Black Notables for Marriage Equality

Here's what Will Smith, Jay-Z and others had to say -- both before and after President Obama's endorsement.

Image 1
  • images2Fslides2Fjay-z-gay-marriage-051512-400mr
    Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images


    “What people do in their own homes is their business, and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple.” May 2012

  • images2Fslides2Fwill-smith-gay-marriage-051512-400mr
    Stephan Schraps/Getty Images

    Will Smith

    “If anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form.” May 2012

  • images2Fslides2Faudra_mcdonald_051512_300jrw_1
    Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

    Audra McDonald

    “I am a mom. I am an engaged lady — I am soon to be married. And I am someone that believes in marriage and in the freedom to marry.” May 2012


  • images2Fslides2Fmichael-strahan-marriage-051512-400mr
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Michael Strahan

    “As a defensive end for the New York Giants, I always played the game tough but fair. It’s unfair to stop committed couples from getting married.” June 2011

  • images2Fslides2Fjanet_jackson_051512_300jrw_1
    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Janet Jackson

    On President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage: “He finally came around, didn’t he? He finally came around; good for him.” May 2012


  • Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
    Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

    Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

    “Today I think more than ever before, we have to speak up and speak out to end discrimination based on sexual orientation … It’s not the business of the federal government, it’s not the business of the state government, to tell two individuals that they cannot fall in love and get married … I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up and fight and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation.” January 2009

  • images2Fslides2Frichard_simmons_051512_300jrw_1
    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    Russell Simmons

    “I am a proud supporter of gay marriage.” May 2012, Twitter


  • images2Fslides2Fpatti-labelle-051512-400mr
    Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

    Patti LaBelle

    “I’ve never been with a woman, so I guess I’m straight, OK?
    But I’m straight enough to know the difference between right and wrong.
    I am straight enough to know that if you want to marry whoever you want to marry, you should be able to marry whoever you want to marry.” April 2009

  • images2Fslides2Fal-sharpton-051512-400mr
    Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    The Rev. Al Sharpton

    “As a Baptist minister, I don’t have the right to impose my views on anyone else. If committed gay and lesbian couples want to marry, that is their business; none of us should stand in their way.” February 2012

  • images2Fslides2Fjesse_jackson_051512_300jrw_1
    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson

    “[Obama’s same-sex marriage endorsement] is a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens … If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote. If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote.” May 2012


  • images2Fslides2Falicia_keys_051512_300jrw_1
    Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

    Alicia Keys

    On President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage: “Honestly, it’s about time! This is great news! @BarackObama!!”  May 2012, Twitter


  • images2Fslides2Ftracy_morgan_051512_300jrw_1
    Theo Wargo/Getty Images

    Tracy Morgan

    “I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for [my homophobic rant]. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled, and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987 … Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that.” June 2011

  • images2Fslides2Fwhoopi-goldberg-051512-400mr
    Charles Eshelman/Getty Images

    Whoopi Goldberg

    “Really, darling, it’s a no-brainer. You know, I understand not everybody is for gay marriage. But if you’re not for gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person. That’s what I say.” November 2010

  • images2Fslides2Fjohn_legend_051512_400jrw_1
    Chris Klay/WireImage/Getty Images

    John Legend

    “Very pleased the President spoke up for human rights and marriage equality today.” May 2012, Twitter


  • images2Fslides2Fjames-clyburn-051512-400mr
    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

    “I, like the president, have evolved to a point of marriage equality. I have not always been there. I grew up in a parsonage, a fundamentalist-Christian parsonage, and I grew up with that indoctrination. And I have grown to the point that I believe that we have evolved to marriage equality … If we consider this to be a civil right — and I do — I don’t think civil rights ought to be left up to a state-by-state approach. I think that we should have a national policy on this.” May 2012


  • images2Fslides2Ftyra_banks_051512_300jrw_1
    Fernando Leon/Getty Images

    Tyra Banks

    “A fierce day for my gays and my prez @BarackObama — way 2 stand up 4 luv for ALL!” May 2012, Twitter