Obama, Fat Joe, Game & Hip-Hop’s Evolving Stance Towards HomosexualityPosted by Nathan S. on 05/12/12 | Filed under Features, Opinion
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Yesterday President Obama gave a historic interview in which he said that he now personally supports gay marriage after previously skating around the issue, saying (and I'm paraphrasing here) that he wasn't completely against the idea of gay marriage, he wasn't a fan of seeing it actually happen.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together... I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Obama's announcement obviously has some enormous symbolic significance, but it'd be a huge exaggeration to say that the legalization of gay marriage nationwide is now inevitable; the same day N. Carolina voted to ban not only gay marriage, but civil unions and domestic partnerships between either gay or straight couples. Nationwide the public is almost evenly split. The latest polls indicate that 46% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 44% are opposed.
But while Obama's decision to finally take a firm stand is clearly also an attempt to gain support from the gay and gay friendly community before he launches into what will likely be a tight election against the Mittster, it's also a sign that America's views on not only marriage but homosexuality's place in society is changing. For any politician to come out in support of gay rights 50 years ago would have been career suicide. Now it might just help Obama will an election.
As Obama put it, his views on the the issue are "evolving", and perhaps not coincidentally we're seeing hip-hop's views on homosexuality evolve as well. Similarly we've got a long, long way to go before rap loses it's well deserved reputation as one of the last bastions of hardcore homophobia in American culture. We have yet to have one openly gay major rapper, although simple statistics say that approximately five percent of rappers are gay.
But just like Obama's willingness to now speak on the issue, we're now starting to see major rappers at the very least support gay marriage/gay rights/"who cares, just let people do what they want," even if that support often comes with a laundry list of disclaimers and weird other shit:
Four the record that's three of the game's hardest street rappers coming out in favor of at the least gay tolerance, something that even ten years ago was unthinkable. And much like American youth in general, young rappers on the whole are more open than the emcees they grew up listening to.
You still don't have to look far to hear a myriad of "faggot" disses thrown around on the mic, and even one of the most established actresses/rappers in hip-hop history is (most likely) still in the closet, but hip-hop's slowly but surely beginning to reflect the views of the people who listen to it.
What will this mean for hip-hop in the future? Not much. I'm from Massachusetts, the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage, and you know what happened after gay folks could get married? Nothing. Everything was exactly the same, except now gay people were married.
Similarly, even if hip-hop evolves to the point where there are multiple openly gay rappers, it will sound essentially like it does now, only we won't have to hear "pause" every other minute. And that's something I think we can all get behind.