Hip-Hop Comes Out of the Closet at the ’09 OutMusic Awards
Hip-hop was out in full force, quite literally that is, at the 2009 OutMusic Awards held in NYC this past Tuesday at the legendary Webster Hall. The event was presented by the LGBT Recording Academy in partnership with Logo/MTV network. JimmyJazz.com was on hand to check in on the state of LGBT hip-hop. It is a scene that is emerging into the mainstream very slowly but surely thanks to the persistence of LGBT urban artists and their straight allies in the mainstream such as Kanye West, who earlier this year criticized his peers for their homophobia.
For Pony Zion, the lead choreographer/dancer of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew,” team finalist, Vogue Evolution, eliminating homophobia is crucial to fully integrating LGBT artists into the hip-hop scene.
“We should be further out there than we are. If there was less homophobia and more focus on talent then BET, MTV and Logo could unite on more projects. There are some things we can’t do ‘cause of homophobia,” he said.
Former American Idol finalist and openly gay R&B recording artist, Anwar Robinson agrees that homophobia is still a major barrier but is even more challenging for his fellow R&B/soul artists.
“With R&B there is a heterosexual romanticism which makes it a lot more difficult because they immediately link it to appealing to females,” he said.
The issue of homophobia was quite timely considering the new controversial lyrics from rapper, Eminem. This is not Eminem’s first time coming under fire in the LGBT community for homophobic lyrics. This time around he has targeted American Idol alumni and pop stars, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert and former N’Sync member, Lance Bass. In his new song, “Elevator” Eminem raps:
Sorry Lance, Mr. Lambert and Aiken ain’t gonna make it/They get so mad when I call them both fake/It’s all these f****** voices in my head, I can’t take it…”
Many are suggesting that the phrase “fake/It's” sounds phonetically like "faggots." In response to the rapper’s latest controversy famed gossip columnist of the Village Voice, Michael Musto had a few choice words for Eminem.
“From the beginning I’ve been one of the few people saying Eminem may be brilliant but he is homophobic. We have to stop making excuses. I was really angry when Elton John did that duet with him at the Grammy’s and made it okay to like Eminem. I think he really has a problem and he needs to just take it up the a** and get over it,” he said.
Overcoming homophobia is one of the most challenging issues facing the LGBT urban music community, but many left the awards show feeling uplifted and inspired that with a lot more hard work LGBT artists will soon find mainstream acceptance.
“It’s revolutionary and much awaited. There are so many different audiences for our music and it's time for it. People don’t realize it’s happening but this is the revolution,” said Anwar.
For more information please visit: www.outmusic.com