a collage of four pictures of Rahsaan Patterson ranging from 1984 until 2024.

RAHSAAN PATTERSON: in celebration of

In 1984, one of my favorite songs was Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero.” I was just eight years old, but I fuckin’ LOVED the drama of the anthemic song. I would lip-sync this song when no one was around. I knew adults didn’t think it was “ok” for boys to sing songs about needing a hero. So you can only imagine my joy when the song was featured in an episode of “Kids Incorporated,” centering the lone Black character, “Kid,” portrayed by Rahsaan Patterson. In the episode, Kid performs “Holding Out For A Hero,” on a roof wearing a cape and costume similar to Superman. Watching this very coded queer young person dance and move like I did when no one was around was nothing short of a message from the universe that said, “There are other boys like you.” On that Sunday night in 1984, I found a hero.

Forty years later, Rashaan Patterson’s voice still resonates. 

From his early days as a child star on the groundbreaking 80s television show “Kids Incorporated” to his emergence as a songwriter of pop hits, including Brandy’s “Baby,” to a celebrated R&B artist in his own right. His 1997 self-titled debut album introduced the world (and I am not being hyperbolic) to a heavenly voice that was both the sound of the soulful 70s and the future of R&B music. The album featured hypnotic songs like “Stop By” (whew, what a brilliant video!) and “Where You Are” (baybee, go listen to Silk’s House Mix) that showcased his ability to blend contemporary R&B with classic jazz/soul influences.

Patterson’s follow-up albums “Love in Stereo” (1999), “After Hours” (2004), “Wine & Spirits” (2007), and “Bluephoria” (2011) all serve as a testament to his willingness to experiment with various styles and sounds. It is his musical versatility and remarkable integrity as a Black queer artist that has established him as an enduring force in R&B with a dedicated fanbase that continues to feel profoundly connected to him, his art, and his vision for equity. 

Patterson’s influence extends beyond his music and brilliant artistry. He has consistently used his platform to advocate for LGBTQ rights and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, mental health, and social justice. His unwavering commitment to challenging stereotypes and offering a counter-narrative to the often limited and monolithic portrayals of Black masculinity still transcends space and time. 

Rahsaan Patterson’s legacy continues to inspire. His recent projects, such as the critically acclaimed album “Heroes & Gods” (2019) and the glittery reimagining “Heroes and Gods 2.0” (2022), a collaboration with House producer Quentin Harris, demonstrate Patterson’s power in bringing us all closer to heaven. Listen to “Sent From Heaven,” both the ballad and House versions, for a celestial experience! 

Rahsaan Patterson’s career is a testament to the power of personal and artistic resilience. As a singer, songwriter, and activist, he gracefully navigated an industry that often devours trailblazers. He has generously reminded us that music can guide our healing and existence. Rahsaan is a legend and a hero for which some of us are still holding out.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *