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April 26, 2011  | by: Vanessa Douglas

Rapper Lil' B

The hip hop and rap communities are not very renowned for laying out welcome mats for the LGBTQ crew. Rapper Lil’ B, however, has decided to go against the grain, and has titled his new album I’m Gay, which he announce at the latest Coachella Music Festival. This move, unsurprisingly, has generated negative reactions.

In a recent interview with MTV news, the Berkeley, California artist said that he has lost some of his fanbase, and has also received death threats, “People been hitting me up like, ‘I’m gonna bash your head in,’ ‘you f****t,’ ‘I’m gonna kill you,’ A lot of my supporters have turned on me. It’s been a few supporters that’s saying, ‘I’m not gonna rock with you anymore.”

Regarding the album title, Lil’ B says it is not related to his sexual orientation, “I’m very gay, but I love women. I’m not attracted to men in any way. I’ve never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes I am gay, I’m so happy. I’m a gay, heterosexual male.” He also said, “I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation and that’s why I’m doing it. I hope GLAAD sees that I’m taking initial steps to break barriers.” A spokesperson for GLAAD said that they hoped the rapper was doing this out of sincerity.

Firstly, it is impressive that Lil’ B knows what GLADD is, because most people (myself included) probably do not. Secondly, let us hope that he is being sincere about this move, and is not doing it for attention’s sake, as the spokesperson said. Thirdly, it is also impressive that as an artist in the rap genre, he can openly admit to supporting the LGBTQ community, when other artists are stereotypically known for homophobia. Finally, the fact that he has received death threats and his fans are no longer supporting him not only proves his point, but also highlights their own prejudice

Why is it that artists like 50 Cent and Eminem are continuously well liked despite the fact that they use homophobic language and make inappropriate jokes? Why is it okay for these artists to speak negatively  about a certain group, but when one individual tries to do the right thing, he gets backlash? Whenever the hip hop and rap genres are targeted, then it is perfectly acceptable to defend the music, so why is it so out of place that a rapper is trying to support a marginalized group of people?

Hopefully Lil’ B’s fans can accept his choice and still like his music. His decision was a brave and admirable one. Whether it was necessarily? Well that is a whole other debate.

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