First, read this: Bow Down Macklemore
Ok, let’s take this apart, because this ignorant rant misses the point and instead shoots our movement in the foot. Way to go with that one, Ms. Fox.
Paragraph 1: I agree. It’s tragic that a white rapper has gotten awards that so many black rappers haven’t gotten, and I especially think this because so many black rappers have much better music (which is ostensively what the Grammy’s are about, right?). I’m not a huge fan of Macklemore, but I think he’s doing the right thing – using his voice, which is very big, to help a minority (disclosure, I’m part of that minority). That’s a good thing. But I can’t disagree that his winning when others, better than him, haven’t, is problematic, but that’s for the Grammy’s to fix.
“Perpetuates the racist myth of black homophobia” Are you fucking kidding me? It points out that the genre tends to be homophobic, but that isn’t a myth, and doesn’t really say anything about race, other than you’re looking at a white guy saying it. If a white points out homophobia in a black the white guy is racist? No, he’s just observing and speaking about a fact. Get it together.
“I donâ€™t want feel-good, watered-down raps promoting the passive acceptance of gay people.” I do. I want acceptance on every level so we can stop having to fight for the right to merely exist. Are you crazy? Why give this up? You need to understand that we need every bit of help we can get, and this is fucking helping!
“I want songs about owning my power.” Great. So you went to a cisgendered straight black woman to get it. Dandy. I believe “She Keeps Me Warm” was written by a lesbian, but maybe that song isn’t enough for you? Or maybe it’s because Mary Lambert isn’t a big enough voice for you to feel like you matter?
Paragraph 2: “Macklemore raps about homophobic oppression, an oppression he has never experienced. He caricatures hip hop as homophobic, when there are queer hip hop artists making better music that speaks to their own oppression.”
Well, yes he raps about something he’s seen in action, and while it doesn’t directly affect him, using his voice to bring it up and call it out isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a damned good thing. And yes, he’s straight. We call them “allies” in case you were wondering what to call him.
As for him caricaturing anything, where the hell have you been? Have you listened to rap music? Do a search on “rap lyrics faggot” and you’ll get 1.8 MILLION records for it. That’s not a caricature, that’s a fact. And one of the other cisgendered, straight, white, male, rappers you might’ve heard of is Eminem, who has used the word in his songs. So yeah, nothing really new here other than your blinders to reality.
There are queer hip hop artists doing great work. They don’t have Macklemore’s reach at all, nor do they have the straight audience that needs to actually hear the words that he’s saying. We LGBTQII(every-other-letter-of-the-alphabet) people get it. We’re fighting for our rights and, dammit, we need big voices to help. Macklemore is one of those, so stop shitting on him because he didn’t get everything exactly the way you want. You don’t get to speak for all of us either.
“Macklemoreâ€™s lyrics imply that â€˜gay is the new black!â€™ by conflating civil rights and gay rights throughout the song.”
Gay Rights are Civil Rights!!
“I donâ€™t need straight boys to validate my existence. I woke up like thisâ€¦FLAWLESS.”
He’s not validating your existence for you, he’s stating, to the people who think you are less, that they are wrong and you are as equal as they are. Don’t confuse yourself that his message was for you. It’s not, it’s for the straights who don’t yet get it. Duh.
“â€œIf I was gay, I would think hip hop hates me.â€ Macklemore denounces hip hop as categorically homophobic.” Again, refer to Eminem. And while it’s a gross generalization, it’s not a woman telling others “bow down bitches, bow bow down bitches.” Which, you know, it’s totally uplifting to be called a bitch at the top of a song, and told to bow before another. Very “equality”, that.
I love this next bit. “Not to mention the benevolent homophobia inherent in the assertion that queer people only deserve rights because weâ€™re â€˜just likeâ€™ straight people, rather than by virtue of our humanity.” That’s not ‘benevolent homophobia’ that’s the fucking message we’ve been saying for the entirety of this fight – we deserve to be treated fairly because we are humans, too, just like you. How angry are you that you can’t see the basics of who and what we are and what we’re doing?
“â€œItâ€™s the same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins.â€ Macklemore conflates the civil rights and mainstream LGBT rights movement, which ignores queer people of color at the intersections of both identities, harms both movements by insinuating that black and gay are separate categories for comparison rather than people whose liberations are interdependent, and overlooks the unique historical struggles of people of color. He goes on to rap, â€œItâ€™s human rights for everybody, there is no difference.â€ There are differences between racial and sexual oppression, conflating the two is ignorant and historically specious at best, white supremacist at worst.”
Yep. Macklemore is apartheid in a slick haircut. That’s it.
The civil rights movement and the LGBT movement are parts of the same movement – it’s called “equality“. And while, yes, there are different battlefields and different goals achieved each year, and different set-backs and different ideas on how to get there, the end result is that we should all be equal. Same fight. Different reasons. You should get that, and why you don’t is something for you to consider. Deeply.
How you hear his lyrics says so much more about you than it does about him. I guess you don’t want the help, but please, shut up about it until we win. Then you can bitch all you want about how they didn’t do enough, or everything they did was wrong. Right now, you’re part of the problem, and you need to look deep in yourself and find out why, when someone is helping you by calling out his own flock, you feel the need to feel attacked and demeaned. He isn’t, and never was, talking to you. Get a grip.
“How is gay marriage going to help with the most pressing issues facing our community?” It’s one thing. And it’s an achievable goal that gives us standing to point out that we’re equal in the eyes of the law – which then gives us standing to attack and win on all those other issues that you mention. You may not like that the fight has gotten us to this goal faster than others, and I can’t say if you’re wrong or right, but as we’re so close to winning this, why not knock it out of the park and use that very real power to tackle the next inequality that we face? Oh, you didn’t think of that, did you. It appears you didn’t think of much.
On Macklemore being an ally, you wrote “Itâ€™s incredibly frustrating to suddenly see people care about homophobia, something queer people have been talking about FOREVER just because a straight man rapped about it.” Yes, it’s very hard to realize that we are still so powerless that we must reach the mainstream through others. That’s reality, tho, and your slap at him, your biting critique and inflamed attack on him isn’t helping the people you think he’s silenced. In fact, other than mentioning Mary Lambert, you haven’t brought up any counterpoints to him, and that says even more about your thinking than your writing does. You don’t have the queer artists to extoll and promote either. Hell, you didn’t even mention Frank Ocean, probably the highest profile out rapper, or his album “Channel Orange”, and I’m wondering why? Oh wait. Maybe he didn’t really rap about equality or change or making the world a better place for LBGTQII people. I don’t know, because I haven’t heard his album. It wasn’t big enough, mainstream enough, to reach me as I’m not a general fan of hip hop. So effectively, his voice is silence (kudos to you for pointing that out, tho.) and you prefer silence because everyone else is fucking wrong.
“‘But I have a queer/queer person of color friend who loves â€˜Same Love!â€™ Knowing a queer/QPOC person who loves â€˜Same Loveâ€™ does not render these critiques invalid, in the same way that having a black friend doesnâ€™t mean that youâ€™re not racist. People have conflicting views because marginalized groups are not homogenous, monolithic entities. That doesnâ€™t mean you can ignore or talk over the queer people, people of color, and queer people of color who are critiquing Macklemore; it means you shut up and listen to become a stronger ally.”
You think the stronger allies are the silent ones? Are you trolling? Seriously, ARE YOU TROLLING?!? Because you know what? “Silence = Death” wasn’t just a bumper sticker to make you feel better about opening your mouth, it’s the simple truth. If you don’t stand up AND SAY SOMETHING when you see oppression, you are siding with the oppressor. How ignorant, dangerous, and hateful are you that you want our allies, who yes, are imperfect, don’t always do the best thing, and something get it wrong because they are human, to be silent.
You know who isn’t going to be silent? The fuckwits who think we are going to hell. The assholes who want to enshrine bigotry towards us in the US Constitution. They sure as fuck aren’t going to shut up. I hope and pray that our allies won’t shut up either.
You don’t need anyone to fucking bow down, either. You need to stand tall, with the rest of us, and fight for the future. And yes, that means calling out allies when they fuck up. It also means thanking them when they do good.
You need to learn the difference.
And in case you didn’t get it, here it is again, in a video for you: