Hip Hop

Catching Up With Hip Hop Artist And Actor Milan Christopher On The Red Carpet

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Handsome, hunky actor and hip hop artist Milan Christopher had a lot to say about equality, LGBT youth, racism and homophobia at the recent Vanguard Awards, the annual star-studded fundraiser for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Your single and video “When I Go,” shed light on the bullying of LGBTQ youth. Can you tell us why you wrote and released that song?

Originally the song that I wrote was about leaving a relationship and making sure when you leave a relationship, you take everything with you that you brought to the relationship. That’s what it was about originally.

But the music video that I got an award for is about LGBT suicide. So I ended up changing the whole visuals for the music video because I thought it was really important to cover something that a lot of the LGBT children and youth are going through. 

The number one cause of death for LGBT youth is suicide. I wanted to make sure that I put visuals and impact and importance on that issue.

 

 

I’ve heard from other gay black men that it’s very challenging to deal with racism in the mainstream culture, but also with homophobia within the African-American community

Absolutely.

Can you speak to that a bit?

I was on a TV show, Love & Hip Hop and one of the biggest issues being on a television show with a demographic that is normally...[where] homosexuality is a defamation, is that they’re very homophobic. Because in our churches and our community, being a man, being a strong black man, is very important.

And when you’re LGBT you’re looked at as being effete or effeminate. So it’s kinda like tug of war. It’s very important to know that in our community [homosexuality is seen as] a bad thing. If you can perceive that, and get past that and be successful, then I’m all for it.

There’s so many different walls that are trying to keep you from being successful.

You say ‘our community.’ Can you define that?

Just being LGBT, or being black in the LGBT community. I think we’re all one community, [but] specifically in the black LGBT community, it’s harder.

I can’t speak for the white folks because I’m not white. But in my community, where I grew up, it was very hard. You have to be very careful. You have to be very cognizant of your surroundings...because as soon as someone knows you’re gay, they think you’re weak. And you’re a target.

If you think about what’s going on in our society and culture today...if you could wave a magic wand and affect social change in any way you wanted...what would you do?

Wow...I would love to see equality. I would love to see justice for all of the people that are dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect us, the police. I would just love to see everybody just be happy. We only have one life, that I know of, and I think it’s very important that you live it the way you wanna live it, and you’re happy while you’re doing it.

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South Korea Is Getting Its First Openly Gay Singer

Credit: Hannah Gwenn

South Korea is about to get its first openly gay singer and no one knows how he’ll be received.

MRSHLL (born Marshall Bang) is a Korean-American singer who’s found his home in South Korea, and preparing for the release of his first EP in the country this fall.

Originally from Texas, Marshall grew up deeply rooted in Christianity as his mother is a minister.

As such, it was pretty hard for MRSHLL when he came out as gay. And recently it has become even harder now that he has become more public about his sexuality (to the point that he hasn’t talked to his mother in months).

“I adore my mother,” says Bang told Forbes,  “She’s an incredible, strong woman but her and my dad don't have the context for what it means to be gay. They come from a community that doesn't talk or want to know about this topic, but I get where they are coming from, and I'm going to continue to have conversations and try to get through.”

And the problems with acceptance will only continue as Bang tries to make it in South Korea.

"I thought about it extensively," says MRSHLL, "I asked all my friends and went over and over again whether I should come out from the get-go, or wait later in my career. I was worried that I might be typecast as the resident gay artist, but at the end I was like, 'I’m gonna do me beau.'"

MORE: Kpop Star Hansol from Topp Doogg Came Out As Asexual

You see, South Korea is still struggling with its understanding of LGBTQ people. While the country is conscious of their existence, many still don’t have names and faces to associate with LGBTQ people (or at least don’t know that they do).

In fact, there are still very few out celebrities in the South Korean entertainment business. And, the South Korean government is not helping matters with the military opening targeting gay men and the newly elected president saying he'll have nothing to do with LGBTQ issues.

As such, MRSHLL would be the first openly gay singer in the country and has stated that he won't stray from talking about LGBTQ life.

"My song 'Dopamine' literally has a line saying: ‘This is for my gays,'" MRSHLL confessed, "It's a song about empowerment for the LGBTIQ community, and it features a narration from the one and only Kim Chi from Season 8 of 'Ru Paul's Drag Race.'”

Luckily though, MRSHLL has found acceptance and family in his new record label.

Feel Ghood Music is a record label that’s known for collecting “kyopo” singers (or Korean singers hailing from other countries), and it seems that MRSHLL has found a home there.

"I was working in music video production, and I was already starting to know people in the industry. I was invited to this event, and at the after party, a karaoke machine was brought out, and I decided to sing Boyz II Men's 'It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.' Then, Tasha aka Yoon Mi-rae came up to me, complemented my singing, and we just became friends starting from then onward. She has been especially supportive," he recounted.

And now with the support of his label and several foreign fans, he is quickly moving on to his musical debut. But, the question is will South Korea accept him.

In addition, there’s also the question of will people accept him for himself and his music or because he is a gay singer. We admit that the reason he has popped onto our radar is because of his sexuality, but its his voice that’s had us stay to see what becomes of him.

What about you?

H/t: Forbes