All Articles Tagged "gay rights"
By Justin Ray
Following Frank Ocean’s announcement of a tryst with another man, rapper Murs has released a new video to accompany his single “Animal Style” that has the internet buzzing.
Although many celebrities commended Ocean for his strength, Murs has taken his support for same-sex equality to a level not many would have the courage. The music video tells a story about two gay youths in high school struggling to maintain a relationship while living in a less than supportive environment. Murs plays Roderick who is in the closet while dating another student, Jonathan. The video depicts the heterosexual rapper upping the same-sex support ante by kissing his male actor counterpart.
Murs’ character Jonathan finds being in a gay relationship too risky and pummels his boyfriend into the ground to avoid being outed in front of his friends. At the end of the story, the two teenage lovers meet again but Roderick pulls out a gun and shoots his boyfriend as well as himself.
The rapper has made a profound statement with the video, calling out all those who oppose gays.
It is a courageous gesture considering that the rap game isn’t exactly the most supportive towards gay people. The music video also features interspersed shots of the rapper rocking a “Legalize Gay” shirt, making his stance abundantly clear.
Sadly, Murs’ is getting more attention for the kiss; but truth be told, the most daring feature of the song is the lyrics. Murs describes his character’s inner conflict with religion: “So he lived in fear of God’s wrath/ The preacher said that God loves us all except fags.” His inner conflict with religion leads him into a downslide of self loathing and eventually the murder/suicide. Of course there can be a lengthy dialogue about whether the message is about organized religion or religion with a capital R; regardless, the fact that he outlined how religion can make gays unjustly hate themselves is more courageous than any kiss could be.
Murs explained his intentions with the song on Youtube: “The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out. It’s also a love song, which is nothing new for me. But with this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?”
The future of rap may take a new course with more musicians showing support and going against the grain of the history of rap. Last year Lil B released an album entitled “I’m Gay (I’m Happy)” and later revealed he received death threats. Although his support for same-sex rights is more obtuse, he did make a statement about the climate of homophobia in hip hop and his apathy towards it.
Hip hop is meeting a tipping point. Universally respected hip hop artists–Jay Z, Kanye, Eminem, Russell Simmons–are releasing statements in support of gay people. Even the future pioneers of rap have shown support. A$AP Rocky once said about homosexuality that you lose too many friends being homophobic and that hating gays is like being sexually racist.
Murs, along with other rappers who champion the cause, use their influence to show future generations that being gay isn’t a crime. The US government suggests that gay people are not equal citizens by not federalizing gay marriage nor any form of legislation that would at least give gay people some legal recognition to be honored by each state. However, public figures who have influence can show others that supporting gay people shows more strength than rejecting them. Hell, it can even be lucrative.
Either way, the tides suggest that homophobia in the rap community will one day be a state of mind to be laughed at in the future, and Murs has helped that become a possibility.
Check out his groundbreaking song and the video below.
More on Madame Noire!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “New Jack City”
- The Ebony Magazine Drama And Why Black Women Need to Quit Attacking Each Other’s Character
- Evening Eye Candy: Model David Agbodji
- Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful: Do You Have Pretty Girl Problems
- Almost Doesn’t Count! Celebs Who Never Quite Made It Down the Aisle”
- That Ain’t No Mongolian Hair, Girl: What’s the Real Deal with Your “Virgin” Hair Extensions?
- Figuring Out Fake Friends: 6 Signs That Your Friends Might Be Green With Envy
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. This time, protesters are calling for a boycott of chicken chain Chick-fil-A after the company’s president, Dan Cathy, made a very telling statement against same sex marriages. While speaking to Christian website Baptist Press earlier this week, Cathy was clear on his stance:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
As you may have very well guessed, his comment traveled rather quickly and almost immediately, Facebook posts and tweets were popping up at a rapid pace denouncing his comments. Long time supporters of Chick-Fil-A, which first opened in 1946 in Atlanta, who are also supporters of gay unions have signed a petition which states, “…we can no longer stomach your intolerance and disrespect for countless LGBT citizens. Until your company’s values reflect the freedoms and dignities that all American citizens are due, we will no longer eat at Chick-fil-A!” The Mayor of Boston even said that he would seek to block Chick-fil-A from opening there if they continued to take that stance.
By Thursday, it appeared the kitchen had gotten a little hot for the powers-that-be. Chick-fil-A reps finally released a statement via Facebook regarding Cathy’s comments by saying, “…The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Now on the one hand, most people who’ve been to Chick-fil-A know how staunchly conservative the company is and has always been. They’re closed on Sundays for worship and family time, for goodness sakes. If that doesn’t automatically tell you what side of the fence they’re on then you’re too blinded by their chicken biscuits and lemonade to see it. And yes, the rest of the country seems to be moving – at least at face value – towards progression but it doesn’t mean that any company must move with it if those aren’t their beliefs.
On the other hand…grow up, Dan Cathy! First, not all views need to be expressed, particularly when you run the second largest quick service chicken chain restaurant. I mean, Sir, gay, lesbian and transgendered people have likely eaten from one of the 1,600 restaurants scattered across the country. If nothing else, show some respect for that. Second, remember that just because you do an interview with and for one group of people, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t pick it up.
Where do you stand? If you support same sex marriages but you also patronize Chick-fil-A, can you see yourself letting it go for the bigger cause? Is it just not that serious to you? Have you ever boycotted a company because of their views or rules?
Yesterday I came across an article on NewsOne that I knew was going to dish out some hard truths just by looking at the headline. The title was, “Face it, Black American Enthusiasm for President Obama is Dead,” and in the piece, Dr. Boyce Watkins talks about the stark contrast between the zealous support African Americans had for Barack Obama in 2008 and the indifference most black voters have toward him today. At one point he writes:
“The Obama enthusiast is virtually dead. The number of black people running around with Obama t-shirts, putting signs in their front yard, and putting his picture on the wall next to Martin Luther King and Jesus has plummeted. Obama is not the iconic figure that he once was, no longer a rock star. Far fewer African Americans are begging the Obama campaign to let them join the team and we’re all too broke to give money. People like Obama, they respect him, and they are damn sure that he’s better than the Republicans. That’s about all they can say at this point.”
It’s true. If it weren’t for reminders from news outlets I would hardly remember that this is an election year and that we’re just about five months from needing to cast our votes and seal our American fate for the next for years. The excitement over Obama in 2008 was understandably different and far greater because we were all on pins and needles over whether we would truly see the first black president of the United States in our lifetime. Obama’s campaign’s hinged on the words hope and change for all Americans but as black people we had a special sense of expectation that surely with one of us in office, he’d have our back. But as soon as those thoughts left our minds and escaped our lips, we were chastised for expecting President Obama to look out for us when he had an entire nation to take care of, and quickly those hopes and dreams of change faded as we celebrated broader victories like the end of the war and the establishment of Obamacare. Yet, as Dr. Watkins points out, the feeling that Obama has looked out for everyone but us still lingers somewhat.
“Policies and action that have come forth to help the gay community, women, immigrants and other groups have flown over the head of black America, like Jay-Z performing in a city where black people can’t afford to buy tickets. But similar to the Jay-Z concert, some of us love Obama anyway, standing outside the arena hoping to catch a glimpse of our hero as he gets inside his limousine. Our job is to lift the throne and watch it, but we dare not ask the throne to give anything back to us.”
In some ways all of our “I voted for Obama because he’s black” talk has left us in a compromised position. Our support of the president is expected. He doesn’t have to work for it. He may have a few wounds to heal with segments of the community who are against his stance on gay marriage, but for the most part, black people who are not republicans will be voting for President Obama again, just not with the same enthusiasm as before perhaps. This time I get the feeling that the choice is more like, well, he’s better than Romney. And if you’re a woman who values your reproductive rights, this is the common sense choice.
To be fair, it would take a lot more to appease or aid the black community than a simple endorsement of an ideal, like Barack Obama’s declaration of support for gay marriage. I’m not even sure what policy or policies he could put in place to get our community back on it’s feet, and anything he did come up with would surely take more than four, eight, and probably twelve years to take root. What some in our community need is a paradigm shift, and that’s something that comes from within. It’s taught at home, somewhat learned in school, not handed down through legislature. But it wouldn’t hurt every now and then for a head nod or some acknowledgement that we’ve got a pretty tough plight and if anyone should be able to identify with that it should be Obama. But when you look at the racist situations he’s experienced and overlooked while in office, you can see why he’s made no such effort, and I don’t think it’s because he’s oblivious to it or unaffected by it. His plan of attack has always been to be the stand-up guy and let his character speak for itself as the baseless accusations fall by the wayside. And in that sense, he’s contributing something very valuable to the black community by being a leader who’s presidency hasn’t been wrought with scandal, thus far, and who hasn’t resorted to cheap tricks to stay in office or pass certain bills. By all means, he’s still an exemplary representation of a black man and that’s something we ought to always be excited about. If he gives us nothing else, he’s doing his job as the leader of a nation against tremendous odds and we may just have to accept that that’s all he has to offer us as black people in particular.
Are you less enthusiastic about President Obama this election season?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Ask a Very Smart Brotha Live: Dealing With His Crazy Baby Mother & Can You Get Over Wack Sex?
- The Thrill is Gone: 7 TV Shows That Need To Call It Quits…Like Yesterday
- Giving You The Best That I Got: 7 Signs You Might Be Giving Too Much In Your Relationship
- Where You Been Cherie Johnson?
- Grieving Over a Girlfriend: 7 Ways to Move on After a Break-up…Between Friends
- Why I Think Natural Hair is Indeed a Political Statement
- Well, Hiya To You! Shouting Out Some Of Our Favorite Black Imports From Britain
Last night the the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards kicked off in New York City with a gala event hosted by “Glee” stars Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith.
The first of three events — the other two will take place in Los Angeles on April 21 and San Francisco on June 2 — included a who’s who of the LGBT community and its allies like actress Dakota Fanning, hip-hop icon Russell Simmons, “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, the Food Network’s Ted Allen, Wendy Williams, Jay Manuel and Isis King from “America’s Next Top Model” and more.
The purpose of GLAAD is to not only celebrate and recognize the best of the best in LGBT-inclusive journalism, film, music, television, and more, but to also serve as a benchmark for the media industry, helping to improve representation and inspire more thoughtful depictions of the LGBT community throughout the year.
Tonya Parker, a Dallas County district judge in Texas, has taken a firm stand for gay rights by refusing to marry heterosexual couples. According to Loop 21, she spoke before an audience during an event earlier this week and explained that until gay people gave the same right she won’t participate in any wedding ceremonies:
“I’m sorry I don’t perform marriage ceremonies, because clearly the state does not have marriage equality and until it does I’m not going to partially apply the law to one group and not apply it to another group of people,” she said. “It doesn’t seem right for me to perform ceremonies for people that can’t be performed for me.”
Because Texas doesn’t mandate that judges perform marriages, Judge Parker’s stance doesn’t violate any laws but it has caused some to question her ability to judge fairly considering her personal beliefs are preventing her from performing ceremonies for straight couples. Still, supporters of gay rights are applauding her willingness to take a public stand for their cause.
Check out the video of Judge Parker’s speech below. Do you agree with her choice to stop performing ceremonies? Do you think her decision suggests she’s incapable of being impartial as a judge?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Oscar Rewind: 8 Black Actresses & The Roles That Deserved an Oscar
- 7 Ways You May Be Emasculating Your Man
- 7 Of The Most Unrecognized Women in Black History
- True Life: I Knew He Wasn’t Into Me When…
- Saying One Thing and Doin Another: Celebs Who Lack Consistency
- My BFF: The Non-Celebrity Besties of The Famous
- What Does Jeremy Lin Have to Do With Black People?
- Why The Whitney Houston Gay Rumors Need to Die
I know, I don’t know where he came from either, but former “Love Connection” host Chuck Woolery was determined to make his presence known at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a ridiculous statement about civil rights.
Last Thursday, Chuck met with former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann at CPAC in DC. While there he said it was wrong for the U.S. Court of Appeals to find Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage law in California, unconstitutional because, you know, gays don’t need need protection from discrimination.
”Majority rules,” he said. “We were born with national rights. We don’t need civil rights. [African-Americans] don’t need civil rights. They don’t need them. They have inalienable rights granted by God in the Constitution. I mean, I’m discriminated against all the time. I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me. [I'm discriminated against] because I’m old.”
Oh Chuck, if only it were that simple. In an ideal world those inalienable rights would be enough, but anyone who’s been on this earth for 30 seconds knows the Constitution was not meant to grant rights to blacks or homosexuals—and please don’t try to equate your discrimination with everyone else’s.
Also, I didn’t know God wrote the constitution? Get this man out of here.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- The Career Bucket List: Things to Accomplish At Your Job Before You Go
- What’s Your Secret? 40-Something Women Who Look 30-Something
- Why Do We Love Sophia Grace and Not Other Little Black Girls?
- Lies and Deceit: Sex Myths, Fallacies and Falsehoods We Spread
- 7 Misconceptions Men Have About Women
- Reggie Bush: A Man After a Homewrecker’s Own Heart
- Ask a Very Smart Brotha Live: Biters and Body Odor
- Black vs. African American: Do You Have a Preference?
Recently, the Huffington Post Black Voices section published a provocative piece entitled, “It’s Official: Gay is the New Black.” In it, Writer Monique Ruffin writes about the somewhat tenuous relationship between the gay rights community and the black community, particularly the black church and argues that there are parallels between the fight against racial discrimination and equal rights for the LGBT community under the law. She said, “Gay is the new black, sadly, because many blacks haven’t been willing to embrace their own practices, secrets, fear, and shame about homosexuality. Many blacks have not been able to reconcile their real-life experience with their faith, and until they do this, they are oppressed people who are also practicing the oppression of others.”
While I agree partially with the sentiment of this piece, it does kind of remind me of the scene from The Wiz when Dorothy (played by Diana Ross) and the gang enter the Emerald City to an awaiting spectacle of dancers, who looked like they stepped right out of a 1970s Ebony Magazine’s Fashion Fair spread. The dancers in full regale, boogie around the city to a chorus of “I. Want to Seen. Green. I. Wouldn’t be caught. Dead. Red.” That is until an announcement from the great, powerful and unseen OZ blares over the loud speakers and says, “I thought about it and green is dead and I changed my mind and the color is red.” Then the whole Emerald City suddenly transforms to a dazzling spectacular of red sequin and gardenza as the same dancers two-step around the pavilion, saying, “I wouldn’t be seen green. You got to be dead red…”
In other words, in this presumably “post-racial” era it’s easy for some to assume that racism doesn’t matter as much in comparison to other social issues. However, despite the rather catchiness of the phrase, gay is not the new black because black is still black.
Of course this isn’t the first time this declaration has been made. As the battle for gay rights issues such as marriage equality have intensified so have the comparisons of the gay rights movement to the Black Civil Rights movement of the 60s. And when Proposition 8 passed in California, gay rights advocates, as well as the mainstream press, were quick to place the blame squarely on the Black community, even as Blacks made up less than 10 percent of total voters. The meme, for whatever reason, caught on, and now the Black community has largely been viewed by the mainstream as homophobic and intolerant.
This is not to suggest that homophobia does not exist in Black community. However I frankly get sick and tired of myself, my friends and my family carrying the weight for something we are not. Perception wise, being gay is no different than being a Republican in the community; some folks may not like it but it damn sure hasn’t stopped Hakeem and his boyfriend, nor Uncle Walt and his “George Bush was a Great Man” political views from coming to the family dinner.
Black folks, like the rest of humanity, are complex beings. This broad brush strokes that we as black folks are more homophobic than the rest of society is a bit deceitful, if not dangerously divisive. Likewise, It’s easy to pick on the black community because it lacks social power and political voice to really fight back than it is to strike out at the real power structures like Congress, State Assemblies and anti-gay, and mostly white, lobbying organizations, and the Church, which are far more influential in deciding who gets married and who doesn’t.
Moreover, I am a little perplexed at how so much attention is given in the press to homophobia in the Black community while ignoring the racial prejudices that have become so normalized in the LGBT and the mainstream community as a whole. While gay advocates and legislatures in New York were likely patting themselves on for their victory in making that state the sixth state to pass a same sex marriage law, there was certainly a deafening silence from many of the same folks about how that state’s biggest city continued its draconian stop-and-frisk practice of rounding up Blacks and Latinos (gay, straight and otherwise) for marijuana arrests.
When Stuart Wilber discovered many large corporations often give a portion of the earnings bought through Internet marketers to conservative Christian organizations, he didn’t see it as a charitable act. He saw large companies funding hate groups. According to the New York Times, Wilber, a gay man from Seattle, believed these large corporations shouldn’t fund Christian groups that proclaimed anti-gay messages. In July he not only started a petition, he also started a heated, online retail battle.
The Charity Giveback Group (CGBG) was the Christian-oriented Internet marketing group that Wilber stumbled upon a few months ago. Through CGBG, he learned that many large retailers, including Microsoft, Apple and Netflix, sell their products and donate a portion of the profits to conservative evangelical groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, which are known for their strong anti-gay stance.
Outraged, Wilber created a petition on Change.org which gained 520 supporters on its first night alone. In response, Microsoft quickly and quietly stopped its donations. Soon other petitions began to circulate causing Apple, Macy’s and almost 100 other businesses to also stop their donations through CGBG.
A counter-campaign was also started by the conservative Christian groups with the title, “Please Don’t Discriminate Against My Faith.”
“People have been misled. The retailers are not donating to anyone; they are simply paying a commission to get traffic,” John Higgins, the president of CGBG, told the NY Times.
The situation has sparked outrage on all sides. Wilber and other gay-rights activists are shocked to learn that large retailers are contributing to anti-gay messages while often touting diversity platforms. Conservative groups feel attacked for their stance on sex and marriage and companies feel caught in the middle as they attempt to please both sides.
While none of the companies have responded to media over the controversy, Microsoft and Apple have quickly decided to remain away from the CGBGnetwork.
Other companies, such as Delta and Wal-mart, have reconsidered and joined again with CGBG. Representatives from Wal-Mart and its sister company Sam’s Club said that they changed their minds as the company serves over 43,000 organization with a wide range of interests with diverse viewpoints.”
Delta divulged that they realized how important it was to their faith-based clients. A representative told the NY Times that while they support these clients, they do not want to be involved in any political debates, only in flying planes.
Are N.C Republicans Using the Same-Sex Referendum to Prove a Point to Obama and the Democratic Party?
The North Carolina House voted Monday whether to allow a May referendum on the issue concerning adding a ban of gay marriage to the state’s constitution.
The amendment is worded to protect businesses in the state that may offer health and life insurance to domestic partners. Unfortunately the state and municipal government employees that have domestic spouses enjoying the same benefits will no longer be afforded the same privilege.
Bear in mind that while North Carolina has a law that defines marriage solely between a man and a woman; at the same time, there is no constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told reporters that he is confident that the referendum will go to voters in May – a notion that is going against many critics, that believe that the Republican-dominated house was pushing for a November date.
Tillis also discussed that the May decision was not about politics, even though the date coincides with those of the Republican primary. Yet, with all the strong Republican candidates coming out adamantly against same-sex marriage – having the referendum vote in May would further cement the parties right-winged tilt, inching them one more step towards victory.
Although 61 percent of North Carolina citizens believe gay marriage should remain illegal, 55 percent would vote against a constitutional amendment, detailed a poll released by the Public Policy Polling, last week. However, Republican voters are split, with 47 percent saying amending the state constitution is going too far.
While, this poll is primarily being discussed on a state level, some have discussed how President Barack Obama’s reelection efforts in North Carolina may be affected by the possible May referendum date. Especially since Obama barely squeaked out of victory in 2008.
Since the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, Obama’s campaign is making it no secret that he plans to win the state over again during this upcoming election.
The bill is now heading towards the Senate for approval but with the Republican majority already claiming victory – the outlook seems somewhat bleak. Even though, a September survey by the PPP found that 43% of North Carolinians approved of Obama’s job performance; even still the polling group puts the President’s chances at winning the state again at 50-50.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
(Black Enterprise) — Sabin D. Blake, 34, has navigated the professional obstacles of being African American and gay throughout his career. Blake, a dealer organizational manager, Northeast region, for General Motors Corp., is no longer in the closet. That hasn’t always been the case though; for years, he lived a double life using non-gender specific pronouns such as “they” to describe individuals he has dated during casual conversations with colleagues. “Being a double minority you choose what you present. I could hide being gay, I definitely couldn’t hide being black,” says Blake who kept his sexual orientation hidden for several reasons including fear for his personal safety. “I had these relationships with people where I would be going to dinner with their families. I was involved in their lives but I wasn’t being who I really was.” Once keeping the secret became too disheartening, Blake made the decision to gradually reveal his sexual orientation to fellow GM employees and business associates. “It was hurtful not being authentic. And my energy was being sucked away,” he says. But each time he told someone he was gay it became easier for him. “It freed me. It allowed me to be more productive, more creative, and more innovative at work,” he says.