Category: breaking stereotypes

Gay Rappers Breaking Stereotypes

In “Four Gay Weddings and a Funeral” I parodied a few things I rarely ever see in films or books. One of them was the entire wedding concept and how it can become frustrating for people (men) sometimes, and the other had to do with rap music. I’ve posted before about how much I love rap music, and how I would rather suffer the worst torture imaginable than listen to either show tunes or polka music.

It’s just my own personal taste, and I often get frustrated when all gay men are shoved into a box and expected to like certain types of music…or entertainment in genreal. (I’m not fond of piano bar either; makes me gag) So at one of the gay weddings in my book, FGWaaF, I provided rap music as the entertainment for a gay wedding. I even wrote a few rap lyrics myself, which was something I’d always wanted to do. That’s not only parody to me, that’s wishful thinking. I’ve never been to a wedding with nothing but rap music and would love to go to one.

I also just read a few interesting articles in mainstream print magazines about openly gay rappers. These artists are making changes in ways I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. And I couldn’t be more thrilled because I’m such a huge fan of rap.

The hip-hop community is largely dominated by heterosexual men who boast about their sexual conquests with women and their aggressive stereotypically masculine worldview. This is something that isn’t new to the genre, but it doesn’t leave much room for a new point of view in the art of rap storytelling. With the buzz growing around openly gay rap duo, The Freaky Boiz, though, old school hip-hop heads may have to start becoming more open-minded.

And it’s about time. This particular article goes on to mention more details about The Freaky Boiz and what they are doing, and how they are changing things. You can read more here.

Snoop Dog has made comments on how he feels about gay rappers, here.

“People are learning how to live and get along more, and accept people for who they are and not bash them or hurt them because they’re different,” Snoop said.
He commented on how times have changed from when he was first on the come-up in the rap game. “When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that,” Snoop said of Ocean. “There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step (forward) to support you because that’s what we were brainwashed and trained to know.”

It’s nice to see him supporting young gay artists this way. It’s nice to see him speak up and talk about how the genre is evolving and moving into the future. For those who don’t “get” rap music, there’s an artistic story-telling quality to it that I’ve always loved. I also like the fact that it pushes buttons and gets people to think while they are listening to music. Its roots go way back, and very deep.

If you didn’t hear Le1F’s single, “Wut,” this summer, you may want to put down the polka doodle doos and show tunes and see what’s really happening in other parts of the gay community. He’s going to places where most artists wouldn’t have been allowed to go twenty years ago. He’s doing it in a sensationalized way, which I’m sure is to get attention, but at the same time he’s breaking traditional stereotypes with respect to rap music in general.

 He sashays around in a pair of purple Daisy Dukes and he twirls the long ends of his hat like pigtails. Le1f is a rapper who is openly gay.

It hasn’t been easy either:

When it comes to the wrath he’s incurred from the Internet’s crazies, his attitude is simple. “I’m kind of into it now that it’s about me, to be honest.”

Frank Ocean discussed his “Brokeback Mountain” relationship earlier this summer.

Frank Ocean has finally addressed mounting speculation over his sexuality by revealing that his first love was a man.

The US singer and rapper has become the first male hip-hop star to open up about his sexual orientation.

I couldn’t find a link to a letter he wrote, but here’s a link where you can read the letter. Very poignant words.

These are interesting times in which we’re living. Another thing that often frustrates me is the lack of multi-cultural stories within the gay fiction/romance genre. I’ve written several stories with main characters who are of African descent. Before I met Tony, I dated a man of African descent and it might have lasted if he hadn’t been so closeted and afraid to be who he really was. That happened over twenty years ago and we were both very young. I also remember a man of African descent when I was growing up in a small southern NJ town at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which is considered the “gateway to the south.” We had a strong southern infulence there, with streets that had names like “Virginia Avenue,” and even when I was a child in the 70’s and 80’s men of African descent did NOT come out of the closet. But we all knew this guy was gay. He wore purple suits and a hat made out of a Clorox bottle. He walked with a swish and spoke with a lisp. They found him dead one night behind a bar and no one ever found out who killed him. It was one of those small town cover-ups.

The Brett Easton Ellis Firestorm Continues…

Although you will see nothing about this in the mainstream, especially with all the news going on with regard to Paul Ryan being chosen to run alongside Mitt Romney, the firestorm that Brett Easton Ellis has created continues to blossom…and with a very interesting remarks by Ellis.

In this article Ellis makes comments about Hollywood and gays:

“Hollywood is the most homophobic place in the entire world,” he tweeted early Wednesday. “Why Brokeback Mountain was a hit was because it starred two beautiful actors instead of two real ugly characters from the story. Producers.”

Ellis added, “I think Matt Bomer is incredibly handsome and a good actor but I think he comes off totally gay in White Collar. And that is why no to CG.”

I didn’t see White Collar yet so I can’t comment in that. But I can’t help thinking about how many films I’ve seen where I wondered if the actor was gay or straight. My point being is that it’s getting harder and harder to tell who is gay or straight these days. Which means we’re *caring* a lot less about who is gay or straight. The only thing we care about is whether or not the actor did a good job. Unfortunately, those in Hollywood don’t seem to be getting the message.

I wasn’t a fan of “Brokeback Mountain” for many reasons, one of which had to do with the fact that I saw serious fundamental flaws in the story and the film that should not have happened…and would have been very simple to fix. But I do think that both actors in the lead roles did a wonderful job. In fact, they were so good in the film it compensated for the fundamental flaws in the script and basic story.

It’s also interesting to note that according to this article, the film version of 50 Shades isn’t even happening at this point.

The screenwritier, best known for—wait for it—controversial films like American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction, took to Twitter to vent about Matt Bomer possibly being cast in the upcoming film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, which, at this point, is just wishful thinking by fans.

It’s difficult to argue with some of the points that Brett Ellis makes, with regard to how Hollywood treats gays. I often feel as if we’re at the point now with the LGBT community where Hollywood (and publishing) was back in the 1940’s when all characters and actors of African descent were portrayed in stereotypical ways. It might not be as bad, but it’s just as insulting and I often see things that make me cringe with regard to how gay men are represented, not to mention the lack of authenticity.

But the only way that’s going to change is to let someone like Matt Bomer play a lead role in something like a possible film version of 50 Shades. Now that’s what I would call breaking the mold and moving forward.

Digital Publishing In Russia…

The first article I’m linking to about e-books in Russia is about a year old, but I think it’s still relevant. I’ve received a lot of the same feeback from my Russian readers (and readers in other eastern European countries) and in many ways I can sympathize with them.

This next article is even more interesting. It’s from a blog titled “Thoughts on Digital Publishing,” and this time it breaks some of the stereotypes about digital publishing in Russia.

I wish I could comment more on the topic. But all I know is what I hear from my Russian readers first hand. And speaking from an ethical standpoint, I’d never repeat anything personal anyone has said to me.

I value the opinions of readers, and I hope they continue to contact me and let me know more about what they want, knowing that I respect their need to remain anonymous. I’m especially interested in what readers in Russia and other eastern European countries think about e-books.

I will say this. The most interesting thing about e-books in Russia is that the concerns aren’t very different from the concerns about e-books in the US, which includes fair prices, quality content, and the ability to share the same way they would share print books.