Kanye West – MY Official Statement

Hey readers, so I blogged a little about Kanye West’s denouncing homophobia twice already. I wrote a piece for Black AIDS Institute – which got re-printed by Pop And Politics that goes a little more in depth about why I think this announcement is important.Read Story Here

Donald interviewed me for his podcast on my thoughts on Kanye, and the state of hip-hop in general.

Note: One of the things that I don’t quite understand is the level of shade coming from Black gay men about Kanye’s story. First, some folks have mentioned being suspicious of his announcement, like, why now?

My answer is, “Do you really fucking care why now as opposed to two months ago, last album or ten years from now? Especially you children in NYC, who have been crying about why our lives don’t matter to the larger Black community. Well, someone risks his street cred and career to, in essence, say, “You matter enough to me to risk this.”

What the fuck more do you want?

The other most common statement is, “Oh, he’s gay and that’s why he’s doing this! Why would a straight man make this announcement?”

I, as much as anyone (except maybe a certain someone) would love for Kanye to be as gay as Liberace at Christmas. But I think to assume (even amidst all the rumors) that he must be gay simply because he chose to make this statement (which every manager, agent and publicist and record label exec must have dreaded), speaks of the highest levels of cynicism (and illustrates the sad point that homophobia is so deep that we cannot even imagine that a straight Black twentysomething rap star would want to speak out against homophobia in his community). I have a nephew who gets picked on in school and is called “faggot” or “gay” often. My nephew is 10. Whether or not he is queer or not is beside the point. The issue is that my nephew is very earnest, sweet, openminded and open hearted. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Homophobia affects his life in a very direct way. I think I am actually going to show him this interview when I go visit him next weekend, so we can talk about it. Kanye’s honesty about how homophobia affected his life and self-esteem (and the fact that he could transcend it) can be used to teach young Black boys who target and are targeting others about the pain caused by that kind of violence, and that one can move forward in a way that breaks the cycle of homophobia.

Lastly, the thing that pissed me off the most, was reading a comment on a listserv by someone saying that they wished he would have been more articulate.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Because Kanye did not speak in “standard english” (whatever the fuck that is), and used colloquialisms to express himself DOES NOT MEAN HE IS NOT ARTICULATE! Let’s look at the content of what Kanye said as objectively as we can (and y’all know I believe objectivity is bullshit!). He told a personal story about how he was personally impacted by homophobia. Then he talked about internalizing that homophobia, and becoming homophobic himself (as a means of survival, really). Then, upon learning that a cousin (that he was obviously close to) was gay, he began to interrrogate the roots of his own homophobia. BUT HE DOESN’T STOP AT WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN JUST A SAPPY PERSONAL STORY. Kanye then turns to the camera, and challenges hip-hop artists (many of whom are colleagues, friends, or people who would kill for Kanye to produce some records for them) to stop it.

What about that isn’t articulate? To me, that statement represents some class shit about being embarrassed by Black people who aren’t socialized to act, sound, or look like white people. I am not going to get into this discussion just now, I am writing a piece about Being Bobby Brown that will go into more depth on that particular issue.

So, do y’all want some allies or not?

8 thoughts on “Kanye West – MY Official Statement

  1. WE can complain about homophobia and injustice all we want, but until straight folks decide to make changes in their thinking nothing will happen.

    Kanye being a prominent, straight Black man speaking out on this issue (along with Rev. Al Sharpton’s recent remarks) is significant because it allows other like-minded straight people “of good conscience” to speak freely.

  2. I have observed that in the hetero-male psyche the proponderence of “oneupism” or competition, the need to denigrate someone else in order to establish ones manhood, maybe your nephew is dealing more with be a nonconformist black male, vice homosexuality, granted some see us as enemies of the heterodoxical heteronormative state by nature, but like Kanye, I think your nephew forces the others to reevaluate, and dismiss ultimately sexist/heterosexist/masculinist/macho conditioning that all black boys go through. Or maybe its not that deep.

  3. Oooh no, I am not giving in to the Kanye Love Fest no matter how deep and warm the invite is. SO WHAT he’s finally found the balls to say what should’ve been said years ago. SO WHAT he’s no longer gay bashing and says it’s wrong; ACTIONS speak louder than words. When him along with others erase the words from their many troves of records that for years bashed and maligned gay people, maybe, maybe I’ll forgive.
    Not that I’m hating but all this all of a sudden coverage of Mr. West and that Time magazine cover has a certain distinct smell to it and it aint pretty. We never needed straight approval in the past why do we need it now? And a rapper as a role model? PLEASE!

  4. I’ve been cautiously impressed at how Kanye West has managed to achieve mainstream success and address subjects like homophobia, materialism and the diamond trade in his music. As a woman I wish that some prominent rapper would take a similarly strong stand against misogyny because lets face it – at the root of homophobia is a belief in the inferiority of women or at least of feminine qualities. What it comes down to is that its easy to rap about money, clothes, hoes and “fags”. It doesn’t take much thought and you know that people will buy it. Rappers need to up their game, improve their vocab and start talking about different shit.

  5. i agree w. you – i think what kanye said was one of the most progressive things said in hip-hop in a long time. hip-hop rarely takes risks anymore …

  6. Although I am quite suspicious of the ringing endorsement from the esteemed Time magazine, I think that Kanye West has a lot of guts and integrity. For any mainstream celebrity, much less a rapper, to condemn homophobia in the corporate media is courageous.

    For those of you who feel that this is too little too late, please think about this. Gender oppression is hard as hell to challenge, even for those of us who are the most oppressed by it. Even a queer feminist sista like me struggles with raging homophobia and transphobia (not to mention misogyny). This is AmeriKKKa, after all.

    I for one would like to see who is gonna step up to the plate next.

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