“Couldn't wait for gay parade so you can drag it, George used to flip, went from hitting skins to sucking nigga’s dick, George better get a grip.” In 1991, A Tribe Called Quest rapped these lyrics in the song “Georgie Porgie.” Society in general has become more accepting in regards to LGBTQ-plus people. Monday Nov. 18 was the 10-year anniversary of Massachusetts being the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. The anniversary represents how far society has come in regard to acceptance. Unfortunately, as the times change, some facets of culture still fall behind. Although “Georgie Porgie” was written 22 years ago, hip-hop culture really has not progressed all that significantly.
Hip-hop artist Frank Ocean came out in 2012 before releasing his latest album. At the surface, this seems like great advancement in the hip-hop community, but unfortunately it falls short.
Journalist for The Huffington Post Ernest Owens, not happy with Ocean’s coming out, wrote that Ocean “released his music video ‘Pyramids’ and it is back to the same regurgitated overtly heterosexual usage of deformed and abstract female strippers and the lust and degradation.”
Ocean is a part of the rap group Odd Future, whose songs constantly contain homophobic lyrical content. In his 2011 solo album Goblin – 20 years after “Georgie Porgie” – Odd Future frontman Tyler, the Creator used the word “faggot” and many variations of the word 213 times, according to ColorLines.
This begs the question as to why so many hip-hop artists put emphasis on their homophobic views. Why would Tyler, the Creator so frequently repeat words offensive to the gay community? Hip-hop is a musical genre that formed in the black community. Analyst Carissa Froyum claims that black Americans are more represented in the lower economic classes; therefore, homophobia is a way for black men to raise their masculinity.
This puts more pressure on people who are both black and LGBTQ-plus because they have to deal with the struggles that both communities face. When rappers’ lyrics contain homophobic content, it sends an alienating message to LGBTQ-plus black people.
Owens said that Ocean “has continued to accept being the token in an industry that continues to perpetuate the stereotype for what societal black masculinity is.” Ocean is not paving the way to acceptance in hip-hop; instead, he is allowing it to continue.
Although rappers may not be as homophobic in their lyrics as A Tribe Called Quest, it is still a major aspect of hip-hop music. It acts as a way to promote ones masculinity, and by doing so oppresses LGBTQ-plus people. The problem is that this music is so highly popular and so very few people care or notice that the lyrics are very damaging. People blindly listen to this music not thinking about the implications that derive from the lyrics.
Tyler, the Creator, when addressing his homophobic content and the use of the word “faggot” in an interview, said, “We don’t think about that shit. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic.” He later added, “We’re just kids. We don’t think about that shit.”