Has R&B HipHop Culture Become More Gay Friendly? Maybe…
To me, music has always been a vehicle for innovation and inspiration. I hum mercilessly, sing in the shower and have no problem belting out a note or tune to whatever melodic music is playing over the intercom in the grocery store. From the soft saccharine voice of Brandy to the fusion rock edge to Mutemath, Incubus, and Foo Fighters. I get all emo and introspective when I listen to Anberlin or Frank Ocean and I listen to Mozart and Debussy every night as I watch the sun set and the beautiful moon rises to greet the dazzling starry embers strewn across the heavens.
Music is such an integral part of my life. And genres don’t mean anything, ANYTHING, in regards to my “tastes” in music, but I know that unfortuantely some genres do illicit certain stigmas and negative reputations. R&B/HipHop is no exception.
For decades the genre has been heavily associated with being homophobic as anti-gay slurs are used as a degredation of one’s character in rap music. But has there been a shift in this paradigm? Havre some of the artists in the genre that heabily use homophobic rhetoric finally began to evolve their views on homosexuality?
Recently rap icon Snoop Dog gave his insight to this change within the genre as well as Frank Ocean’s publicly coming out as bisexual as well as the potential for more LGBT rappers:
“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–When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that. 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—There might be some openly gay rappers in hip-hop that’s having success – for real. You never know. There might be some(one) right now that hasn’t pulled a Frank Ocean yet, that hasn’t jumped out of the closet to the living room to make that announcement.”
Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating recently discussed in RollingStone “I think he [Ocean] is a good new face for the R&B world right now, to kind of usher out – no pun intended – some of these folks– Let’s gay it up a little [in R&B]. Though it isn’t too clear in what Chris’s definition of “gaying” something else but his rhetoric during the interview overall suggests diversity.
So has the genre become more accepting of LGBT rappers and musicians by showing support of Ocean? Artists like JayZ have spoken out in agreement of President Obama’s support and evolution in supporting gay rights but some like Nicki Minaj say it would be difficult to see openly gay rappers because of the male dominated mindset in the genre. Maybe. There’s still a ways to go but it is a step in the right direction.