They love our culture, but they hate our people.
This is true of straight men who, knowingly or unknowingly, indulge in queer culture and yet have the audacity to insult us in the process. Just ask Offset.
The Migos bandmate made headlines yesterday over his controversial lyric “I cannot vibe with queers,” featured on YFN Lucci’s track Boss Life. The 26-year-old rapper was quickly called out as homophobic over the one-liner, and the internet rightfully dragged him for it.
Not to mention, while he recorded said homophobic lyric he was probably rocking Versace, one of his favorite fashion garbs, ironically named after Gianni Versace–a gay man.
After enough backlash, the rapper issued an apology, not for saying it, but because it was “taken as the wrong context.”
He went on to add that he wasn’t trying to make the lyric about “gays” and how he “work[s] with them all the time at events dealing with fashion, TV shows.”
Translation: Offset wants us to know that we are making a fuss out of nothing because he works with “gays” that style him for television appearances. Go figure.
This non-apology would have partially worked for some if we weren’t reminded of Offset’s past transgressions. Like the time he said “the world is fucked up” after fans supported the coming out of rapper iLoveMakonnen last year. His fellow bandmates Takeoff and Quavo also agreed with him.
And then came another bogus half-ass apology.
“We ain’t saying it’s nothing wrong with the gays,” Quavo said in an interview at the time. “[iLoveMakonnen] first came out talking about trapping and selling Molly, doing all that…that’s wack bro.”
Because apparently, in Quavo’s world, Makonnen’s sexuality undermines his credibility to do trap music as if the two are somehow morally contradicting (the irony).
Clearly these Atlanta-based rappers who love wearing gay designers and promoting them in their music (“Versace” was the hit song that launched Migos’ careers) have a problem with “the gays.”
But they aren’t the only ones who view the LGBTQ community as disposable when it’s not relevant to their tastes.
We often see this recurring problem of straight folks reducing LGBTQ people to subservient caricatures as a vehicle to prop themselves up. From “Love & Hip-Hop” to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” we often see straight Black women accessorize their LGBTQ friends as stylists, gossip tellers, and human pillows that they can whine about the world to.
And when such queer characters aren’t in the room, they go on to make sweeping generalizations about the LGBTQ community while spewing homophobic and transphobic insults to other straight castmates. And whenever they’re called out on their BS, the response is almost always that they’re not homophobic because they “have gay friends.”
The hypocrisy of it all is much like racism given that blatant homophobia, too, is not only wrong on human level but counterintuitive in this so-called free society.
For whatever reason, personal insecurity with masculinity, sexuality, and general self-esteem creates an environment where LGBTQ people are the unfair target of hatred. To put it bluntly, nobody from the LGBTQ community was checking for Migos or even coming for them — so how about they keep our names out their mouths?
It’s 2018. I’m no longer making excuses for people’s ignorance. Stop blaming religions you barely follow and “the way it is” for your homophobia, and quit assuming that imaginary “gays” you work with will excuse you from being called out on it.
Just put some respect our names and our lives. And if you don’t have anything nice to say…well, you should know the rest.
Ernest Owens is the Editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly. He has written for USA Today, NBC News, BET, HuffPost and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.