Erick Sermon Says Hip-Hop Will Not Accept Transgender People
Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer has earned strong reactions from the hip-hop community and America at large, with many praising her bravery and candor on the issue. When TMZ caught up with Erick Sermon, he was similarly outspoken, though not necessarily in line with Ms. Jenner's views. "Bruce is crazy, man," the EPMD legend cracked. He said he felt Jenner's timing was suspect given his role on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, given that in the interview with Sawyer she said she had been on a hormone regimen for several years in the 1980s. When pressed about whether the hip-hop community would ever accept a transgender rapper, Sermon balked, saying that it would be "taking the culture too far." He clarified that he thinks there's space for both men and women in the genre; he did not specify in what direction the culture can or should expand.
Sermon did, however, exhibit an acute awareness of the rampant suicides in the transgender community. "Maybe what he's trying to do is bring awareness, because I heard that the suicide rate is heavy for those people who are stuck like he is," he said. According to a 2013 study, over 40% of people who identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming will attempt suicide at some point in their life. Trans Lifeline is a suicide hotline specializing in transgender issues and can be reached through their website or at 877-565-8860.
Erick Sermon issued a statement to XXL about his comments on transgender artists in hip-hop:
"I've been in hip-hop for 25 years. I've seen so much come and go as far as trends and what's acceptable and what's not. I stand by what I said to TMZ and I admit that hip-hop has some room to grow when it comes to those issues." said Erick Sermon. "We haven't fully gotten there as a culture yet, but I believe in allowing people to be who they are and express their creativity in whatever manner they choose. There are different styles and trends that are pushing boundaries right now, but at the end of the day everybody deserves respect."