I hate when my favorite ignorant rappers remind me of just how ignorant they are. Like, I already know how trifling I am listening to your mindless, misogynistic, materialistic but incredibly enjoyable, bop-friendly music. The last thing I want to know is that you say trash things without a trap beat. I need this escapism under Habanero Hitler’s America. Don’t ruin it for me. Damn.
Last month, members of Migos played a rousing game of homophobia while discussing iLoveMakonnen, who recently revealed that he was gay. To them, his sexuality makes his references to selling drugs questionable. It’s an insult to every gay I know who has fucked a drug dealer.
They explained in their Rolling Stone profile:
“Bad and Boujee” was the crazy shit that resulted. The track has put Migos at the forefront of a new wave of Atlanta hip-hop talent that includes friends Lil Yachty and Young Thug. All are wildly different MCs, illustrating the “diversity” that Quavo says is one of the things he most loves about Atlanta. And so I’m surprised by Migos’ reaction when I mention iLoveMakonnen, the local MC who just came out as gay on Twitter. “Damn, Makonnen!” Quavo bellows after an awkward interlude. I mention support I saw online for Makonnen’s decision. “They supported him?” Quavo asks, raising an eyebrow. “That’s because the world is fucked up,” says Offset. “This world is not right,” Takeoff says. “We ain’t saying it’s nothing wrong with the gays,” says Quavo. But he suggests that Makonnen’s sexuality undermines his credibility, given the fact that “he first came out talking about trapping and selling Molly, doing all that.”
Mind you, these people are from
Atlanta Alannuh, so this a gross display of willful ignorance dowsed in Lawry’s.
The backlash was swift on social media, so someone who was not trying to see Migos go out like Kim Burrell and lose an invitation to perform on The Ellen Show quickly released a statement via Twitter:
We always been about being original and staying true. Staying true to yourself goes a long way. We are all fan’s of Makonnne’s music and we wish he didn’t feel like he ever had to hide himself. We feel the world is fucked up that people feel like they have to hide and we’re asked to comment on someone’s sexuality. We have no problem with anyone’s sexual preference. We love all people, gay or straight and we apologize if we offended anyone.
Leave redundancy behind when trying to remedy a problem, beloveds. There is no reason to include the phrase “if we offended anyone” because if something is said that calls for an apology, it’s evident that someone was offended.
Nonetheless, after Migos released this statement, I went back to Culture and minding my business.
Unfortunately, in a new Billboard cover story, those past comments were revisited:
Talking to Quavo, it’s clear he’s not outright homophobic. “If you real from the heart, you real from the heart,” he says. “That ain’t got nothing to do with no sex or gender. It’s 2017, and we all living.” But he still doesn’t quite seem to get it. “When [Makonnen’s] music came out I thought it was hard, so if he would’ve come out the same way ... ” He pauses. “I got a record with Frank Ocean [“Slide,” a Calvin Harris track featuring Migos and Ocean]. That closes my case.”
As soon as the issue came up, a publicist should have literally flown into the room and physically covered every mouth belonging to a member of Migos.
When it comes to Migos’ apologetic statement, they were correct in that it is fucked up to speak on another person’s sexuality. Still, considering the dearth of openly gay mainstream rappers, you can understand the initial inquiry. However, given that they’ve already answered the question, tripped over themselves doing so and subsequently apologized, maybe, just maybe, leave well enough alone.
I’m somewhat suspicious of mainstream publications asking rappers how they feel about a gay rapper that they don’t know personally—especially if the person asking is a white reporter. Suspicious because black people are typically branded the bogeyman of homophobia, and reporters—intentionally or otherwise—often love to gain headlines courtesy of an uninformed rapper.
And while white people are capable of interviewing black talent, that doesn’t mean they understand the cultural nuances that may or may not impact a conversation about sexuality and one’s masculinity. So although the writer goes out of his way to say Migos is not “outright homophobic,” he’s not properly contextualizing where their ignorance stems from.
Both Migos interviews recall conversations in the barbershop about gay men that promptly make me envy Helen Keller. To many, regardless of race, to be gay is to be like less of a man or, flatly, feminine. This is especially true among black men, who have to wrestle with hypermasculinity more than most groups. So, no, Quavo and Co. can say they have no problem with people’s sexual preferences, but they do subscribe to a reductive idea of what that means for their masculinity.
They, like many people I come across of every age bracket, gender, race and ethnicity, have to be reminded of a few things. In this case, someone just needs to let Migos know that plenty of people suck dick and sell drugs. As for the comment that he did a song with Frank Ocean, that is the equivalent of “I have black friends.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions is friendly with black people, but that doesn’t mean his policies don’t make David Duke cream every night.
It’s not for certain that someone black could have convinced Migos to issue less asinine public statements about gay men, but certainly at this point, beating a dead horse with rappers who have never been told better isn’t pushing the conversation forward.
So, someone please inform Migos that you can say something homophobic but not be a totally anti-gay jackass. Likewise, Ocean does not absolve you of wrongdoing—and never mind that Ocean himself has never said that he is gay. And in the future, just stick to your apology when asked about that really dense thing that was said.
Do all of this so I can enjoy “T-Shirt” and “All Ass” in peace.