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‘No homo’ mania

By now, most people have heard about the awkward situation that Killa Cam found himself in early this week. Cam’ron had the Internet going nuts with a flick of himself posing next to what appeared to be a very stylish transvestite. Miss Info let everyone know that the He was in fact a She. (Miss Info also took the opportunity to say she wasn’t down with homophobia and shouted out her gay listeners.) Anyway, as XXL’s own Fresh reported [1], the drag queen in the photo is actually a happily married—if non photogenic— female fashion writer.

My point is this: the No Homo hoopla is officially out of control. [2] Really, what does the perpetual witch hunt for signs of homosexuality accomplish? (Other than making gay and lesbian folks hate hip-hop and some random New York style reporter feel like crap.)

Hardly anyone in hip-hop culture is willing to take on the issue. Kanye is one of the few to address it. When I interviewed Kanye West in 2005, he told me that taking a stand against homophobia in his speech at the MTV Awards was scarier for him than speaking out against Bush during the Katrina crisis, and it’s no wonder. “People are so homophobic,” he explained. “You bring it up, they think ‘Oh, you must be gay.’ Like you can’t be a straight dude that thinks it’s wrong to gay bash. People are so scared to talk about [it], but it’s in our faces every day.” Say what you will about Kanye West’s fashion choices/flamboyant personality/media freak-outs, but you really can’t front on the courage it took for him to make that statement.

I’m sure some gay dudes who love hip-hop took comfort in it. And some gay dudes that do hip-hop too. Statistically speaking, there has to be gay rappers among hip-hop’s upper echelon. But we’ll probably never know, since coming out would almost certainly ether their careers.

The funny thing about hip-hop’s homophobia is that the culture is often visibly homoerotic. Prison culture has a strong presence in hip-hop, bringing with it a history of covert gay sex. Male groupie fanboys worship their hip-hop heroes. Rappers are dressed by homosexual stylists, and often inadvertently wind up with photos that resemble gay chat line posters. Word to 50 Cent on The Massacre. Or on the GQ cover. Clearly, all the repressive energy comes out sideways.

It’s worth pointing out that rampant homophobia does nothing to stop gay sex. It just makes dudes ashamed of it. I read this book last year about the whole Down Low phenomenon, and the author said that closeted guys typically don’t use condoms, because stopping to strap up acknowledges what they are doing. Unprotected sex obviously puts them at risk for contracting AIDS, and then spreading it to their (unknowing) female partners.

To tell the truth, I wish that a bunch of famous rappers would come out of the closet, so that being gay wouldn’t continue to be so damn taboo in the culture. The health risks for everyone would be minimized. Plus, a whole group of people wouldn’t have to keep lying to themselves and others about who they are, which must really suck.


[1] I have to agree with Miss Info that Fresh is one of the best bloggers out.

[2] Yes, I am aware that you c-boys want to read about this about as much as you want to have your toenails pulled out one by one. Thems the breaks.

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