With each passing day homosexuality and hip hop continues to become a part of the broader conversation of tolerance and equality. With the buying power of LGBT community climbing to an all-time high we’ve seen what “the gays” can do for a career. Lady Gaga and Beyoncѐ remind us of it each day. However, in the hip hop community “the movement” has severely fallen behind the progressive free music world. Until now.
I’m sure by now you’ve already heard about Bay Area rapper Lil B and his controversial announcement that his upcoming album is set to be titled, I’m Gay. Personally I had never heard of him until this hot topic flooded my inbox. Did you?
The announcement is still a hot topic throughout hip hop. And, CNN.com chose to explore this topic a bit more by tapping best-selling author of “Hiding In Hip-Hop” Terrance Dean, Lil B, and yours truly for a semi-open discussion on sexuality in and around hip hop. Is the flamboyant rapper choosing to be advance equality or becoming the biggest freak show for cash? It’s the question we are all thinking. And the question CNN.com asked.
Here’s a little bit of it for you:
CNN: What's your response to people who say this is all a gimmick?
Lil B: I'm not here just doing stuff just trying to do it or outsmart somebody and try to do something witty. I call myself the human sacrifice, because I look at it like, no one else is going to do it and push that line for the people, and I'm going to do it, and they're going to look at me and say, "Well, you know what? If that guy can do it, I can be myself too, and if that rapper can be himself and be free and be happy and still hold masculinity and love people and love flowers and just be happy being alive, well then, I can do that too."
CNN: What were you thinking when you named the album I'm Gay?
Lil B: It was something that was going through my mind for a while. I feel like I'm man of the people: meeting people, respecting people and accepting people. I hope that I can turn some of my fans that might be homophobic or supporters that might be homophobic and say, ‘You know what, we're all one people. This is love.’ It's just respect, and I did that to bring people together and bring more love and to spark the minds of people and not let words and judgments and stereotypes stop you from loving.
CNN: I read that you've gotten some death threats.
Lil B: Mainly, a lot of them are on Twitter, saying that they're going to kill me for being gay, and they're going to kill me for being homosexual even though I'm not homosexual. I don't like men. They're saying they're going to bash my head in. They're calling me f-----. That's all right, because I did this with the pure intention in my heart to help people, and I didn't do this for promotional reasons. I did because there needs to be someone brave enough to do it, brave enough to speak up and have the right reasoning's of doing it.
Sounds noble, right? Don’t be too sure. Personally I am side-eyeing the situation. I draw personal issue with Lil B’s notion that he’s s “very gay, but loves women”. Can somebody throw a dictionary at him for me? Why can’t one be heterosexual and still continue to support gays? Why hasn’t there been a whisper of Lil B’s “acceptance” before an album push? So many questions and so very few answers.
And it appears fans also have their concerns. Checkout a few reactions I found on a few message boards concerning Lil B:
Hate to say it, but Lil B is single handedly ruining hip-hop. The fact pitchfork endorses him and his fanbase consist of annoying hipsters who spam this "based god" buisness, along with his joke songs that involve the word "swag" repeated 500 times with Soulja Boy styled verses doesn't make anything better. -maplejet
This is why we are dumb. We make this guy famous. If it's not loud, fast and stupid we don't like it. He's not gay prob just makin noise to make a buck. -nonameavail
This shit here is downright stupid. This guy seems to be claiming he's not a homophobe but everything he says sounds homophobic. I'm straight, but I wish there was an out gay rapper with skills. Maybe it would get rid of the absurd bigotry in the hip-hop community. What a ridiculous way to get a buzz. -KJW
Who’s to say what this really all about. But it’s clear that hip hop still has a very long way to go. And judging by the overwhelming skepticism so does Lil B.
(Photo: Lil B)
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