Why can’t musicians stop saying that “faggots” equal “stupid shit,” and making backhanded insults about the gays? Don’t they know that without contributions by homosexuals, the world’s entire musical output would be limited to a few Burl Ives albums?
The latest battles are over Tyler the Creator and Nicki Minaj. Last week, Tegan and Sarah issued a “Call for Change,” fed up with industry praise for up-and-coming prodigy Tyler. Here’s what they had to say:
As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? …
No genre is without its controversial and offensive characters- I’m not naive. I’ve asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge. Maybe it’s the access to him (his grotesque twitter, etc). Maybe it’s because I’m a human being, both a girl and a lesbian. Maybe it’s because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault. Maybe it’s because in this case I don’t think race or class actually has anything to do with his hateful message but has EVERYTHING to do with why everyone refuses to admonish him for that message.
Here’s a sampling of Tyler’s work:
Are lyrics like these equivalent to gay bashing? We think so. They dehumanize LGBTs, and when Tyler says “I just say ‘faggot’ and use ‘gay’ as an adjective to describe stupid shit,” he’s not just talking about “stupid shit,” he’s talking about us. GLAAD, please get on this.
A bit less incendiary is Nicki Minaj’s new “So Special,” which contains the line “you’re softer than a homosexual.” Hm … insulting? She seems to be taunting the listener in the song, but it’s hard to tell if she means “softer” in a bad way or a good way.
At any rate, she’s stereotyping us — but it’s one of those stereotypes that’s also a little bit true. Lots of gays are soft, after all. There’s no shame in being femme. If Jake Shears wrote the same lyric, we would probably be giggling with recognition. But there’s a difference when it’s a straight person looking in at our community, versus a gay person talking to their own people.
And let’s not forget that Nicki also excused Eminem’s homophobic rapping by saying that he’s just a character, and doesn’t really mean it.
Well, sure, that may be true. But whether he means it or not, it doesn’t make it any less dangerous to bombard people with lyrics that make it OK to bash queers.