Lawd. Have. Mercy.
You ever engage in something so stupid, you regret doing it but feel it was necessary? An instance like this happened to me. I'll explain further, but I feel I needed to get that out first. I honestly couldn't believe what I was reading. A lot of it made me cringe, but it exposed a huge problem that needs to be addressed in the same vein. Sit down for a spell, and let me tell you a story about my morning.
Instead of working out, like I should've done, I decided to hop on Facebook. Yes, I know, the instant issue already, and I gave myself a feasible punishment later that evening. That's beside the point; we're moving forward. I (like most black folks) follow Mike Epps' public figure page, and he happened to post two consecutive controversial articles. One was about everyone's favorite LGBTQ+ artist, Lil Nas X, and the million dislikes on his last music video (compared to the 8 million likes, but that's beside the point). The other was about everyone's favorite rapper, Boosie, saying the influencers such as the artist above are promoting an agenda that keeping kids from "trying to be straight."
The immediate reaction on my end was an eye roll to both of these. The intention was clear as to what these articles were trying to accomplish—to divide the LGBTQ+ and black communities further. What's worse, however, were the replies from the peanut gallery. Black people saying things such as "we don't wanna see that, why can't they have their own network, and what an abomination of God." That was just the tip of the iceberg! There were people also defending Boosie's remarks! Individuals said that Boosie was right and that Lil Nas X is "confusing these little boys and keeping them from being straight." The idea on its own is foolish, but the fact that it has any backing is just absurd.
I never understood the divide between these communities. The hostility is mainly coming from the Black side, more so from males. The toxic masculinity within our community is ridiculous. It's like you can't express any form of emotion or have effeminate traits without being looked at sideways. Every comment listed talked about Lil Nas X's "negative influence" on the kids, his and the community's "ruining of the culture and our community," or that he's "too sweet" to be in rap. It was a tearing down of one of our own simply because he wanted to exist and be creative. I understand not liking the song, the video, or even the artist. If it's not what you want to listen to or watch, that's your prerogative. My issue is tying his personal life to it, using it against him, and blaming him for destroying and "feminizing" our community.
The negative influence concept is just foolish. He's influencing the kids to be gay? Really? How? Never mind the fact that his music videos have never aired on any kids' networks (and turning off YouTube only requires a click) or that The Weekend was literally nominated for a Kids Choice Award for a song about cocaine (to which even he said was crazy), or that WAP was just a thing (to which I'm not condemning, just accenting a point). Let's place all the blame on the gay guy that's just expressing himself. If Lil Nas X has that much influence on your child to affect his sexual orientation, I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you. Maybe you didn't know your child at all, and they've always felt that way. They've just had to hide due to a toxic environment provided by the parent. Also, you're the adult, so be the adult! If you don't want them to watch, turn it off, block it, or (and here's a novel concept) be a parent and explain if they have questions! Is it going to be an uncomfortable conversation? Probably, but at the same time, these conversations are going to happen. You're going to have to nut up and speak on it eventually.
Ruining the culture and community is the one that floored me. I heard this one from both males and females, to be honest. From the males, it's obvious underlying homophobia. Now, before I hear all of you scream, "I ain't scared of them!" hear me out. It's not a fear of the individual, which most men believe once this is said. It's a lack of understanding and resting on ridiculous negative stereotypes about gay men. "They all wanna feel on me." "They all just hit on dudes and try to trick them." "They're confusing our little boys and making it ok to act like a female." These thoughts all add to a fear of understanding, which leads to a phobia. I'll admit, I even fell privy to these myself in my younger years. The difference is I reached out, learned, and grew. I can almost guarantee that most males in our community have never attempted this with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It's easier to chastise and ridicule than to walk a mile in a person's shoes.
The female (and some male) responses have been religious, which I also don't understand. "I don't hate them, and they can live how they want, but they're an abomination of God." Wow. If that's not an ass-backward, regressive way of thinking. Not to mention one of the most backhanded and foolish comments I've ever heard. So you're saying that you aren't prejudiced against the LGBTQ community, but God is? How does that even make sense? Make that make sense to me! No matter how well they live their life, they're going to "burn eternally" simply for existing, and God is signing off on that. The reason for this thought is through interpretation of the Bible itself. Well, the Bible also condoned slavery, so should we all go back to that too? It's what God would've wanted.
This stigma given to the LGBTQ community from the Black community doesn't make sense at all. Not just for the above reasons, but also because of the similarities of the prejudice. For as much as we ask for a seat at every table (and not saying we don't deserve that right), who are we to tell these individuals that they can't? They want the same thing we do, the right to exist. They aren't harming anyone. Their lifestyle isn't illegal. They want to be able to live their lives the way they are. Yet, we're going to hamper their growth while asking to expand our own. What's even worse is we have individuals from the Black community that are also in the LGBTQ community, adding to the hypocrisy. We already know that it's hard enough to be Black in this country, so why would we add to the prejudice of our brothers and sisters? We're counterproductive to our own cause simply because of a fear of the unknown.
This stigma needs to stop, and we need to come together, not just as Black folks but as human beings. The weeding out and trying to dice up individuals further while chastising for their differences will only lead to a further divide. We don't enjoy it when it happens to us. Let's be better as a community and reach out and understand one another instead of chastising and dividing.
But that would make sense...