Homosexuals & HipHop: In Conflict?
The views expressed with in this editorial don't necessarily reflect the views of AllHipHop.com or its staff.It seems that AllHipHop, via its Trick Trick interview has
caused a bit of a stir. It probably
couldnt have been timelier in light of the current war over proposition 8 and
the fight for marital rights of homosexuals. A perfect time, in fact, to
address this issue, particularly as it pertains to this music and culture.
In the Black community, we have a fractured sense of
masculinity. Our history in this country has been one of familial forced
disintegration, political, economic, and social emasculation. As we progressed our model of manhood and
masculinity somehow got linked to our sexuality, which in itself comes with an
inordinate amount of projection and its own set of issues.
If youre a slave and you cant protect your family,
and you cant marry who you wish, and you cant be a provider, and you dont
determine when you eat, sleep, operate, etc., then all traditional definitions
of manhood become obsolete.
As a consequence our manhood came to be defined as the
one thing that was seemingly irrepressible in the minds of the masters: our
sexuality. In a nutshell, two factors of male identity, both gender roles and
sexual identity, are incorrectly rendered synonymous. Our sexuality defines us
as men. So how, with that paradigm of sexual prowess equating to manhood, do
you reconcile homosexuality? How much of
a man are you if you dont do the one thing designated to men?
So we come to Hip-Hop.
You get a culture that is unmistakably Black in origin, and a music that
is highly competitive and combative in nature and at the center of it all is
the expression and projection of masculinity and machismo. How do you degrade
your competition? You take away the one
thing that we have been able to maintain throughout our time here in
America-our (flawed) sense of manhood.
As time has gone on, especially taking into account the perception of
Black men varying from the imagery of Flavor Flav to the pageantry of Barak
Obama, our idea of Black manhood and the images that define it are constantly
in flux. The truth lies somewhere in
As we go further unto the 21st century, as
we begin to become a more heterogeneous society with racial and gender
paradigms shifting, I think its important to properly frame the Hip-Hop versus
Homosexuality debate in its proper context. They are not diametrically opposed.
There is an increasing number of homosexual and lesbian emcees that embrace the
Hip-Hop aesthetic. On a cultural level,
we must begin to look at our model of masculinity. This miscasting of manhood is the source of
Hip-Hops discontent. We should work to realize that deeds not the d**k make
the man. As a side effect we may even be able to curtail the projection of
hypermasculine supern***rs that glorify prison culture and promote criminality
as a Black male rite of passage.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Sometimes that
opinion is uninformed. Most hateful opinions are born of ignorance and mistrust
and general lack of experience. Many rappers express sentiment similar to Trick
Trick. Many others hide what they are for that reason. It runs counter to our
general understanding of what a man is, mistaken or not. There are gay rappers,
rapping about regular things.
I dont particularly think that an emcee could come out
rapping about sucking d**k and be taken seriously. However just as Eminem and Big Pun proved
that you could have competent high caliber non Black emcees, sooner or later
you will have an openly gay rapper whose talent will supersede his sexual
orientation. The key is to treat that
difference not as a novelty, but as a source for inspiration and strength.Take care and be well-Bill