Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting the Hip-Hop Homophobia Question Dead Wrong

Mainstream America doesn't understand hip-hop. Like at all. Take this piece by Jezebel writer Dodai Stewart:
Remember about a year ago when it was so totally hilarious to talk about Lady Gaga's cock? All because there was "something" under her dress at one concert? And people didn't want to believe she maybe wore a strap-on and "accidentally" revealed the thing to mock celebs who "accidentally" expose their vulvas when they emerge from cars? Well! Eminem is still thinking about those halcyon days. In his new Bad Meets Evil track, "A Kiss," Marshall Mathers seems to have a crush on Katy Perry. But he also raps:

"Tell Lady Gaga she can quit her job at the post office / She's still a male lady."

Hip-hop is all about posturing, braggadocio and slams, yes. However, using transgender as a dis is not an acceptable form of insult. But with a number one album and a legion of Little Monsters, Gaga probably cares about Em's lyrics about as much as she cares for pants.

Since Eminem let loose in "Criminal" with some hazardously homophobic lyrics, the mainstream media has been hooking in to him for this or that instance of homophobia again and again. The strange thing about this is that writers at magazines like Jezebel, or Anderson Cooper, have singled him out specifically for over analyzing.

Why is this? In the aforementioned Anderson Cooper interview with Marshall, he asked aloud a question that Cooper wouldn't answer. Were people giving him crap about this because of the "color of his skin?" That's not white victimhood but rather a cold, hard fact. In his song "White America," Marshall said matter of factly, "If I were black, I would have sold half."

While Marshall's skin color made getting into the Detroit rap scene difficult, it's helped him greatly in regards to mainstream, middle class white music consumers who would consciously pass over CDs by Royce da 5'9, Nas or Tech N9ne. All of the aforementioned have used "fag" or "bitch" as a put down for other men, because a degree of homophobia is simply a reality in African American culture and hip hop especially. That's a whole other topic entirely and one that should probably be important but acting like it stops with Marshall is silly.

When Royce da 5'9 says "You're flaming, I bet you fags can light a cigarette with your own asshole" on the Bad Meets Evil album, that apparently gets skipped over, while Eminem's verse on the same album "Tell Lady Gaga she can quit her job at the post office, She's still a male lady" warrants a transgender rights fueled denunciation at Jezebel.

Is this conscious on the part of the media? Eminem, no matter what he does, gets alot more attention than Bun B, Big Boi, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne or even Kanye West and Jay-Z combined. He is a talented guy, sure, but seriously. You'd think he was the only rapper who had ever said anything homophobic.

And in Eminem's defense, his discography is filled with as much homoeroticism as homophobia. I recommend Ms. Stewart listen to the song "Chemical Warfare," in which Marshall raps "Get a boner and play dick swords with the Jonas Brothas."

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