Friday, April 8, 2011
So, I’m sure most of you have heard by now that popular NYC deejay Mister Cee was arrested last week for public lewdness and indecent exposure. He allegedly was receiving oral sex from another man while in a car. It’s also been mentioned that he was arrested twice in the past on charges of solicitation.
As I listened to the details on Power 105. 1 last week, I knew this should be a blog topic. Not because he’s a married man soliciting sex on the street, but because homosexuality and hip hop seem to be two words that are rarely found in the same sentence.
Now, I’m not saying Mister Cee is gay. But what if he is? Does that downplay or negate his skills as a talented deejay? Would Jay-Z be less dope if he came out tomorrow? I know he’s in the “no slander zone,” but that’s a real question.
Should we care? Or is it just shocking to us that the musical art form most of us love - that has always represented empowerment and defiance in the black community - is now entering a new arena?
After all, we claim hip hop as our own. And it’s no secret that homophobia in our community is rampant. So when we see the two collide, we’re taken back. It’s believed you can’t be “hard” or “thuggish” in hip hop – and be gay too. But does hip hop have to be hard – or straight - to be “real?” We claim to listen to hip for its realness, the beats…and the message. So if our favorite artist or deejay is gay, do we not like the beats anymore? Is the message tainted? Or do we have a problem with it because we can no longer relate to the artist we bob our heads to?
One 105.1 listener said he has no problem with anyone being gay, but mentioned that “Lollipop” would have a very different meaning for him if he found out tomorrow that Weezy is gay – therefore he wouldn’t feel comfortable singing along because he can't relate.
And I get that. I try to be conscious of who I listen to with my music. Most of us make our music about us, our experiences, our struggles. Hip-hop has always been conveyed as an expression of personal pride spewing from the mouths of street story tellers. Because of this, most people try to listen to artists that they feel personally connected with.
Now, all of that is now possibly redefined in the atmosphere of a homosexual hip-hop artist. And the question I ask you is why? Why would a person’s sexual orientation have anything to do with their beats, their message, or their character? Our favorite rapper can’t be gay, but he can all women bitches and hoes? He can’t be gay, but he can spew the “N” word 15 times in a verse? We seem to care less about misogynistic rap, or the overuse of the “N” word…but if you’re gay, that’s cause for outrage.
When it comes to things we take personally, like our love for music, and hip hop in particular, there exists a very strong stereotype about gay men: homosexual men are weak.
It’s not true, but that’s the belief.
Power 105’s Charlamagne said in reference to the Mister Cee incident (when he wasn’t cracking jokes) that “the hip hop community, and black culture in general, is homophobic for no good reason; and this wouldn’t even be an issue if he could be who he was, comfortably, without people judging him.” Being a lesbian in hip hop may not be a big deal, but what about being a gay man? There may be gay men in hip hop hiding in plain sight, wanting to come out, but who never will – for fear that they’ll be clowned, not taken seriously, shunned or judged.
So what say you? Is there room for homosexuality in hip hop? Do you think you could appreciate a gay rapper - even if you consider yourself heterosexual? – or so long as he doesn’t bring his sexuality into his rhymes?
We all use music in some way – whether to enlighten us, inspire us, help us escape, or get us hype for the club. So does it matter what an emcee’s sexual orientation is if he can you help you achieve all those things in hip hop? For some, it doesn’t matter…but for others, being 100% comfortable with homosexuality does not blend together with their love of hip hop. Keep it real…where do you stand?