Baltimore gay rappers are loud and proud

Lester Spence (STARE IN THE DARKNESS) weighs in on hip-hop's homophobia.

Spence_Stare coverMuch of rap is about expressing masculinity in a heterosexual way, said Lester Spence, an assistant professor of political science at the Johns Hopkins University and author of "Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics."

"You have people using homosexual epithets to refer to MCs they don't like or even terms that loosely could be thought of as homosexual epithets like 'punk' or 'sissy,'" Spence said.

But that could be changing. Last month, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to endorse gay marriage. In the wake of Obama's comments, Jay-Z, one of hip-hop's biggest and most influential stars, likened anti-gay marriage to discrimination against blacks. Fellow rappers T.I. and 50 Cent later said they weren't against the idea. It was a bold stance, and an important step for a genre that has a history of homophobia.

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Published in: Baltimore Sun
By: Brandon Weigel