Home World Pop icon Leslie Cheung’s legacy endures 20 years after loss of life

Pop icon Leslie Cheung’s legacy endures 20 years after loss of life




HONG KONG — Followers of late Canto-pop icon Leslie Cheung, one of many first singers to return out as homosexual in Hong Kong, flocked to town this week to commemorate their idol’s loss of life 20 years in the past — revisiting his legacy of pioneering work made throughout a socially conservative time.

Cheung, who was 46 when he died, was a famous person recognized for his singing, dancing and appearing in the course of the heyday of Hong Kong’s leisure trade within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s. His supporters, who span throughout Asia, fondly remembered his norm-breaking works and known as him “forward of time.”

The twentieth anniversary of Cheung’s loss of life was Saturday and drew crowds of each native followers and supporters from mainland China to go to exhibitions about him in Hong Kong. Even the federal government included concert events and movie screenings about him within the metropolis’s first popular culture pageant, which is slated to formally kick off in three weeks.

The native reminiscences of Cheung show the late superstar stays a well-liked icon throughout generations of Hong Kongers and displays the need for reviving town’s cultural affect, stated Anthony Fung, professor of the college of journalism and communication on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong.

“After so a few years, we hardly discover any new icons, new superstars who might attain that degree of significance,” he stated.

Cheung, who was affectionately generally known as Gor Gor — “massive brother” in Cantonese — produced many hits that even non-Cantonese talking music lovers in different components of Asia might sing alongside to. These embody “Monica,” “Sleepless Nights Stressed Coronary heart” and “Chase.” He additionally starred in basic movies together with John Woo’s “A Higher Tomorrow,” Wong Kar-wai’s “Pleased Collectively,” Stanley Kwan’s “Rouge” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”

However behind all of his success, Cheung suffered from despair. He jumped to his loss of life from the Mandarin Oriental Lodge in central Hong Kong on April 1 in 2003, sending shockwaves throughout town. His loss of life got here as his hometown was battling the SARS epidemic, which in the end killed a whole bunch and crippled the native financial system.

Hong Kong fan Connie Leung, a retiree now in her 60s, recalled her disbelief when she first heard in regards to the information of his loss of life from a former colleague. “I stated ‘don’t make such a joke on April Fools’ Day’,” she stated.

She stated Cheung’s songs by no means grew to become outdated and his trend tastes, together with his iconic lengthy hair, had been trendy — even by right now’s requirements.

Chris Choi, Cheung’s live performance choreographer within the 2000s, stated the late famous person broke by means of many gender boundaries by introducing “unisex” concepts, a few of which had been dangerous on the time. Amongst his stage costumes, for instance, had been seashell culottes and purple excessive heels.

“It instructed individuals artwork has no boundaries,” he stated.

Cheung additionally broke by means of town’s cultural establishment by boldly revealing his homosexual relationship in a conservative native society at the moment— a choice that would have ruined his profession however has earned him quite a lot of respect from the homosexual group, Fung stated. The breakthrough was in regards to the plurality of tradition that he celebrated, he stated.

“He truly crossed by means of the boundary, make a noise and affect on the tradition of Hong Kong,” Fung stated.

Cheung’s work not solely impressed older generations of followers but additionally those that had been simply toddlers when he died.

College scholar Justin Jiang stated he was solely 3 years outdated when Cheung died, however he later grew to become a fan in highschool after studying extra about Cheung’s character and charisma from his legacy of works. This week, the 22-year-old, who lives in neighboring Guangzhou, visited Hong Kong with a good friend to pay tribute to his idol.

He praised Cheung’s boldness in expressing his views and breaking by means of a society strongly influenced by gender stereotypes years in the past.

“Gor Gor could be very brave and that is price studying for us,” he stated.



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