- Cane: Make no mistake, without George Michael there would be no Sam Smith, Adam Lambert, or many of the openly queer artists of today
- Cane: Michael rose to fame in an era in which music was racially segregated and mainstream culture was ferociously homophobic.
Clay Cane is the author of "Live Through This: Surviving the Intersections of Sexuality, God, and Race," which is available for pre-orders now and will be released in June. Follow him on Twitter: @claycane.
(CNN)On Christmas Day, 2016 gave us another blow. George Michael suddenly passed away of reported heart failure, aged 53.