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Kanye West disses homophobia in hip-hop

Someone in hip-hop finally calls for a halt to the madness. Gay-bashing has been a popular elements of the genre, going hand-in-hand with the hypermasculinity promoted in the music.

Kanye West says “gay” has become an antonym to hip-hop — and that it needs to be stopped. During an interview for an MTV special, the 27-year-old rapper launched into a discussion about hip-hop and homosexuality while talking about “Hey Mama,” a song on his upcoming album, “Late Registration.”

West says that when he was young, people would call him a “mama’s boy.”

And what happened was, it made me kind of homophobic, ’cause it’s like I would go back and question myself,” West says on the show, “All Eyes on Kanye West,” set to air Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET). West says he changed his ways, though, when he learned one of his cousins was gay. “It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, `Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I’ve been discriminating against gays.'”

West says hip-hop was always about “speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people.” He adds that in slang, gay is “the opposite, the exact opposite word of hip-hop.” Kanye’s message: “Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, `Yo, stop it.‘”

The double-edged sword, of course, is that West only came to this conclusion that homo-hating was wrong when he found out someone close to him was gay. Be that as it may, it is also the shining path toward reaching people like West.

Gay people, especially queer folks of color, need to come out. It’s the only way to effect change, and it’s the last thing the AmTaliban wants us to do — they want all of us back in the closet, tightly padlocked, in an “ex-gay” camp, or six feet under.

Will other artists in the genre “come out” against hate?

Hat tip to Shakes Sis.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding