This profile is sixteen of Queerty’s 2020 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference.
Name: Da Brat, 46
Bio: Rapper and actress Da Brat (or Shawntae Harris as it appears on her birth certificate) hails from Chicago, Illinois. She arrived on the music scene with a bang. Her debut album, Funkdafied (1994) sold over one million copies, earning her the distinction of becoming the first female solo rap act to go platinum. She continued to find success, breaking through with hits like “I Think They Like Me” and “Loverboy” and racking up Grammy nominations along the way.
In the early 2000’s, Da Brat popped up on some massively popular remixes, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart along with Ludacris on the main remix of Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy.” She also played a part in Carey’s 2001 film, Glitter — a cinematic masterpiece. We’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.
More recently, she joined the reality TV series Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta which follows local scene legends and their progeny.
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Never have I EVER. Needless to say… I’ve always been a kind of private person until I met my heart’s match who handles some things differently than I do. Thank you baby @darealbbjudy for far more than this incredible birthday gift. I have never experienced this feeling. It’s so overwhelming that often I find myself in a daze hoping to never get pinched to see if it’s real so I can live in this dream forever. SEE @darealbbjudy page for the BEST SURPRISE EVER‼️ #sosoblessed #twinflame #isthismylife #dontwakemeup #nothinghappensbyaccident
Coming out: Da Brat opened up about her sexuality in an emotional Instagram post in March, confirming her relationship with Kaleidoscope Hair Products CEO Jesseca Dupart and gifting her an early birthday present in the form of a white Bentley tied in a red bow. Iconic.
“Never have I EVER. Needless to say… I’ve always been a kind of private person until I met my heart’s match who handles some things differently than I do. Thank you baby @darealbbjudy for far more than this incredible birthday gift,” Da Brat captioned the video showing off the new ride. “I have never experienced this feeling. It’s so overwhelming that often I find myself in a daze hoping to never get pinched to see if it’s real so I can live in this dream forever.”
How it made a difference: Coming out may have become more normalized in the music industry, but there’s still a long way to go until full acceptance. In mainstream hip hop, even more so. Da Brat undoubtedly impacted young fans, gay and straight alike, becoming a role model of a successful, out artist in the business.
The outpouring of support wasn’t lost on her.
“The reaction made me feel like, ‘Why didn’t I do this shit years ago?’” she said after coming out, acknowledging to Variety that some had speculated all along. “There were some people saying, ‘We knew it.’ Well, good for you! Now I know it, and I’m able to say it. I did this on my own terms.”
“To me, Pride is loving myself and not making excuses for anything: Live in your truth. If I can inspire someone or help somebody to deal with their issues and their sexuality,” she added, “then I’m here for it.”
So are we.