Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, March 30, 2009

UGIMA: Homophobia and Hip Hop

UGIMA (United Gay Informed Men of Arizona) is a weekly men's discussion group. At each meeting we discuss issues about and of interest to the Black LGBT community.

Last week at UGIMA our topic was homosexuality and hip hop. There were a couple of guess speakers for this meeting. One of our speakers was DJ Tsunami. DJ Tsunami is one of Arizona's premiere DJs. He has been featured at almost every gay club in Phoenix and last year he was named by AZ Central as one of the best djs in the Valley. Our other speaker was Steve Knight. Steve is the owner of Knight Sky Productions and has been responsible for brining many R&B and Hip Hop artist to Arizona with his entertainment production company.

The evening started with this simple question - "Is Hip-Hop Homophobic?" Tsunami was the first person to tackle the question. He's been involved in this industry for quite some time and he doesn't feel that Hip-Hop is anymore homophobic than any other genre of music. But he peeled back the onion a bit more and stated if we're going to examine these artist he will admit that the male Hip-Hop artist are a bit more homophobic than the female artists.

Steve shared something that was revealed in the controversial Hiding In Hip-Hop and probably wasn't a surprise to anyone in the room. There are many gay rappers, singers, athletes, etc. But realistically the entertainment industry is not one that takes kindly to artists coming out of the closet. So if you want to be successful it's probably in your best interest to keep your sexuality to your self.

This set the room on fire and as usual no one was shy about sharing their opinions. It's interesting that some of the artists that have the gay rumor following them are the one's that shout their homophobia the loudest. Lil Wayne was posted all over the internet kissing another man yet has some of the most homophobic lyrics we've heard in hip hop. To learn more go here My issue with closeted rappers is this - I understand that you may not sell as many records or sellout as many concerts if you come out of the closet. So if you feel you need to be on the DL to be successful, then by all means make your paper. But you do not have to then verbally attack, belittle, and alienate the LGBT community. Just shut the hell up.

We also addressed the growing number of openly gay hip-hop artists that are making there mark in the industry. Homo Hip-Hop artist Dead Lee (who by the way I think is very hot) is not one to hold his tongue about his sexuality. And Tori Fixx has some of the hottest dance tracks in the game and is one of the best producers out there. But unfortunately these artist still struggle at getting their works heard by the masses. Tsunami admitted that he is a DJ that is about playing good music and he does try to promote some of these artists by playing them in his sets. Unfortunately when he puts on a track that people don't recognize the dance floor seems to empty. So it's almost impossible for these artist to get some love - even at gay and lesbian clubs.

I don't think Hip Hop artists are the most homophobic out there (I think that title goes to reggae and dancehall artists) but I do believe they are towards the top of the list. Kanye West called himself and his industry on its homophobia. It was a bold move and it was definitely a great catalyst in starting this dialouge. But there are artists like Busta Rhymes that admits he is homophobic and makes no plans to change. Busta actually got in trouble for attacking a gay man in Miami in 2006. But when Busta's Break Ya Neck starts playing in the club gays and lesbians flock to the dance floor. WHY? Why would we support someone that publicy stated he hates us and physically attacked one of our community.

I know there are probably some big names in Hip-Hop that would like to come out and I can only hope that one day they gather the courage to be true to who they are. The LGBT community needs black celebrities to come out. I think they would be instrumental in changing the perception the Black community has about gay and lesbian issues. But if you're going to be closeted, please be closeted and quiet. Don't go bashing the community that you are secretly a part of. And to all LGBT people - please stop supporting those artist that publicly make it known that they don't support us!!!


Camilo Arenivar said...

Tori Fixx and Deadlee are coming to Phoenix Saturday April 18th at Plazma!

Jason Howard Green said...

Thanks for the heads up Camilo. That's the night of Phoenix Pride. Now I know what I'll be doing that night.