In case you missed it, some shit went down between singer Cee Lo Green and anti-homophobia watchdogs recently. Chronologically, if anyone has sensed a recent increase in public attention or reporting on the issue and begun keeping a timeline of “Black Male Celebrities Making Jerky Remarks About the Gay Community,” this exchange occurred after Tracy Morgan’s infamous stand-up performance in Nashville and before Chris Brown’s latest misuse of the word “gay.”
To summarize, after Rihanna and Cee Lo performed at Minneapolis’ Target Center, music editor Andrea Swensson of the local alternative newspaper City Pages wrote a review that expressed how she was pleasantly surprised and impressed by Rihanna’s act but underwhelmed by Cee Lo’s.
Swensson wrote that his set “failed to measure up to the fun factor of his recorded material” and mentioned “a hilarious, profanity-laden rant in which he tried to badger the audience into dancing to his songs.”
She also mentioned that Cee Lo told the crowd “Rihanna’s gonna fuck you. I’m just here to get you wet,” and noted that she thought his remarks were gross.
Cee Lo apparently saw the review and was not impressed by Ms. Swensson’s work either. “I respect your criticism, but be fair! People enjoyed last night! I’m guessing ur gay? And my masculinity offended u? Well f–k U!”
Though Ms. Swensson’s response was essentially a not-very-outraged “excuse me?” the masses took up the cause and called Cee Lo out as a homophobe.
Personally, I think Cee Lo is extremely creative and I love his work. He’s one of the strongest, boldest judges on “The Voice.” Plus I think he has a brilliant mind, clever sense of humor, and a serious sense of style. That being said, I think there was nothing humorous, stylish, clever or brilliant about his tweets to the City Pages music editor.
Cee Lo responded to the waves of outrage with this semi-coherent tweet:
“Apologies gay community! What was homophobic about that? I said I was guessing he way [sp] gay which is fine but its nice to what u think of me”
Apparently this was his attempt to clarify that he didn’t think the offending writer was a man-hating lesbian, but a man…which really isn’t much more acceptable.
Perhaps he read her byline as Andrew Swensson instead of Andrea Swensson. Maybe it’s time to stop wearing dark sunglasses indoors all the time if you’re having trouble reading, Mr. Green.
Regardless of Swensson’s gender, Cee Lo’s initial tweet in response to the editor’s review still teems with ignorance. I mean, since when does masculinity offend gay men? Is that why masculine guys are so often the most sought after golden boys of online cruising sites?
Cee Lo eventually deleted the original offending tweet, the apology tweets, and then sent and deleted a tweet in which he threatened to quit Twitter. Where I’m from, we call that a mini Twitter meltdown.
He later admitted to Us Weekly that he was being “a little outspoken,” and “a little outrageous,” and that it was “all in good fun.” He also insisted that he certainly isn’t “harboring any sort of negative feeling toward the gay community,” is “one of the most liberal artists,” has openly gay team members on his team on “The Voice,” and that he has recently performed songs to emphasize how important he thinks it is that “we can get along even though we’re so different.”
Is Cee Lo’s “outspokenness” reason to protest watching the next season of “The Voice”? Probably not. And if you weren’t offended enough to stop watching the show when “Voice” judge Blake Shelton tweeted violent homophobic sentiments last month, then you’re likely not about to stop watching now. I mean, after all, the show is pretty damn good.
Was it unfair of Ms. Swensson to be a bit taken aback that a stranger on stage, someone who she might not have necessarily found sexy, had promised to get the whole audience “wet?” An unplanned communal wetness in a stadium like that? I don’t know…it sounds kind of…messy?
There are a lot of talented music artists, and particularly black music artists that I’d welcome to threaten me with an encroaching sensation of “wetness.”
To give you some context, I’m a 28-year-old white boy from Connecticut; a Northern European mutt who usually gets mistaken for Mexican because of my dark features, tan skin, and the fact that I live in Southern California. I don’t mind being misidentified even in the slightest, plus I think it sounds way cooler and sexier than being from the “Constitution State.” But that could just be me.
Last year, when my boyfriend at the time – a sweet white guy from South Carolina – asked me to make my list of the five celebrities I was allowed to sleep with if I had the chance, I answered: Pharrell, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Tyrese.
Listen, I have a natural attraction to musicians, and an equally innate attraction to black guys. I can’t explain either: I’ve just always felt that way. Put an equally attractive and skilled musician next to a woodworker, I’ll choose the musician. Put an equally attractive black guy next to a white guy, I’ll choose the black guy. (Of course, there are a ton of Latino guys, and men of other colors and regions I’d like to sleep with as well, but I’ll save that for another post. For the record, I mostly just try not to “do the dirty” with white blondes, which is mostly based on my efforts to undo decades of blonde-deification.)
Yet “wetness” isn’t an immediate sensation I expect when listening to Cee Lo’s music or watching him perform. Glee? Yes. Nostalgia? Sure. Playfulness? Often. Longing? Sometimes. Maybe even a slight seductive sultriness? I’d even go so far as to say mild elation. But not wet.
Though the reason Cee Lo determined the editor is gay—assuming the reviewer was offended by his masculinity and not just underwhelmed or put-off by his performance—was a bit of a weak one, I can sympathize with someone’s misfiring gaydar.
After all, I actually was never totally sure if Cee Lo himself might be gay. It wasn’t a definite thing, just more like a passing curiosity, and just for fun here are my eight main reasons why.