In a culture where many black men typically succumb to the hyper-masculine roles assigned to them at birth, you wouldn’t expect many to be not-so-closeted fans of a gay man who concludes his commentary with the phrase, “double kisses.”
Yet gender-bending Internet personality B. Scott, with his lengthy eyelashes, high cheekbones and long hair (usually his own, sometimes not), is amassing fans in unlikely places: straight black men.
B. Scott’s YouTube videos—which in total have been viewed over 30 million times—offers his highly opinionated takes on pop culture and politics, as well as celebrity interviews, multiracial identity and messages of encouragement.
With video titles like “B. Scott Is Back: Butt Naked Nothing But Pearls!,” phrases like “B****. Boo. Bye.” and his trademark dance, the paw-paw, at the very least you could describe him as flamboyant.
Still, even celebrities like Jamie Foxx have given B. Scott his props.
Recently, the Oscar winner provided B. Scott his biggest celebrity endorsement to date. On his “Foxxhole” radio show, Foxx declared, “I love B. Scott. He’s very attractive. He looks like a cross between Prince, Rosario Dawson and Lenny Kravitz.”
On cue, the show’s co-host jeered that all of the heterosexual men were running away. In response, Foxx said, “Listen, you can’t be paranoid. You know what I like. I like vagina …. I’m not worried about that. I can be in a room full of gay men and not feel any type of way about it.”
Foxx isn’t the only straight man publicly professing his love for the YouTube diva.
According to B. Scott, straight men often come up to him to say, “My girlfriend put me on to your videos. At first I was a little hesitant, but once I got into you and realized that you had something to say then I became a fan.”
B. Scott describes himself as “androgynous” and a “gender non-conformist.” Although he’s constantly praised for his unique beauty, some of his viewers are still confused on how to classify him.
In his YouTube video entitled, “B. Scott Needs To Get Something Off His Chest,” his message of tolerance and acceptance was lost on those too distracted by his appearance.
One viewer wrote, “I don't get it. How come you deny that you're a tranny? You're wearing makeup and women's clothes for God’s sake!”
Though he makes clear that he’s respectful of the transgender community, he notes a clear difference.
“Transgenders feel that their soul is a woman, like they were born in the wrong body in terms of their gender. I don’t feel that way. I know that I’m a man; I’m happy to be in my body,” B. Scott said.
Then there are those who accuse him of reinforcing stereotypes of the over-the-top gay man. For many gay black men, the greatest fear of declaring their sexuality outside of rejection is being lumped into the category of the effeminate gay male.
In a culture where levels of machismo are used to define one’s manhood, the slightest instance where one steps outside the false perceptions of what it means to be a man can be damaging to their reputation. But B. Scott says he rejects the pressure to be the model gay man.
B. Scott’s response to the criticism: “I feel like I’m the one doing all the work. There may be other people out there criticizing me, but I don’t see you out there making any type of change. You have no type of medium and are not trying to do anything but criticize me for being who I am.”
As he builds his own burgeoning celebrity, he’s challenging rigid notions of black male masculinity. And off-screen, he participates in gay rights initiatives such as the NOH8 campaign—a celebrity photo project/silent protest created to protest the passing of Proposition 8.
But even while his popularity has made some fans now more comfortable with homosexuality, there are those who still feel gays should carry themselves in a certain way to boost tolerance. But asking gays to adhere to repressive standards of sexuality won’t lead to acceptance.
What sense does it make to conform to an arbitrary standard of masculinity when in the end there will always be people who view you as less of a man for being capable of loving another?
Shouldn’t pride be as gay and gender-bending as possible—double kisses and all?
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.