Football Stud Brendon Ayanbadejo Writes Article Telling NFL To Provide Support So First Openly Gay Athlete Can Come Out!!
Ex-Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo continues to fight for same-sex marriage rights in the US.
APR 22, 2013 2:31 PM ET
Brendon Ayanbadejo is a 10-year NFL veteran who last played with the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens and is a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage rights. In August 2012, Maryland state delegate Emmett Burns Jr. wrote an open letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti requesting Ayanbadejo cease and desist all public support of marriage equality after Ayanbadejo donated Ravens tickets to help fundraise for marriage equality in Maryland. A law allowing same-sex marriages in the state eventually passed in late 2012 and took effect Jan. 1.
While the equality treadmill under most of our feet is moving at a high rate of speed, I would imagine this journey is not traveling fast enough for many Americans whose lives are directly impacted by the possibility of change.
Consider tennis hall of famer Billie Jean King, who was outed in 1981 when her relationship with another woman became public, and Greg Louganis, the four-time Olympic gold medal-winning American diver, who came out some seven years after King.
With more than 55 years combined of public scrutiny of their sexuality, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts some federal marriage benefits to only opposite-sex couples, and Prop 8, California’s state law restricting same-sex marriage can’t come soon enough for these two American heroes and California residents who have forever shaped the face of their respective sports.
Yet, we still have such a long journey ahead of us. Draconian policies such as “don’t ask, don’t tell” are a thing of the past, and with the quickly approaching U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8 in June, it appears as if we are on the precipice of a more progressive and accepting America.
It is quite hard to fathom that, in two years, we have nearly doubled the amount of states that have legalized marriage equality. In this time, New York, Maryland, Maine and Washington have approved same-sex marriage, bringing the total number of states that allow it to nine, as well as the District of Columbia.
Equal marriage rights are on the radar for Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and nine other states by the end of 2014. A March 2013 FOX News poll on same-sex marriage shows that 49 percent of Americans believe in same-sex marriage while 46 percent are in opposition. Support is up 32 percent from 2003.
From the opening kickoff to the Super Bowl, the best NFL action is on FOX. See the full NFL on FOX schedule.
While LGBTQ Americans can bravely and proudly serve our country in battle and even die protecting our freedom overseas, it is still perfectly legal in 29 states, to fire someone because he or she is a part of the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ Americans do not, under DOMA, currently have any federal rights. There are so many things wrong with this picture. And, as many of us openly support and fight for equal rights in this community, we are also left asking ourselves questions about why many who identify as LGBT or Q are still so hesitant to join the fight.
Brittney Griner came out on Thursday, saying people should “just be who you are.” But being who you are in the four major professional sports isn’t accepted.
When will a male athlete come out in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL?
Even as it appears American pop culture is ready to accept a gay male athlete, the stratified sporting culture might not be quite as keen on the idea of our favorite NFL player scoring touchdowns on Sundays and celebrating in Chelsea (NYC) or Hillcrest (San Diego) on Sunday nights with his boys after a hard-fought victory.
I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with it.
Corporate America doesn’t, either.
It’s time to plan work and family weddings as the NFL releases the dates and times for this year’s games.
Corporate America is frothing at the mouth, waiting for a gay superstar to take the sporting culture by the reins. Companies such as Levi’s, American Airlines, Google, and Starbucks are huge money makers, but also morality moguls in corporate America, having been rated in the top LGBTQ friendly corporations.
And just like the infamous “Bo knows” marketing campaign by Nike, I could also see a sneaker and apparel giant backing a superstar athlete with a “gay is great” campaign.
Make no mistake, the LGBTQ community’s buying power is something corporate America is keeping its eye on. The overall spending power of this growing demographic is projected to be well over $2 trillion in 2013, by some estimations.
I personally have stopped patronizing all retailers that are not LGBTQ friendly. Not only are these corporations losing out on LGBTQ dollars, but also straight dollars from family and friends of the LGBTQ community.
The most important company yet to weigh in on the issue of gays in sports is the NFL itself.
The NFL is the most popular and most-watched sport in the U.S., capturing some 59 percent of the entire U.S. population as viewers. With 1,696 players on its opening day rosters, the NFL is also the largest professional sports league in North America.
The NHL has 690 players; the NBA has 450 players; and MLB has 750 players total on its 25-man rosters, for a total of 1,890 professional athletes.
The lowest estimations say that about three percent of the population at large is gay. If you extrapolate that number across these 3,586 pro athletes, that would equate to 107 or 108 professional gay athletes, with 50 or 51 of them in the NFL.
Yet to this day we still have not heard of an athlete coming out during his playing career in any of our four professional sports. The NHL has a leg up on the other three leagues because of its alliance with the “You Can Play Foundation” that supports LGBTQ athletes.
The other three leagues have a faint footprint, or none at all, in supporting or aligning with a LGBTQ organization.
What are they waiting for?
If we hope to close one of the last closets in America, I would call upon the NFL to be proactive and align with an LGBTQ organization, something that it has not done publicly yet.
When the NFL does take such action, maybe players will be more at liberty to feel not only that they can be themselves at the workplace, but also that their employer has their best interest at heart and not just the bottom line. I would even argue that profits would increase if there were a gay player on the roster. At the end of the day, I have played with several gay athletes in my tenure with the NFL. I just didn’t know it!
Is African Economist Dambisa Moyo’s Weave Hurting Her Message About African Emancipation From Neocolonialism?
Some Africans are very upset that economist Dambisa Moyo is rocking a weave. Weave politics is a very important issue in the African Disapora.
Dambisa Moyo she is an intelligent, glamorous, Zambian born economist. I think it is wonderful that an African woman is speaking up about African economics and politics.
I respect Dambisa Moyo, her educational credentials cannot be disputed. Ms. Moyo is an expert on the topic of economics and that’s why I believe her book “Dead Aid” is a very important book.
Ms. Moyo’s accomplishments are very impressive, she has a doctorate degree in economics from Oxford University, she also holds a MBA degree from Harvard. In addition, Ms. Moyo holds a MBA in finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from American University in Washington D.C.
For centuries, the social constructions of African womanhood has been very negative. African women have been dehumanized since slavery that they are not beautiful, sexually desirable, or feminine.
Of course, black women have challenged the racism, patriarchy, and misogyny. Black women are beautiful, sexually desirable and feminine.
However, the discourse is, black women must conform to whiteness in order to be palatable to the mainstream culture.
Weave politics is a very serious issue. For instance, a few years ago a white female Glamour Magazine editor criticized black women that wear the afro and other natural hair styles such as twists and braids.
Some black women have been fired from their jobs and encountered employment discrimination for not wearing weaves or getting perms to straighten their hair.
Black men we have it easy, we can just walk into a barber shop get a hair cut for twenty dollars and that’s it. For black women, hair is a controversial issue
and yes hair has an impact on the lives of black women and black families.
Some African women believe they must conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty in order to be successful in society. For instance, in the pop culture, Tyra Banks, Beyonce, Venus & Serena Williams, are examples of beautiful black women yet they all wear weaves.
The question remains, why do black women wear weaves when they have their own “natural hair?”
The American pop star John Mayer’s racist and misogynist comments in Playboy Magazine about black women presents a modern example of this dehumanization of black women.
Mayer’s comments attempt to separate black women from their rightful place in femininity. The subliminal messages of Mayer’s comments are that white women are more feminine than black women.
Dambisa Moyo she criticizes white pop stars Madonna, Bono, and Bob Geldof as being “white saviours”. She believes the white celebrities intentions for the African continent are racist and not altruistic.
However, another point to consider is, isn’t Dambisa Moyo also dishonest?
Hair is an important symbol of what a person thinks of herself . A hair style is a presentation, it is an image a person presents to the world.
However, I wonder if some of the complaints about Ms. Moyo’s weave are sexist? After all, why are people paying close attention to Dambisa’s Moyo’s appearance? Should it matter that Dambisa Moyo wears a weave?
Ms. Moyo she wears this brown mop on her head yet it appears to me her mind is still colonized. For instance, Mary J Blige and Beyonce are hypocritical, they construct this image that they are strong black women yet they wear blonde weaves. Mary J Blige and Beyonce are conforming to Eurocentirc standards of beauty. I feel that blonde weaves are not a good look on black women. I believe blonde weaves reinforce images that black women are conforming to white standards of beauty.
Now, for people who don’t know “weave politics” I suggest you watch Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair.”
A weave is basically hair, it can be “real hair” which is more expensive or “processed hair”.
A woman can purchase the weave from a store or hair salon and a professional styles the hair to make the weave appear to appear authentic.
Some Africans, believe Ms. Moyo is very hypocritical, that her weave distrupts and blurs her polemical book. Some critics charge Ms. Moyo she is sending mixed messages.
For instance, in Dambisa Moyo’s book “Dead Aid”,she says that African countries must become independent from the Occident. Her argument is the Occidental countries should cut off foreign aid within ten years. According to Ms. Moyo, foreign aid does not allow African economies to grow and be independent from neocolonialism .
Ms. Moyo argues that foreign aid creates a cycle of dependency and allows corrupt African governments to obtain “free money.” Ms. Moyo believes the corrupt African countries are not developing the infrastructure within their own countries. For instance, foreign agencies are creating schools, providing health care, and education.
Ms. Moyo’s message is that paternalism, racism, and neocolonialism are the root cause for foreign aid. The Occident wants to keep African nations poor in order to maintain the revenue that African countries generate for their economies.
However, Ms. Moyo’s African critics charge she is a hypocrite, she is preaching to the world that Africans must become independent from Europeans yet Ms. Moyo conforms to Eurocentric standards of beauty.
Shouldn’t Ms. Moyo take her own advice and cut off her weave and wear a natural hairstyle? Did Ms. Moyo’s publicists or agents tell her that a weave is important to sell her book to a white audience?
I am not suggesting that Ms. Moyo should not wear the weave if this is the hair style she feels most comfortable with. However, I can also see the argument of the African people they believe Dambisa Moyo’s appearance cannot be separated from her message.
The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he has defeated Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe in the Zimbabwe’s election. According to media reports Mr. Tsvangirai’s party won 50.3% of the vote and the dictator of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party won 43.8%. The vote proves the people of Zimbabwe have spoken they want change.
There are also stories floating that Robert Mugabe is working out a deal so he can escape being arrested. The real question is Mr. Tsvangirai really better then Mugabe? What is Mr. Tsvangirai going to do about the serious economic, social, cultural, and political turmoil in the Southern African nation?
What will the response of the international community be to the election results and does the United Nations honestly believe order can be restored? Will Mugabe even step down? Mugabe has been in power for over 28 years but it does appear finally that Mugabe understands the people of Zimbabwe want him to resign.
I love India Arie her third album “Testimony Vol 1: Life & Relationship”! India Arie’s third album debut at the number one spot on Billboard in the summer of 2006. “Testimony Vol 1: Life& Relationship” has been very successful reaching platinum status and selling close to two million copies worldwide. The high debut and solid sales are very important. It demonstrated India Arie is a force in the music industry and a black woman doesn’t have to change herself to obtain record sales. India Arie is very important not just to black women but everyone and the music industry. India Arie proves you don’t have to lose your integrity or dignity to have a successful career.
Some people have tried to insult India Arie by calling her the “Oprah” of music. So what if India Arie is positive? Sometimes when I feel depressed and miserable I listen to India Arie she makes me feel better. I admire India Arie for her courage to actually think outside of the box. The music industry is all about paradigms and following trends. India Arie has found her own niche and it works for her. India Arie has her own path. I also love the fact India Arie can play the guitar she reminds me of Tracy Chapman but she is less melancholic. I wonder if India Arie will move beyond a mixture of folk and R&B and release a full length folk album?
Don’t we have enough grief in our lives and this world? What’s wrong with a little bit of love? India Arie’s music is very positive and why not? Why should music always be depressing all the time. India Arie is all about helping the public to realize we should be thankful for being alive. Since we are alive we can make changes to our lives to make it better.
There is nothing wrong with examining ourselves and questioning how we can help the world. India Arie is all about exploring the internal side of ourselves the side some people refuse to share with other people. We have feelings of darkness, pain, sadness in our lives. What’s wrong with trying to overcome the unhappiness and grief?
Another reason why I love India Arie is because she is proud of her blackness. So often in pop culture we see black women such as Mary J Blige, Tyra Banks, and Beyonce Knowles with their lace front blonde weaves. The question is what messages are these black entertainers sending to the public? Mary J Blige talks about “real love” yet girlfriend has been rocking the same blonde weave since 1992!
Its like girlfriend get a new hair style! India Arie is all about natural hair but she says its okay to wear a weave and she’s right. Everyone has a right too style their own hair anyway they want to. I am just glad India Arie exists because she is demonstrating to black people and the world that black is beautiful.
I love Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson but I must admit I don’t feel they have dealt with the internal struggles with their blackness. Why did Janet get the unnecessary nose job? Janet Jackson’s original nose is beautiful. Why has Michael had multiple nose jobs and bleached his skin yet continue to deny the truth? My sister says Janet’s nose looks jacked up. Michael Jackson is a completely different story this guy needs a therapist. India Arie is heading to Broadway this summer in New York City she will be in Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”.
One of the reasons I started writing this blog is because I want to provide an alternative perspective to the Eurocentric mainstream gay culture. I definitely am not a spokesperson for black gay people so please don’t think that I am. I am simply one gay black man, providing my perspective and views about the world. I am no leader or expert. I am a controversial, assertive, and outspoken man.
I used to visit mainstream gay blogs only feeling empty, very bored, restless, and yearning for more. I decided I had to start my own blog to claim my space and let my voice be heard. I don’t subscribe to just going with the flow I am an independent thinker. I also wasn’t impressed with the pernicious racism on some of the mainstream gay blogs. I decided instead of just complaining about life,I’m going to take action. I want to make a difference in my own way. I know I cannot save the world but I can provide my perspective and arguments on my own blog.
On my blog ,I have the control nobody can censor me. I was thinking to myself the other day who are my heroes? The black gay and lesbians that inspire me are too many. I decided today I am going to salute a few of the incredible black gays and lesbians that have made a difference in this world.
I remember during my undergraduate days one very important course I learned a lot from was introduction to Women’s Studies. I love Introduction to Women’s Studies because I learned about different forms of feminism. Feminism is not against men. In fact, feminism is i against homophobia, class privilege, racism, health care racism, and institutionalized discrimination and many more.
I recall reading about the black lesbian feminist group the Combahee River Collective and and intrigued with their work. One of the founding members of the Combahee River Collective was Barbara Smith. The Combahee River Collective is a very important black lesbian feminist organization. Barbara Smith is also one of the editors of the groundbreaking book “All The Women Are White All The Blacks Are Men But Some Of Us Are Brave”.
“All The Women Are White All The Blacks Are Men But Some Of Us Are Brave” was published in the year 1982, this book is still very relevant. Recent racist comments by white heterosexual mainstream feminists such as Geraldine Ferraro and Gloria Steinem highlight the racial and cultural divide. The Combahee River Collective state black women cannot divorce themselves from the black race and just think about gender. Barbara Smith, Gloria T Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and other black feminists state race, gender, class, sexual orientation are inextricably linked.
I think the book “All The Women Are White All The Blacks Are Men But Some Of Us Are Brave” is such an important book especially right now. The media refuses to engage in a dialogue with the public about the racial and cultural divide in the feminist movement.If you read the book you will know the reasons why it does exist.
For example, Naomi Wolf is a mainstream pop culture feminist she’s just a businesswoman. I have read Naomi Wolf’s work in the beginning of her career the “Beauty Myth” is an important book. However, I began to read more of Wolf’s work and realized she is an elitist. Wolf may receive mainstream approval from Oprah but when I listen to Wolf I cringe she is less relevant to feminism these days. Naomi Wolf doesn’t care about black women or about people of colour. I prefer to read the works of bell books, Patricia Hill Collins, and Barbara Smith because their work puts theory into context.
Some white feminists focus only on gender and ignore race and class. Some white feminists refuse to acknowledge their role in discriminating against people of colour, their white skin privilege, and benefiting from the marriage market to powerful white heterosexual men.
Essex Hemphill is very important to me. I recall during my undergraduate days I read his incisive and incendiary book “Ceremonies”. Hemphill opened my eyes to the hidden oppression black gay men endure in North America. Although I am not African American I am a black gay man.
I was able to feel Hemphill’s pain when he discussed the hypocrisy of the black heterosexual community about homophobia. Hemphill also discussed a very important issue the ways in which black gay men are treated as sex objects by a hostile and very racist white gay male community. Television shows such as Queer As Folk are a perfect example of this bigotry. On Queer As Folk, the only time black men are on the program is during an intense sex scene. Black gay men are depicted as bodies and not as three dimensional and complex people. Queer As Folk is such a disservice but I am not surprised by the deleterious racism and sexism against black men on that program.
Audre Lorde is another black lesbian activist I love! Lorde’s book “Sister Outsider” is a black feminist classic. Lorde highlights the issue of the “Mythical Norm” which is the white, thin, Christian, heterosexual male. “The Mythical Norm” has the ultimate power in society and the white Republican party and the white Christian right are perfect examples of this. Lorde also wrote about the fallacy of the “Global Sisterhood” in feminism. Lorde says that feminism needs to be real about racism within the movement.
Patrik Ian Polk may be young but his incredible television show “Noah’s Arc” is so important to me. Ian Polk took the initiative and transformed pop culture. Thank goodness for Noah’s Arc and thank goodness black gay men we are no longer on the sidelines or in the back row we are in the front row! The issues that are important to black gay culture emerge and thank goodness for that! Black gay men we are no longer in the shadows in pop culture. Patrik Ian Polk has a huge role in demonstrating black gay men we fall in love, we have friends, jobs, careers, families, difficulties, just like everyone else.
Finally, I was able to see people that looked like me that are black and gay fall in love. Black gay love is so important and Noah’s Arc is a groundbreaking television program. I wish Noah’s Arc was able to reach a larger black heterosexual audience though. Why isn’t Noah’s Arc on BET or MTV? Viacom is the parent company for BET and MTV so I don’t see why Noah’s Arc can’t be returned to television. For a very long time I have yearned to see black gay men in love with each other.
Patrik Ian Polk’s television show Noah’s Arc, shatters a lot of cultural, racial, and social barriers. The program does not ignore gay racism which is rampant in the North American gay communities. Black gay men we are presented as comfortable with our sexual orientation and our racial identity. We are not depicted as licentious sex objects but as real people. On Noah’s Arc, the black gay men are cognizant of the black issues. Some black straight people think just because black gay men we are gay we lose our blackness and that is false. Noah’s Arc also explored issues important to the black gay community. I can’t wait for the Noah’s Arc movie to come out this year!!!
Langston Hughes is also a gay black hero but he was reticent about his homosexuality due to the pernicious homophobia of the black heterosexual community. Hughes poetry has dealt with homoerotic themes. The poems such as joy, desire, cafe 3am, waterfront streets, tell me, young sailor all deal with homoeroticism. The writer Faith Berry also wrote a biography on Hughes and discusses the fact Hughes loved black men and he had a Jamaican lover. Arnold Rampersad also wrote two memoirs about Langston Hughes and he admits Hughes was indeed a homosexual. Hughes is a major inspiration to me because he was a black gay male writer he also believed in black activism and human rights.
Lorraine Hansberry is a black lesbian icon and she was an amazing playwright. The heterosexual black media always discuss Hansberry’s play “A Raisin In The Sun”, refusing to acknowledge Hansberry was also a black lesbian. Hansberry also concealed her lesbianism during her lifetime she encountered multiple layers of oppression. Black women encounter racism, sexism, and also homophobia. Hansberry wrote for the lesbian publication “The Ladder” in the 1950s. Hansberry is known for her electrifying play “A Raisin In the Sun” yet the public doesn’t know she was also a black lesbian.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be cognizant of the fact that folk rock singer Tracy Chapman is a black lesbian. So why is Chapman still reticent about being a lesbian since her first album was released in 1988? Chapman has sold millions of albums, is a multiple Grammy award winner, and a black lesbian feminist icon. Chapman’s audience knows she is a lesbian yet she refuses to come out of the closet and declare she is gay.
Another interesting fact, Tracy Chapman’s core audience is white and not black. Even though, Chapman sings about racism and other forms of discrimination, she is still not accepted by the black community.
I think some black people just didn’t “connect” with Tracy Chapman due to homophobia and sexism.
I think most black people already know Tracy is a black lesbian woman.
Another reason, the black community can’t “connect” with Tracy Chapman is due to the fact she is a folk rock singer and not an R&B and soul singer.
Some blacks say Tracy Chapman is acting white and that’s such bullshit. Chapman is an individual and it is sad that the black race we don’t respect her.
Why can’t a black entertainer break the racist and sexist stereotypes? I applaud Tracy Chapman for having her own vision and being extremely successful. Why should all black singers just sound like Mary J Blige or Beyonce? Isn’t this boring? Musical taste is a personal choice and preference it’s just interesting that many blacks have shunned Chapman for so many years.
Why has Tracy Chapman been on the cover of Rolling Stone but not Essence, Upscale, or Ebony Magazine?
After all, Chapman is a multi platinum international superstar. Why is Chapman shunned by the black media ?
Although Tracy doesn’t discuss this it’s got to hurt, that her own race disrespect her this way. Tracy Chapman is a legend, it is so horrible that black people have no respect for this legend.
Chapman was never really embraced by the black media or black community for a plethora of reasons. The first obvious reason I believe Tracy Chapman wasn’t accepted by the black community is due to her androgynous appearance. Although Chapman has a feminine voice and personality, she is a butch lesbian. Chapman doesn’t wear seductive clothing or utilize her sexuality to sell records. Some heterosexual people of African descent are uncomfortable with Chapman’s masculine appearance.
Another point to consider, is the black media can be very myopic at times. Tracy Chapman was never treated fairly by the press in the black community. Tracy was often ignored on black radio, BET, black magazines and newspapers.
Tracy is an incredible artist a black woman who defied the odds.
She is a music superstar, she shattered through the pop world and claimed her place and audience. Chapman’s tours are very successful and yet the black race ignored her due to prejudice. Tracy has never denied her blackness she is a proud black woman and yet blacks still treat her badly.
Why is the representation of “black music” so limiting? I think there is more to black music then just R&B and hip hop. However, black radio and the people in the black media still promote less talented artists than Tracy Chapman. I think if the black media did make the effort Tracy Chapman could have had a larger black audience. I do wish black radio, black TV was a bit more open about different musical formats. I mean why isn’t Meshell N’Degeocello on BET more often?
Tracy Chapman has never denied she is a lesbian, but she hasn’t exactly been open about her sexuality either. I understand Tracy has a career and she has a right to a private life. However, given the fact that black gays and lesbians we have so little visibility in the mainstream it would be nice if Tracy was more open.
By now, I am sure, everyone knows that the bisexual feminist writer Alice Walker and Chapman were involved in a romantic relationship in the 1990s. Walker talked about her former lover Chapman in an interview with the UK newspaper The Guardian. Here is the link: http://books.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1972800,00.html
Another black entertainer that lived in the closet is Luther Vandross. Luther Vandross situation is similar to Tracy Chapman, but Vandross was loved and respected in the black heterosexual community. Vandross was gay, yet he kept his secret leading all the way to his death. People will say “well the black audience didn’t care that Luther was gay we loved him anyway.” I disagree because I think the love the black audience had for Luther was not unconditional because if it was he would have come out. I think Luther remained in the closet not just because he feared about losing revenue by coming out but he also feared losing his place within the black community.
Vandross was cognizant that he needed the black heterosexual audience to buy his CDs, concert tickets, DVDs. Vandross also was aware of the fact the white gay community certainly was not a market he could rely on to keep the revenue flowing. Luther had a “don’t ask don’t tell policy” with the black community.
An issue that is rarely discussed in the mainstream media is the fact to be “gay” means to be “white” this displaces queers of colour.
If you look at the gay magazines such as Advocate or Out Magazine or the LGBT movies being released the message is gay people are white people. The gay celebrities that come out of the closet are rich white gays and lesbians such as Ellen Degeneres or Rosie O Donnell.
Being black and gay is unique because we are a “double” or even “triple” minority.
Maybe some black gay and lesbian stars are correct in being fearful of the racism of the mainstream white gay community?
What is the point coming out as a black gay or lesbian star when you can be marginalized due to your race?
Next, black gay and lesbian stars have to worry about the entrenched homophobia in the heterosexual black community.
Some black heterosexuals believe black gays and lesbians we are going straight to hell they are very religious people.
So, the option for many black gays and lesbians is to remain in the closet because they are safe in the black community. Meanwhile, black gays and lesbians can surreptitiously explore their homosexuality in the gay community.
I think this is the quandary that hurt Luther Vandross. Luther had to negotiate between the white and black public spheres.
I think it’s so sad that Luther’s life was a tragedy he wasn’t able to really be himself in the public sphere. The black media did ask Luther numerous times in interviews about his sexual orientation and he always either ignored the question or just denied that he was gay. I wonder though, would the black community really turn on him? Everyone knew, Luther was the “eternal bachelor.”
It was the “fear”, I think that held Luther back the unknown. In some ways. Luther was a sex symbol for some black women he sang songs about heterosexual love. Vandross was the “classy” R&B singer he didn’t sing the bump and grind such as R Kelly and his clones.
Yet when a black entertainer does come out the black community and the mainstream white gay community either ignores or disrespect the artist.
For instance, bisexual singer Meshell N’Degeocello has been out for several years although she has never attained the success or respect she so richly deserved. I still believe there was a resistance to her work because she was so brash, bold, and outspoken. Meshell never denied or hid the fact she is bisexual.
I think this is part of the reason Queen Latifah refuses to come out of the closet. Queen Latifah has more to lose than someone like Meshell N’degeocello she is an A list black actress. Queen Latifah has numerous endorsements, high profile film roles, and she is loved by the black heterosexual community.
I think most black people “know” Queen Latifah is a lesbian but she has not declared she is gay due to fear. Perhaps Queen Latifah doesn’t want to come out because she is not interested in being a “role model” to the gay community or seen as a “spokesperson”?
When I was coming out as a teenager, in the mid 1990s, it really helped me a lot to accept my sexuality. I remember watching Meshell talk about her sexuality and life on Much Music. People that are not black and gay don’t understand what it feels like to invisible and be a double or even triple minority.
When K.D. Lang and Melissa Etheridge came out in the 1990s they did not register with me because they are white. I just couldn’t relate to them. Yet when I saw an interview with this courageous young black woman Meshell N’Degeocello on Much Music I felt empowered. Meshell she discussed her incredible second album the amazing “Peace Beyond Passion” and the song “Leviticus Faggot”.
I love Meshell! Meshell is one of my role models! It was incredible for me to see this black LGBT woman Meshell N’Degeocello on television talking about how wonderful it is to be black and an LGBT person.
It meant so much to me to see someone that looked like me on TV that was black and gay. It takes a lot of guts what Meshell did it really does.
Meshell never looked like the typical female black singer she has a shaved head, her music was not just soul, it was also rock, funk, pop, maybe even some folk too. Meshell was not a puppet controlled by the record company either. Although Meshell is slim she wasn’t a size two, she didn’t wear the designer clothes but she has a lot of natural talent and is a true multi instrumentalist musician. Meshell was radical in the sense she was proud of her sexual orientation and her blackness.
Meshell has spoken honestly about the pernicious racism, hypocrisy, and bigotry of the mainstream white gay community. When Meshell came out she didn’t receive that much press in the white gay media either. Meshell she was ignored by the mainstream white gay magazines such as Out or Advocate. The white gay media treated Meshell as though she was just an afterthought. However, I felt Meshell was so incredibly talented and her talent allowed her to rise to the top.
There was an indifference and ambivalence the white gay press had for her because she is an outspoken black bisexual woman. Meshell refused to play the racist game of ignoring her “blackness” to just focus on her “sexuality.” Meshell she was cognizant of the fact there is an intersection of race, sexuality, and gender.
Meshell let it be known that just because she is bisexual does not mean she didn’t care about black issues or the black community. Some heterosexual black people still believe this fallacy that just because a black person is gay that means we don’t care about black issues and that’s false.
I know for a fact that although there is homophobia in the black community the racism in the mainstream white gay community is so rampant and so obvious. It’s the reason why I couldn’t be bothered with the gay pride events in Toronto, I don’t read the gay newspapers because they never write about issues or things I am interested in. I don’t go to the gay bars in Toronto either.
Some people say Meshell’s music was too ”preachy” meaning too “black” but I loved it! Meshell should of sold millions of albums she should of become a bigger star. Meshell can play several instruments and she also is a very good singer/songwriter. Meshell basically started the “Neo Soul” movement all by herself in 1993 with her first album”Plantation Lullabies.”
Yet black heterosexual singers Erykah Badu, Maxwell, and Jill Scott get all the credit. Meshell released five albums on the Maverick label yet not one album went gold or platinum. Meshell never even won a Grammy award. How could such a talented artist be so disrespected? I think part of the reason Meshell wasn’t more successful was because she was honest about her sexual orientation.
I remember when I was sixteen back in the year 1993 and I had the biggest crush on Tevin Campbell I absolutely adored him. A lot of people I talk to these days say they always knew Tevin was gay. I recall rushing home from school and tape recording Tevin’s hit songs “I’m Ready”, “Always in my heart”, “Can we talk” and playing the videos over and over and over again. I just loved him! I still believe Tevin’s second album “I’m Ready” is one of the best R&B albums of the 1990s.
Tevin as everyone knows got caught a few years back trying to solicit gay sex with an undercover police officer. Tevin has never officially come out of the closet but its well-known he’s gay. Tevin is trying to make a comeback he’s in the musical “Hairspray” and he’s working on a new album.
So is Tevin going to be singing about loving a woman when everyone knows he prefers men? I understand the music business is after all a business but shouldn’t music be made from the heart? Why do so many closeted black gay and lesbian singers sing about the opposite sex when everyone knows they are gay?
There are a few black rappers that everybody knows are lesbians yet they will continue saying in the press that they aren’t gay. I mean people aren’t stupid people can put it together. I am not going to mention the names of these black lesbian rappers because anyone that’s paid attention to hip hop music can figure it out.
There are also some black entertainers everyone knows are bisexual or gay yet its another one of those “don’t ask don’t tell” policies. I can understand if the black gay actor was a leading man it could perhaps shatter the mystique the female audience has with this entertainer. I think that could be a reason some of the black gay male actors in Hollywood remain in the closet. Also, there is the issue of being typecast.
I wonder if we will ever be honest with each other? Anyone that’s been to the black church knows there is always the ubiquitous choir director, gay piano player, or gay pastor. Everybody knows somebody that’s gay whether it is a realtive or a friend.
The easiest way fans can figure out if an artist is indeed gay is not by what they say but by what the entertainer doesn’t say. Actions speak louder than words. Whenever you read an interview about your favourite black star think to yourself why does this black celebrity never talk about his or her’s love life? Why is the topic off limits during the interview?
Whether people want to admit it or not the public wants a connection with stars. It is the human connection that not only attracts people to the star but also gets people to go see their movies, buy their CDs, DVDs, or got to their concerts. If society is so accepting of homosexuality these days why is there an imbalance in the type of stars coming out and those that remain in the closet?