first person

An Open Letter To LaPorsha Renae: Your Coins Are In Danger, Gurl


La’Porsha, La’Porsha, La’Porsha. You in danger, girl. Your comments about LGBT people just screwed up a major source of income for singers like you, and we assure you — you’ll regret them.

You got what we call “caught up” without a publicist, and some reporter asked you a question that dug you into a homophobic hole that no amount of backtracking or periscope apologies can get you out of.  Your remarks regarding your home state’s anti-LGBT law came off as condescending at best and homophobic at worst:

“This is how I feel about the LGBT community: They are people just like us. They’re not animals as someone stated before. They’re people with feelings. Although all of us may not agree with that particular lifestyle for religious reasons, whatever the reason is, you still treat each other with respect. Everybody is a human being. We should be able to coexist with one another.”

We’re not animals! You don’t agree with our “particular lifestyle!” Um…thanks? LaPorsha, my sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle,” nor is it is something that is presented and lived for your judgment.

As a black gay man I personally detest the comparison of homophobia to racism whenever a black celebrity says something homophobic (i.e. “as a black woman, she should know better”). It’s tired. That said, I need to point out the obvious correlation between her use of “animals” in a misguided expression of “tolerance” to LGBT people and the fact that the “animal” terminology has been used for centuries to dehumanize black people. Pot, meet kettle.

In America, we’re free to believe whatever we want to believe. What I can’t believe is that in 2016 an American Idol runner-up would be stupid enough to say these things. Out loud. To reporters. Jennifer Hudson is somewhere doing a facepalm right now.

You stepped in it big time with this one, and we guarantee that the stink of these supremely ill-advised comments will waft around whatever career the music industry still affords round R&B divas with big voices these days. Someone should check in with Candice Glover and see how well winning American Idol worked out for her.

Condragulations, LaPorsha — every time you do an interview or step onto a set not only will you be asked about these comments, people who were somehow unaware of them will be notified of their existence. They will overshadow whatever you have to bring to the music industry. That’s not right or wrong, that’s just business, and in 2016 homophobia is bad for it. That sound you hear right now is of a million LGBT wallets snapping shut to whatever you have to offer in the future.

Want to trot out that new single during a pride event? Nope. Having your big album release party at a gay club where guys are just waiting to worship a new club diva? Not gonna happen. You say you want to do a surprise appearance at Dance On The Pier? Thanks, but no thanks.

You don’t need to worry about the LGBT community anymore, because we assure you that the support from this community (and the coins that come with it) are gone. We barely met you, but we’ve seen enough. Bye, La’Porsha.

Rob Smith is a multimedia journalist and author of Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Army.  Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @robsmithonline.

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