VH1’s #OutInHipHop: A Recap+My Thoughts

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Last night, VH1 aired a groundbreaking special following an episode of Love and Hip Hop Hollywood, called #OutInHipHop. The round table discussion, hosted by T.J. Holmes, has been much anticipated since it was announced last week. Anxious viewers tuned in hoping to get a better understanding of what it means to be gay, while being immersed in Hip Hop culture. Two of the show’s stars, Miles and Milan, two men, who are now in a relationship, have been the topic of discussion for quite some time now. We’ve watched their relationship unfold on screen, and last night, we got a chance to hear from both men and women who have made major contributions to Hip Hop, and just so happen to be a part of the LGBTQ community.

First up on the panel were Ray J and Lil Fizz (both LHHH cast members), Big Freedia, Buttahman, and the legendary Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

Ray J, Lil Fizz and Darryl McDaniels are not gay, but they did offer their opinions on the subject. Lil Fizz recalling a time when he had to deal with gay rumors, stating that back then, it was really taboo to talk about homosexuality. He says that’s why he didn’t address the rumors. According to him, he even refused to do any press at the time.

Ray J also added that while he has no issue with gay men or women in the industry, that some of his friends do, and perhaps that’s why he’s distanced himself from the LGBTQ community, thus far.

“I don’t care. I get it. But some of my friends don’t get it. I wanna know why that is.”

Big Freedia is a major name in the Hip Hop community, as well. Known as the “Queen of Bounce”, Freedia has hits for days. One of my favorites is “Duffy”…hehe. But although Freedia is pretty well known, and is seemingly very comfortable in her own skin (Freedia prefers the feminine pronoun), she recalls a time when she shared the stage with a well known straight, male rapper, and says that she was called a “faggot” that “stole his mic.” Though out and proud, it was obvious that those words had touched a nerve. Later on in the show, Ray J vowed to remove that word from his vocabulary for good, and let it be known that Buttahman was still “the homie.”

Another openly gay rapper by the name of Fly Young Red spoke out about death threats he’s received when traveling to different cities to perform. He says that he just wants to make music for his people. He says he doesn’t make music for straight people.

As the show progressed, we got to chat with Clay Cane, the creator of “Holler If You Hear Me”, a powerful documentary about homophobia in the Black church. He says that he’s a big Hip Hop lover, but says he was often hurt by the negative messages he received.

“When I was growing up, Hip Hop was our ‘Black Twitter.’ I love Hip Hop. But on that same end, as a Black, gay man, Hip Hop hurt me. I love Ice Cube. But ‘No Vaseline’ was straight up about homophobia.”

Later, D. Smith, SIYA, and Felicia Pearson (Snoop from ‘The Wire’) hit the stage. D. Smith, a transgender rapper spoke out about her transition, and SIYA spoke out about the bias in the industry when it comes to lesbian rappers who present as masculine. She talked about being shunned by the industry because she didn’t show enough of her body. Felicia puts in her two cents by assuring us all that she doesn’t care what other people think, that she’s always going to be herself, and last but not least, that she still LOVES women. LOL! That’s my girl.

Soon the show took a drastic turn, when T.J. Holmes took a video call from a well known pastor by the name of Jamal Bryant. When asked if he thought homosexuality was a sin, he said flat out that he did, and that his church offers counseling to “transform” gay people into straight people, (if anybody is interested). This is by far my favorite Twitter reaction to THAT comment.

Also on the panel were Pastor Delman Coates, an LGBTQ advocate and Pastor Kevin Taylor, an openly gay pastor in Newark, NJ. As you can probably imagine, they didn’t agree with what Pastor Bryant had to say. But one person who could not have been any more clear about how much he opposed what Pastor Bryant was saying, is Karamo Brown. Karamo is a host for Huffington Post Live, as well as an HLN contributor. His response to Bryant? “YOU DON’T LOVE US!”

Welp. So now that I’ve caught you guys up, it’s time for me to address some things that I think are really important when we have this conversation. All in all, I thought this special was handled very responsibly, and I’m glad Mona Scott Young has decided to do something positive with her magical powers. Here’s some food for thought:

1.Church is supposed to be a safe place. What Pastor Jamal said was true-people single  homosexuality out as the “BIG SIN.” But he contradicts himself when he admits that he offers “counseling” to “transform” gay people. I wonder, does he offer that same kind of “counseling” to “transform” liars, cheaters, thieves, adulterers? Are we really still advocating, in the information age, that we can pray the gay away? Homosexuality is not a disease to be cured. Like one pastor said in the special-“A lot of Black people think this is a white man’s disease that is contagious and somehow rubbed off on us.” Trust me, it’s not, y’all.

2.“So what are you saying? F*ck GOD?!” That was the response from Miles’ sisters when he finally came out to them. Such a hurtful, venomous response. Miles obviously loves God, so no, he’s not saying “F*ck God.” This is the kind of response that forces people back in the closet. It forces people to say that they are “ex-homosexuals” when in fact they are not. We complain about men being on the “DL”, yet we don’t want them to come out. Which one is it? Being gay does not mean you are saying “F*ck God.” That language is harsh, unnecessary, and untrue. There are PLENTY of people in the LGBTQ community who love God, and plenty who don’t–just like in the straight community.

3.Suicide

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Gay and Lesbian youth nationally.
  • 30% of Gay youth attempt suicide by the age of 15.
  • Gays and Lesbians are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide than Heterosexuals.
  • Almost half of Gay and Lesbian teens state they have attempted suicide more than once.
  • It has been conservatively estimated the 1,500 Gay and Lesbian youth commit suicide every year.

Suicide attempts are 4 times more likely for LGBT people and 3 times more likely for those Questioning their sexuality than for their straight peers. Suicide attempts are two times more likely for Black and Hispanics than whites.

SUICIDE. People want to take their own LIVES because they are being bullied, shunned, etc. by people they know and by people they don’t know. That should be alarming to you.

4.Murders

Homicides targeting LGBTQ and HIV-positive people rose by 11% in the US last year, making 2014 the deadliest year for people in those communities since 2012, a new report has shown. There were 20 homicides last year, according to NCAVP’s data, with 80% being people of color and more than half being transgender women.

Many of these crimes are under-reported or improperly labeled by police officers. Many officers don’t even label these murders as hate crimes. Trans persons are 2.5 more likely to experience violence from police.

5.Homelessness-40% of America’s homeless youth are members of the LGBTQ community.

In a study conducted by the Williams Institute, nearly seven in 10 (68%) respondents indicated that family rejection was a major factor contributing to LGBT youth homelessness, making it the most cited factor. More than half (54%) of respondents indicated that abuse in their family was another important factor contributing to LGBT homelessness.

A religion that tells you that you should disown your child and send them out into the streets to live is not a religion I want to be a part of. Homelessness can expose LGBTQ people to high risk behaviors such as drug use, alcoholism, unsafe sex, disease. Is THAT really what you want for your loved one?

6.Why are you OK being the oppressor when you are the OPPRESSED?- Hip Hop was born out of a need to speak out against oppression. It was MADE to break down barriers. How are you doing the very thing that this culture was AGAINST when it was first created? And Black people, you’ve got some NERVE to try and oppress ANYBODY. Whose side are you on?

6.Love the sinner, hate the sin is condescending. I only hear it used when discussing homosexuality. Stop saying it. John Pavlovitz explained why LTSHTS is ridiculous better than I ever could.

LTSHTS is simply an exercise in selective, subjective sin-shaming and targeted discrimination disguised as righteousness.

If you’re a Christian and you’re going to choose to be hateful or biased toward people based on their gender identity and sexuality, you may as well just come out and say it. Own your discomfort or displeasure. Hiding behind LTSHTS is just using Jesus as justification for the kind of behavior he would be quite appalled by. It isn’t Christlikeness, it’s cowardice.

7.ALL Black Lives Matter-You cannot talk about Black liberation, or Black history, or AMERICAN history without talking about and being inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Everyone from W.E.B. Dubois, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Alvin Ailey, to Ma Rainey, Josephine Baker, Angela Davis and Barbara Jordan…are all GAY. You cannot be a lover of your community if you in any way try to discount them, disown them, ignore their contributions. Because then, YOU are the problem. Remember, hate divides.

100 Black Lesbian/Bisexual/Queet/Transgender Women You Should Know

100 Black, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender Women You Should Know

8.People Are Born Gay-Big Freedia let us know that she’s been this way “from small” as she put it. I’ve always believed that. And God doesn’t make mistakes, right? And then of course, there’s science. Mind you, science is something some Christians seem to like when it comes to medicine, finding out how the solar system works, and providing us with cool gadgets like the iPhone…just not when it comes to sexuality. Interesting…Well if you’re interested, read this. Gay Genes

9.Your Life Isn’t Over When Someone You Know “Comes Out”-WHO SOMEONE ELSE SLEEPS WITH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. I REPEAT: NOTHING. Trust me, you’ll be OK. It’s the LGBTQ brother or sister that has to deal with all the bullsh*t. What are YOU upset about?

10.Homosexuality is not here to destroy the Black community-This one really makes me sick. It’s like after some of you run out of reasons to convince us to hate gay people, you turn to this as your last resort. HOMOSEXUALITY is not destroying the Black community. As a matter of FACT as I discussed in #7 of this post, the LGBTQ population has been at the FOREFRONT of Black liberation/struggle. Further, that’s just plain stupid. Let me tell you what IS destroying the Black community…the government, social injustice, liquor stores on every corner, poor schools, inadequate resources, the school to prison pipeline, racism, and US (Black people). Sorry but the LGBTQ community is not to blame. Give it up.

And last, but not least-

11.Someone’s sexual orientation has no bearing on anything else-The prevailing topic throughout this special was-“Can an LGBTQ rapper make it to a top spot in Hip Hop?”

Ray J says, “The barrier can be broken. It’s not impossible for there to be a gay rapper at the top of the game.” 

Then Darryl “DMC” McDaniels says that in his day, “You could be gay. But you couldn’t be the rapper. You can be the stylist, or the choreographer, but not the rapper.” Also adding that he thinks homophobia goes way beyond Hip Hop.

“What gay people go through, black people go through, Jewish people go through. So in this world we live in, just human conditioning. We live in a very disrespectful, uncaring world.”

And I have to be honest, though we’ve made progress, I think that’s true to this day. I mean, look at Frank Ocean. Since he came out three years ago, he’s been pretty much M.I.A. We’ve been begging for new music, but he’s nowhere to be found. And as Milan pointed out, I don’t think Frank would have reached this level of success if he had been open about his sexuality when he first emerged back in 2010.

But at the end of the day, we LOVE Frank Ocean’s music, right? His sexuality doesn’t make him any less of a musician. Being LGBTQ doesn’t make you any less of a teacher, a student, a mother, a father, a police officer, a solider, a PERSON. And that’s what we need to remember. Until we can all understand, and allow others to live in THEIR truth, then we will be stuck having this same conversation for years to come.

What did you think of the #OutHipHop special? Share your thoughts below.

#karmajonekznows

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