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Wright said while younger hip hop fans are more open minded about gay people, hip hop culture in general is still pretty homophobic.
Although nowadays, artists may be less openly derisive of gay people, because it’s simply bad for business.
Dahn received praise from some people in the hip hop world.
He said many of the people surrounding big hip hop stars, stylists, managers, ect., are gay.
Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug has courted controversy by wearing dresses and calling his homeboys “bae.” Jaden Smith, son of rapper-turned-actor Will Smith, faced backlash when he was recently pictured wearing a dress.
Todd Dahn, a hip hop producer who recently came out of the closet in an article on Rap Rehab titled, “Loving Myself as a Gay Man in Hip Hop,” understands what’s it like to be a gay man in the rap world.
He cites Azealia Banks, who has become nationally famous for making outlandish statements and appearing in Playboy, rather than for her music. Earl Wright II, a professor of Africana studies at the University of Cincinnati, said Young Thug and Jaden Smith are forcing hip hop, and society in general, to reevaluate what it defines as “masculine.” “What is important is that what he (Young Thug) introduces to the hip hop community, along with Jaden Smith, is the idea that there is more than one way to be a male and man in this nation,” said Wright, who teaches a sociology course on hip hop.
“In a society where one’s manhood is largely defined by a person’s ability to physically control the body and actions of others, Young Thug and Jaden Smith’s ‘revolutionary’ presentation of self provides an opening for young males, who do not fit the traditional notion of masculinity, to find a comfortable space for themselves within hip hop culture.” Wright said hip hop came out of an aggressive, confrontational culture and so it’s roots are macho.
Hip hop gossip sites still write salacious articles making snide remarks about allegedly gay rap stars.
“Young Thug is not popular because he is a great rapper, he is popular because he does things other people like to talk about,” Dahn said.
Using personal controversy to push your brand is the name of the game in the music industry now, according to Dahn.
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