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WWE Star Darren Young Comes Out Of Closet Says He Is Gay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjMHjuET8iM

Darren Young gay wrestler

Wow, this is so nice to see WWE star Darren Young casually come out of the closet. Young was so nonchalant, when he came out to the TMZ reporter. This is fantastic, Darren coming out is going to make a difference I feel. It is so nice to see a handsome, masculine gay black man come out of the closet. I also think Darren Young coming out is great for the black community, there needs to be more dialogue about homosexuality.

For far too long gay black men we are silenced due to the homophobia. However, when public figures such as Darren Young continue to come out, these men challenge the perceptions of what it means to be gay. Often the image of the gay black man in pop culture is negative, about the dangerous down low brother or the effeminate drag queen. No offense to the fans of Ru Paul, and Miss Jay Alexander but it is refreshing to see a confident, masculine, gay black man come out. Masculine gay black men really shock people because these men challenge the image of the black homosexual.

Homophobic people prefer the flamboyant gay black man image because he fits into the neat stereotype and category of the perception people have of gay men. Meanwhile, the masculine gay black man shatters the negativity, and the image of the black homosexual. We need more public figures who are gay black men to come out like Darren Young!

He sounds very confident, gay, and proud and I think that’s the right way to come out. Young didn’t do no press conference, or no big magazine article he just stated very matter of fact he’s into other men. Everyone knows, the WWE is a very macho, testosterone environment.

Kerry Washington’s Husband NFL Star Nnamdi Asomugha Is So Handsome!!!

I don’t care for football but when I heard actress Kerry Washington married a hunk Nnamdi Asomugha I had to see for myself! Wow, thank goodness for You Tube this guy is so articulate, and so handsome!! Kerry really picked a good one!

Toronto Star Article: Ex Police Officer Alleges Toronto Police Force Is Racist Against Young Black Men!!!!

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Former Toronto police officer Garnette Rose has launched a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging he was discriminated against and had no choice but to leave the police service.

By Jim Rankin / Toronto Star

Former Toronto police officer Garnette Rose has launched a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging he was discriminated against and had no choice but to leave the police service.

As a young Toronto police officer, Garnette Rose had a plan to work hard, gradually move up the ranks and perhaps return to the intelligence unit where he got his start with wiretaps — and his Jamaican background was an asset.

From 2003, the year he joined the service, to 2005, Rose was a “proofer,” listening in on and deciphering wiretaps that involved targets with Jamaican accents. He was the ears on homicide cases, a multi-jurisdictional drug bust and high-profile gang operations.

Today, his career as a police officer is in tatters and his slight Jamaican accent is at the heart of an extraordinary hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, where Rose, 36, alleges he was ostracized for not “toeing the line” — an unwritten police code of silence, or looking the other way. He was also, following an injury, recommended by a supervisor for a “light duty” internal position that he wanted in an email that showed “blatant” discrimination, he says in his complaint.
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“PC Garnette Rose … is a young officer currently restricted as a result of a hand injury,” reads the email. “He presents very well, and although possessed of a very slight Jamaican accent, he is very well spoken.”

Rose flagged the email to human resources and later, to a deputy chief, triggering an investigation. A half-year later, after he felt he could no longer safely work as a police officer, he filed the human rights complaint.

For Rose, it was the culmination of a yearlong history of “unfair” and “discriminatory” events. “I believe this happened to me because … I am Jamaican and have an accent; Because, I stood for the truth; Because I challenge the negative perceptions from Senior Staff,” he writes in his complaint, filed in June 2011.

Police disagree, arguing in a reply to Rose’s complaint that the email was an isolated incident, with a “prompt and thorough investigation, followed by appropriate disciplinary measures.” There is no proof of a pattern of discrimination and other “alleged acts” are factually wrong or the result of Rose’s own doing, the service argues.

“I became psychologically dysfunctional and frankly scared for my safety.”

Garnette Rose

Describing feelings after email that mentioned accent, in his human rights complaint

The Toronto Police Service is named in about 30 human rights applications a year. But it is rare that a complaint comes from one of its own. Just how rare, police will not say.

One reason for the rarity could be there are no problems. Another, as Rose believes, is there are problems but the act of complaining about superiors is career suicide.

Rose, currently unemployed, is seeking $1 million in damages.

This story is also extraordinary in that it is public at all. It’s based on Rose’s allegations and police versions of events, as laid out in documents connected to his human rights complaint, which he shared with the Star. The documents include police replies, police statements and summaries of anticipated evidence in the hearing, which is in the early stages.

The job

Becoming a Toronto police officer was a particular achievement for Garnette Rose.

Rose served as a cadet while in school. When he was 17, his family moved to Scarborough from Jamaica and he saw policing as something he was made for. He wanted to help bridge the gap between blacks and police, he says.

Since Bill Blair became chief in 2005, there has been a notable increase in diversity in new hires and efforts to root out racism within the service, which has been held up as a model. Two of the three current deputy chiefs are black. Rose saw the force as a place where he could excel.

After joining in 2003 at 26 and spending two years in intelligence, Rose spent time as a special court constable and at east downtown’s 51 Division, which includes Regent Park and is thought of as an excellent area to gain experience. In 2008, after a year there, he moved in a job swap to 53 Division, which includes Yorkville and Forest Hill.

He also started a family. He and his wife, a civilian Toronto police employee, would have two sons before their marriage blew up.

Two women

On April 25, 2010, Rose had finished a special evening shift at the Canadian National Exhibition, when alone and in a marked cruiser, he spotted a woman driving and texting. He pulled her over, and without his cruiser camera turned on, cautioned the woman.

Rose handed her a ticket instruction but no ticket. Inside, he included his police business card and personal cellphone number.

Two nights later, this time with a partner, Rose made a call at a building and on the way out had a conversation with another woman that wasn’t about police business. “During that conversation, he obtained her phone number and entered it into his personal cell phone,” police say in their reply to Rose’s human rights complaint. He called the number to confirm it was correct. He sent a text message a few days later. It was not returned.

Those two incidents resulted in station-level disciplinary action and a loss of 24 hours’ pay from Rose’s lieu time bank. It is one of the highest penalties that can be imposed outside of a police disciplinary tribunal hearing.

Rose, in an interview and in his complaint, acknowledges it was a bad idea to exchange numbers but says it was innocent.

In his complaint, Rose alleges the two women, who are white, knew each other and that one was the daughter of a Toronto sergeant at another police division. Rose alleges the sergeant was friends with Insp. Bruce Johnston, a senior supervisor at his own division. Rose says he heard from colleagues that Johnston was going to “take a chunk” out of him over it all.

Police do not address or deny these specific allegations in their reply, other than stating in a non-specific way that there are factual errors in the complaint.

Rose further alleges that the disciplinary action was started by Johnston, who would later write the “Jamaican accent” email.

Johnston, in material filed with the tribunal, denies Rose’s allegations and says he played no role in the investigation or penalty.

The Star could not directly reach Johnston — or Staff Insp. Larry Sinclair, then unit commander of 53 Division — for comment but did ask a police spokesperson, a police lawyer and the new unit commander at their former station to extend to them an opportunity to comment further.

Through a lawyer, Sinclair declined to comment. Johnston could not be reached.

Following Rose’s acceptance of the penalty, Sinclair put a scheduled promotion on hold to “ensure that there was no further misconduct.”

By then, Rose had been placed on light duty after a motor accident.

Incident at court

Tensions rose further after a dispute over Rose’s testimony as a witness in an unrelated case.

An investigation later revealed evidence collected did not substantiate the allegations against Rose, but police concluded he hadn’t properly prepared to testify and gave inconsistent testimony, and “failed to adopt his own memo book notes.”

As a result, police sent Rose for remedial training, which he found “horribly demeaning.”

“I felt stupid and useless,” Rose writes in his complaint. “I knew that this was their punishment for not following the Code that I must maintain the same story no matter what. I knew that I was not being treated equally.”

By fall 2010, Rose started looking into a transfer out of 53 Division, without success.

Police defend the remedial action and deny Rose’s contention that the court incident is part of a pattern of discrimination.

The email

The internal posting that landed on the desk of Insp. Bruce Johnston’s desk Oct. 21, 2010, was for a temporary social media job. Speaking wouldn’t be a main component.

Johnston, who was filling in for Sinclair, thought of Rose, who was still on light duty. In an email recommendation the next day, Johnston referred to Rose’s accent and Jamaican heritage.

Rose, who was copied on the email, says he found it “devastating,” and flagged it a week later to human resources. He heard nothing back.

On Dec. 2, Rose forwarded the email to Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, who also has Jamaican roots. On Dec. 15, a manager in the diversity management unit spoke to Johnston about it.

An internal investigation concluded a charge of misconduct was warranted. The penalty was a reprimand, one of the least severe penalties that can be imposed under the Police Services Act.

For his part, Johnston told an investigator he went through the email with Rose and “had the impression that he was actually good with this and enjoyed the fact that we were supporting him in this position … It wasn’t my intention to nominate him for a job and then insult him … the whole point (was that) I thought he would do well at this.”

Why the accent reference? He said he did it to, in the words of the investigator, “shed light on the fact that PC Rose had an accent, and if PC Rose became stressed, his accent may become thicker and difficult to understand.”

The service argues the email played no role in determining who would get the posting. (It went to an officer, also on light duties, with a journalism degree.)

Rose was left with a perception that he had become the outsider.

“The very heart of policing is relying on each other and having senior White officers as well as other white officers ostracizing me, informed me that it would just be a matter of time before something bad happened to me,” he wrote in his complaint.

“I became psychologically dysfunctional and frankly scared for my safety.”

“Wellness check”

By April 2011, Rose says he was afraid, depressed and his back hurt to the point he stayed home from work. A sergeant, a direct supervisor, phoned to see what was up

According to police, Rose sounded despondent.

Within a half-hour, the sergeant and another sergeant were at his doorstep.

The sergeants encouraged him to get help from the employee and family assistance program.

Rose found the visit intimidating; police insist it was solely out of concern for his well-being.

A staff sergeant declared him unfit to return to work until he got help. In two appointments Rose had with a service doctor, the doctor agreed Rose was unfit. Rose’s own doctor prescribed anti-depressants.

In a letter to Blair, dated May 25, 2011, Rose’s lawyer Osborne Barnwell argued Rose had been constructively dismissed. He said Rose was unable to cope with the job, had been discriminated against by senior staff and “been subject to reprisals.”

Barnwell proposed the service settle with Rose. When no package came and police declared him fit to return on modified duty at another division, Rose filed his rights complaint.

In addition to money, Rose seeks another “remedy.” He wants something done about “racism in the service” and says the highest-ranking officers are resistant to change.

Rose hasn’t worked as a police officer since April 2011. On July 19, 2011, he turned over his badge and warrant card, which the service took as his resignation.

The hearing

Under cross-examination by a city lawyer acting for police, Rose has twice lost it on the stand, becoming angry and frustrated by the line of questioning, which the adjudicator called “assertive but respectful.”

A psychotherapist of Rose’s choosing concluded he had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Ross faces further psychiatric testing. No police witnesses have yet testified but their arguments are made clear in the material filed before the tribunal.

Asked to put this case into context, police spokesperson Mark Pugash instead said the Star must file a freedom of information request for numbers on officers who file human rights complaints.

In an emailed statement, Pugash added: “It is often the case that legal claims fail to be proved in court or before tribunals. Sadly, the Star rarely, if ever, tells their readers when particularly extravagant claims, claims they have printed, fail.”

Barnwell says police are fighting his client “tooth and nail, and are trying hard to discredit him,” in a case that should never have gone to a hearing.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” he told the Star.

Rose, in an email to the Star the day he broke down on the stand, was despondent. He wrote that the police service had taken away his life.

Rose has created a Facebook page, with the title: Stop Racism Within The Toronto Police Service.

One of the first posts was a link to an article about Blair blasting officers for unacceptable behaviour. Blair has steadfastly said racism won’t be tolerated.

Rose’s psychiatric reports are due back at the tribunal by Aug. 17.

Sad News Bisexual Boxer Eile Griffith Dies At Age 75.

Long before Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers, Orlando Cruz, game out of the closet, Emile Griffith was an open about his bisexuality in the 1960s. Griffith was an accomplished boxer, he went to gay bars in New York City through the front door he never hid the fact he loved other men.

Sexy British Gymnast Louis Smith On Cover Of Gay Times Magazine!!!

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Wow, I am going to get a copy of Gay Times magazine Louis Smith is so hot! Gay Times magazine does a really good job of getting the most gorgeous men on the cover!

Football Stud Brendon Ayanbadejo Writes Article Telling NFL To Provide Support So First Openly Gay Athlete Can Come Out!!

Brendon Ayanbadjeo sexy

Brendon ayanbadjeo hot

Ex-Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo continues to fight for same-sex marriage rights in the US.
FOX Sports
BRENDON AYANBADEJO

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!

Surprising News: White Gay Publication The Advocate Devotes An Entire Issue To Frank Ocean & Black Gay Queer Artists.

The Meaning of Frank Ocean

When the up-and-coming musician came out, he drew praise from celebrities and his hip-hop collaborators, and revived the question of whether gays have a place in the industry.

BY TERRANCE DEAN

SEPTEMBER 06 2012 4:00 AM ET

It was a sweltering Fourth of July. People across the country were in parks, in backyards, and lined up along waterfronts anxiously awaiting the fireworks displays. The smell of barbecue, hot dogs, and hamburgers being grilled wafted through the air. It was a celebration of our great nation. And all the while, Twitter and Facebook were buzzing about an entertainer, a relatively unknown young man from California who posted a letter on his Tumblr page about having been in love with another man. The Internet was suddenly in a frenzy about this guy.

“Who is Frank Ocean?” a million tweets asked. Google searches began.

In 2010, Frank Ocean, born Christopher Breaux in New Orleans, became a member of the alternative hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. His solo debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, was released the following year to critical acclaim. He released two singles, “Novacane,” and “Swim Good,” and both achieved chart success.

Ocean’s first full-length studio album, Channel Orange, was set to be released July 17, and a letter in which he declared his first love, for another man, was initially meant to be a part of the album’s liner notes. But following an early listening party, BBC Radio 1Xtra personality Max pointed out that the lyrics referred to “he” and “him” instead of “she” and “her,” which she took to be an indication that Ocean is gay or bisexual. Ocean took matters into his own hands, and on Independence Day he posted that letter on his Tumblr for the entire world to see.

My hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did. anyhow, what I’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. It was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits, but with all the rumors going around…I figured it’d be good to clarify…

His letter went viral and traveled worldwide in a matter of moments. Suddenly, everyone knew his name.

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless…. It was my first love, it changed my life.

Instantly, it seemed those words changed the entertainment industry. The letter caused its own firework

“It was sheer joy because he was the first national well-known artist to come out and announce his sexuality,” says Lloyd Thurston “Gyant” Dinwiddie, referring to Ocean as the first black artist to come out to a hip-hop audience. Gyant, the gay media personality and blogger at Gyant Unplugged,was one of the first to share the story online. “Frank Ocean is cemented in music history forever. Anyone who has walked in the LGBT shoes knows that story. His message related to people, and for him it was a weight lifted off his shoulder.”

July 4, 2012, marked a declaration of freedom for 24-year-old R&B soul singer Ocean. It was his coming-out party, and we’d all been invited to the virtual parade. His image, that of a serious-looking, handsome young man with a strong jaw line, a short beard, and a short fade haircut, was circulating along with his letter. Those who hadn’t previously heard of Ocean quickly learned that his announcement was significant, and especially significant to watchers of hip-hop. But it wasn’t a shock to everyone.

“I was like, What’s the big deal? It’s not like we all don’t know homosexuality exists and has its place in hip-hop,” says Reggie Osse, entertainment attorney, author, former TV executive, and host of The Combat Jack Show. Osse has represented artists including Damon Dash, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Puffy, and DMX. He was instrumental in helping Jay-Z secure his first recording deal.

“I was really happy that Frank Ocean took his life and career into his own hands and made his proclamation,” says Osse. “It’s the first announcement of someone making a statement willingly. But let’s not act like this doesn’t exist.”

Frank ocean’s letter spoke of an unrequited love. More than simply coming out, Ocean was inviting the world into his emotional state at a vulnerable moment. In beautiful prose Ocean shared the raw intensity of wanting to fully experience love with the object of his affection and being met with an unwilling heart.

I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years.

Tyler the Creator (left) and Ocean dance onstage during a performance at the 2012 Coachella music festival in April.
Before long music celebrities including Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé began tweeting and posting messages of support for Ocean. Even Odd Future member Tyler the Creator, who’s well-known for his use of the word “faggot,” tweeted how proud he was of his brother and friend. It seemed as if the hip-hop industry, which has notoriously been a closed boys’ club that shuns and ostracizes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, had experienced a change of heart. Hadn’t Jay-Z, a towering figure in hip-hop, just recently announced his support of marriage equality, following a message of support by President Obama? Jay-Z had seemingly just given Ocean a pass and ushered him into the boys’ club. And not from afar: Ocean had written and performed on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hip-hop album Watch the Throne.

“I’m surprised that a lot of young gay people flocked to him, like he was doing something big,” says gay rapper Deadlee. “My first reaction was like he didn’t do anything. It didn’t seem to me like it was that big of a deal. But then I did research and discovered he was a part of Odd Future, and Tyler the Creator, who is always saying ‘faggot this’ and ‘faggot that.’ I was like, Whoa! This dude [Ocean] never checked him. Maybe they knew the whole time, and they were taking the word back and not tripping on it.”

The words “gay” and “faggot” have been a mainstay in hip-hop since its inception. In Grandmaster Flash’s 1982 song “The Message,” a portrayal of inner-city life, we are introduced to a down-low man hiding his secret:

Now you’re unemployed, all non-void Walking ’round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd / Turned stickup kid, look what you’ve done did  / Got sent upstate for an eight-year bid / Now your manhood is took and you’re a may tag / Spend the next two years as a undercover fag

The hyperbolic masculinity of rappers, lyrically slaying homosexuals and degrading LGBTs, continued as the culture of hip-hop evolved from party anthems to aggressive gangster thug styles by performers including 50 Cent, DMX, Busta Rhymes, and Eminem. As men boasted about their cars, bling, and hard lifestyle, women and LGBTs bore the brunt of hip-hop’s lashings.

Reggie Osse, describing homophobia in hip-hop, says, “I had a conversation with rapper Lil B last year. We were talking about the changing values thematically and what these new rappers are doing. However, the old-guard rappers are like Republicans and want things to stay the same. Whereas hip-hop is changing, and many who are born in this culture are taking it to another place. There are some old-school cats who want to keep rap conservative. Some of my friends who are in hip-hop are very adamant that there is no place for gays. They begin quoting the Bible, and they are coming from an antiquated way of thinking.”


Left: Gay hip-hop artist Deadlee
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has called on record labels and hip-hop artists to end the name-calling and anti-LGBT behavior, and protests have been lodged over lyrics by Eminem and Jamaican dancehall/hip-hop artists Beenie Man, T.O.K., and Buju Banton, among others. From the birth of the musical genre, gay acceptance and hip-hop seemed incongruous. But Eminem performed with Elton John and later announced support of marriage equality, and Beenie Man, in the face of canceled shows, recently made a public apology for his history of antigay lyrics and public remarks. But Frank Ocean’s coming-out is a marker of a different kind, and it revived the question of whether the treatment of LGBT people is truly better than it was just a decade ago. Or are the changes for the better just cosmetic, on the surface?

“I think there is more of an acknowledgment that LGBT people are part of hip-hop culture,” says Tim’m West, a scholar, youth advocate, and gay-identified rapper who founded the groundbreaking rap collective Deep Dickollective. “Hip-hop is one of the last territories and spaces where gays cannot be part of the culture, instead of being the stylists, choreographers, and hairdressers. We can be behind the scenes, but not in front of the mike. The climate has changed around homosexuality, and it’s one of the civil rights issues of today. Hip-hop previously didn’t think we were in the room. We were not visible, out, and present. Now we are.”

Many LGBT figures view hip-hop’s historically homophobic attitude as tied to the black church’s deep-rooted issues with sex and sexuality. Condemnation of gays by an institution central to many black communities has the effect of deeply entrenching antigay hostility.
“Some people are not inherently homophobic,” says West. “It’s cultural, and a lot of homophobia is not from a deep-seated hatred of gay people but more by what is socially acceptable and what they see others doing.”

“I believe in…one’s right to be free,” says legendary rapper MC Lyte. “When we as a community, be it African American, the entertainment industry, or just the block, allow someone’s sexual, political, or religious preference to cloud our ability to see their true spirit, we lose. We lose the opportunity to fully embrace another one of God’s children. Truthfully, no matter how much an individual would love to point out the differences between themselves and another, we are all one.”

Ocean may have received support by some influential hip-hop figures. But the list of artists who were not willing to discuss him for this article is revealing. B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Trey Songz, Jaheim, and Wiz Khalifa declined to discuss the subject. The representatives for Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj said their clients were busy and unavailable for comment.

Jay-Z, one of the many artists to voice support for Ocean, performs onstage.

“I’m an advocate for those in my family and those who I am close to, and I am an advocate for the homosexual community,” says rapper Murs, a member of the hip-hop groups Living Legends, Felt, and the 3 Melancholy Gypsies. He is also part of a punk fusion band, the Invincibles, out of Jacksonville, Fla., and is prepping for the release of his new album, This Generation, with fellow rapper Fashawn.

Murs recently released a shocking music video for his single “Animal Style.” Both the single and video feature a young man as he struggles with his sexual orientation, and portray the conflict he feels as he begins to date another man. Murs plays his boyfriend. In the video, the two men share a kiss. He explains that he spoke with his wife prior to making the video, and she fully supported him and the concept.

Murs faced significant opposition in making the song. “I wanted to do this song for five years, and for five years producers did not want to touch the song,” he says. “They didn’t want to be associated with the subject matter. However, those same producers are now calling me and supporting me and saying they are proud of me.”

Murs says he did the video and song to let his gay friends, associates, and fellow rappers know that he was aware of their being closeted and that he still cared for them. “I wanted to give them their moment and let them know that the door is open and I am going to take a stance for them,” Murs says. “And I think with artists like Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, and myself, homophobia in hip-hop will disappear.

“Teenagers are killing themselves,” he continues. “We have to stop this because people are losing their lives and getting beat to death. It makes me extremely sad. I can’t watch children die.”

While gay men and lesbians in hip-hop have often been pressured to stay closeted so as not to invite public, family, and personal shame, for many artists being openly gay was considered career suicide. Many performers are still strongly encouraged by agents, managers, and label executives to not be out—or even identify as one of the letters in the LGBT acronym.

“No one will support you if they know you’re gay,” Tim’m West says. “The notion in the black community [is that] coming out is a social death, and you might as well die. For white artists, such as George Michael, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, and Elton John, their record sales did not plummet, nor did their careers suffer. It’s only within the black community.”

Ocean has largely refused to do interviews on this subject, and even in his interview in the British newspaper The Guardian, he doesn’t address the issue of labels.

“A lot of people were giving Frank Ocean props and saying that he was letting everyone come into his world, as opposed to coming out,” Deadlee says. “In his letter he never used the word ‘gay,’ and this guy is getting more props for not even using the word or even identifying in his letter. I’m gay and I’m not afraid to use the word. I hope that Frank Ocean comes to the point of not being afraid to use the ‘gay’ word.”

Though he doesn’t give his sexual orientation a label in the letter, Ocean does describe relationships with women. “Frank Ocean never said he was gay or bisexual, he just said he was in love with a man,” says Ebony Utley, an assistant professor in communication studies at California State University, Long Beach. “It was others who needed to identify and label him instead of him, and allowing him to do it for himself. Let’s let the man define himself… Besides, he was wise not to say anything beyond his letter, and that’s what he needed to sell his record.”

The kiss in Murs’s “Animal Style” video.

Though the declarations of support for Ocean by 50 Cent and Jay-Z were a milestone in hip-hop, Utley notes, “Frank Ocean is an R&B singer. Let’s be clear, hip-hop hasn’t had its first openly gay artist. No rapper has come out. Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.”

The distinction is quite significant for music industry watchers, including Utley, who feels R&B is a more open environment for LGBT musicians. R&B artists Rahsaan Patterson, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Donnie had already publicly acknowledged being LGBT, and each was with a major record label when they did so. Donnie was signed to Giant Step Records and Motown Records when he publicly disclosed that he was gay, in 2007, and he was the first male to do so. The velvet-voiced R&B singer-songwriter has worked with India.Arie and recorded and released two albums, The Colored Section and The Daily News.

“There was nothing said about my sexuality with Giant Step,” Donnie says. “When they signed me they already knew. They signed me because of my art and felt it could sell.” From Giant Step, Donnie was signed over to Motown Records, and the discussion of his sexuality wasn’t brought up there either. “I figured Motown already knew about my sexuality because when The Colored Section was released I wasn’t on television or in videos acting like I was in love with a woman or singing to women. It was nothing for me to say in an interview I was gay. It was just like I was saying I was black. Besides, if you got gaydar, you can see I was gay. So why hide?”

Donnie grew up in a very strict religious family, which practiced the Hebrew Pentecostal faith. He attended the same church as singer Marvin Gaye. Donnie says he struggled with his sexuality as a young boy because the pastor of his church would single him out and speak to him in code via the sermons. “My mother made me go into his office and tell him that if whoremongers can play the instruments, then sissies can sing.”

Rapper MC Lyte (left) performs onstage during VH1 Divas Salute the Troops in December 2010.

Donnie’s music is much more about social messaging, as he addresses ideas that have perplexed the black population and society as a whole. “The music I do is political. I will mention being gay and talk about homophobia, but my songs are not love songs,” Donnie says. “I didn’t want to play the pronoun game and say ‘she’ when I meant ‘he.’ When you’re a songwriter and you’re writing a song, you want people to be involved. I am going to say ‘you,’ ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘they.’ I am not going to sit here and say ‘she’ because it blocks a lot of people out.”

Singer-rapper-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello wasn’t ashamed to speak about her bisexuality. She was one of the first artists to be signed to Madonna’s record label, Maverick Records, in 1992. Her latest album, Pour une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, is due out October 9.

“I was very lucky in that Maverick Records saw it as a benefit and not a hindrance,” Ndegeocello says. “They thought of it as a marketing angle. I totally understood that. I never had to deal with pressure from them.”

On Ndegeocello’s controversial single “Leviticus: Faggot,” she spoke candidly about a young man discovering his homosexuality and the rejection from his family.

    •  Bisexual crooner Meshell Ndegeocello (left) performs during the Melbourne Festival finale concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in October 2010.
      “I saw people like Ellen [DeGeneres] and what she had to go through for people to accept her and all that she achieved,” she says. “She is a ray of light. That is what I’m trying to bring to the LGBT community. We are exceptional people. Let’s share our gifts, and don’t shun my gifts because of who I have a personal relationship with. Especially the NAACP and the black pastors who quit and are upset over Obama and him supporting gay marriage. You embrace a religion that aided in slavery, but you judge me on my sexuality? Let’s be rational. I want to help people to rise above that.”Though a few brave artists have come out, rising above homophobia will require significant effort from the R&B and hip-hop communities, both gay and straight. Ndegeocello acknowledges the difficulty: “I think it’s harder for men,” she says. “Men need a movement. It’s harder to be black, gay, and male. It makes me have the utmost respect for black gay men in an industry of hypermasculinity.”

      For several years hip-hop has been described as being at a tipping point with regard to homophobia, yet the toppling of a pervasive attitude has yet to be achieved. Frank Ocean hasn’t yet said what it means to be Frank Ocean, but with each significant coming-out, the haters have less standing to insist that LGBTs have no place in hip-hop.

      “The ones who are hiding are the main ones with the commentary, and want to beat you up,” Murs acknowledges. But he says there’s a greater purpose in coming out despite the difficulty. “You don’t have to be afraid. You can come out. All the directors, rappers, producers, and all your homeboys, why don’t you all come out together instead of partying in the hills and being secretive? You have to stop being selfish, and come out and help some other young person who is struggling.”

Sad News: Oscar Nominated Actor Michael Clarke Duncan Has Died.

Michael Clarke DuncanTom Hanks, left, Michael Clarke Duncan and David Morse in “The Green Mile.” Duncan portrayed John Coffey, a gentle giant with supernatural powers sentenced to death for the murder of two young white girls. (Ralph Nelson, Warner Bros. / September 3, 2012)

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By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles TimesSeptember 3, 2012, 4:14 p.m.

Michael Clarke Duncan, the tall and massively built actor with the shaved head and deep voice who received an Academy Award nomination for his moving portrayal of a gentle death row inmate in the 1999 prison drama “The Green Mile,” died Monday. He was 54.

Duncan died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to a statement from his publicist, Joy Fehily. He had suffered a heart attack in July and did not recover.

A former ditch digger for a natural gas company in his native Chicago, Duncan began his Hollywood saga as a celebrity bodyguard in the mid-1990s. He received his first big acting break playing a member of the drilling team sent into space to blow up an asteroid heading to Earth in the big-budget 1998 movie “Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

But it was “The Green Mile,” starring Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard in a Louisiana penitentiary during the Depression, that thrust the 6-foot-5, 300-plus-pound Duncan into the limelight. He portrayed John Coffey, a gentle giant with supernatural powers who has been sentenced to death for the murder of two young white girls.

“There was something about him that I just couldn’t ignore,” writer-director Frank Darabont said of Duncan in a 2000 Daily Variety interview. “After his first reading, he kept haunting me. Given that he was a fairly inexperienced actor at that point, obviously there was a concern about ‘Gee, how would this guy do?’

“But once we put him on film, it became apparent that he was up to the task.”

Duncan credited acting coach Larry Moss with teaching him “how to dig within myself” for the heavily emotional crying scenes in the movie.

“I’m an emotional person, a very emotional person,” Duncan told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. “All those tears you see in the movie were mine.”

In 2002, two years after the Academy Awards ceremony, Duncan told the Orange County Register: “Realistically, I didn’t think I would win the Oscar, but the nomination was a personal validation for me. It proved to me that I was a good actor. More important, it showed other people that I was a serious actor.”

Duncan later appeared in films such as “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), “Planet of the Apes” (2001), “The Scorpion King” (2002) and “The Island” (2005). He also did voice work in films and television, including “Brother Bear” (2003) and “Kung Fu Panda” (2008).

He was born Dec. 10, 1957, and grew up on Chicago’s South Side. His father left the family when he was 6, and he and his sister, Judith, were raised by their mother, who steered him clear of gangs, drugs and alcohol.

Growing up, he harbored dreams of becoming an actor.

“Of course, people told me, ‘Mikey, you will never be an actor. You don’t have the look. You’re ugly,’” he recalled in a 2003 Chicago Sun-Times interview.

What helped him, he said, was that his mother “always told me to think ‘YCDA.’ That stands for ‘You Can Do Anything.’”

Duncan attended Alcorn State University in Mississippi but left before graduating to help support his ailing mother. Back in Chicago, he began working for the gas company.

On the job, he talked so much about his dream of going to Hollywood and becoming an actor that his co-workers dubbed him “Hollywood Mike.” He finally quit his job and became a security guard for a traveling show. Once the show reached Los Angeles, he decided to stay.

Working first as a bodyguard for Martin Lawrence, Will Smith and other stars, he began landing small parts in films and television. In 1998, he played bouncers in “Bulworth” and “A Night at the Roxbury” and a bodyguard in “The Players Club.”

While making “Armageddon,” Duncan became friends with Willis, who was instrumental in getting him the role in Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s serial novel “The Green Mile.”

“Bruce told me, ‘Michael, I’ve just read this script and you are this guy John Coffey. I just know it,’” Duncan recalled in a 2001 Ottawa Citizen interview. Willis said he’d call Darabont — and he did, telling him that he had found the man to play the role.

“I’m used to being the big tough guy, the bodyguard type,” Duncan told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2000. “I had never taken a role like this. I started reading the novel and couldn’t put it down. I got emotional while reading it. Once I finished it, I said, ‘That’s me. I don’t care what I have to do, but I’ve got to play this role.’”

As “The Green Mile” was about to open in theaters nationwide in 1999, Duncan told the New York Times, “This is really like a gift from God. I tell people, ‘It’s just like a cliche, but it’s true: In Hollywood, dreams can come true.’”

Besides his mother, Jean, and his sister, Judith, he is survived by his fiancee, actress Omarosa Manigault.

Guardian Newspaper Article: R&B Singer Frank Ocean Confirms He Is Bisexual With An Open Letter To Fans!!!

Member of Odd Future, a hip-hop collective accused of homophobia, comes out in open letter posted to Tumblr

Frank Ocean

‘There was no escaping the feeling’ … Odd Future’s Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean has come out of the closet. Or, at least, that’s what he seems to have done. In an open letter posted on his Tumblr, he reminisces about falling in love with a man when he was 19. The letter follows the first playback of his new album, Channel Orange, on Monday.Those who heard the album reported that several tracks were love songs addressed to a man.

In his post, 24-year-old Ocean – real name Christopher Breaux – wrote: “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence. Until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realised I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love. It changed my life.”

When he shared his feelings with his friend, though, “He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same.”

It is not known whether this means Ocean is gay or, as was suggested after the album playback, bisexual.

However, it certainly further clouds the debate surrounding the supposed homophobia of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, the Los Angeleship-hop collective with which Ocean is affiliated. Odd Future already have one openly gay member, the female prodicer and DJ Syd tha Kid. Last November, Odd Future were dropped from the bill of the Big Day Out festival in New Zealand because of homophobic lyrics, and the group – especailly Tyler, the Creator – have been widely criticised for lyrics deemed offensive to women and gay people.

In his own way, Tyler, the Creator, offered support to Frank Ocean onTwitter: “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.”

Grapejuice Music Article News: American R&B Singer Frank Ocean’s Debut Album Will Explore His Bisexuality!!!

Monday, July 2nd 2012

frank ocean bisexual e1341263953358 Report: Frank Ocean Reveals Bisexuality On Channel Orange

The last year has seen soulful crooner Frank Ocean make his foray from the Underground into the mainstream; a process which looks set to culminate with the release of his debut album ‘Channel Orange’ (due July 17th).

Today saw the LP receive its London press playback, and oh did it serve up more than expected. See what we mean via Max/BBC 1 Xtra‘s preview below…

Excerpt via This is Max:

“Frank has also opened up about his sexuality on the album, we think it’s brave and admire him for being so honest and sharing such a personal aspect of his life through his music. On the songs ‘Bad Religion’ ‘Pink Matter and ‘Forrest Gump’ you can hear him sing about being in love and their are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.

In the world we live in now we can’t see this being an issue or why it should be?? But we do commend him for not continuing a facade and conforming to what a Hip Hop so called rule book expects, we say live your life and be yourself.”

************

Intriguing – even more so when considering what this could mean for strides in the “Urban diaspora”. For, having earned accolades a plenty in his short time “on the scene”, it’ll be uber interesting to see the mass reaction to his apparent declaration.

Whatever it is, we can only hope it’s one that isn’t hypocritical. For, any sudden jolts or negative OMG’s would be silly given that the industry has a pronounced “pink” presence – whether folk know or like it. It simply is what it is. If anything, Ocean should garner praise for actually “going there” – given that so many of his contemporaries don’t. Yuuup.

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