Despite hip-hop getting targeted for its perceived anti-gay views, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has offered his take and said the rap community is more accepting than people may believe.
Simmons believes rap’s brute honesty in the music makes hip-hop an easy target for homophobia assumptions.
Def Jam Recordings mogul Russell Simmons, a longtime advocate for gay rights, believes that hip-hop is actually ahead of the curve. “I’m not suggesting there’s no homophobia. I’m suggesting that homophobia exists everywhere, and it’s horrible. I’m saying that hip-hop artists and the hip-hop community, the poetic community, are less homophobic than the rest of society. Whoever you can think of, hip-hop is less.” When it comes to the lyrics, Simmons offers up an explanation similar to the “Black CNN” argument first used to explain gangsta rap to mainstream audiences. “I think that’s just how honest they are. If they use harsh language or say things that exemplify a truth in our sadness, our sickness in our community, that is shocking. That’s just reality. They’re just dealing with what we’re just trying to brush under the rug. They’re mirrors of our own sickness.” (XXL Mag)
Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator recently said his use of the word “faggot” is not a sign of homophobia.
“I’m not homophobic. I just think f*ggot hits and hurts people. It hits. And gay just means you’re stupid. I don’t know, we don’t think about it, we’re just kids. We don’t think about that sh*t. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic. ([His friend] Jasper walks into the room) But he’s a f*cking f*ggot!” (NME Magazine)
In 2010, Young Money’s Nicki Minaj talked about embracing her gay fan base.
“Obviously, the majority of the men in hip-hop don’t want you to think they’re gay. That’s just the reality of it,” Minaj says. “I’m a woman, so I have a lot more flexibility. And I don’t lose credibility in any way if I say I think girls are dope and sexy…Normally, Wayne probably wouldn’t have gay guys coming to see his shows much, but they’re definitely a big part of my movement, and I hope they’d still come out and see me…I think that will be really, really interesting, just to start bridging that gap. We’ll see.” (Out)
New York rapper Fat Joe addressed singer Ricky Martin coming out of the closet in spring 2010.
“Everybody’s their own man,” he wrote in a blog post. “And if Ricky Martin felt like he had to come out of the closet and that’s what he does and that’s what he represents, then good for him. It ain’t for me to make a decision whether he should come out or whatever the case may be…With me, it’s all about being comfortable with who you are and if you gay, fine, be gay. I’m not gay but fine, you do what you do. I’ll do what I do. I think it’s 2010 and everybody should be allowed to live happy and live their lives and whatever makes you happy, then so be it.” (VIBE)
Check out Juelz Santana speaking on the gay community below: