It’s almost been two weeks since the Legendary Mr. Cee was arrested for lewd sexual conduct, now maybe we can have an important dialogue about homophobia in hip-hop and the black community. The Internet and NYC radio stations have been in an uproar since the arrest of famous Mr. Cee for having allegedly been involved with a male prostitute. As the police report released by the Smoking Gun tells it, Mr. Cee was receiving fellatio from a transvestite in his car when the cops picked him up. If you don’t know who Mr. Cee is, he’s the guy who helped jumpstart the career of the Notorious B.I.G, and he has been at Hot 97 since I can remember. He’s a hip-hop legend and if you know anything about hip-hop culture it’s as Kanye West put it, “the opposite of gay”.
Homophobia runs rampant in the African American community so it’s no surprise that homosexuality is taboo in Hip-Hop as well, being largely dominated by men of color. Mr. Cee’s sexual preference is of no concern to me, remember Eddie Murphy too was also caught with a transvestite, so stranger things have happened. However, this Mr. Cee situation could prove to be a teachable moment for not only Hip-Hop but for the black community at large in confronting homophobia. Why is a man of Mr. Cee’s stature allegedly patrolling the streets of NYC for male prostitutes? Possibly because homosexuality is so taboo, that men have no safe space to admit their sexual desires and in turn live these double lives sleeping with both men and women. Women to the public, men on late nights in unusual places that are known to attract gay male prostitutes.
Rapper/ Business Mogul 50 Cent came to the defense of Mr. Cee in his interview with Hot 97 personality Miss Info, joking that Mr. Cee should just say “I’m Rick James b!tc#” and go on about his business. I agree, but 50 and I are saying that from the safe space of being straight black men. It’s easy for us to imagine that it’s as simple as saying, “you do you, I’m going to do me”. Homosexual men don’t often have the privilege of expressing their sexual preferences and not being demonized by the society in which they live. So Mr. Cee’s debacle, and his friend Funkmaster Flex’s denial of these actions which Mr. Cee hasn’t even denied himself paint the picture how not cool it is to be black, gay and male. Flex is on the radio shouting, “Hey people do what you do but these rumors about Mr. Cee are untrue”. As if being gay is the worst thing a person could be. Sadly amongst some black males, there isn’t much lower on the totem pole you can go. Black women are no different; they demonize gay black men too.
All of this ridicule and the lack of responsible discourse around homophobia are doing two things, 1.) Pushing men to the outliers of society so they are now paying for secret gay sex, while living a lie expressing outwardly that they love women. 2.) We are losing some of our brightest lights in the African American community to suicide and mental health issues because there is a lack of acceptance of alternative lifestyles.
Just last year Joseph Jefferson, a prominent youth homosexual advocate committed suicide due to the pressures of being young black and gay. Recently Marsha Ambrosius hit up 106 & Park to discuss her “far away” video that deals with bullying and gay bashing. Some have gone as far as to suggest that the black communities rejection of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle has helped to create the phenomenon of brothers on the down low. Given the alarming statistics concerning black women and sexually transmitted diseases, it’s not a far stretch to imply that women are catching diseases from men who have risky sex with male prostitutes as well as women.
Do you think if we stop demonizing homosexual activity as a community and create safe spaces for men to “come out” would that lessen the phenomenon of “down low” men?