When we spoke he was in good spirits and had just completed a long-awaited bone marrow transplant on that very day. Ari and I had an easy and familiar relationship, so diving right into a seamless and intimate conversation was easy. His spirits were high and his attitude positive when we chatted about everything from his podcast to his newly released remix album Remix To Freedom. After we had some extended on (and off) the record conversation on music, nightlife, and life in general, I asked Ari that after the challenging few years he has had, “What would you tell the Ari Gold from five years ago?” His answer was simple-
“I’d say the two things I’ve learned most in recent years is, one, about accepting cognitive dissonance—that two conflicting things can be happening, even inside me, simultaneously.
And two, which is an Oprahism, is that, like all human beings, “I am worthy because I was born.”
Rest In Power dear Ari