Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gay Rappers Breaking Stereotypes



In "Four Gay Weddings and a Funeral" I parodied a few things I rarely ever see in films or books. One of them was the entire wedding concept and how it can become frustrating for people (men) sometimes, and the other had to do with rap music. I've posted before about how much I love rap music, and how I would rather suffer the worst torture imaginable than listen to either show tunes or polka music.

It's just my own personal taste, and I often get frustrated when all gay men are shoved into a box and expected to like certain types of music...or entertainment in genreal. (I'm not fond of piano bar either; makes me gag) So at one of the gay weddings in my book, FGWaaF, I provided rap music as the entertainment for a gay wedding. I even wrote a few rap lyrics myself, which was something I'd always wanted to do. That's not only parody to me, that's wishful thinking. I've never been to a wedding with nothing but rap music and would love to go to one.

I also just read a few interesting articles in mainstream print magazines about openly gay rappers. These artists are making changes in ways I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. And I couldn't be more thrilled because I'm such a huge fan of rap.

The hip-hop community is largely dominated by heterosexual men who boast about their sexual conquests with women and their aggressive stereotypically masculine worldview. This is something that isn’t new to the genre, but it doesn’t leave much room for a new point of view in the art of rap storytelling. With the buzz growing around openly gay rap duo, The Freaky Boiz, though, old school hip-hop heads may have to start becoming more open-minded.

And it's about time. This particular article goes on to mention more details about The Freaky Boiz and what they are doing, and how they are changing things. You can read more here.

Snoop Dog has made comments on how he feels about gay rappers, here.

"People are learning how to live and get along more, and accept people for who they are and not bash them or hurt them because they're different," Snoop said.
He commented on how times have changed from when he was first on the come-up in the rap game. "When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that," Snoop said of Ocean. "There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step (forward) to support you because that's what we were brainwashed and trained to know."

It's nice to see him supporting young gay artists this way. It's nice to see him speak up and talk about how the genre is evolving and moving into the future. For those who don't "get" rap music, there's an artistic story-telling quality to it that I've always loved. I also like the fact that it pushes buttons and gets people to think while they are listening to music. Its roots go way back, and very deep.

If you didn't hear Le1F's single, "Wut," this summer, you may want to put down the polka doodle doos and show tunes and see what's really happening in other parts of the gay community. He's going to places where most artists wouldn't have been allowed to go twenty years ago. He's doing it in a sensationalized way, which I'm sure is to get attention, but at the same time he's breaking traditional stereotypes with respect to rap music in general.

 He sashays around in a pair of purple Daisy Dukes and he twirls the long ends of his hat like pigtails. Le1f is a rapper who is openly gay.

It hasn't been easy either:

When it comes to the wrath he’s incurred from the Internet’s crazies, his attitude is simple. “I’m kind of into it now that it’s about me, to be honest.”

Frank Ocean discussed his "Brokeback Mountain" relationship earlier this summer.

Frank Ocean has finally addressed mounting speculation over his sexuality by revealing that his first love was a man.

The US singer and rapper has become the first male hip-hop star to open up about his sexual orientation.

I couldn't find a link to a letter he wrote, but here's a link where you can read the letter. Very poignant words.

These are interesting times in which we're living. Another thing that often frustrates me is the lack of multi-cultural stories within the gay fiction/romance genre. I've written several stories with main characters who are of African descent. Before I met Tony, I dated a man of African descent and it might have lasted if he hadn't been so closeted and afraid to be who he really was. That happened over twenty years ago and we were both very young. I also remember a man of African descent when I was growing up in a small southern NJ town at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which is considered the "gateway to the south." We had a strong southern infulence there, with streets that had names like "Virginia Avenue," and even when I was a child in the 70's and 80's men of African descent did NOT come out of the closet. But we all knew this guy was gay. He wore purple suits and a hat made out of a Clorox bottle. He walked with a swish and spoke with a lisp. They found him dead one night behind a bar and no one ever found out who killed him. It was one of those small town cover-ups.









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