Hip-hop has often been stereotyped as music with racy, misogynistic and sometimes homophobic lyrics. So what happens when a hip-hop artist comes out of the closet? Last year, Frank Ocean announced he has had at least one romantic relationship with a man via Tumblr (though he refuses to be labeled bisexual), stunning the hip-hop community and the world. Social media blew up among hip-hop fans as the word spread. However, in many ways Ocean has set the stage for positive change, reflected in these hip-hop artist's statements about gay rights and acceptance.
West revealed to MTV News, "Everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people...And I wanna just come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, yo, stop it fam."
Photo: Adam Glanzman via Flickr
Jay Z told CNN, "Denouncing gay rights is no different than discriminating against blacks...What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business."
The reigning queen of hip-hop expressed compassion for gays, saying to MTV News: "I would encourage my gay fans to be fighters and to be brave...People face difficulties, no matter who you are...So I'm supporting you guys. I love you very, very much and for the people who don't love you, they need help...I think that when you're mean and when you ridicule people it's a sign of your own insecurities...just believe that things will get better and they will — they always do."
Regarding gay people, the rapper told MTV News, "I don't care...if it's not something that directly affects you…what difference does it make to you what other people are doing with their lives?"
The rapper revealed in an interview with fashion designer Alexander Wang, "One big issue in hip-hop is the gay thing. It's 2013, and it's a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It's crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid — and that's not the case. We've got people like Jay-Z. We've got people like Kanye. We've got people like me. We're all prime examples of people who don't think like that."
The Compton gangsta rapper has stated, "I don’t have a problem with gay people...Beyoncé shoulda said, ‘Who should run the world? Gays.' Because they’re everywhere and rightly so.”
In 2012, the MC told DJDrama, "I don't give a f*** about people doing what they do. That's your lifestyle...Do what you got to do to be happy." While we're not keen on the "lifestyle" terminology since that implies that being gay is a choice, the idea that we all deserve to be happy without other people's permission is what I think Lamar was going for. And that sentiment is beautifully manifested by a recent Irish marriage equality video posted on break.com. In the video, a man goes door to door asking 4 million community members for their approval that he ask for his partner Sinead's hand in marriage. It clearly demonstrates how silly of a notion it is for gay and lesbians to need approval to live their lives as they please.
Photo: Sffoghorn via Flickr
In 2012, Macklemore told Kurt Andersen of the NPR show "Studio 360" that he feels hip-hop should evolve and be more progressive: “I watched so many records receiving critical acclaim that were very derogatory to homosexuals. That and misogyny are still kind of the two very acceptable means of oppression in terms of hip-hop culture...There needs to be some accountability. As a society, we are evolving and I think that hip-hop has always been a reflection of what’s going on in the world.”
The rapper recorded a track released in 2012 called, "No Such Thing As White Jesus" with none other than Frank Ocean. "I would love to reconnect with Frank Ocean," says Nas.
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