Young Thug is seen donning a dress. A little boy sees this and decides he is going to become a crusader for the gay agenda. Slowly but surely, this is the downfall of civilization, as we know it, people. Heterosexuals beware: your freedom and sanctity are both at stake.
For real though: why does the Hip Hop community feel some type of way anytime a rap star like Kanye or Young Thug wears a skirt or dress? I’m calling homophobia/misogyny. These sentiments go to show how far behind the Hip Hop community is in comparison with the rest of the art world on the topic of gender fluidity. For a movement that stresses authenticity before all else, why is it okay for some to be their authentic selves and not others?
To exclude certain individuals from the legitimacy of the movement on account of them not conforming to dated notions of what it means to be ‘male’ or ‘female’ is to confirm that Hip Hop fails to address the immediate concerns of today’s youth.
As a community, we simply can’t have it both ways (no pun intended). We can’t continue to alienate people from a movement that touts itself on embracing people from all walks of life, with a special emphasis on those oppressed. We need positive role models in all areas of the game, not just rappers who can spit nice (although having bars certainly doesn’t hurt).
Young Thug’s goose has been cooked ever since he spit the line “no homo but my blunt look like a dick,” a few weeks ago in his song “Friend of Scotty.” For some Hip Hoppers, there’s simply no coming back from that; but why is there no coming back from that?
On the surface, some people will probably attribute their disapproval to it being a ridiculous, mediocre—almost farcical—line and while I can most certainly understand why one would feel that way, I feel as if the qualm runs much deeper than a true concern for the spirit of Hip Hop.
It’s as if people are afraid to just come out and say something to the effect of, “Young Thug plays with gender in a way that makes me uncomfortable,” so instead, they intellectualize their discomfort and come up with a rational reason why there’s something wrong with it like, “Well, Young Thug is a clown,” or “He’s a terrible rapper,” both of which may be true for you, but it’s clear to me that more traditionally masculine rappers don’t catch nearly the same heat for making ‘bad’ music.
My reasoning? Take DMX, a traditionally (almost farcically) masculine rapper who is very outspoken when it comes to issues of gender fluidity. DMX says, “I don’t like anything about Drake. I don’t like his voice. I don’t like what he talks about. I don’t like his face. I don’t like the way he walks. I don’t like his haircut.”
Really, X? Cause you sound ignorant as fuck right now, but that’s beside the point. DMX makes some truly laughable music, and you’re tripping if you don’t think so:
Case in point. I mean, come on: the song is literally called “Bad Boy,” for fuck’s sake. But he’s, like, super loud and angry, so it’s okay, right?
Man, fuck that noise. I’m inclined to believe that bad music is under-vilified when it comes from people who we may perceive as physically intimidating/aggressive. I can see how somebody would enjoy this, however, just as I can see how people enjoy Young Thug. Quality is besides the point in this discussion, and that’s essentially what I’m driving at.
So let’s talk about how Young Thug wearing a dress in public can be perceived as positivity in action. Many children and young adults struggle to find their place in a society that imposes such strict rules on what’s okay and what isn’t because they may feel as if they don’t fit precisely into either polar category, and I’m not just talking about queer/LGBT individuals. The existence and policing of gender roles leads to a great deal of repression, guilt and shame for all of us regardless of whether we’ve ever felt a conscious urge to sport high heels and perform for masses of people.
We shame others for transcending taboos we secretly wish we had the courage to transcend. Otherwise, why are we so obsessed with the sexuality of people we’ve never met? It’s almost as if we project our own guilty feelings onto people that behave in ways that we are too afraid to.
We say we are tolerant of the sexuality of others, but how tolerant are we really? “I am all for gay people loving whoever they want to love and even getting married, but it just grosses me out. I can’t understand it.” In certain instances like this, empathy can be more crucial than solidarity alone. Is this actual empathy, or are you only feigning understanding so that others will see you as some sort of compassionate individual? These are questions we need to be asking ourselves if we hope to see a day where we can feel and think freely without fear of persecution. I thought that was Hip Hop’s aim. When did Hip Hop become so shook?
Anyway, let’s put Hip Hop aside for a moment, because the issue is larger than just Hip Hop. We’re discussing the potential safety and security of individuals who may or may not have positive role models they can identify with, and the fact that a few of these role models can come from Hip Hop, an artistic movement that thwarts virtually all others in terms of global impact and importance at the moment, is perhaps revolutionary.
Most kids coming to terms with their gender or sexuality don’t have parents who will ‘cross dress’ for them in an effort to foster an accepting environment, so something as simple as seeing Young Thug waltz around in a dress and nail polish can leave a lasting impression of self-love and hope.
Michael Arceneaux of Complex wrote a brilliant piece late last Spring about ‘the perceived feminization of Black men in Hip Hop via fashion’ and how he believes that homophobia (which, in his words, is in a deeply committed relationship with misogyny) is the root, underpinning cause of these absurd conspiracy theories within the community:
I would like to think of Lord Jamar as a relic, but I often wrestle with the reality that while the culture has moved forward, the speed is a lot slower than many are willing to admit. It only takes one dumb interview from an insecure rapper or a stroll on a social media timeline to notice.
Ideally, we should get to the point where manhood isn’t based on whether or not you toss on a skirt for the hell of it or a crop top because you want to show off your six-pack—or fuck, just because it’s hot as shit in the desert you’re performing at. It’s a rather juvenile display to cling to these archaic ideas of what makes a man. Manhood isn’t about performance. It ought to be about common decency, individuality, and yes, expressing yourself however you choose to.
But we’ll only reach that point if the people so busy grabbing their dicks all day learn to stop checking under other people’s skirts.
That last sentence should hit every Hip Hop fan like a brick. Clearly, there are some unresolved feelings within not only the Hip Hop community but also society at large concerning sexuality and self-esteem. Is Hip Hop, as we know it to be, still an effective tool for the oppressed, or is it time for a new, truer movement to rise in its wake? It’s time for us to hold ourselves accountable for the widespread homophobia/misogyny that permeates the movement if we truly care about Hip Hop and people as much as we like to say that we do.