Yesterday, I shared the story of rapper Wiz Khalifa saying a stupid and homophobic comment.
Khalifa shared his thoughts on eating bananas, and said that men who bite directly into the fruit are suspect.
While I intended for the article to simply be, “See what stupid thing this one guy said,” I later realized that I had presented the Rap/Hip Hop world wrong.
As I read the Facebook comments for the article and the comments on the actual Instinct site, I realized that some readers were taking away the message, “Rap is homophobic/Rappers are homophobic,” and that’s simply not true.
As such, I’ve collected the below list of Pro-LGBTQ rappers who are openly supporting gay life and love.
Jay Z & Beyonce (If You Count "Apes**t")
When R&B singer Frank Ocean came out as bisexual in 2012, Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé came forward to praise and support him.
Beyoncé posted a picture of Ocean on her website with the caption, “Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave. Be poetic. Be open. Be free. Be yourself. Be in love. Be happy. Be inspiration.” As for Jay Z, he posted an article titled “Thank You, Frank Ocean” on his Life + Time site.
In addition, Jay Z wrote a song titled “Smile” for his 2017 album 4:44 about his mother’s struggle to raise him while living in the closet. He even had his mother feature in the song.
Lastly, Jay Z spoke to CNN back in 2012 when then President Obama shared his support for marriage equality.
“It’s no different than discriminating against blacks,” the rapper said, “It’s discrimination plain and simple. I think it’s the right thing to do, so whether it costs him votes or not – again, it’s not about votes, it’s about people. So whether it costs him votes or not, I think it’s the right thing to do as a human being.”
You may not know Kevin Abstract, but give him time and he may just take over the world. The Corpus Christi, Texas native started getting noticed in the music scene around 2015/2016. At the time, we was working as a solo performer who was open about his bisexuality.
Meanwhile, he was also forming what would later become “the internet’s first boyband.”
Abstract formed a group of singers, rappers, composers, directors, and more through an online forum. Together, they became the group BROCKHAMPTON, which has toured around the United States, released four albums in the past two years, and gained considerate fame in that short time. All while having the bisexual Kevin Abstract as their leader.
Say what you will about Kanye (I certainly would), but he’s been a stable supporter of LGBTQ people for some time now.
Kanye West not only supported Frank Ocean when he came out, but he also helped his wife Kim Kardashian accept Caitlyn Jenner after her very public transition.
As for why Kanye supports LGBTQ people, he says it’s because of the time he realized one of his favorite cousins was gay.
“I would use the word ‘f*g’ and always look down upon gays. But then my cousin told me that another one of my cousins was gay, and I loved him. He's one of my favorite cousins. And at that point it was kind of like a turning point when I was like, ‘Yo, this my cousin, I love him and I been discriminating against gays."
The “OOOUUU” rapper gained popularity in the world of Hip Hop without ever having to hide her sexuality. She says she hopes her openness will help young kids be brave and truly themselves.
“I think it was a point where I was just lost, personally and mentally,” she said during an interview with XXL. “I had just lost my brother and I was holding onto this secret of being gay from my family for a long time. It was just a lot of overwhelming stuff that was coming about.”
Macklemore has continued to be a committed ally for the rap industry, black people, and LGBTQ people.
The rapper has participated Black Lives Matter protests, offered support for his fellow rappers, and spoken out for LGBTQ rights. As for why he’s done the latter, he says it’s because he has family who are gay.
“I grew up with two gay uncles on Capitol Hill. I was always around a community of gay people, as a hip hop artist, it's still a taboo issue," Macklemore said in an interview with Music for Marriage Equality. "That is crazy to me. There's so much fear, and so much of it dates back to religion. I think that we have evolved as a society, and this is our time to create the change that is right."
The Harlem native is a platinum-selling artist who loves fashion. It was that very fact that led him to realize his mistake in his prior worldview.
“I used to be homophobic, but that’s f**ked up," he told Pitchfork. "I had to look in the mirror and say, ‘All the designers I’m wearing are gay.’”
The rapper then doubled down on his support for LGTBQ people in a conversation with Interview Magazine in 2013, where he shared that the hip hop world needs to get over its negative thoughts on homosexuality.
“So now that I’m here and I’ve got a microphone in my hand and about 6,000 people watching me, I need to tell them how I feel,” he said. “For instance, one big issue in hip hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip hop is small-minded or stupid — and that’s not the case.”
He added: “We’ve got people like Jay-Z. We’ve got people like Kanye. We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me. And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.”
You can say what you want about Azealia Banks’s social media presence, but the rapper has helped LGBTQ representation by being openly bisexual.
In fact, it was through Twitter that Banks came out. In 2015, critics were calling Banks a homophobe for using the slur “f****ts” on Twitter. She then responded by saying,
“For f***’s sake, just give the Azealia banks is a homophobe thing a rest because I’m not," she tweeted. "I have a transgender sibling. My whole life is gay. All of my friends are gay, I am bisexual…. So please… Stop.”
Keep in mind, this doesn’t excuse her social media persona or use of anti-gay slurs, but she’s helped create visibility for LGBTQ people in the industry.
Chance the Rapper & Taylor Bennett
This brother duo are also widely supportive of LGBTQ life and people. The main reason being that younger brother Taylor Bennett came out as bisexual on his 21st birthday.
"Growing up I've always felt indifferent about my sexuality & being attracted 2 one sex & today I would like to openly come out to my fans," Taylor wrote on Twitter. "I do recognize myself as a bisexual male & do & have always openly supported the gay community & will keep doing so in 2017. #ThankYou."
Taylor’s older brother Chance, real name Chancelor, then shared that he had no idea about his brother’s sexuality before his coming out, but he expressed his total support afterwards.
“We honestly didn’t talk about it until after he put it out on Twitter… so I think it’s cool he could tell everyone via the Internet and kind of blunt the impact,” said the Grammy-winning rapper to Inquirer.net, “I think what he did was stronger than most people.”
He added, “I kinda just stepped back and… admired him.”
These are just a few of the pro-LGBTQ rappers out there.
While certainly there is still an air of toxic masculinity and homophobia in the musical genre, artists like the ones above are paving the way to change that mentality.