Billy Porter Performs 'Red Hot' Cover of the Club Classic 'Caught in the Middle'

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Billy Porter
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Juliet Roberts’ 1993 chart-topping dance hit, “Caught in the Middle,” just got a modern twist thanks to Billy Porter’s soaring new rendition of the song. Released on Friday, the cover is part of the new compilation, Red Hot + Free, featuring Bright Light Bright Light, Cakes Da Killa, Gloria Gaynor, Tituss Burgess and more. 

Released by the non-profit organization Red Hot, the 2021 compilation is the latest installment in the series in its ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. First started in 1990, the organization has partnered with the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, George Michael, Madonna, Nirvana and many more to release 20 compilations and raise more than $15 million over the past 30 years. Proceeds from this year’s album will go to the Ally Coalition, Trevor Project and SAGE.

“I live at the intersection of art and activism. Thirty years ago no one even wanted to talk about HIV and AIDS let alone celebrate the community with music and dance,” Porter, who recently disclosed his HIV status, said. “There has to be joy in the middle of the pain, and hope that things can and will get better. That’s why the work that Red Hot does is so important. Thank you for leading the way. I’m so happy to be a part of carrying on the tradition.”

Bill Coleman, executive producer of the album, added, “When we embarked on creating what would become Red Hot + Free nearly three years ago, I knew we had to have Billy. His energy, fortitude and all-around New York fierceness embody the spirit of our album and Red Hot’s consistent missions to raise awareness.” 

“To be able to produce this thumping cover of one of our absolute favorite ‘90s club jams is not only a welcome gift creatively, but an energetic and festive nod to our friends who are no longer with us,” he continued. “‘Caught in the Middle’ is our purposely reverent and unvarnished soulful house rave up with a Sylvester-inspired tempo to simply party to and play loud. I just love hearing Billy soar within the grooves! We hope everyone bops to it.”

For the Emmy-winning Pose star, this is just the latest single he’s released over the past few years, following 2019’s dance chart-topper “Love Yourself” and last year’s timely cover of “For What It's Worth” and his collaboration with Shapeshifters on “Finally Ready.”

“My hope is that it ignites a fire under the people and reminds us that we, the people, are the ones that have the power to change things,” he told ET of his Buffalo Springfield remake. “We gotta get out in the streets and make our voices heard. And that’s what’s happening right now -- and it’s very encouraging and very inspiring.”

As for “Finally Ready,” it was a reflection on his decades-long journey, from the crisis to now, and “being ready to receive love,” he said at the time. “As gay men of a certain age, we lived through a plague, we lived through a time when our love didn’t matter, when our love was transient, when our love was dangerous, so it’s an interesting feeling to have love and not even know how to respond to it or how to receive it.” 

Red Hot + Free is available to purchase starting July 2.

 

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