Before Faye Wong, Anita Mui, Ayumi Hamasaki or any other Asian Superstar or act, Leslie was the first I heard of, the first one I loved, the first openly gay superstar, and thanks to him my musical knowledge got expanded.
I was in my desk, working for a French Multinational when Hubby (one of my exes) messaged me and went online to read about his death.
I can only imagine the desperation of suicide… Needless to say I was very sad about it, Hubby and I always talked about going to Hong Kong to see him on tour.
Although little is known of Leslie today among the millennial children of Chinese migrants, his influence in Hong Kong and China is undeniable.
Like a lot of artists, and now more than ever in the age of social media, it is impossible to divorce Leslie’s work from his personal life.
His fluid sexuality and battle with mental illness has been scrutinised intensely by the media. Leslie was one of few openly gay Hong Kong celebrities to use his profile to champion LGBT+ issues.
Leslie Cheung rose to prominence as a hugely successful pop icon in 1980s, and is often referred to as the “Elvis of Hong Kong”. As his pop career blossomed, Leslie’s private life and sexuality was closely scrutinised.
In 2000 he collaborated with fashion designer Jean Paul Gautier to put on a concert, the “Passion Tour”, which was at once acclaimed and condemned by the media for its androgynous connotations.
I used to play his music a lot back in the days, but it’s been a while now that I haven’t listen to him ’cause it brings back memories of those awesome days. Leslie was not only a great singer but also a great actor, and an over-the-top entertainer.
Before globalisation he was already one of Asia’s icon.
His lost still hurts.