Helping people has been a driving force for iconic superstar Cyndi Lauper, as she strives to make a difference in the community for homeless LGBT youths through her True Colors Fund. This year, on Saturday, December 5, at The Beacon Theatre, she will once again captivate fans with her fifth annual Home for the Holidays Benefit Concert.
The line-up this year is overwhelming, and includes Boy George, Natasha Bedingfield, Judy Gold, Cam, Joey Taranto, Justin Trainer, Anne Steele, Sharon Osborne, Valerie Simpson, Richie Sambora and the list goes on.
Lauper’s passion for this cause doesn’t start and stop with an annual concert, but continues for the artist throughout the year, taking her to the Senate in Washington and the Forty to None Summit. In addition, she is the co-founder of the True Colors Residence, the first of its kind to provide permanent and supportive homes to once homeless LGBT youths in New York City. Aside from that, she is ever fighting to end the AIDS epidemic and supports the fair treatment of women worldwide.
Get Out! was able to catch up with Lauper to find out the scoop on the concert, as well as discover some exclusive details of what the future holds for the Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning artist.
This is your fifth year doing the Home for the Holidays Benefit. How did you first become aware of the homeless situation of LGBT youths, and what inspired you to adopt this cause?
I met an incredible group of LGBT youth on Christopher Street Pier a few years ago when I was doing a photo shoot for Interview magazine about my work for LGBT equality. I wanted real LGBT people in the photos with me and ended up meeting these kids who shared their stories about being kicked out of their homes. I was inspired by their courage and their determination to overcome everything that has been thrown at them. As a mom, I cannot understand how any parent can throw their kid away, it would be like ripping out a part of your soul. That was the day that I made a commitment to do everything I could to make sure no kid is homeless again because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
You have been to Washington on behalf of LGBT youths, even testifying in the Senate on the need for additional resources for communication to address youth homelessness. In your opinion, does Washington listen?
Yes, especially the current administration. We also have a number of strong champions on Capitol Hill, but we have a long way to still go. That is why the True Colors Fund is opening an office in Washington, D.C., and adding additional staff, so that we can have an even greater presence there and move things forward for the kids even more than we have been able to.
What exactly is the Forty to None Summit, and what solutions are being implemented to find a way to help?
The Forty to None Summit is a national gathering of people, from social workers to government officials to youth, dedicated to ending LGBT youth homelessness. Our primary focus at the conference is to highlight and share innovative ways that we can actually drive the number of homeless youth who are LGBT down from 40% to none. It is about shaking up the status quo and moving forward the ways that we can actually end the problem.
You must be super excited about the fabulous and overwhelming line-up this year for the concert at the Beacon Theatre. Besides attending this spectacular event, what else can the general public do to help?
If you can’t make the event, we can still use your help. Every dollar counts. If you can donate $5, it’s a help. We have a long way to get to NO homeless youth. Sadly we are still at 40% of all homeless kids being homeless for being gay. Let’s get together and try and help these kids and get [from] 40 to none.
What kind of work on your part goes into creating an event like this?
I have a great team that helps me put this concert together. I could not pull it off if not for the work of everyone on the team, my manager, my band, my crew, all the artists and their teams who give their time and perform for free! It’s a lot of work, but it is a labor of love. Everyone involved is in it to help these kids and also pull off a great concert for everyone that bought tickets, who through their purchase of tickets are on the team too!
You have accomplished so many amazing things: You’ve won Grammys, Tonys, Emmys, you’re a mom, a Broadway musical writer, creator, a grand marshal in the pride parades in NYC and Toronto, an activist, actress and now a country artist. Is there anything that you haven’t done that you still wish to accomplish?
There is still so much more I want to do.
Besides all of your efforts that you have put into your True Colors Foundation, what new projects does 2016 and beyond hold for you?
I’m just finishing up a new CD that will be out in the spring on Sire/Warner Bros. Records called “Detour.” I got a chance to record with an amazing band based out of Nashville. [The] CD was produced by Tony Brown, and I got a chance to record with artists that I’ve been wanting to record with for a long time like Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Jewel. I mean, come on! Kinky Boots continues to do well and is now open in Toronto and London’s West End. It’s doing great on Broadway in NYC as well. We have a national tour out, and we are opening in Japan, Australia, Germany and Sweden this year. I’m also writing songs for the Broadway adaptation of Working Girl and a TV show in the works! Lots of good stuff. I’m not going way any time soon!
Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays
New York, NY
Saturday, December 5, 2015