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?