When it comes to LGBTQ rights, we have made so much progress as a nation. Gay marriage has been legalized, and conversations regarding sexual fluidity and sexual preferences are becoming more and more ubiquitous. Every so often though, we are reminded just how far we still have to go. This week’s reminder came courtesy of DJ Mister Cee’s appearance on rapper Maino’s Kitchen Talk podcast.
The renowned DJ was there to talk about his life—his role in hip-hop and the part he played in launching the careers of greats such as the Notorious B.I.G. and Big Daddy Kane. The conversation was going well until it took a turn and went into Cee’s troubled past. In 2011 and 2013, Mister Cee was arrested for soliciting prostitutes. The latter incident became so publicized that it forced him to resign from his position at New York’s famed hip-hop station Hot 97. The arrests also brought up his sexuality given that the prostitutes in question were transwomen. He stated then, as he did during Kitchen Talk, that he was a straight man. He did admit though, back then, that he had an addiction to prostitution.
What’s commendable about his story is the fact that Mister Cee has stood in his truth the entire time. It’s just taken the rest of the world time to catch up. And so when the topic came up on Kitchen Talk, it would have been a great opportunity to get into Mister Cee’s experience as an influential figure in hip-hop who likes transwomen. What transpired instead was a disappointing lack of compassion and a clear display of ignorance. The entire segment turned into fodder, as Maino couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that Mister Cee—a man who is so revered in the hip-hop community—could possibly be sexually attracted to transwomen.
Maino first began by misgendering transwomen, calling them “dudes” and asking if Mister Cee had ever had sex with a man. The DJ kept his composure and politely but swiftly checked the “Hi Hater” rapper. “Let me correct you. It wasn’t a dude that taped me. It was a transsexual woman that taped me. It was not a man…I don’t want them to get at you. If you don’t talk the right terminology, you will have problems.” Unfortunately, the interview only became more cringe from then on out. Maino, along with his co-host Georgie, went on to ask if Mister Cee “preferred a man who looks like a woman,” to which Mister Cee responded, “Stop being difficult. That’s what a transsexual woman is… I’ve already made that clear. Where are we going here?”
This was for some reason very comical to Maino as he burst into laughter over the admission. It seems as though he expected the legendary DJ to come up with some sort of story and shy away from his truth. But instead, Mister Cee was very candid and stuck to the same story he told years ago. He revealed that he identifies himself as a straight man, but labeled himself a “try-sexual,” someone willing to try anything. He even gave the back story of how he discovered his attraction to transwomen. It would have been a great opportunity to learn, considering the fact that there aren’t a lot of Black men willing to admit they’re in the same boat. The opportunity was lost.
At the end of the day, Mister Cee’s sexual preferences don’t actually matter. His contribution to hip-hop speaks for itself. However, what was bothersome was the way in which Maino conducted himself. I’m not familiar with how deep their relationship goes, but whether or not they are friends, the line of questioning and the focus were wrong. The saving grace was the fact that Mister Cee seems very comfortable in his own skin at this point in his 54-year-old life, and he let a lot of the reactions roll off his shoulders.
Look, when it comes to LGBTQ allyship, no one is really looking for Maino’s expertise. However, the mocking and taunting made it seems as though there was something wrong with Mister Cee, that his lifestyle was a joke, and those kinds of reactions are the reason so many people remain closeted and keep their sexual identity to themselves. If he didn’t want to actually be educated on the topic, then he shouldn’t have asked to begin with.