Rap Making 180-Turn From Homophobia to Pro-Gay Rights
The rap world may be notorious for its negative views on the LGBT community (and its political incorrectness in general) but some rappers may be changing the face of the homophobic rap scene as a number of artists have vocalized their support for President Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage.
Iconic rapper Jay-Z (or Mr. Beyonce Knowles) told CNN that he applauds the president’s decision on endorsing gay marriage.
"What people do in their own homes is their business. You choose to love whoever you love," the musician said. "It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple."
When the news network asked Jay-Z if he believes that Obama’s new views would cost him votes among the African-American community, the singer said, "It’s not really about votes. It’s about people. Whether it costs him votes or not, it’s the right thing to do, as a human being."
A week after Jay-Z’s announcement, 50 Cent said he supported the president’s decision as well.
"I think everyone should be happy. I think only a fool is really going to go against same sex marriage at this point," 50 told Vibe Magazine. "Look how long it took [Obama] to say he was for same-sex marriages. You understand? I’m up for it. If everyone is for it, then hey, to each his own," the rapper continued.
"I don’t have strong personal feelings towards it because I’m not involved in that lifestyle, but I want people to be happy. It just makes everything better."
But the love didn’t stop there. Rapper T.I. of "Bring Em Out" fame aslo announced his approval of Obama’s landmark support on MTV’s "RapFix Live."
"Just to speak honestly and being frank, I don’t care," he said. "I think that if a matter doesn’t affect your daily life, you shouldn’t take a hard stand on it. If it’s not something that directly affects you, if it doesn’t affect you, what difference does it make to you what other people are doing with their lives?"
"I think that you should be able to do whatever you want to do," T.I. remarked. "I don’t see how it matters one way or another."
But as MTV points out, T.I. is unable to vote as he is currently on probation for his 2007 weapons arrest. He says, however, once his probation is up in September he will vote for Obama. "I don’t think that’s a hard question," he said.
Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar can be included in the list of rappers who support marriage equality as well. Although he was straight forward about his stance, Lamar says he backs the president’s new views on gay marriage.
"You know it’s crazy man. I don’t give a fuck about people doing what they gotta do," he said during an interview with DJ Drama on Shade45. "That’s your lifestyle; you dig what I’m saying? And people gonna be they own individuals and have they own worlds and I can’t knock it. I believe in Jesus," he continued. "Just cause if you didn’t believe in Jesus I can’t knock you for not [believing], you got your own beliefs and your own morals. I can’t help the way you was born if you was gay. And I can’t change that so do what you gotta do to be happy."
Just this week the Jamaican dancehall performer Beenie Man shared his views on the controversial social issue, MTV reported.
"Let me make this clear and straight: I have nothing against no one, I respect each and every human being, regardless of which race and creed," he said. "Regardless of which religious beliefs you believe in, and regardless of which sexual preference you have, including gay and lesbian people. I respect all humans."
Dancehall, a genre of Jamaican pop music that originated in the ’70s, has been criticized by international organizations and individuals for its violent and homophobic lyrics. Wikipedia notes that some dancehall artists have had their concerts cancelled due to their songs containing anti-gay lyrics. Beenie Man, who has homophobic content in his songs, also addressed this with the music station.
"We are human people this is what we do," he said. "Do not fight against me for some song that I sing 20 years ago...Now I know that people live in the world that live their life differently from my life. I still have to respect another human," he continued. "So please I’m begging you do not [have] me up for what some songs that I wrote...Just love the music and respect the music. And I love and respect each and every one."
Rappers and fans of the genre are no strangers when anti-gay lyrics pop up in hit tracks. But perhaps as Americans change their views on same-sex marriage and the LGBT community in general, the rap world will experience a shift as well. Polls have shown that young Americans are more accepting of gays and with a rise of new artists, perhaps homophobia in the rap world will soon fade.
When 23-year-old rapper A$AP Rocky was interviewed by indie music critic website Pitchfork he admitted that he used to be homophobic but now sees things differently.
"I’m going to be honest with you-- I used to be homophobic, but that’s fucked up. I had to look in the mirror and say, ’All the designers I’m wearing are gay.’ I hear stories about all these industry motherfuckers who are gay, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that shit don’t matter. It’s so immature."
"The days of sexual preference are over-- if you’re gay, that’s your business. That doesn’t stop you from being my brother. If you’re yellow, you’re still my brother. Let’s smoke some weed."
The young rapper also talked about homosexuality in AOL’s music website, Spinner.
"I don’t give a f--- about your business," he said. "Man, if you’re gay we can be friends. If you’re straight, we can be friends. I’m not gay, I don’t plan on being gay, I don’t condone it and I’m not sayin’ I’m against it. I really don’t give a f--- and I don’t think anyone should care about what another man’s preference is... unless he’s interested, if you know what I’m sayin’."