R&B hitmaker Ne-Yo recently sat down with Essence Magazine in a very candid interview where he discussed being dropped as the opening act of the recent R. Kelly Tour, the lawsuit that followed, baby mama drama, and the persistent gay rumors that refuse to go away. Ne-Yo handles this interview and subsequently the gay rumors with a great deal of class and professionalism usually only seen in industry veterans. His mother's reaction to the gay rumors on the other hand were a little bit more volatile.
"When she heard the rumors that I was gay she was like, ‘Who do I have to pay a visit? Who’s a-- do I have to kick?’, stated Ne-Yo.
Below are a few excerpts from the Essence interview by Kenya N. Byrd due out on stands next month.
On being dropped from the R. Kelly tour:
Essence.com: Well, can you explain how your dismissal from the tour came about?
N.Y.: Well, it wasn’t even told to me directly by [R. Kelly]; he sent his people to tell me.
Essence.com: So do you think your affiliation with Jay-Z and Def Jam had anything to do with it, considering that they once toured together and didn’t complete the tour together?
N.Y.: I don’t think so, because if that were the case I wouldn’t have been on the tour to begin with. It’s no secret that I’m a Def Jam artist so I don’t think that had anything to do with it.
Essence.com: It’s been reported that you were asked to leave the tour because you upstaged him. Is that simply speculation?
N.Y.: Well, I’m the one who made that statement. I only did two shows in Columbus and Georgia. It was only the next day after the first two reviews came out and they gave me great reviews and his were not so positive.
Essence.com: Wow—so did you ever speak to R. Kelly about your dismissal?
N.Y.: Nope. That was another thing—as a man he showed me blatant disrespect. He never tried to come and speak to me, but he wouldn’t even have to come to me, I would have been willing to talk to him about it, but that never happened.
Essence.com: Had you met him prior to this tour?
N.Y.: No, I was on tour and I didn’t get to speak to that man. I didn’t see his face. He didn’t make an attempt to speak to me; it was as if it didn’t matter that I was there.
Essence.com: Well, what about during rehearsals?
Essence.com: Wow. So would you be willing to sit down and talk if he ever reached out to you?
N.Y.: Absolutely, I don’t hate R. Kelly. There won’t be no diss records—we don’t do that in R&B. Seriously, I looked up to R. Kelly as an artist, and still do, but I don’t have respect for him as a man. I was happy to join the tour. I’m a man, so I don’t disrespect other men. I would still be open to talk to him. But his not coming to me directly was blatant disrespect, because he didn’t even view me as someone important enough to show respect to by talking to me man-to-man. If you have issues with me, then be man enough to come to me personally, but instead he had his people do it and then they said it wasn’t him but that the promoters asked me to be removed from the tour and that’s b---sh--.
On the gay rumors:
Essence.com: You’ve said that your mom always looks out and was even ready to knuckle up when rumors first surfaced about you being gay.
N.Y.: (Laughs) Yeah, my mom is my dawg. When she heard the rumors that I was gay she was like, ‘Who do I have to pay a visit? Who’s a-- do I have to kick?’
Essence.com: And your initial reaction to folks questioning your sexuality?
N.Y.: Honestly, when I first heard that there were rumors out there about me being gay I thought, Wow someone must really hate me. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but I just couldn’t understand why someone would make up lies like that. I remember speaking to Jay-Z about it and he was like, ‘Look, man you haven’t made it until someone says you’re gay.”
Essence.com: And what about now?
N.Y.: Nah, I don’t even think about that mess anymore. Once it’s said, it ain’t nothing you can do but ignore it.
My Two Cents:
And believe it or not it's gonna be brief...lol. I just have a few questions that I'd like to ask to gain more insight and understanding on my end and hopefully spark a discussion. We all know black gays exist in the entertainment industry and almost all of them are CLOSETED with the exception of RuPaul (who doesn't really count). Here's the first question.
1) If Ne-Yo or another black celebrity were to come out would it help or hurt their career?
2)Would the black community with it's reputation of being "the most homophobic" shun the artist, therefore sending his career into a nose-dive?
3)Would the black gay community rally around the artist in support of their courageous step as the white gay community has done for their own or would we turn our backs?
Hi-five to towleroad.com.