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Hip-Hop Homophobes
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How many times do we hear it? A rap song will come on and the first way the emcee insults another person is by calling them a faggot. How many times have we read it? Hip-Hop message boards are filled with similar quips whenever someone disagrees with a comment. And how many times have we seen it? Has a single rap battle gone on in the past decade where one participant didn’t call the other participant’s manhood into question by implying, or straight up (no pun intended) calling them, gay? When is enough enough? I’m not just speaking from an anti-homophobia standpoint here, but also from an artistic standpoint because not only are rappers being ignorant, they’re being really friggin boring. Today I’m going to take a look at this and see what can be done.

The most hardcore of rappers always want to try to prove themselves the most masculine and one of the ways they attempt to do this is by cutting down all other men. It’s strange that so many men enjoy these emcees, and channel their own image of self-masculinity through them, but just like the women who make the claim that “they’re not talking about me” every time they hear a rapper calling women bitches and hoes, fellas basically turn the same deaf ear whenever that same rapper calls all men faggots and bitches. What I find even more interesting is that most of the rappers that are offenders of this also have some of the most overtly homosexual lyrics in the history of Hip-Hop. Paging DMX, you can’t call all your detractors faggots in one breath and then in the next tell them all to suck your dick. Eminem was also considered quite the homophobe, but he gets props for at least being artistic about it as he didn't just use derogatory terms, he had lines like:

Homophobic? Nah, you're just heterophobic
Starin' at my jeans, watchin my genitals bulgin
That's my motherfuckin balls, you'd better let go of 'em
They belong in my scrotum, you'll never get hold of 'em

Basically, I’m saying if you’re going to be ignorant in a song, at least be creative about it. This brings us to the message boards, the places where ignorance reigns supreme and intelligent conversation goes to die.

I stopped frequenting message boards in 2002. In the words of Hot Karl “I’ve heard that message boards are filled with only haters.” In actuality they’re filled with a combination of total morons who live in their parents’ basements and always will, and people at their 9-5 jobs who just want to piss people off while at work because their bosses are pissing them off and they want to spread the feeling (nice people, right?). There are a few good folks here and there, but the majority fall into the previous two categories. While I may not write on any of these boards anymore I do read a few on occasion, mostly when I Google myself and find threads started that are about an article I wrote, or when someone sends me a link. What I have found is whenever someone wants to disagree with a person one of the first things they do is call that person gay and post up pictures of gay acts. Not only does this make most message board threads a mess of confused sexuality, since the person trying to lay claim that the original poster is gay is the one that actually has all these gay pictures at the ready and clearly goes on searches for them, but it also goes on to reiterate the idea that gay = lesser. Judging by the conduct that I see on most message boards a more appropriate insult might be “message board poster.”

Finally we have rap battles. When rap battles are done in the so-called traditional way (I’m not even going to get into how 30 second “rounds” and having battles on stages has nothing to do with tradition. I know that’s what the majority thinks and it would take too long to sway (pun intended) them) you can bet you’ll hear an emcee’s clothing style, monetary worth and sexuality all called into question. “You’re gay,” in some way, shape, or form, always seems to be said. There’s an easy way to fix this, have crowds go silent, rather than cheer or go “ooooh” when an emcee spits such nonsense. Calling someone gay is a crutch and not only is it an overused one it’s one that lessens the emcee by making him look ignorant when he uses it.

Personally, I don’t think any of the homophobia in Hip-Hop leads to any actual physical violence against homosexuals, but it does lead to a conditioning in people that homosexuality is a weakness, which is something pretty dangerous in and of itself as it can lead to a warped, Klan-ish / slave trade, mentality. So let’s save “you’re gay” for the times when people actually are, like when two grown rappers kiss on the lips, and please remember, I’m not writing this just to say “be a better person,” I’m also saying “be a better artist,” because if you’re not creative enough to think up something more impressive than calling someone gay it’s time for you to drop the mic… you shouldn’t be holdin it.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:51 AM  
  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Stamford Talk said…

    Well said.

    I'd also say that gay jokes show that person's preoccupation with sex, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, bc it's pretty normal to think about it, but people who make insults about homosexuality are clearly nervous about it and/or missing a level of understanding about people that are different from them.

    I wouldn't make a gay joke, ever, not only because I have gay friends, but because it's ignorant to assume the people around you share your attitude; maybe they have a gay sibling or friend.

    I do think the jokes just emphasize how sex-obsessed some people are!

    And I like the suggestion to the audience to just not laugh. Not laughing speaks volumes. I didn't laugh at the diarrhea joke in the Sex and the City movie (it's just diarrhea, I don't f-ing care she pooped her pants) and my friend could not stop pestering me about why I didn't laugh. She thought I was being a prude or something, but I see poop as a pretty boring fact of life- plus, I was expecting better jokes.

  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger kats said…

    OK...gay jokes are not funny for the most part. Poop jokes on the other hand are, so I have to slightly disagree with the comment above (must be some fag!)

    As far as homophobia goes though, I do think this is an example of hip-hop reflecting our existing social values. I think as soon as we as a whole quit hating gays, hip-hoppers will do the same.

    We might as well stop making fun of Asians in TV commercials while we're at it too!

  • At 2:34 PM, Blogger Homeboy Sandman said…

    dissing gay people, or tryna diss somebody else by calling them gay, is a bigoted, closeminded, smallminded, prejudiced, sucka move.

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Whitemist said…

    some of my very good friends are gay and have no problem sharing gay jokes ...those jokes are usually some what sexual in nature, but don't necessarily put them down. Since I consider gays as being a very oppressed group, it is not surprising that they are able to share a common thread by making jokes about themselves...

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