Hip-hop’s garnered an anti-homo reputation, but a closer look at its adherents shows that we gays are hip to the musical genre’s hop. What’s more, the relationship isn’t as clear cut as some would imagine.
The Baltimore Sun‘s John John Williams IV writes:
The strange love relationship between gays and hip-hop can be attributed to a myriad of factors.
Some think that certain groups of gay people fuel the support; club owners say lesbians and African-Americans make up a majority of their clientele. Many gays say the music itself, which is super dance-friendly, is responsible. Or could it be that hip-hop, the urban-based genre that has won a wide following among the world’s youth, is simply embraced the same way in the gay community?Whatever the reason, the irony of gay attraction to hip-hop is undeniable.
Hip-hop music has never been gay-friendly.
“Da Dis List”, an extensive web-based archive of homophobic hip-hop lyrics compiled by a listserv known as Phat Family, lists popular artists such as Common, 50 Cent, and Emeniem as repeat offenders.
Mark Anthony Neal, pofessor of African and African American studies at Duke University. blames the racial tendencies of mainstream America for the homophobic label associated with hip-hop. “The homophobia that we see in hip-hop is the homophobia that we see in society,” Neal said. “Hip-hop is an easy scapegoat because people have never taken it seriously as an art form.”
Still, Neal is quick to point out the hypocrisy in hip-hop. The true irony is that some rappers rely on homosexuals to advance their careers, he said. “You don’t sell 10 million copies of anything if you are not reaching a wide demographic.”
While certainly some hip-hop artists infuse their lyrics with their own homophobic tendencies, dismissing the entire genre as anti-gay would do an injustice not only to the singers, but the culture as a whole. If anything, it’s America’s whole culture that needs a reexamination.