The black blogosphere is weighing in on comments made by academy award nominated actress Queen Latifah during a recent interview with Ebony Magazine. Latifah was asked about internet rumors surrounding an alleged romance with female trainerJeanette Jenkins, this is what she had to say:
"No comment on that at all. I'm done commenting on all that ... It's ridiculous, I know me and that's all I need to know.“And if the readers don't know me, then that’s one part they aren't going to get to know. Those are my people but they don't sleep with me," she says in a very even tone that is very consistent with her relaxed mood. "It feels so invasive. It's the one thing I don't think people need to know about."
Great way to dodge the question Latifah. But it's obvious Queen Latifah and other black celebrities have become pros when it comes to not disclosing the one aspect of their life that is so obvious to everyone else. There is so much truth in the idea that if you don't confirm who you really are for those who assume then the charade will continue.
I asked my boyfriend to tell me at least five black celebrities who are out and he could not tell me one. On the flip side the list of white celebrities who are out seemed endless. So why are gay black entertainers so afraid to come out?
Some would say Luther Vandross carried his secret to the grave with him. After years of making beautiful love songs that I'm sure were sung at thousands of weddings , Luther himself was never comfortable enough to come out and live life openly as a gay man or even have a wedding of his own.
Some people believe that it's their right to live a closeted life if they choose and the public should stay out of their personal business. Not a single comment I've read on any blog so far illustrates this point better than a comment left by a reader on jasmynecannick.com :
"I'm not sure what planet you live on, but you know damn well if she came out black people would trip. You are giving the general public way too much credit ... it would hurt her career and she knows that. And besides, it's none of anybody's damn business. Coming out is a process and she should do it in her own time. If that time never comes, then so be it. But it should be done her way. I get tired of judgmental queens and dykes trying to bully people into coming out. I'm out, but I don't have anything against people who aren't because everybody isn't in the position to be. She has a hell of a lot more to lose than gain by screaming "I'm gay." Let the woman do her thing. She has never proclaimed to be a model of strength to lesbian women of color. It's this kind of position that is a big part of the reason the gay community is as divided as it is. If people would just let folks live, things wouldn't be as hostile as they often are. People just need to let folks be ..."
Interesting and truthful to a point. How many times have you heard that homosexuality doesn't exist in the black community or that homosexuality in our culture is a result of white influence? Probably too many times to count. I remember as a young child coming into my own and dealing with my sexuality how alone I felt because I thought there was no one around who I could relate to. There was no one on television that loved the way I did and no model of a SGL relationship for me to learn from.
I know black gays often have extra baggage to deal with when we decide to come out, but I find it extremely hard to believe that in 2007 we would completely abandon a Queen Latifah or Eddie Murphy if they decided to come out. As long as they are producing quality work black people will support them. We're still buying R. Kelly albums by the millions and he's a pedophile!
As long as these closeted celebrities continue to hide who they are they will continue to drive the belief that being gay is something to be ashamed of. And with all of the progress Americans have made to understand and embrace LGBT folks(yet we still have a long way to go)and the dozens of white celebrities who are out, we are still afraid to say I'm black, gay, and proud. Now that's the real shame.
Labels: Coming Out