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Thank You, Kanye West

KanyewestKanye West says that finding out his cousin was gay opened his eyes to the homophobia present in hip-hop culture and the rapper called upon other artists to end the intolerance in a recent interview with MTV. "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.'"

Added West: "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.'" Thanks Kanye.

There are many people out there that will say they don't know any homosexuals. As this demonstrates, we are your cousins, your friends, your co-workers, your family. Visibility and coming out matters. Kanye West's words would never have been uttered had his cousin kept his sexuality to himself.

Kanye West Calls for End to Gay Bashing [ap]
(thanks jeremy, eddie)

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Comments

  1. That's great good for him.

    PS
    Comments are kind of light today maybe you need to show another Hottie to generate some action

    Posted by: Donald | Aug 18, 2005 2:35:38 PM


  2. Shows how important coming out is even in 2005. I just reconnected with an old high school friend - as straight and macho as you can imagine - who makes a point of calling people on homophobic BS, and even helped talk a guy through coming out. He said that before I came out to him in high school that he was completely homophobic, and that having gay friends was all he needed to change his mind. Small action, coming out, but always a large reaction.

    Posted by: ryan | Aug 18, 2005 3:04:26 PM


  3. A standing ovation for West, all the more important because he is going against the tide of the most homophobic stream in popular music (yes, there are the Jamaicans but Beenie Bitch sells bumpkus compared to West et al.), and a deep and wide vein of homophobia among Blacks generally.

    And, while we're at it, send some good thoughts Coretta Scott King's way, who just had a stroke. There are few icons of any stripe who have been willing to stand up for us, and she is one of the tallest and fullest of grace.

    Posted by: Leland | Aug 18, 2005 7:58:12 PM


  4. This is fucking awesome! I'm pretty excited by the news. I hope they parade this all over MTV and BET. I'll get people the thinking.

    I remember 50 Cent saying that he didn't like to be around gay men because he wasn't comfortable with what they're thinking. Why do so many straight men think their so great and attractive?

    Posted by: Damon | Aug 18, 2005 9:03:15 PM


  5. Ugh, I still don't care for Kanye. I have seen way too many interviews where he boasts about himself.

    Posted by: Britt | Aug 18, 2005 11:25:55 PM


  6. i tink 50 is realy insecure i mean who cares what gay men think of i mean its not like str8 men arent any better...

    Posted by: josh | Aug 19, 2005 10:22:55 AM


  7. Sasha Frere-Jones, who zeros in on West's "high-octane ego" in this week's New Yorker magazine, says among other things:

    "If West is the first to tell you how great he is, he is just as quick to tell you that he is simply insecure. Who doesn't understand that?"

    I'll overlook a lot from someone who knows where he is with Jon Brion and can go somewhere with the torn-silk texture of Chaka Khan's voice.

    Posted by: BAZ | Aug 19, 2005 10:28:27 AM


  8. Now, If he would say he was BI we would finally have the truth!

    Posted by: medeastrawberry345 | Aug 19, 2005 11:29:32 AM


  9. If someone does not approve of the homosexual life-style they do not have a phobia they have an opinion.

    Posted by: Thomas | Aug 19, 2005 1:15:43 PM


  10. Not just an opinion but an irrational one at that.

    Posted by: Damon | Aug 19, 2005 2:15:04 PM


  11. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Kanye West's words are long overdue from a visibly famous member of the Hip-Hop community. But sadly, I suspect most rappers still would not have the "balls" to utter Kanye's words verbatim and mean it! Most in the Hip-Hop world are still 10 to 20 years behind in terms of dealing with the staggering rate of AIDS\HIV infection among young African-American Heterosexuals...so I know they're about 30 years behind in dealing with their fellow African-American Homosexuals. Hip-Hop, in case anyone is unaware, is fundamentally synonomous with blatantly expressed homophobia.

    Posted by: Kermit | Aug 20, 2005 2:33:06 PM


  12. i dont think that it should have taken his cousin to be gone to convince him not to discriminate. kinda makes ya think that people only do things when it hit close to home. such as those who lost lives and therefore they start helping or giving to those organizations AFTER they have had a tragic lost.

    i am not saying this isnt a good thing, but people should do things from the bottom of their heart and do it because that is the right thing to do and that it is done unconditionally.

    give and receive freely.

    Posted by: vic | Aug 20, 2005 3:44:57 PM


  13. Kanye's not the first to speak out against homophobia in hip-hop. A rapper by the name of Common (who ironically collaborated extensively with West on his recent album, Be) dealt with some of his own issues with homophobia with this verse on the song "Between Me, You, and Liberation" from 2002's Electric Circus:

    He spoke with his eyes, tear-filled
    A lump in his throat, his fear built
    My whole life it was in steel
    This ain't the way that men feel
    A feeling, he said he wish he could kill
    A feeling, not even time could heal
    This is how real life's supposed to be?
    For it to happen to someone close to me?
    So far we'd come, for him to tell me
    As he did, insecurity held me
    I felt like he failed me
    To the spirit, yelled help me
    I'd known him for like what seemed forever
    About going pro we dreamed together
    Never knew it would turn out like this
    For so long he tried to fight this
    Now there was no way for him to ignore it
    His parents found out and hated him for it
    How could I judge him? Had to accept him if I truly loved him
    No longer he said had he hated himself
    Through sexuality he liberated himself

    Posted by: B.C. | Aug 21, 2005 9:21:54 PM


  14. I've now seen the full MTV interview with Kanye West twice and I'm really struck with the social and moral introspection behind how he came to his position.

    Kanye talks about how he (and a generation of African American men) have been raised in a predominately female atmosphere. As young boys grow up without adequate father figures, they have to really struggle to define who they are, and what it means to be a Man. Because there are few positive role models, they end up with an idea of Man that is simply anti-feminine. What is "gay" is less about homosexuality than about masculinity and femininity.

    [Not to get off the Kanye topic, but you see this sort of thing, too, in the down low culture. There's a predominance of wanting to still be a thug, which is a sort of caricature of masculinity.]

    After Kanye traces the roots of hip hop homophobia, he goes into a moral argument equating discrimination against gays with racial discrimination. His point is that hip hop sets itself up as the voice of anti-discrimination, and yet finds that value in conflict when the community targets another social group. He then calls for those who are with him, who support him, to follow his example and stop persecuting gays. It's a really a pretty remarkable example of introspection and moral development. I was so, so impressed when I saw it, not only because of his thoughts but because of how personally and compellingly he talked about his new position.

    As someone who loves hip hop but hates the homophobia and gender discrimination that run rampant in it, I was moved by Kanye's strong and secure move for leadership on this issue. I'm going to see KW perform tonight at the VMA's and I CAN'T WAIT!!

    Posted by: Amanda | Aug 28, 2005 1:25:18 PM


  15. Kanye's gorgeous, it's awesome that fact he came out and defended gays! I DEF. think he has some sexuality issues of his own he needs to conquer, he has to be at least bi. Just read some interviews he's given and you can tell. I applaud him, and hope that more rappers follow in his path!

    Posted by: Cezar | Aug 28, 2005 10:52:12 PM


  16. Last night, very accidentally, I turned to NBC and saw the live where Kanye West slams Bush. I can understand his reaction. And it connects me back to his remarks about gay people.

    That's good. but MY QUESTION IS: Isn't your "turning point" a little bit too late? Mr. West?

    That's exactly what happens to your black brothers and sisters, because too many people like you, Mr. West, needs to wait to a "turning point" to find out they are discriminating against some group of people.

    How ironic! All I want to say to Mr. Kanye West is: hey, YO ARE SLOW TOO

    Posted by: sam | Sep 3, 2005 4:13:30 PM


  17. Funny...How Kanye West can throw a jab at President Bush...I don't see his Black Butt down there passing out water...offering to shelter Black People...in FACT...he is just using the 'suffering' of the Hurricane Victims for his own personal media attention...I bet he hasn't even open up his wallet....YOUR A MORON Kanye West...YOU RIDE IN THE SAME CAR WITH JESSE JACKSON AND ALL THE OTHER BLACK POLITICIANS THAT MAKE THIS A WHITE/BLACK ISSUE...ITS ABOUT PEOPLE...YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT I HOPE..UNLESS GAYS AREN'T PEOPLE ALSO

    Posted by: De Man | Sep 4, 2005 11:09:13 AM


  18. How absurb of Kanye. The Black Politians are so quick to blame and when its all said and done with, facts will show that its the Blacks that are to be blamed. The Mayor of New Orleans put greed,casinos,money ahead of the peoples welfare. Jesse Jackson and the other Blacks who only poke their heads out 'after the fact' and seem to do really nothing 'phyically' but yap their rap and do make things a white/black issue will only piss off Blacks/Whites to find the real reason. That its the Black Politicians that exploit the "Black/White issue for their own monetary gains....its not the white race robbing,raping,looting their own people..but do they care to comment on that reason.

    Posted by: Jethro | Sep 4, 2005 11:34:34 AM


  19. NEW ORLEANS-AP - Police shot eight people carrying guns on a New Orleans bridge Sunday, killing five or six of them, a deputy chief said.

    Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said the shootings took place on the Danziger Bridge, which spans a canal connecting Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River.

    I WONDER WHAT COLOR THEY WERE KANYE...YOU THINK THEY WERE SHOT BECAUSE OF LACK OF CARE!...OR MAYBE SOME WHITE OFFICERS NEEDED TARGET PRACTISE....OR MAYBE THE REAL REASON IS THEY ARE BLACK ASS RAPIST,LOOTERS OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE...I WISH YOUR BLACK ASS WAS ON THAT BRIDGE TOO.

    Posted by: Ralph | Sep 4, 2005 6:13:45 PM


  20. I would like to congratulate Kanye West for taking a courageous stand against hatred and prejudice in America. As a teacher, I see bullish assaults and hear the hateful remarks everyday on the playground, in the gym, in the hallways, and most other places around the school against our gay students. I can't thank you enough for taking your stand. It will only help gay students who have been victims of this hateful type of peer pressure.

    Posted by: Teacher | Sep 12, 2005 7:27:07 PM


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