Hip-hop pioneer Da Brat opened up her decision to come out, telling Variety “it feels like a weight has been lifted” off her shoulders in a new interview for the magazine’s Pride issue.
After years of speculation about her sexual orientation, the Chicago icon revealed that she was dating Kaleidoscope Hair Product CEO and founder of Jesseca Dupart, in an emotional Instagram post celebrating her 46th birthday in March.
“I’ve always felt like being private is the better way to go, because then you don’t have so many people in your business,” Brat told the publication. “I was fine staying quiet, but my partner is a social media mogul — that’s how she became who she is. And when you get with somebody, you have to meet in the middle. So to me, the middle was just letting everybody know: ‘Hey, she’s the one,’” Brat said.
Although she was comfortable in her truth, Da Brat hadn’t planned on making a public announcement about her relationship. Even her longtime manager wasn’t given a heads-up about the post.
“Jesseca was showing me some pictures and we were going back and forth, joking ‘I’ll post it,’ ‘No, I’ll post it.’ So when she did, I was like, ‘Oh s**t! I just came out after 20-something years!’” Da Brat shared. “But it feels good to share with the world when you’re happy.”
Despite her initial trepidation, Da Brat shared she has been met with an overwhelming outpouring of phone calls, emails, and messages of love and support, which she’s grateful for. The rapper shared that the reason she never disclosed her sexual orientation in the ‘90s was fear of backlash and her religious upbringing.
“I was always told you want to be f***able to sell records — you don’t want anybody to discriminate,” she recalled. “It was absolutely my decision. I mean, you saw what happened to people like Ellen: Remember when she lost her TV show, and all these horrible things were happening? People were totally against it.”
When asked about LGBT representation among the younger generation of music star’s coming up, Da Brat acknowledged that the music industry has made great strides in terms of being more accepting of its LBTQ+ members. But, she feels that the industry still isn’t very receptive to female rappers that don’t fit into a certain box.
“You can’t go in there looking [tough] like I did [back in the day] and be like: ‘I’m a rapper.’ They’re going to say, ‘Let’s get you out of those tomboy clothes and dress you up in a teddy.’ But that changes who you are — and then your rhymes start changing because you look different,” she noted. “Then you’re not so relatable because you’re not being yourself anymore. Now you’re somebody else. Who are you?”
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)