Eminem, the rapper who suddenly finds himself irrelevant in today’s music marketplace, came up with the oh-so-clever term “fake its” to describe Lance Bass, Adam Lambert, and Clay Aiken in his new song “Elevator.” But supposedly he won’t be calling anyone a “fake it” — or saying anything anti-gay — in Britain come July 2010, because he’s make a pact with organizers of the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park not to make fun of homos. In exchange, the gays won’t protest.
It’s been over five years since Eminem last performed in the U.K. His last tour, in 2001, was picketed by Peter Tatchell’s OutRage! group, because Em would use the F-word in his lyrics, like in “Kill You”: “You faggots keep eggin’ me on/til I have you at knifepoint, then you beg me to stop?/SHUT UP! Give me your hands and feet/I said SHUT UP when I’m talkin’ to you/YOU HEAR ME? ANSWER ME!” Ouch!
But wait a second. Didn’t Buju Banton agree, in 2007 and after three years of lobbying by gay groups, to stop using homophobic lyrics in his public concerts and promise not to write new homophobic songs? Yes, yes he did. (He also, reportedly, renegged on that agreement.) So why, then, are we letting Eminem off the hook and not Buju?
Both wrote very popular songs that called for violence and slaughter of gays. One just happens to be an American rapper, the other a Jamaican dancehall artist. If Eminem ever manages to return to his Grammy glory — where he snagged three awards in 2001 during the same show he performed with Elton John — and receives a nomination from the Academy at some point in the future, will gays protest it like they’re doing Buju? Or does Eminem somehow manage to escape our most aggressive ire, while Buju — whose most recent interaction with gay activists went like this — will forever remain persona non grata as we seek to upend his American career?
(And don’t give us any of this “but Buju is now an accused coke dealer” bullshit. The world celebrates drug dealers and users, both convicted and alleged.)
We’ve got no problem with critics attacking anti-gay artists. But shouldn’t there be a blanket policy on this? As in: If you record and perform music that celebrates terrorizing LGBTs, we will never support you, nor stand aside as you try to profit from this type of lyrical hatred. And while we’re pleased Em won’t be delivering anti-gay lyrics this summer, are we so blind not to realize he’s doing this only because, otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to financially profit from a performance?