I’m a black man. No denying that. I also happen to be gay. No denying that either.
So hypothetically speaking, let’s say a group of beloved popular musicians (one that consisted of all Caucasians), made an entire song demonizing and slandering African Americans. Would I be able to view them the same way ever again?Probably not…No, fuck that. I absolutely would not! They would be on my shit list.
Having said that, I’m reminded of an experience I had recently.
I went to see a cool documentary, “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest”. This flick, directed by actor Michael Rapaport, follows what may be the last collective tour by the group and gives a history on their origins. I became nostalgic as I heard the back-stories of some of my favorite songs growing up.
But then, days later, something hit me. It was like that scene in the movies where the person bolts upright in their bed, dripping wet with sweat, from a horrible dream! I remembered a rare, early song by A Tribe Called Quest featuring Brand Nubian that was supposed to go on the “The Low End Theory” album (1991) but was pulled at the last minute.I present it to you now, “Georgie Porgie”, possibly the most homophobic song in the history of rap music:
Now, any lover of hip hop knows how misogynistic and homophobic it inherently is (rappers appear to dislike women, hate sissies and seem to only want to chill with the fellas…hmmm, what does that sound like?) but It’s extremely disturbing how anti-gay these iconic rappers are on this track. The disdain they have for this fictional character “George” who happens to be Gay is EPIC.
That’s what makes it so bad for me…the ENTIRE
song is about this one subject.Its not just Tupac emasculating (insert rapper name here) in one casual line…Its a whole song where they push each other away from the mic to say, “There’s this guy we know named George. We thought he was “cool” for years…but guess what? He’s a gross, filthy, “fucking f****t”
Now I have to question my love for this band, which is tough after seeing them in that great documentary. Can we separate one song from the whole discography? Or is it really not that big of a deal?
To be fair, the group members were probably around 19-21 years old when they recorded the song…does that make any difference? Is this just an accurate reflection of life for young black men in NYC back in the 90’s?
Were they just commenting on the “down low” issue from their own young point of view?
However, if this were a 20-year-old Eminem that went through the entire process of writing and recording an anti-niggers song, would we still be accepting? Even after an apology?
I’m still wrestling with this one. What does that say about me and my self respect as a gay man?