For some odd reason, pop culture is obsessed with exposing Black men as being on the “down low” or gay. Whether it is the tabloid gay rumors that swirl around athletes, hip-hop, or reality stars — their hypermasculinity is often used as an Achilles' heel by associating them with the LGBTQ community.
We have seen this tactic before — I’m naming it the “fragile masculinity ploy” — used by Vivica A. Fox, an alleged ally of the LGBTQ community, when she called her ex, 50 Cent, a “booty snatcher” because of how he posed with Soulja Boy on a magazine cover. Amber Rose, another alleged ally, gave a stab to Kanye West when she said he liked “fingers in the booty.” Porsha Williams and the majority of the women on Real Housewives of Atlanta have resorted to speculating on the sexuality of any man who doesn’t want them (former NFL player Kordell Stewart, Williams’ ex, was a constant target of this immaturity on the show).
Now this week, reality star Blac Chyna joined the ranks of celebrities who have used sexual orientation to shame an ex. In the early hours of the morning, Blac Chyna, the famed mother of rapper Tyga’s child, attempted to “expose” him on Snapchat through several insults. The highlight of her Snapchat story was the revelation that Tyga might be gay as she resorted to calling him homophobic slurs and boosting allegations that he’s having sex with another man.
While Black Twitter was caught up in the “shade” and “tea” of Chyna’s Snapchat read, I wasn’t here for it:
Blac Chyna could do less with the homophobic slurs to say Tyga isn't shit. Don't throw LGBTQ under the bus just to the prove the point.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) March 29, 2017
Quite frankly, I'm getting hella tired of folks "exposing" one's potential LGBTQ identity as if it's leverage. re: Blac Chyna— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) March 29, 2017
I’m going to keep it frank, Blac Chyna — you don’t have to be homophobic in order to shade your ex boyfriend.
For openly gay Black men such as myself, the exposing “DL” men strategy only works to further stigmatize "out" individuals. The only reason why one would find it problematic that another person is secretly gay is if they find that person’s sexual orientation troublesome. It’s subliminal homophobia that does more harm to those living in their truth than those trying to mask it.
Amber, Blac, Viv and even the Atlanta housewives talk about female empowerment and the struggles of sexism while promoting their personal brands — but you can't be an activist for women while causally spitting out homophobia. Blac Chyna and Amber Rose consider themselves allies who are about sexual liberation and anti-slut shaming — and yet both of them have shamed their exes' sexuality or sexual desires. The women of RHOA often gloat about how much love for they have for “the gays” (side-eye NeNe Leakes) yet blame gay men for why they can’t land a man. Whether it’s accusing Phaedra Parks’ ex-husband, Apollo, for being gay while serving a prison sentence (even suggesting Phaedra gets tested for AIDS) or Kenya Moore finding men who don’t want her to possibly be gay — the hypocrisy is blatant as ever. Watch any episode of RHOA and the message is always the same for single cast mates: “if he doesn't want you, girl... he must be gay.” Ladies, just because a man doesn't want you doesn't mean he's gay. Get over yourselves.
If anyone enjoys accusing someone of being gay in 2017 in order to hurt their career or reputation, then they’re complicit in homophobia, which doesn’t just affect celebrities but the everyday person who might be struggling with his or her identity.
As people on Twitter mock Tyga’s masculinity through these allegations, just know that he’s not the only one being disrespected. Folks like me now have to scroll through a timeline filled with outdated stereotypes about LGBTQ people just because of one baby mama scorned.
It’s 2017, step up your shade game without having to disrespect other communities who already face enough ridicule.
Learn more about Blac Chyna's Snapchat rant with BET Breaks, above.
The views expressed here are solely of the author and not BET.com.
(Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)