We know that it is hard for men to willingly be associated with anything with the word gay in front of it. We know that black men are particularly prone to the fears associated with “looking gay.” But are straight men (i.e. Black men) ready to be associated with a gay rapper? Such was the basis of Fusion’s recent comedy prank by it’s “F-Comedy” group. F-Comedy is Fusion’s online comedy troupe that uses comedy to address social issues.
Recently, the group tackled homophobia in hip-hop music by inviting random black male extras to take part in the filming of a music video because clearly they are the only ones perpetuating homophobia in hip-hop and the only ones affected by it. They asked them to do hip-hop video stuff which pretty much includes bobbing your head and leaning against cars. I feel like they should have went old school and through money at the screen but I digress.
Everything was going great until the “rapper” Boss Quoss kissed one of the extras and well…watch what happened next.
The video is great. Hilarous in fact. However between this video, the recent Out In Hip-Hop roundtable, and Empire’s take on queer folks in the industry; I wonder if we are scapegoating black men in the discussions about queer folks in hip-hop. I mean are we saying that if black men just embraced gay rappers then homophobia would instantly be cool in hip-hop music? Comedian Ben Bizuneh makes a great point in the clip about how you can’t even get black actors to go near a guy on guy kiss on film but white actors do it all the time. This is very true and there is a lot of work to do in our community in regards to how we socialize black men to view masculinity. But I don’t think they are the sole bearers of the burden of homophobia in hip-hop. If anything we are ALL responsible to redefine what is masculinity and stop valuing the negative aspects of the culture. Homophobia in hip-hop is so much broader than what’s displayed in this one clip and it’s certainly more than simply gaining acceptance from black men. I know it’s a bit much to ask but I wish that media would stop looking at it in that 2-D lense.
The video did a great job at showing that anyone can be gay, even a cool ass rapper. The question is are we able to go further than just saying “the industry is ready for a gay rapper.” There are plenty of gay rappers. The question is are we ready to do the work in defining masculinity and which forms of it that we value.