Say what you will about Kanye West, but one thing is for sure the man is extremely talented and is a wonderful ally to the LGBT community. Kanye urged his audience to "open their minds and let people live", during a recent performance on his sold-out Glow in The Dark Tour at Madison Square Garden in New York.
"Open your fucking minds. Open your minds. Be accepting of different people and let people be who they are. You know how many people came to me calling me gay cause I wear my jeans the fresh way? Or because I said hey, dude, how you gonna say 'fag' right in front of a gay dude's face and act like that's ok. That shit is disrespectful. Coming from Chicago, where if you saw somebody that was gay you were supppoed to stay ten feet away. It should be time to break out of the intuitions that I was sayin', the steretypes, or the fear, the backlash that I would get if you don't believe in what I believe in, acceptin' people for who they are...they're very talented and if they do something special in the world and they're discriminated. I've flown across the world y'all, and I've come back here to tell you — open your minds and live a happier life..."
You may remember the award winning rapper first making headlines in a 2005 interview with MTV when he revealed that he had a gay cousin and how through their relationship he learned how hurtful and discriminatory anti-gay slurs and homophobia were towards gays and lesbians.
"It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, 'Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays."
West says hip-hop was always about "speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people." He adds that in slang, gay is "the opposite, the exact opposite word of hip-hop."
Kanye's message: "Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it.'"
I applaud Kanye for having the courage to stand up and speak out against the pervasive homophobia in hip-hop and in the black community. In an industry filled with down-low self hating rappers I'm glad somebody is bold enough to stand for something besides money, jewelry, power, and rims.
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