Homosexuality in rap, hip-hop and Rn’B has always been a bit of a taboo subject. all genres have always been male dominated, and based on toughness and machismo. Think about it, could you really imagine Ice Cube in his NWA days, coming out as being gay? Of course not! Cube was too busy rapping about shooting people and ‘fucking the police’. It really wouldn’t have fitted in with his hard man image if he had admitted to liking men.
Now I am not saying Ice Cube is gay. Apparently he has four kids and is happily married. But in this kind of world, it would usually have been career suicide to admit you were gay. And when you think about it, there must have been gay rappers and singers over the last 30 years?
Things seem to be changing however. Hip-hop artist Frank Ocean recently revealed that his first true love was a man. Macklemore also released a song ‘Same Love’, which carries a strong message supporting gay marriage.
This is certainly a long way from Eminem calling people ‘faggots’ and other vulgar language regarding homosexuals. Now once again, I doubt Eminem is homophobic, but it does show the level you can drop to to get a cheap laugh from the fans.
The question is, have these genres changed so much that this is now acceptable?
Rapper Rugged Man has accused both of using the popular social issue to further their careers. There is a real level of cynicism regarding the timing of Frank Ocean’s coming out. Rugged Man stated.
“Franky Ocean, Okay, you came out of the closet, but it’s a week before your album dropped.”
Now yes, this timing does seem to be a bit strange, and smacks of a publicity stunt. Frank Ocean now has loads of exposure, and his (awful) music will get more listeners.
But to me, there is a much bigger story here. Frank Ocean and Macklemore, even if they are jumping an a ‘pro-gay agenda’, they have done the maths and realised that being gay is not the career death sentence it might once have been. It is a sign that people are more open to people with different lifestyles.
Now that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. You go on the Youtube comments on Frank Ocean’s videos and it is full of homophobic bile which I am not even going to bother repeating here. It is safe to say that not everyone is enamored with Franks bedroom habits. Yet there are also people calling the malicious commenters homophobes and morons. Actually, the comments section is a bit of a war, and probably best left avoided.
More and more people are just seeing people as people. They are realising that gay men and women are not on a mission to convert every straight person, by force if necessary. If you walk into a gay club you can just get a drink, it isn’t going to be like a scene from the Police Academy ‘Blue Oyster Bar’.
If one of the areas of society where homosexuality has been regarded as ‘not cool’ is making inroads into prejudice, that can only be a good thing.