It's Hard Out There for a Gay Gangsta

Queer rap challenges hip-hop homophobia

| April 5, 2007

Forget about the homophobic right. Anti-gay messages have been rampant in the hip-hop world for years. Artists like Eminem and 50 Cent pepper their lyrics with homophobic slurs and openly admit to disapproving of same-sex relationships. According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Eminem's third album, Marshall Mathers LP contained the word 'faggot' 18 times. Similarly, AlterNet reported in 2004 that in an interview with Playboy, 50 Cent declared, 'I ain't into faggots.'

Despite harsh words from prominent MCs, queer rappers around the world are taking center stage. 'Times are changing and if openly gay rappers aren't invited then we are kicking the door in,' the Los Angeles-based queer rapper Deadlee tells Britain's Deadlee is the headliner for Homorevolution Tour 2007, what calls 'the first ever organized regional tour of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Hip Hop artists.' The tour will stop in ten US cities this spring and has nearly two-dozen queer artists on the bill.

Another gay rapper taking part in Homorevolution is using his lyrical prowess to spread the word about prejudice. British MC QBoy is featured in Coming Out to Class, a documentary about dealing with homosexuality as a student. reports that the television broadcast of the film has inspired seven members of parliament to sign a motion 'to introduce legislation to require schools to protect gay and lesbian children from the emotional harm and impaired educational attainment that results from bullying.'

Some gay rappers argue that the menacing words thrown around by Eminem, 50 Cent, and bullying schoolchildren no longer hold any weight. 'There are more homophobic lyrics in recent days, even as there has been more of a gay presence in the media,' Tori Fixx, a queer rapper and producer from Minneapolis, told City Pages last year, but 'calling somebody a fag is different than literally saying all batty boys need to be destroyed.'

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