In the July/August 2011 issue of XXL Magazine, writer Bethlehem Shoals asked the question: Is Hip-Hop Homophobic? What he really meant was is Hip-Hop was homophobic ANYMORE…That culture of overly magnified masculinity has always been homophobic in the past. However, in rapidly hanging times, one must really ask the question (at least).
While the article doesn’t really add anything new to the discussion, it does serve as a “previously on” summation of events for those who have not being paying attention to pop culture and Hip-Hop music for the last 10 years.
“Break it Down: Homophobia in Hip-Hop” (July/August 2011)When it comes to homophobia, hip-hop doesn’t have the best track record. “Faggot” and other anti-gay slurs have been used as generic insults on wax throughout the genre’s history. In the mid-1990s, Wendy Williams sent a shiver through the industry by threatening, daily, to out the then-unimaginable “gay rapper” on her radio show on New York’s Hot 97. Strong female rappers have been automatically branded lesbians out of a need to marginalize their voices. Girl-on-girl action began showing up in videos at a certain point, but only as an objectifying peep show. (What exactly about M.O.P.’s “Ante Up” would inspire two women to make out?) However, recent events suggest a more complicated picture. In fact, while violence, misogyny and materialism may be with hip-hop for a long time, there are signs that the culture’s attitude toward gays may be changing. It started, one could argue, in the late 1990s, when Puffy and Jay-Z immersed themselves in the world of fashion. It’s hard to run in those circles with any deep-seated prejudice against gays, even if the stereotype of the nattily dressed gay man is itself a harmful one. (It’s worth noting, though, that even as Jay was running Rocawear and rubbing shoulders with the fabulous at fashion shows, in 2001’s “Takeover,” he hit both targets hard, calling out Nas as “the fag model for Karl Kani/Esco ads.”) In 2001, Eminem, so famous for his homophobic lyrical content, took the stage with the famously gay Elton John at the Grammy Awards—the two held hands at the end of their performance of “Stan.” By 2009, when Lil Wayne and Baby were photographed kissing on the mouth, after a collective Internet giggle, fans forgot about it and moved on. Wayne later rhymed about it, taunting anyone so uptight to think this made him gay, but he was also, apparently, not particularly worried about blurring those boundaries.Read the rest of the article HERE.
Masculine black gay author, Terrance Dean, wrote a response to the article where he questions why homophobia is even an option in an industry where so many gays and lesbians are employed or in positions of power.He also begins preaching his usual sermon that closeted gays should just come out since times have and are continuously changing.Read an excerpt from his response here:
“Openly Gay Author Responds to XXL‘s Article on Homophobia in Hip-Hop” – August 2011Look, the reality is that homosexuality is a taboo conversation in our communities. People are afraid to discuss the topic, and if they do some do it with so much venomous hatred that it leads to people being bullied, and in some instances, suicide. It’s time for us to have an intelligent discourse on homosexuality. It says a lot about our communities when we continually attack someone based on their sexuality. And, this is a great time for us to come together with Black and Brown leaders, churches (Definitely Bishop Eddie Long’s mega-church, New Birth), and the LGBT community to have a, Gay In America dialogue. It would be awesome if people did finally speak up and say something. That is how conversations begin. That is how a dialogue is created. This controversial topic has plagued our communities, and world, for a long time. And, despite the many hush-hush conversations, or speculations of a certain celebrity’s sexuality, not one Black celebrity has come forward. Not one has publicly announced they are gay. Why? You mean to tell me that in this day and age of us having a Black president, and a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ that not one Black celebrity will come forward and be who they are, and love who they desire, without fear of judgment or ridicule?Read the rest of the response HERE.
– Nick D
Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.
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