I know I'm two years late (this book came out in 2008) but I've finally gotten around to reading Hiding In Hip Hop. I was excited about this book when the fanfare about its release first started. Someone was finally going to reveal the hypocrisy of Hip Hop. This genre that is the epitome of homophobia is ridled with down-low men that have sex with other men. I was hoping for a tell all book that would drop names, places, dates and sexual positions.
I know that I repeatedly say that I'm against outing people but Hip Hop has historically not be a friend of ours, so I was okay with the outings that were going to happen. It's similarly to how I was okay with outings in the movie Outrage where anti-gay politicians were proven to be same-gender loving and their names were blasted for all of the world to see. I'm okay with people being closeted; but when you do things to harm the LGBT community and you're same-gender loving yourself, I have an issue with it and you need to be called on your hypocrisy.
Then I learned that would be no name dropping in the book and my interest went away. There would only be hints and innuendos. So I never picked up the book. But here we are two years later and the book finally landed in my lap. I've been devouring it for the past two days and I must admit, I'm very disappointed in myself for not reading this sooner.
The book is not so much a tell all about Hip Hop and Hollywood. It is more so the author's journey as he leads us through his youth, his struggle with self acceptance, his difficult in loving and being loved by his family, and his entry into and navigation of the curious and controversial world of down-low men. It just so happens that his world of down low men is an elite one filled with powerhouses from the world of entertainment. Although the hints of celebrities is indeed tittilating (you can't help but to assume you know exactly who he's talking about) it is the the personal testimonies and challenges that the writer endures that are the most revealing.
Hiding in Hip Hop does a terrific job in tackling many taboos of the LGBT community and the African-American community. In the very beginning he breaks it down. There is a reason that men are on the down-low. "Many of us are emotionally and mentally damaged from our religious upbringings, misinformed communities or conservative parents." I'm not saying that this justifies the behaviour; I'm just saying (and I've been saying for years) these men had help in getting into their closets. Terrance Dean does a fantastic job in weaving together a complicated story that involves the black church, HIV/AIDS, black fraternities, and the interesting (and mutually benefitting) relationship between homosexuality and Hip Hop. I think this is a must read for all - straight, gay, black and white.