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10 comments | Thursday, February 19, 2009

One of my favorites singers Rahsaan Patterson recently sat down with Daily Voice columnist Mark Corece for an exclusive interview prior to a performance at Chicago's Park West Theater. Of course his music was discussed but the conversation inevitably touched on the controversial comments Patterson made in a 2007 interview with BET in which the singer came out and described his homosexuality as "a spirit that attached itself to him".

Here's a few excerpts via The Daily Voice:

In 2007, you did an interview with BET and you talked about your sexuality. You discussed your childhood and "spirits that attached to you." Is sexual abuse a fair interpretation of this?

Oh, yeah definitely. That is what I intended to express without making it an excuse for...

Do you feel like it is an excuse for homosexuality?

I think it is a reason for a lot of people's lifestyles that they choose. At some point you choose for that to be what you're into and what your lifestyle is--for some. To a degree, I think we have a choice for a lot of things. I think people who are straight, who are homophobic, choose to be homophobic. It is what it is and things happen in life and particularly when you are a child you don't have control over it. That is one of the things I was trying to express.

Do you think talking being open with your sexuality has negatively, or positively, impacted your career?

I don't really know, but what I do know is that I've never been in the closet or hiding anything. For me, it has always been maintaining the privacy of what I do with the people I do it with, whoever it is. Just because you don't know what I'm doing doesn't mean that I'm trying to keep something from you. The people that know me like my family, my friends and the people I am intimate with, they know, and that's what matters to me. I really don't care about the next person two blocks from here that wants to know and because they don't, they think that I'm keeping a secret--no. We all possess sexuality and we all possess the ability to be sexual with whoever we choose to be and that is not all of who we are. It doesn't necessarily define someone's character. I think sometimes people get hung up on that and it takes away from someone's true purpose. You know what I'm saying? A spirit is bigger than all of that.

Uhmm... ok. I don't know about you guys but hearing Rahsaan Patterson describe his sexuality as "a spirit that attached itself to him" and the use of the word choice is very problematic for me. I understand that our experiences are not the same. I've never been the victim of abuse and my heart goes out to him for having to deal with such an unfortunate ordeal. But I believe it's sends a potentially dangerous message. It's the kind of message that ex-gay ministries prey upon and gives false hope to parents who are struggling to accept their gay children.

Patterson is not the first black celebrity to declare the element of choice regarding his sexual orientation. WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes made a similar statement when she came out in 2005.

I grew up watching Patterson as a child performer on Disney's Kid's Incorporated and I identified with him even then, ironically we had more in common than just a talent for performing. The man has a voice from heaven.

So what do you think about Rahsaan Patterson's views on his homosexuality? Is it a case of internalized homophobia?


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Oh, Rahsaan. Christianity really did a number on you, huh?

He's on that same bullshit Donnie McClurkin is on.

Poor thing.

February 19, 2009 11:39 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It is unfortunate that many do not fully accept or understand that homesexuality isn't a lifestyle or a choice, it is just a part of who one is. Yes, the mainstream Christian church does indeed teach that homosexuality is a spirit, but if one were to go deeper into the truth of the matter, it is very easy to be both a Christian and a proud gay or lesbian person. The two aren't mutually exlusive.

What we must begin to do is meet people where they are and guide them into a better understanding of who they are. They must also have a willingness to want to grow. There are some who are comfortable believing certain things about themselves. We must accept that.

As important, I believe, is the need to have balance. We need confident celebrity figures to come out as well who can show another aspect of black homosexuality. Just as the educated black character balances out the "hood" black character in tv and film, so too must we have diversity in the gay images that are presented to those looking for gay celebrities with whom they can identify.

February 19, 2009 12:15 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

There is no ONE absolute understanding of homosexuality SO you can not judge or lambaste him because the view he subscribes is different than the one you subscribe to. We all have chosen/discovered different ways to cope with and come to terms with who we are as same gender loving individuals—that is the beauty of self-discovery. As long as he is content and living authentically in his sexuality who are you, or I for that matter to, to judge him for that.

February 19, 2009 12:34 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Ahh...the usual anonymous poster. I don't think anyone is "lambasting" Rahsaan for his "choice". But when someone implies that a demonic spirit attached itself to their person or they made a choice to be a homosexual(btw who in their right mind would choose to be gay in this society???) whether due to abuse or free will publicly, then the public will no doubt have a reaction to these kind of statements and that reaction will not always be a positive one.

I'm just sayin...

February 19, 2009 12:41 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I find it hard to believe that anyone would "choose" to be gay. You may choose to be sexually involved, but not your orientation.

I believe Rashaan shares the opinion of many who have accepted the rhetoric of choice and spirits and such.

I have not been the victim of abuse but recognize that it can do some damaging things to one's psyche. Although I don't believe that his homesexuality is the result of the abuse or the spirit, I acknowledge that it may have shaped his views on why he loves men.

February 19, 2009 12:55 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

You know,we as gay brothers have to be careful that we are not overly judgmental or cynical about our brothers who choose to believe that there is a choice in being gay.Now for Rahsaan,because he was abused when he was a child,has a plausible argument.There is evidence which supports the idea that when/if you are male and abused as a child sexually by a male then the chances of you having samesex attractions as you become older are greatly increased.So Rahsaan and others like him have a lifelong dilema to deal with for the rest of their lives.Whether or not they would have opposite sexual attractions had they never been abused when they were young.....Just some food for thought!

February 19, 2009 8:19 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

We generally tend to have conversations about sexuality that are far too simplified and terms like "choice" or "born" or "gay" or "straight" are the only the only ones that are used. I personally belief that sexuality is more along that line of Kinsey's understanding of it. There is more gray area than there is black and white, meaning there are more people who exist in the inbetween area than there are that exist in the strictly straight or gay area. And of course, we are born with these inclinations but at some point we all choose or refuse to choose how gray we are going to be. I also believe that it is problematic and serves no purpose to question someone elses understanding of there on sexuality. We should openly listen to how others deffine themselves rather than trying to place definitions on them. That's just how I think about it. Sexuality is fluid like water and not as rigid as human mnds want it to be.

February 20, 2009 1:10 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am gay was born gay and will always be gay. But not everybody is the same. I don't subscribe to the whole "spirit attaching itself" thing. I think that's a way of removing yourself from responsibility for you situation. I do however belive that same sex acting out can occur in the wake of abusive situations. Granted most people I know that are the victims of this are female. That seems to be a lot more common. But I do know of a couple of guys who have the same issue.

I know gay guys who have no problem having sex with women, but have no emotional attachment to them whatsoever and would only want to spend the rest of their lives with a man. I know straight men with whom the opposite is true, they can sleep with a guy and enjoy it no problem. But at the end of the day they can only really fall in love with and spend the rest of their lives with a woman.

Sexuality isn't A,B or C. It's A-Z. That is a reality we need to accept. The sooner we extend the same courtesies to these people that we want extended to us, the sooner we stop being hypocrites.

I love me some Rahsaan Patterson he is a premiere vocalist who does not get the accolades he deserves. (I listen to him just about everyday) And up until now I didn't know for sure that he was gay! I had heard and read rumors that he was dating Tevin Campbell a while back. (Is Tevin in the same line of thinking Darian? Do you know?) But I do believe his situation is indicative of many within the African American Christian experience. But I know this is something he is going to have to grow and go through to come to a better understanding about himself. Whatever that truth ends up being. We have all had to go through it to some degree. Just keep this talented man in your prayers, that he finds the truth that sets him free, whatever that may be. And if he already has, that he can prosper and do well with it.

I think the worst thing we can do as a community is to silence any of our brothers and sisters out of fear of how heterosexuals will interpret it. How can we can gain and enjoy our freedom if we crucify and sacrifice our own in the process?

February 20, 2009 8:16 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

i think the criticsms of Rahsaan have been kind of harsh. Gay self-acceptance is a very private and progressive thing. His words should be shot against the video of his performance. In the London show he makes no effort to hide his sexual orientation. We must allow our younger brothers to progress through the stages to ultimate self acceptance that many of us older bros did. Remember Maslow Laws of heirarchy? (sp) All I can do is praise the boys of the younger generation for making progress. They are fearless and unafraid. I praise their actions even if they dont always get the words right. These young homo bros are truly living their lives free. I support them. I envy them.

February 21, 2009 9:57 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Our brother is gay and out. Thats fine. I can't vouch for why Rahsaan thinkns the way he does about his sexuality. I agree with Wilson on the fact that Rahsaan has some growing to do with understanding the truth. In the meantime, lets just embrace him and not criticize his angle so much. I understand how easy it is to try, but lets take the other route and not.

February 22, 2009 12:11 PM


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