Gay abandon: Hip-hop’s hairy history with homophobia


Gay abandon: Hip-hop’s hairy history with homophobia

Lil Nas X is the first openly gay rapper to win big at the Grammys, but is it a watershed moment in hip-hop?

Musa Okwonga

On June 30 2019, Lil Nas X, creator of the soaring hit and two-time Grammy winner Old Town Road, sent out a few tweets and everything changed. The 20-year-old rapper and songwriter, a resident of Atlanta whose breakout single stood atop the Billboard 100 for over two weeks – a record-breaking run for a hip-hop artist, shattering marks held by The Black Eyed Peas and Eminem – appeared to reveal via social media that he was gay. 

Pointing to the lyrics of C7osure from his 7 EP, he said: “Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more, but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure.” 

In doing so, he not only brought extra joy to those celebrating the final day of LGBT Pride, but he also threw fresh focus upon hip-hop’s complex and often very difficult relationship with homosexuality.  ..

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