Yesterday New York City's two major dailies confirmed the rumor that had set the Internet on fire over the weekend—that Hot 97 DJ personality Calvin Lebrun, 44, better known to music fans as Mister Cee, had been arrested last Wednesday by the NYPD for public lewdness after engaging in a sex act in a parked car around 4 in the morning with what appeared to be a transgendered 20-year-old male. Furthermore, the dailies cited two other similar arrests involving Mister Cee.
On Twitter, where Mister Cee is repeatedly and correctly identified as the man who helped The Notorious B.I.G. get a record deal, homophobic insults were parked on timelines the entire 72-hour weekend. On Monday morning, rival station Power 105.1's Breakfast Club on-air personality Charlemagne Tha God called for "transparency," asking why Cee would "hide his sexuality" in 2011. Those comments raised the ire of Hot 97 legend Funkmaster Flex, who seemed to support Cee's claims of innocence. From what we can tell, Cee seems to be claiming that he was set up by the "hip hop police".
To his credit, Mister Cee showed up for work and played his mixshow, which never involves much talking by him, as scheduled and without on-air comment.
While highly regarded in the hip hop industry and in New York, Mister Cee is not necessarily famous. Still, his arrest gave opportunity to talk about the persistent poking around hip hop's "closet," where speculation about sexual orientation is practically a sport. Charlamagne actually elevated the conversation by asking why a married 44-year-old man was seeking sexual favors from a 20-year-old, professional or otherwise, and if that, then why in a parked car? I argue that none of this would be a discussion, viral or anywhere else, had Cee been arrested with a 20-year-old woman, be she prostitute or not. I also don't believe, 2011 or not, that hip hop is a safe space for anything other than aggressively heterosexual public behavior or affirmation. While obviously lesbian women MCs and personalities remain silent if not closeted about their sexuality, there is even less space for men to appear bisexual or homosexual.
I believe that Mister Cee's sexuality is a personal matter, one he must reckon with himself and his wife. But Charlamagne's co-host Angela Yee took the position widely held by heterosexual women—that closeted bisexual men are a health hazard, exposing trusting women to AIDS and more. While I'm not dismissive of those concerns, particularly in a marriage, where condom use is expected to be abandoned, I do know that we heterosexual Black women don't exactly offer safe spaces for bisexual men to express their desires.
I'm also far more concerned that the transgendered 20-year-old who allegedly serviced him be safe, particularly if he is a sex worker. I wished aloud on my own Twitter feed that the discussion about Mister Cee would be one about decriminalizing sex work and focusing on harm reduction rather than speculating if Mister Cee is closeted.