I've been very, very frustrated lately with some of my peers lately when it comes to this gay thing. I almost feel ashamed to have to revisit this, because the whole subject of being "out" is passé, in my opinion. Why do we have to keep fighting this battle with ourselves? I'll tell you why - because we don't treat or consider ourselves equal, and when I say WE I mean black gays.
Everyone knows that I keep my ear in rap as much as classical music, and Macklemore has been getting my attention for a few months now. First of all, he doesn't look bad at all (which doesn't hurt him in his career I'd imagine), but he also goes into topics that I haven't really seen in the rap community. With most rappers flaunting money, gold, and things that bling, Macklemore got everyone's attention by rapping about going shopping at a thrift shop. He's gone on to collaborate with people who have paved the way a little further (like Jay-Z), and this has only helped his popularity. One of his newer songs, "Same Love", has now completely thrown him into the limelight, because he openly states his disgust for gay hate and his support of equal rights. I love that a topic like this is making its way into rap and hip hop, but it's interesting that it took a white man to do it.
As I sit here trying to figure out what, exactly, I'm trying to say, I shake my head at the thought of the word "discreet". For me, discretion is becoming a bad word, and something that I hope never to include in my vocabulary again. What would the people at Stone Wall say about the passive feelings black men have toward their sexuality and the way they allow people to perceive them? For centuries now, people of color have been oppressed and held down, and now we're doing it to ourselves. Wikipedia offers a better (and more scientifically relevant) explanation:
"Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them."
Thank you, Macklemore, for not bowing down to what society, and shamefully, many black gay men, allow to be their reality. Maybe we'll get more support from the rap and hip hop community in the future, because I unfortunately don't see it within my own black community. During the Civil Rights movement, some people went obediently to the back door to order their food from a restaurant, and others sat at the counter to get drinks dumped on them. I guess you pick a battle either way.
Last week I was interviewed by Wendi C. Thomas, a journalist for Memphis' "Commercial Appeal" concerning a dress code sign at a local restaurant that I felt very strongly against. Here is a photo of what was posted when Andy, Jefferic, and I went to the restaurant early last week:
Having a dress code is fine, but let's be honest - there is a certain demographic they are trying to keep out, and if you live in Memphis (or the south, for that matter) you know better than to use the "not all black people dress like that/some white people dress like that" excuse. Take a look at Wendi's article and chime in with your thoughts!