There are gay men in hip-hop. This should come as a surprise to no one — gay men are everywhere, they hold jobs, they go to church, they serve in the military, they have families. As the old chant goes, they’re here, they’re queer, so deal with it.
However “deal with it” is something that the hip hop community refuses to do. Hip-hop is notoriously one of the most homophobic cultural environments, and though there have been many a rumor about gay people in hip hop, as of now, no prominent figure has stepped forward to validate these allegations. So when a popular New York DJ and revered hip hop figure is caught with a male prostitute, the progression of the conversation feels obvious. Finally, we are going to openly and honestly discuss homosexuality in hip hop, and black culture at large.
Yet mum is still the word. Instead of directing the conversation to a healthy dialogue of fostering acceptance in the hip-hop community, it’s become a debate of whether he actually did it, allegations of hip-hop conspiracies, and if it’s any of our business at all.
The facts: According to court documents obtained by The Smoking Gun, Calvin Lebrun, better known as Hot 97 radio DJ Mister Cee (and discoverer of rapper Biggie Smalls), was arrested on Saturday, March 30 for lewd conduct and exposure of a person. He was caught in a parked car with a male transgendered prostitute, allegedly receiving oral sex.
This isn’t the first time Mister Cee’s been caught soliciting prostitutes, as he had been busted twice last year for loitering for the purpose of prostitution.
Despite these very incriminating facts, Mister Cee took to Twitter to adamantly deny what the rumors. “Never was i in a car with anyone when i was detained.. The facts will come out and show what is being reported is totally untrue.” He tweeted.
He used the common defense of “The Man” being after him – “NYPD has a detective squad after all Rappers & DJ’S”
And finally, in defense of his sexuality: “Nah that shit not true.. You know how i rock, thats NYPD making it look good for TV … Feel me”
Among his fans these excuses echo: He didn’t know it was a dude! It was a cop conspiracy! He didn’t do it! And possibly, maybe, these things are true. But more likely not — the prostitute’s mug shot doesn’t leave a lot of room for gender confusion, and if you’re going to buy sex, I’m pretty sure you’d want to be confident in what you’re buying. So assuming there is some thread of truth in these charges, Mister Cee may possibly be hip-hop’s first star forced to confess the truth of his sexuality.
For rival radio station Power 105.1, Mister Cee’s arrest is providing ample morning show fodder. Though they did address some valid questions to the situation in general, like why Mister Cee was buying any type of prostitution services, and in public at that, they also threw in a good amount of homophobic jokes that make it clear that should a gay man decide to come out to the hip-hop community, no one’s going to be there to welcome him with open arms.
For the record, Mister Cee’s sexual preference shouldn’t affect his job, and it really isn’t anyone’s business. Those who use this incident to stir up the pot of down low men fears and homophobia just help to shove homosexual men back in the closet. Would you come out if you knew you were going to be attacked?
But yet there he is, possibly in a glass closet. Though many have come to his defense (and he’s still working his very popular afternoon DJ shift), the conversation revolves more around “it’s not true” than making a safe place for himself and others like him to exist if it is true.
And therein lies the problem: instead of addressing how we can make hip-hop more welcoming and inclusive, people are content to debate the nitty gritty details of the situation. It’s like there’s an elephant in the room but people prefer to debate the length of its trunk. The issue isn’t whether the allegations are true, the issue is, if they are, what’s the next step so this man and others like him can live openly and safely?
A surprising voice of reason has emerged via 50 Cent. He recently commented on Mister Cee on a radio show, saying “It’s not like there’s a club out there that won’t call him because of the rumor.” Lets hope the same clubs would call if it’s the truth.