Back in 2005, Kanye West addressed the challenges and issues of Gay Rights and homophobia in the Hip-hop world, a topic that we, unfortunately, still face today.
In this interview with MTV News, the Kanye West and Sway Calloway go into a deeper, more profound discourse over the topic of homophobia and how it is seen and expressed in the Hip-hop world.
West, though he fronts the over-luxurious and ego-maniacal rap deity to his fans and the general public, he actually has always had a very eloquent and thoughtful mind. In this 3 minutes and 32 seconds video of the Old Kanye, we hear him speak about his own realization of how inappropriately and unfairly gays are viewed and displayed through Rap and Hip-hop. He goes on to then explain how he had been a part of that oblivious and inconsiderate group that made him so heartless to the minority. Only until he had his own connection to the gay community did he understand that there was no room or need for judgement.
Almost over 10 years ago, Kanye West took a massive stance for the world by attempting to ban the negativity behind the words from Hip-hop.
Kanye himself, stood up for Caitlyn Jenner when she was going through her transformation, stating:
“Look, I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I can have the most beautiful little daughter in the world, and I have that. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself, they don’t mean anything.”
In the video, if you look at him, he genuinely is trying to think about the whole situation, and how very wrong it is. He recalls walking in high school and how people would tease and bully him for being gay if he ever wore and did something that people thought was “weird.” He described how he used to be picked on for being a “mama’s boy” which then grew into homophobic slurs like “fag” or gay,” which he would then mimic back.
West said, “it made me kind of homophobic, because I would go back and question myself, like damn why doesn’t anybody else walk like that, ‘cuz I walk like this, and they walk like this…” His voice elevates as he brings up the serious fact about bullying and how it pushes people to hide from themselves because of the negative connotation to stigmatized personas that society doesn’t wish to accept.
He realized that being a part of the Hip-hop community, “thugged” him out; in other words, it made him harsher and colder to and more detached from the idea of people liking the same sex. “Everybody in hip -hop discriminates against gay people, to me that’s one of the standards of Hip-hop,” he tells Sway. He found himself using words like “fag” and “gay” consistently and constantly whenever he wanted to say something was per se Whack.
In this candid discussion between West and Sway, West wants to get to the bottom of this deep-rooted homophobia. He admits that It wasn’t until he realized his own cousin was gay that West changed his tune and mindset. “It was a turning point when I was like, ‘Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I’ve been discriminating against gays.’”
It all started to click then, and how these words were being used in “opposite” in Hip-hop music. After thinking for a few moments, he continues to tell MTV, what could be one of the most significant statements he could profess:
“This is hip-hop. The genre has always been about “speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people,” he gets flustered here by the man, who seems to want to throw him off. West pleads to give him a chance to get this off his chest and then says “I wanna just come on TV and just … tell my rappers, tell my friends ‘Yo stop it fam…just stop all that.’”
The best of all of this, is the fact that he calls upon Hip-hop to look back at their roots and see where it began. It started as a form of freedom from discrimination. It was the cry to end all suffering through the voice of music and rap. To discriminate and prey upon another minority to only seem bigger and better is to only defeat the purpose of their cause. That is what Ye wanted to bring to light, the real values of which Hip-hop was founded upon.
Nevertheless, we are finding that Hip-hop has been trying to take a turn for the better for these communities of people who deserve love and support. They have always deserved it, even before the Orlando shootings.
From such provocative and egalitarian songs like Macklemore’s “Same Love,” or Angel Haze’s “Candlxs,” or even Lil B’s I’m Gay album. It seems that Kanye West’s message influenced quite a few people in the music industry, as such words have now been used less often and conversations of negativity towards these people, like any other people, have been diminishing. In that moment, Kanye West became one of the first hip-hop heads to truly come out against homophobia.