Cher is stirring up some mixed internet feelings among queer fans who have lots to say about the cover of her first Christmas album, simply titled "Christmas."
Is she floating around (fabulously, of course) on an AI-created scoop of vanilla ice cream? (Ahem, excuse us... Cherlato.) What's up with her reflection in all those silver and red ornaments? If she could turn back time on this campy cover, would she? There are questions, but no answers.
What we do know is that this is somehow the 77-year-old icon's first-ever holiday album, decked out with guest appearances from Cyndi Lauper, Darlene Love, Michael Bublé, Tyga and Stevie Wonder. We also have a release date: “Christmas” is expected to drop Oct. 20.
“Are you spending Christmas with me? #cherchristmas,” the legend posted to Instagram last week alongside cover art for the new album, where she's standing atop a giant snowball (we really do want it to be ice cream, though) in a white button-down shirt and her sparkling, signature, wide-leg jeans.
No doubt, Cher’s multi-generational fan base will eat this up, especially if "Believe" gets the sleigh bell treatment we know you want.
But some fans just can't get over the "ghastly" cover design.
“The good news: queen mutha Cher is dropping her first-ever Christmas album!,” X user Graham Russel (@bitter69uk) wrote. “The bad news: the ghastly album cover is so awful it's virtually a homophobic hate crime! The designer clearly didn't give a single fuck!”
Luckily for those who aren't into that first cover, they've got options. Two other covers are floating around the web, and some queers are feeling relief that it's not... well, that first Cher-on-Cherlato cover.
“The alternate Chermas album cover is so much better, and reminds us all that the only thing that will remain after global boiling is Cher,” wrote Bradley Stern, a writer for Billboard, on X.
In 2018, Cher spoke with Pride Source’s Chris Azzopardi about her journey to becoming a gay icon and how she was a queer ally long before the world knew her as one.
“I always had gay friends,” she said. “I actually almost got arrested at a party with my best friend at school. He was gay but he couldn't let anybody know, and he wanted me to go with him to a party and the party got raided. And we jumped out the bathroom window! It was high.”
During the interview, she recalled the LGBTQ+ community showing up for her while she was doing the play "Come Back to the Five and Dime" in 1976 when so few non-queer people did. "We had standing room only before we got reviewed, and after we got reviewed nobody came except the community — the community, and little grey-haired old women who came to matinees. We managed to stay open until we could build back up the following."
“The gay community, they just don't leave you, they stay with you,” she added. “That's one thing that always keeps you going."