Friday, December 07, 2007

Ixnay on the Homophobnay

I just got the new Ghostface Killah album, and while the music is pretty good, Ghost's storytelling is riddled with "faggots" and "pussies." It shouldn't surprise me to see evidence that a super-macho culture like hip hop is homophobic, but it does disappoint me.

The word faggot bothers me as much as the word bitch, and for the same reasons. It is unnecessary and excessive hatred directed at a population that already have more than enough bullshit in their lives to deal with. It also proscribes a very conservative and narrow range of acceptable behavior for both genders. Men can't be "pussys" and have to be tough and strong, and women have to take care of their men, not step out on them, and forgive them when they fuck with groupies.

The homophobia on the Ghostface Killah album is grating because it's so persistent, and slings so much hatred at a group who probably could give two shits about Ghostface. Have you seen pictures of Dennis Coles? Not exactly International Male material, and I'm sure the gay population of his hometown of New York have leaner, hotter fish to fry. The whole hyper-masculinity vibe bugs as well. "98% of dudes is pussy" he declares, flipping the whole 5 Per Centers philosophy to be centered around the hard rather than the righteous. As someone who could possibly be described as a pussy, at least by ghost's exacting standards, it's a personal affront.

This comes on top of the lyrics to David Banner's new song "B.A.N." that goes "When there's a pedophile that's lurking round where we stay/ we turn our fuckin' cheek and let them faggots walk away." First off, there is a huge difference between being a pedophile and being gay, and it is my understanding that a lot of men who molest boys would identify as straight, or at least not as being gay. Secondly, the major issue facing the African-American community isn't pedophilia. Pedophilia is horrible, but I think poverty and violence are bigger issues, and Banner is a strong proponent of the "don't snitch" mantra, which lets all of the drug dealers and gangbangers fucking up the communities get a pass.

I shouldn't be shocked that rappers are homophobic. Hip hop is a very masculine genre, and pop music in general is not the place for insights into gender roles and gay rights. Still, it's disappointing to get such explicit proof of the hatred a lot of rappers have towards gays. It's like hearing a friend who has much more conservative beliefs than you go off and let their true colors shine. It makes me feel alienated from the music I love, and drives home the point that I will always be an outsider to hip hop.

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