11 Rappers Who Support LGBT Rights
October happens to be LGBT History Month in the United States. It is a month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the continued struggle LGBT people face in attaining true equality in this country.
It is no secret that hip-hop does not exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to supporting gay rights in the country. After years of perceived homophobia in the hip-hop community and a lack of visible LGBT rappers out in the public, hip-hop has gained a reputation for homophobia that has not been able to shake. While other genres have been known to engage in homophobia too, rap music seems to receive a disproportionate amount of the public ire when it comes to press about the genre's perceived homophobia.
While some of the negative press is definitely earned by members of the rap community, more and more members of hip-hop have come out in support of LGBT rights and issues in the last few years as the general tide of public opinions warms to issues of gay rights in the country.
In observance of LGBT History Month, XXL wants to highlight the members of hip-hop who have come out in support of gay rights in recent years with their comments and music.
Bay Area rapper Lil B has been one of the most outspoken advocates in hip-hop for equality and rights for the LGBT community. Lil B's brand of music preaches relentless positivism and acceptance of others and in 2011, he decided to make a bold statement in his advocacy of gay rights. Although he is heterosexual, Lil B released a mixtape titled I'm Gay (I'm Happy) ostensibly in support of LGBT rights on June 29, 2011.
Speaking on his reasons for titling the album, I'm Gay, Lil B told CNN at the time, "It was something that was going through my mind for a while. I feel like I'm man of the people: meeting people, respecting people and accepting people. I hope that I can turn some of my fans that might be homophobic or supporters that might be homophobic and say, "You know what, we're all one people. This is love."
Seattle rapper Macklemore and his producing partner-in-crime Ryan Lewis have shown big support to the LGBT community in recent times. Their 2012 single, "Same Love," speaks on gay and lesbian rights in America, would eventually be certified double platinum in the United States while eventually landing at No. 12 on the Billboard charts.
Macklemore would not escape controversy, though, as some critics have argued the song is commercially exploitative of the struggle of gay rights due to Macklemore's ostensible self-identification as a straight white male.
50 Cent might have a slightly schizophrenic record when it comes to supporting gay rights in public, toggling between questionably homophobic comments and acceptance at seeming will over the years.
However just last week, 50 Cent was announced that he will be mentoring a transgender teen named Alan, in the upcoming Sundance Channel show Dream School. The show will connecting troubled youth with celebrity spokespeople who will help guide the teenagers and tell their stories.
In a recent interview with TheWrap, 50 Cent spoke on his reasons for joining the show, “I don’t have homophobia. I never did. I would use the terminology that would be going around. My grandfather may say terms -- people may actually say terms based on their experiences that were happening at that point. ... You’ve got people that would call some people a redneck, or some people n-----. It’s the term of that time or that period. They’re not necessarily racist, but they’ve heard those terms used around them, and they use them.”
In November 2011, Bronx Rapper Fat Joe sat down with an interview with VladTV to offer his candid thoughts on the ongoing Mr. Cee saga in hip-hop. Joe brushed off any negative feelings he might have towards Cee or any potential gay rappers in hip-hop.
"Everybody has got somebody in their family that is gay." Fat Joe told VladTV. "It's 2011 going on 2012. I think if you're gat, rep your set."
In the wake of President Obama's historic support for gay marriage in May 2012, Jay Z offered support for the president's decision to endorse gay rights in the country. Jay Z compared the discrimination of gay and lesbian people in the country to discrimination blacks faced in the Civil Rights Era.
"I've always thought of it as something that was still holding the country back." Jay Z told CNN. "What people do in their own homes is their business, and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business. It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination, plain and simple."
Following the comments that Jay Z made after Obama's historic endorsement of gay marriage, Atlanta rapper T.I. echoed similar sentiments in an interview with Sway Calloway on MTV's RapFix Live.
"Just to speak honestly and being frank, I don't care," T.I. told Sway during his interview. "I think that if a matter doesn't affect your daily life, you shouldn't take a hard stand on it. If it's not something that directly affects you, if it doesn't affect you, what difference does it make to you what other people are doing with their lives?"
A$AP Rocky has had a complicated history regarding homophobia in hip-hop. In October 2012, Lil B came out as pro-gay in an interview with Complex after discussing his own previous homophobic feelings in the past.
“I used to be fucking homophobic" the Harlem rapper told Complex. "That shit is ignorant. You will lose a lot of time and friendship being homophobic. That’s being racist but in a sexual way. It’s like being sexually racist."
However in August 2013, Rocky was criticized for coming off homophobic during a joint appearance with gay N.B.A. player Jason Collins at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. During a speech, Collins was delivering about overcoming homophobia in his life, Rocky seemed visibly uncomfortable before shifting uncomfortably and famously declaring, "A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord in stores now.”
After the event, Rocky realized the error of his ways and apologized to Collins for coming off homophobic, afterwards.
After running afoul with LGBT rights group such as GLAAD in the early 2000s for perceived homophobic lyrics in his music, Eminem has been attempting to make amends in recent times.
In June 2010, Eminem pledged his support in to gay marriage in an interview with The New York Times.
"I think if two people love each other, then what the hell?" he said."I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want.... It's the new tolerant me!"
In a 2005 interview with Sway Calloway for MTV News, Kanye West spoke on the origins of his past homophobia and how he eventually over came them.
"Everybody in high school be like, 'Yo, you actin' like a f--. Dog, you gay? And I used to deal with that when I was in high school." Kanye said speaking on being accused of being gay in his youth. "And what happened was it made me kind of homophobic, 'cause I would go back and question myself, like "Damn, why does everyone else walk like this, and I walk like this?" People be like, "Yo fam, look at you. Look at how you act."
Kanye would reveal it would take the coming out of the closet by a beloved family member for him to change his mind on gay people.
"But then my cousin told me that another one of my cousins was gay, and I loved him, he's one of my favorite cousins. And at that point it was kind of like a turning point when I was like, "Yo, this my cousin, I love him and I been discriminating against gays."
After a rash of gay teen suicides hit the country in 2010, Nicki Minaj spoke out in support of bullied gay youths suffering from depression during an interview with MTV News. Nicki wanted her young gay fans to know that suicide is simply never the answer.
"I would encourage my gay fans to be fighters and to be brave," she told MTV News. "People face difficulties, no matter who you are. I faced difficulties with a lot of things. I face opposition every day, but I didn't kill myself and now, thank God, I'm here. So I want my life to be a testimony to my fans and my gay fans."
In an May 2012 interview with DJ Drama, Kendrick Lamar expressed his support for gay marriage in the recent wake of the President's support for the issue. Kendrick told Drama that he would no more knock a person for not sharing his sexual orientation than he would if they did not support his religious beliefs.
"If you didn’t believe in Jesus I can’t knock you for not [believing], you got your own beliefs and your own morals. I can’t help the way you was born if you was gay. And I can’t change that so do what you gotta do to be happy.”