It’s no secret that hip hop and rap has struggled with some unquestionably homophobic lyrics and artists. 50 Cent and Eminem, for example, aren’t exactly favoured by the gay community. Then again, Eminem went right from that to performing a duet with Elton John, perhaps suggesting that these homophobic tendencies aren’t as deeply entrenched as we assume.
Within academic circles, it’s widely accepted that this is a burden hip hop must face. Education officials and those attempting to address bullying in schools often point to rap as a problem within schools. Easily influenced kids listen to shitty songs with terrible lyrics and get the wrong idea. Or so they say.
I’m personally of the opinion that people make their own choices and that pointing a finger at music, or movies, or video games is not the answer. It’s a combination of influences and, frankly, I think the majority of negative attitudes start at home or in the local community, and not so much in the kids mp3 player.
Dean’s book, called Hiding in Hip Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry–from Music to Hollywood, is already available for pre-order in Amazon.
I’m not entirely sure that this book is that great a thing, to be perfectly honest. I really don’t think anyone should be ‘outed’ against their will. It’s a pretty emotional undertaking to out yourself, and that’s not a decision someone should make for you.
So while maybe there’s some credit in trying to make hip hop confront it’s own image as homophobic, I’m not sure trying to publicly out people is the way to do it.