Jay Smooth: Why The Gay Rapper is Like 'Highlander.'

On point, as usual.

I gotta say, It’s funny that these cats (Terrance Dean, D.L. King, etc. ) have been trying to couch their self-promotion in some kind of larger social concern, like citing the D.L. “phenomenon” as a reason for the disproportionately high rate of AIDS among black women. The big problem with that logic, of course, is that it’s very, very creaky (though it does fits in nicely with the narrative, which annoyingly always taken as a given — see Obama’s interview with the Advocate — that black people are leaps and bounds more homophobic than other groups.)

This faux-concern about gay bogeymen in the, er, closet, is much more media-ready; it has sex and secrets, villains and victims. But you know you shouldn’t always believe stuff you see on television.

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Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs about race and ethnicity for National Public Radio. He is a native of South Philly and reads and writes and runs and rants. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook.

22 comments to Jay Smooth: Why The Gay Rapper is Like 'Highlander.'

  • LH

    Being gay is normal, really?

  • LH

    Well then … I guess that settles it.

  • Oh. Was this supposed to be a real discussion?

    You think homosexuality is wrong. Jay says (and I agree) that it’s not. Let’s agree to disagree before we even start.

  • Big Word

    Somebody tell me what gave people the right to co-opt the term DL to mean something exclusively gay? I always thought the term DL meant cheatin, period.

    Yeah, there’s always been gay rappers. Hell in New Orleans there was a transexual rapper who had a few local hits. The hooks were hilarious. Her name, Katey Red,was equally hilarious. There’s a video for one of her songs up on youtube.

  • LH

    A real discussion? C’mon. Because we have some philosophical differences isn’t cause to be dismissive of a legitimate question.

    I was looking to engage in a ‘real’ discussion because I find interesting the idea that being gay is normal. Why? Because I wonder what normal, in this context, means.

    Is Jay saying that because there are gay people everywhere that homosexuality is normal? Is he saying that homosexuality itself is normal?

    I found interesting his statement about men loving other men versus killing them, as it implies that homosexuality is necessarily about love. Is it? I also found interesting his juxtaposition of violence and homosexuality, although within context, I get it.

  • Steve

    Keith Boykin describes the “downlow” (in his book responding to JL King’s book in part) as aplpying to not just gays but people who live dishonest lifestyles…

    While its been appropriated to gays and I believe that many of our inherent problems with relationships and general honesty stem from years of concealing feelings and an identity…

    it also can apply to anyone.. like that Epic R Kelly video LOL

  • Ah, socratic ignorance. gotta love it.

    okay. you don’t think being gay is ‘normal.’ not heteronormative, certainly. and if someone chooses to view the world through a heteronormative prism — there are more of us then there are of them! — then yeah, being gay isn’t ‘normal.’

    but there are gay people in every culture on the planet, and homosexuality is common among scores of higher vertebrate species. so how prevalent does something need to be before it’s just not anomalous, anymore? You know, ‘normal’?

    what’s so fascinating about his juxtaposition of violence and homosexuality?

    It seems like you’re hinting at something you’re trying not to come out and say.

  • LH

    If the idea is that gay is normal because there are gays in every culture, we are not talking about normal in a way that I understand. We’re talking about prevelance.

    There are things that are prevelant across cultures, e.g., murder, paedophilia, that I don’t believe anyone would call ‘normal.’

  • “because gay rappers are like the Highlander and ‘there can only be one’ ”

    I’m seriously considering going over to illdoctrine and unabashedly throwing myself at Jay Smoove via blog comment.
    Whaddaya think my chances are GD?

  • ah, there it is. I was just waiting for you to say it. you don’t think it’s normal because you don’t think it’s socially desirable.

    that doesn’t make it abnormal or aberrant; that just means you think it’s icky (which is certainly your prerogative). But that’s not the same thing.

    since you’re being all coy, maybe we should be direct: no shade, but why does this issue in particular always seem to get your goat (like, the time you, bizarrely, justified the murder of a gay kid because he was openly gay)? what’s your big beef with homosexuality?

    Is it a religious thing?

  • Thanks for the link to that Advocate interview, Demby.

    And, LH, I think homosexuality is about as normal as blue eyes or brown hair. But since you seem to be suggesting that homosexuality is a choice, a sin, and/or a crime, like your two examples above, you probably won’t agree.

  • You’re quite welcome, Shani. (woman, why is you blowing up my government? lol.)

  • UE: Do your thing. But that list is getting type long.

    *glares at Shani and Aisha and Stacia and…*

  • Big Word

    Thanks to Steve for clearing that whole downlow thing up for me.

    I also have to mention I hate, hate hearing homosexuality compared to criminal activity. That smacks of pure bigotry.

  • LH

    G.D., you’re mistaken. I don’t believe homosexuality is normal because I don’t believe it’s natural. By ‘natural’ I mean of nature. By design, two men or two women cannot procreate naturally. Further, by design, two men nor two women were intended to have sex with one another. Wait, let me guess: Nature has beef with homosexuality, too, right?

    What’s difficult for me to work out is how intolerant the apologists for gays and lesbians can be. The mission of many gays and lesbians is to make sure that everyone knows what happens in their bedrooms. The mission of their apologists is to tell those of us who’d rather not know about it that what happens in the bedrooms of gays and lesbians is none of our business. Walk me through how that works logically, please.

    I find homosexuality disgusting in practice and in theory, and, no, it is not because of my religious convictions–directly at least.

    But what I have ‘beef’ with actually is the idea that I should remain silent or avoid speaking frankly about homosexuality because my view isn’t deemed to be enlightened by those who’ve hijacked any discussion about the issue.

    I didn’t justify King’s killing. I said it was wrong but that I understood why it happened. If you find *that* bizarre, you’re missing the point.

    Also, if you, Jay, or anyone else believes that homosexuality is normal, great. I happen to believe it isn’t normal and that the, ‘But lots of people do it,’ argument is circular at best.

  • LH

    Shanio, I don’t believe homosexuality is normal for the reasons I stated above. I never push the, ‘it’s a sin,’ angle because I am a sinner. Fornication, too, is a sin. As sin goes, I’m no better than gays and lesbians. Different, certainly, but no better (or worse).

    I certainly believe homosexuality is a choice, though. I’ve talked to gays and lesbians who’ve told me in certain terms that they didn’t always like their own kind but wound up lying with them because they were hurt, beaten, curious, lonely and etcetera. If that isn’t choice, what is?

    And, no, I don’t believe that all of these people are confused. At least some of them are gay or lesbian.

  • “I don’t believe homosexuality is normal because I don’t believe it’s natural. By ‘natural’ I mean of nature. By design, two men or two women cannot procreate naturally. Further, by design, two men nor two women were intended to have sex with one another. Wait, let me guess: Nature has beef with homosexuality, too, right?”

    I’m obligated to point out the myriad gaping holes in this argument:

    1) It’s not natural, yet it happens in ‘nature’ all. the. time.

    2) It follows that you take issue with infertile couples too, then.

    3) Two women/two women can’t participate in coitus with each other. But coitus isn’t the totality of sexual activity by a longshot. (Maybe you’re telling on yourself here. I can’t call it.)

    “What’s difficult for me to work out is how intolerant the apologists for gays and lesbians can be. The mission of many gays and lesbians is to make sure that everyone knows what happens in their bedrooms. The mission of their apologists is to tell those of us who’d rather not know about it that what happens in the bedrooms of gays and lesbians is none of our business. Walk me through how that works logically, please.”

    Oh, yeah. You must mean the 2003 Supreme Court ruling where Texas’s sodomy laws was struck down as unconstitutional.

    Wait a minute! That was actually everyone else trying to stay abreast of what happens in the bedrooms of gays and lesbians! Oh. My bust, homie.

    Hmmmm. I guess you must be talking about all those obnoxious displays of affection, like hand-holding and kissing. Yeah. Everyone knows that when straight people do it, it’s about love and commitment and devotion, and when gay people do it it’s about lust and vice.

    “I find homosexuality disgusting in practice and in theory, and, no, it is not because of my religious convictions–directly at least.”

    And you’re certainly not alone. I can’t speak for you, but I’d be worried if I was on the same side of any issue with those folks.

    “But what I have ‘beef’ with actually is the idea that I should remain silent or avoid speaking frankly about homosexuality because my view isn’t deemed to be enlightened by those who’ve hijacked any discussion about the issue.”

    Have you ever considered that your view just isn’t informed?

    You’ve said a bunch of things that sound like Republican talking points that just aren’t true…that are actually provably untrue.

    Gay couples aren’t tying straight folks up and forcing them to watch them kiss (or worse!); they’re asking that the rights that are extended to most citizens — say, to enter into a legal contract that is recognized by the state, or to be with their partners in their own homes without the cops barging in — be extended to them.

    So here’s a serious question: what happens to you or the larger society as these laws protecting their private rights come to be?

    My guess is…not a gotdamn thing. But if you could point out an article that outlines one real-world problem for me, you and all the other straight people out there that came as a result the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    But you can stick to the talking points — perversion of marriage, gays are crazy pedophiles, it’s icky — if you want. Do you.

    “I didn’t justify King’s killing. I said it was wrong but that I understood why it happened. If you find *that* bizarre, you’re missing the point.”

    Ah, so you didn’t justify a 13-year-old getting murked in a crowded classroom by another classmate just because he was gay, but you understand why it happened. My mistake. I certainly wouldn’t want to suggest that your stance was heartless and ridiculous.

  • LH

    G.D., maybe it’s my imagination, but you seem a little heated. But hiding behind gratuitous, veiled insults and almost bon mots won’t advance your point.

    I was confident that you’d tell me what I already knew, which is that there are gay animals. There are also animals that eat their young and kill their lovers during or shortly after intercourse. So then … do we pick and choose which acts committed by animals are acceptably natural for humans?

    I couldn’t help but notice that you backed away from the, ‘But everyone does it,’ angle you pushed earlier. Interesting.

    No, it doesn’t ‘follow’ that I take issue with infertile couples, who represent the exception to the rule and are unable to reproduce because of a physiological defect. Do the words “by design” mean anything to you? Let me walk you through this so you’re clear: Women are biologically incapable of impregnating other women. Men are biologically incapable of impregnating other men. Men are biologically incapable of giving birth. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar to you? For reference, here’s a refresher.

    Coitus isn’t the totality of sexual activity? Who knew? Thanks, G.D. I’ll leave it to you, then, to make sense of sort out the sexual activities of gays and lesbians, including the use of … sexual prosthetics

    I also anticipated that you’d mention Lawrence v. Texas. Yes, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’s laws against sodomy and anal intercourse between members of the same sex. But the case had nothing to do with ‘everyone else’ trying to stay abreast of what happens in the bedrooms of gays and lesbians. You are aware -no?- that a former lover of one of the plaintiffs, Tyron Garner, called the police and reported a disturbance at Lawrence’s apartment. Yeah, your bust, indeed.

    Fam, I’m not down with PDAs regardless of who shows them and when I talk about gays making their sexuality known, I’m not talking about hand-holding and kissing. You can’t be serious in suggesting that save for such displays, no one would know that some of the people you and I see walking around are gay or lesbian.

    Implying that I am in league with extremists who say that God hates fags is cheap, G.D. I’m not fighting a culture war. More important, I have never approached using that kind of language and nothing that I’ve said can be reasonably taken to suggest that I believe that God hates anyone. Why’d you bother asking me if my religious beliefs were behind my opposition to homosexuality only to push that angle even after I explained that they weren’t?

    If my view is uninformed, your view is at least limited. Have you considered that? Actually, you don’t have to answer that here, what with you holding yourself out to be omnipotent.

    What I say sounds like Republican talking points, really? Talking points that are “provably” untrue? Another cheap shot, but what have you said that’s worth proving at all? Past that, Republicans don’t have a monopoly on finding homosexuality disgusting (See my earlier point about your view being limited).

    As to your apology for gay marriage, it’s provocative but not persuasive. Stated plainly, you’re posturing. If you’re really okay with gay marriage, then how about two brothers or two sisters who want to get married? What if five people from two genders show up at city hall and request a marriage license? For that matter, what if one person says he wants to marry himself? How about a mother and a son or daughter who’s of age? A brother and a sister? A man who’s already married to a woman but who wants also to be married to a man? Are you okay with any of these people marrying? If not, why not?

    As to King’s murder, I’ll indulge your nut role routine and provide some context for you. King was killed by another kid of the same sex who didn’t take kindly to being flirted with. Was it right? No. I’ve said that–plainly. But the classmate King was flirting with was a kid in a crowded classroom whose sexuality was challenged. You likely were never a kid, but I have been. As such, I know that kids react and then think. Saying that I understand why King was killed isn’t heartless or ridiculous because you don’t like it. It’s informed. And it’s honest to boot.

    Bonne chance!

  • LH

    I meant omniscient, not omnipotent.

  • Steve

    Lawrence v. Texas WAS about the government regulating what goes on in someone’s bedroom. Why? Because it was an ACLU test case challenging Bowers v. Hardwick which was the Supreme Court upholding anti-sodomy laws and asserting that you have no right to keep the government out of what you do within your bed room.

    I find it funny that people often think gay people want to push their agenda and lifestyle down your throats when to be real, all we want is basic protection, such as the ability to get health insurance for the person that we share our life and most of our property with, the ability to even rent a one bedroom with someone of the same sex without getting denied, it’s really not that deep.

    In terms of LH’s “empirical evidence” about gays telling him in certain terms that they often didnt want to lie with each other but were lonely, beaten or sad……. misses the entire point of why someone would say that:

    Listen, imagine you’re growing up like everyone else is but instead of feeling attraction toward the opposite sex you feel one toward the same sex. However, everything in school, popular culture, and the church tells you that everything you are feeling is wrong and abnormal. Don’t you think then, its pretty normal for your sexual experiences to alternate with feelings of disgust and discomfort? Instead of the exciting exploratory adolescence that heterosexual people have, gay folks are always going to have a sense of wrong in what they do because society has CONDITIONED us to believe it’s wrong and abnormal. So 1. Why would we choose to continue doing this if it was a choice? 2. Yes, there are plenty of times we struggle with our sexual identities because of pressures from society and our family and that often translates into discomfort in sex and relationships…. but its utterly farcical to say that that is empirical evidence that we choose same sex partners beause we are lonely, abused, depressed or desperate.

    But as I know how it goes, nothing I say will alter your agenda.

  • LH

    G.D., is your view of all cultural issues binary or did John Hagee cut you off in traffic this morning? What is behind your fixation with religious zealots (real and imagined)? Your attempts to couch what I’m saying within the ethos of the right presumes that the only people who could oppose gay marriage –for whatever reason(s)– are cultural conservatives like Hagee or the late Jerry Falwell. You need to get out more.

    Fam, if you think it’s normal for a (wo)man to have sexual relations with another (wo)man, that’s your red wagon. I don’t, and the, ‘But lots of people and animals do it,’ argument, though certainly provocative, isn’t convincing. There are too many examples of culturally pervasive behaviours for it to be. And as I pointed out (and you ignored), animals eat their young and kill their lovers. Please don’t bother suggesting that either is normal, but if you must …

    As to Lawrence, yes, I’m aware of the circumstances surrounding his and his lover’s arrests. I pointed out that the police were called to Lawrence’s apartment to answer your point about the government poking its nose in the bedrooms of private citizens.

    I’m not here to speak for anyone else, but your suggestion that anyone who has an issue with homosexuality or gay marriage doesn’t like gay people is yet another example of your binary view of the world. I recognise how cliched this sounds, but I have gay friends. I’m able to separate what they do in their bedrooms from what happens when we interact because though we’re friends, their sex lives aren’t my business. But when gays and lesbians make it their business to flaunt their sexuality publicly, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been read in.

    Maybe it’s because you need to be right, but you seem to have missed that you ‘care’ about this at least as much as I do. I haven’t been arguing with myself. And you didn’t even bother denying that you were heated. But I care so much? Um, okay.

    You don’t get to determine how I ‘need’ frame my opposition to gay marriage, but if you’re going to you might want to formulate an argument with greater heft than, ‘Why should it matter to you?’ while at the same time telling me to shore up my argument.

    As for King, what’s ridiculous –to me anyway– is that a 15 year-old was walking around in drag. You can call that normal, too, but the ugly, unavoidable truth is that his behaviour was the proximate cause of his death. What’s heartless is that his mother (I can only assume) allowed him to think that was okay. I’m guessing that roughly 10 years ago you were high school student in South Philly. If you were –and even if you weren’t– you’re keenly aware that trading in the currency of homosexual innuendo can get a kid hurt or worse. The stakes are too high for grandstanding and moral grandeur masquerading as enlightenment.

    (BTW: Let’s not and say we did.)

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