In the last week, news has come out that legendary DJ Mister Cee, who among other things is known for producing the classic Notorious B.I.G. record "Ready to Die", and is currently an on-air DJ at Hot 97FM in New York was arrested for what was deemed a "lewd act".
Then reports came out of what that lewd act allegedly was: Mister Cee was supposedly caught by police at 4am in a parked car getting oral favors from a transvestite named Brook-Lynn PinkLady. Once that came out, predictably all hell broke loose on Twitter and the hip hop blogs, the overwhelming amount of response being negative.
From people declaring that Mister Cee's career was over, to mocking and laughter, to the predictable homophobic comments, people had pretty much deemed him guilty as charged, even before he had a chance to defend himself. I've read the police report, and seen the Smoking Gun piece on it, and to be honest it doesn't look good for him. It seems they have him dead to rights, although I always try to withhold judgement on people until they've had a fair chance to defend themselves or explain themselves.
The prisons are full of people who were falsely accused of things they didn't do. Who had eye witness testimony put them behind bars, and later was revealed to be coerced fabrications. Who had police testimony that later turned out to be lies.
I'm not saying whether or not he's innocent or guilty or not, as that's not my place to judge. What I would like to point out though is how this whole situation has been created out of the homophobia that permeates hip hop culture. It's not just hip hop though, but the entire world really, particularly this country. However, imagine a scenario here: Imagine that it wasn't a scarlet letter to be considered gay in hip hop. Imagine that a rapper could come out or a DJ could come out of the closet and proclaim himself a gay man or woman, and not have his or her entire career dismissed with the snap of a finger.
Imagine people hearing that and thinking, "Well, who the hell cares? Their music is hot, that's what matters.". In a culture where a man's masculinity and manhood is his most important aspect, aside from honor (which often is viewed as one and the same, sadly), it would be a career death sentence for a rapper in his prime to come out as gay. I don't think anyone would argue that. No matter where you would place that rapper on the "Greatest Rappers of All Time" list, it wouldn't matter. They would be done for.
I mean, when Guru passed away last year, there were many who had suggested that he was gay, and who just utterly dismissed all his accomplishments in hip hop because of that. Because of allegations of his sexual preference, his legendary career was just dismissed like that. Now tell me how much sense does that make?
When Elton John came out of the closet as bi-sexual to Rolling Stone in 1976, while I don't imagine anyone was too terribly surprised, it was considered a big deal. However I don't know anyone who legitimately feels that his sexual preference matters at all when it comes to his music. Does Freddy Mercury or Elton John being Gay or Bisexual make their music any less classic than it was?
Does anyone listen to old records of Elton John's Greatest Hits and think "Man this was so much better before I knew he liked dudes"? Hell no. And if you do, you're a complete idiot and a bigot.
But to my point of Mister Cee, I feel this whole situation is born out of the homophobia that persists in Hip Hop. As I said, imagine that that element wasn't there. That a man didn't have to worry about what people thought about him being gay or straight. He could have his own jump off living with him. He could live openly and freely and not give a shit about people wanting him fired from his job, or dismissing his accomplishments in hip hop history.
And most importantly, he wouldn't have to creep around in NY at 4am to get a head start on the morning. Same thing with all these Republican congressmen who are closeted homosexuals who end up sneaking around getting with male prostitutes in hotel rooms. If they could live freely and openly without fear of career suicide, they wouldn't have to do that. They wouldn't have to sneak around while pretending to be happily married to a woman who perhaps has no clue about her husband's true proclivities.
It's this culture in society these days that force men and women to hide who they are because they're so afraid that their careers and their lives will be taken from them because of who they have feelings for. And that's just wrong, people. Who cares who loves who? I realize that as I said the culture is based around macho masculinity and all that. But perhaps there needs to be a change in that.
If there was, people would be more focused on us getting involved in a third war abroad, when there are millions of homeless people suffering here in our own back yard. We'd be more focused on the Republicans gutting Medicare and taking away benefits from the disabled and low income individuals, than worrying about whether or not one man wants to be with another man.
Which do YOU think is more important and actually impacts your life?