elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Felipe Rose (born January 12, 1954)

Felipe Rose (born January 12, 1954) is a founding member of the disco group the Village People, in which he is the Red Indian. His mother is Puerto Rican and his father is Lakota Sioux.

Rose was born in New York City as Felipé Ortiz Rose and raised in Brooklyn where he displayed an interest in the arts during his childhood. His mother was his main inspiration as she herself had been a dancer for the Copacabana during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1970, when Rose was 16-years-old, he won a scholarship to study dance with the Ballet de Puerto Rico under the guidance of Pascual Guzman. He participated in a dance-drama recital of Julia de Burgos at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with the Ballet Company. The New York Post called his performance "poignant and compelling".

Soon, Rose started to venture into the nightclub scene and at the same time his aunt introduced him to other influences in dance and recommended that he honor his father's heritage by dressing in his tribal regalia - this led to the "Red Indian" attire. Rose was working as a dancer and a bartender in a gay New York Go-Go club, dressed as an Indian when he was discovered by French producer Jacques Morali and executive producer Henri Belolo and so became the first recruit for Village People.

Both Jacques and Henri were fascinated by Rose's Red Indian attire and saw the potential in organizing a singing group where each individual would wear a different costume and have a particular identity. While the producers were busy recruiting and preparing the other members of the group, Rose was sent to Paris where he choreographed a native dance number for the Crazy Horse Saloon. When he returned to the United States, he suggested that the other members of the group wear uniforms representing different "manly" occupations in New York's Greenwich Village.

In 1977, Village People had their first hit with "San Francisco", although this song became a hit only in the United Kingdom. Then in 1978 they had their first hits in the U.S. with "Macho Man" followed by "Y.M.C.A.".

In the 1980s, Rose sang and danced for the Latin music maestro Tito Puente and he also starred in a regional theatre production of West Side Story. In 1996, Rose started the Tomahawk Group, an entertainment and recording company. The company handles Village People's releases and songs. The company is also in charge of the group's many engagements. Rose has been the producer of various artists.

In 2000, Rose began to work on his solo career. His single "Trails of Tears" was nominated for 3 NAMMY Awards (Native American Music Awards) for Best Historical Recording, Song of the Year and Best Producer. In 2002, Rose was the opening act of the fifth Annual Native American Music Awards celebrated at the Marcus Amphitheatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That year he won a NAMMY Award for the Best Historical Recording.

In August 2002, Rose moved to Richmond, Virginia, which he described as "the next Southern town on the rise". On January 12, 2005, Rose donated the gold record for the hit song "Y.M.C.A." to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Rose has appeared in the following movies: Can't Stop the Music (1980), The Best of Village People (1993), and Feathers and Leathers: The Story of the Village People (1999). He also participated in the 2000 documentary, Village People: The E! True Hollywood Story.

Rose and Village People have raised millions of dollars for many charities. Among them are the Native American College Fund and various AIDS charities. Rose is a member of the Board of Directors of Sixuvus Ltd, the Advisory Board of the Native American Music Association, the LARAS-Latin Grammys, and the Winter Music Conference.

In 2006, Rose appeared as a contestant on the revival of I've Got a Secret. He currently lives in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felipe_Rose

Further Readings:

Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's Coming Out by Randy Jones and Mark Bego
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Praeger (December 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0275999629
ISBN-13: 978-0275999629
Amazon: Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's Coming Out
Amazon Kindle: Macho Man: The Disco Era and Gay America's Coming Out

The Vietnam War was over and America seemed in the midst of a nationwide party. The self-proclaimed Me generation was flocking to discotheques, recreational drug use was high, and sexual taboos were being shattered nationwide. Then The Village People appeared on the music scene. Never before had gay sexuality been as up-front and in the face of America. The Village People struck a cultural nerve and fueled a craze that had them playing to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden. Even today, few adults could not at least hum the tunes to Y.M.C.A. and Macho Man. Because of the unique role they played in the United States of the late 1970s, The Village People are able to provide a powerful lens through which to view the emergence and development of gay culture in America. In Macho Man, readers can travel back with one of the first gay icons in popular music, and a top pop culture biographer, as they describe this complicated process of change.

In these pages, Randy Jones, the original cowboy in the band, takes us inside the time period, the discos, and the new musical style that was in many ways unprecedented in giving a voice to a previously closeted gay culture. Assisted by Mark Bego, one of the most popular and prolific pop culture authors working today, Jones shows how the fast-lane rise, fall, and rebirth of this novel band paralleled activities across the last 40 years within the gay culture and gay rights movement. The work concludes with a gayography — a listing of openly gay musicians and performers in the United States before and since The Village People - along with a discography and filmography. This work will interest pop culture and music enthusiasts, in addition to scholars in gay studies.

More LGBT History at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices

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Tags: gay classics, musician: felipe rose, persistent voices

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