What exactly makes Lil Uzi gay to so many Black men?
As the group that dominates Hip Hop, we need to self-critique our perspective of these new rappers. Not just whether we are right or wrong. We need to ask; where is this judgement coming from? What are the subjective biases we grow up with that make us look at someone and say, “na man. That looks sus. Lil Uzi gay.”
Why do certain things turn us off? You could just say “well I prefer my favorite rappers to look masculine” and leave it at that. But we have been taught to like half of what we like. Not everything we think is “natural” is truly organic. Our preferences are socialized. Men are taught since birth to “man up” at any remote sign of emotion by family. The news gives us a hyper-representation of Black criminality. Mainstream music & film glorifies a lifestyle of promiscuity, violence, and aggression as defining traits of Black masculinity. It’s ironic that there are so many men with a hand in the media yet masculine-presenting men have such a one-dimensional TV presence. No one wants to break the cycle. The moment a man goes against what we normally see, us men get naturally insecure in the box we’ve been comfortably living in.
That looks gay.
Let’s define gayness for a second. Attraction to the same gender. Sexuality doesn’t have a look. Cool. We know this. Yet that all goes out the window in everyday practice. A lot of things go out the window in practice. Like knowing that cheating is bad. Stealing is wrong. That you should floss after every single meal.
But here’s the thing. There is a gay look. A straight look. There shouldn’t be. But there is.
There’s a reason why straight men get called “f*ggots” for doing “unmanly” things as we previously mentioned. Anything outside of a man being dominant and a woman being submissive pretty much gets thrown in the gay box.
The capitalist protection of the monogamous white family has us conflating gender identity with expression and with sexuality. Yet so many white male models get away with expressing femininity without feeling like their manhood is threatened. Even openly speaking about being straight and being attracted to trans women.
I’ll give you a hint.
White men have nothing to be insecure about when they have solid, objective government power. Many ankh-right, hoteps, Black capitalists & nationalists… do not seek equality justice even among their own people. They seek power. They seek to replace white patriarchy with Black patriarchy. This hierarchy is expressed in more overt homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, classism, and every -ism outside of racism. When you are oppressed in one way, it is easy to latch onto the other -isms for a leverage of power in your own community.
Low-income whites blame those filthy immigrants for stealing all their jobs.
Black men blame the ‘gay agenda’ and Black feminists for ruining their progression.
Hip Hop is the cultural expression of the hood. Thus, the fight for power using masculine dominance is emphasized. The hierarchy straight Black men control is less secure and more violent. Being simultaneous victims and oppressors of their own people. White patriarchy is much more institutional. Social bigotry doesn’t need to be as blatant to maintain its power.
So who cares if it looks gay anyway?
The fact that a lot of ‘new age rappers’ are coming about wear tight jeans, chokers, makeup and come out of their shell to speak about “soft sh*t” is a GOOD thing. It expands hip hop’s masculine spirit to leave the one-dimensional definitions behind.
The commercialization of Black aggression has made Hip Hop a branded cash cow spitting out the same “look” for ages. Perpetuating the same dangerous hierarchy we already have in urban culture. It’s about time we see new steps in fashion and gender expression and still recognize artists as a man simply expressing themselves differently.