With Gen Y In Charge, A Gay Rapper Can Make It Big

While same-sex unions are old news, the recent overturning of the ban in California was still a big deal. Legalizing gay marriage in a state as large and high-profile as California was sure to spark new conversation.

Turns out I was wrong. I was surprised at how little attention was given to the overturning of the ban. The news that Ellen was marrying Portia De Rossi caused a bigger stir.

Great news for equality; when North America shrugs at something like this, it’s a sign that our culture has become more inclusive and allows more people to be treated like everyone else.

Desensitized
Legally speaking, homosexuals and heterosexuals are largely on equal ground. There’s still a lot of progress to be made in society, especially the media.

There was a mild shockwave when John Amaechi, a former NBA player, outed himself. When he did the media rounds, it was clear that the public had a lot of trouble reconciling the fact that a macho pro athlete was also a homosexual.

But that’s just because it was the first time anyone had ever spoken out about it on that scale. Similarly, when same-sex unions were legalized in Massachusetts, it was the first time in the USA that it was a national headline. This second round in California didn’t have nearly the same hoopla.

Inevitably, another pro athlete in a major sport will come out and it will not have the same impact.

The Final Frontier
Hip-hop is one of the most homophobic industries in society. Combine this with the fact that nearly every song by a male hip-hop artist makes reference to his sexual proficiency with women and you’ve got a culture where homosexuals are not allowed to succeed.

You call another rapper weak by saying he is gay. In a world where aggression and bravado win, systemic discrimination runs deep.

It’s highly possible that some high-profile rappers are gay, and are leading a different life in front of the camera for the sake of their careers. In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about a large homosexual subculture in hip-hop.

If a successful hip-hop artist were to come out, it would likely be in the style of John Amaechi, speaking out ex vivo once his career was already finished. The first homosexual rapper to make the big time from the start will need to be a Jackie Robinson. Someone who is so innately gifted that any negativity is deflected simply by skill and ability.

It’s simply a matter of time. Rock music was once an industry where only macho, skirt-chasing men succeeded. Then people like Freddie Mercury and Elton John came along and forced people to rethink the roles and identities of rockstars. The industry is a much richer place for it.

Does Gen Y — a generation where equality is championed — have what it takes to stamp out homophobia?

More interesting links on this topic:
Article on QBoy, English gay rapper
50 Cent on gay rappers
Gay Rappers: Too Real For Hip Hop?
Tori Fixx, gay rapper

Thanks to superflow for the pic.

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  • http://gregrollett.blogspot.com Greg Rollett

    I agree that hip-hop will not likely embrace a gay artist. I feel for a truly gay hip-hop star to emerge they will have to prove themselves first and then com out of the closet. I do not believe that using “gay” as a marketing angle would resonate within Gen-Y or the hi-hop scene.

    Talent still trumps everything. If he can spit, perform and hold his own, it’s worth a listen. The problem is that hip-hop is so diluted with crap that he will really need to be breathtaking in his skills and delivery.

  • http://www.themarketingstudent.com/ David Fallarme

    It also makes me think whether some things are just “closed” cultures where certain things are disqualifiers (or prerequisites, depending on how you look at it).

    Who knows though. It’s true, Greg, if a gay rapper was starting to make waves I would hope that he has more to stand on than having a unique sexuality in the industry. Although these days as long as you get Timbaland to make the beat you’re going to cash in on a #1 hit, so anything is possible.

  • http://www.theflattestcat.com David Ronnie

    I think it’s pretty unlikely, but I think there’s a very small possibility. Earsnot (http://gridskipper.com/65339/new-york-graffiti-field-identification-guide) made it pretty large in the graffiti scene and was openly gay since his late teen years I believe, which proves that homosexuality can survive and be acceptable within the street culture. I think the unfortunate part is that on a global star level, hip hop would never accept anything even close to the traditional gay stereotype and would mostly likely be as Greg pointed out, an after note once they’d proven themselves. As EarSnot elegantly states in the Infamy video (http://youtube.com/watch?v=F9v2UgHUHY4), “I’m gay and I’ll fuck you up”. Without that primal edge and strength, I just don’t think it would be accepted.

  • http://www.worklovelife.com Holly Hoffman

    Rap is too aggressive for gays? What’s more aggressive than pummeling another dude in the ass as means of sexual arousal (or vice versa)? I mean this tongue-in-cheek, of course.

    Here’s the thing with my generation (I hope): Your sexuality doesn’t matter unless you make it matter. If you hold yourself up as some pioneer in homosexual hiphop, then it probably won’t resonate. But if you do some kickass mixes and your songs are worthwhile, we don’t care who you f*ck (or love for that matter).

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