For most people like me, the world around us is mostly influenced by Hip Hop. Hip Hop gave me insight on how I wear my jeans, how I feel about police, and even the type of drinks I order at the bar. Hip Hop offers young men a direction of perseverance and toughness. Hip Hop does much to harden young men, especially black men, into individuals who can survive through disadvantage and create opportunity with few resources. Still there are pitfalls in being exposed to the hardened machismo broadcast in Hip Hop. Along with the toughness, Hip Hop is occasionally saturated with messages of misogyny, materialism and homophobia. The latter has recently been thrust into the mirror of Hip Hop. Against the backdrop of Hip Hop’s toughness, homosexuality seems to be the opposite of what men are suppose to be. Hip Hop shuns homosexuality and rarely misses an opportunity to degrade homosexuals. Is this Hip Hop remaining true to its principles or a deficiency in our tolerance and growth?
The subject of homosexuality was put on center stage early Independence Day. After days of speculation about Frank Ocean’s sexual preference, he released a letter to the public detailing his journey in life to understand his sexuality and discover himself. The letter was a shock to Hip Hop as he revealed deep romantic feelings for another man early in his journey of self-discovery. His experience with homosexuality immediately challenged Hip Hop’s long standing views and behavior toward homosexuals. It brought to the surface a self examination of how we treat homosexuals in our culture. Hip Hop, a big aggressive masculine braggart, was confronted with its old ideas of homosexuality and its contrasting love of a brilliant one of a kind talent who experience homosexual feelings. Here was a young singer EVERYBODY loved. His deep and poignant lyrics expressed a glow of creativity and substance that Hip Hop rarely hears but readily embraces. Unfortunately for Frank, Hip Hop already knows how it feels about gays! …OR… Fortunately for Frank, Hip Hop is ready to grow beyond our feelings about gays. Or are we?
FUCK FRANK OCEAN! OL’ FAGGOT ASS NIGGA
I don’t give a fuck who Frank Ocean is or what songs he puts out. I don’t rock with any homos point blank. I used to like his songs too! Then I found out that he had gay experiences in his life. How do I know he’s not singing to a man? As far as I’m concerned, he should have been upfront with his sexuality instead of deceiving me. I’m not about to be pumping Frank Ocean in the whip and have niggas thinking I’m gay too. It does matter! I don’t approve of homosexuality and I think it’s disgusting. Therefore, I choose not to support anything homosexual. I wish homie nothing but success, but I can’t support that lifestyle or anything to do with it.
FUCK YOU! I LOVE YOU FRANK OCEAN! I’M STILL BUYING CHANNEL ORANGE
No matter the point of view Hip Hop chooses to take, we must first remember that we conduct ourselves with respect that we expect to be reciprocated. Often, the rhetoric we choose to express ourselves conveys our emotion but fails to convey our decorum and maturity. It’s fine to identify with either one of the previous points of view. It’s not ok to let those points of view divide our society. Homosexuality can be looked upon with disgust without using disrespect and inappropriate behavior. Our sexual preference is but a small portion of our individuality and personal growth. Heterosexuality does not account for the skills and talents a person works hard to perfect. Heterosexuality is not the reason we work hard to provide for our families and make this world a better place. Heterosexuality does not define who we are but rather is a small chapter in the story we write for ourselves. Homosexuality is no different! Perhaps Hip Hop will be ready to mature. You don’t have to say, “fuck Frank Ocean” to voice your displeasure with his actions. You don’t have to say, “fuck you too” to defend your admiration of him. No matter how we feel about Frank Ocean, it’s important to show that respect and etiquette has been this generation of Hip Hop’s greatest step toward maturity and individuality. Its not just DO YOU! It’s also DO YOU and respect others that DO THEM!