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Generation Sex: A Conversation About The Big Gay Debate

AS THE LAND OF THE FREE INCHES TOWARD GAY EQUALITY, HIP-HOP HAS BEEN CRAWLING OUT OF ITS HOMOPHOBIC CLOSET. AMID THE SLOW-MOVING SHIFT TOWARD TOLERANCE, TODAY’S AUDACIOUS YOUTH MAY BE THE LOUDEST VOICES OF REASON

BY TRACY GARRAUD

ILLUSTRATION BY MISHA TYUTYUNIK

It seemed like we’d always be stuck. Even as the gay movement in America progresses, its march has been sluggish. In hip-hop, snail paced. Evolution felt far-fetched in the ’90s, when the music biz fixated on unmasking the “Gay Rapper.” Or in the early 2000s, when Eminem made a part-time gig out of pissing off GLAAD and “No homo” spread through rap circles like viral vids. As hip-hop grows into its big-boy and -girl Yeezys, though, the culture has crept closer to shedding its homophobic armor. Now, we have extroverted artists like Azealia Banks and Kreayshawn un-closeting their bisexual tastes. Lil B endorses loving freely. And Jay-Z, the most eminent MC alive, who once flung “F” bombs (“You’s the fag model for Karl Kani”), granted his most significant cosign ever—gay marriage—on the heels of President Obama declaring support. Nationally, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights are making historic headway. Before Obama’s statement, September 2011 saw the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a divisive 1993 law that banned gay personnel from serving openly in the military. Hip-hop owes much of its progression to the brash 25-and-under generation. Those who loathe being labeled, embrace androgynous swag and unabashedly gripe with society’s old guards. In a move many considered his “coming out,” Odd Future’s 24-year-old singer/songwriter Frank Ocean published a letter on his Tumblr page on July 4 telling the world his fi rst love was a man. He prefaced his show-and-tell feat with a tweet, expressing “hope that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did.” Frank’s act caused ripples. But for some from Gen-Old, it’s a brave new world. Snoop Dogg said in a recent interview: “When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that. There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step [forward] to support you because that’s what we were brainwashed and trained to know.” Are we all tolerant enough to embrace a gifted gay rapper? Maybe not—non-straight kids still get bullied, and 47 percent of Americans are against same-sex marriage. Still, this era’s youth are hopeful. VIBE handed a megaphone to six young adults ranging from age 16 to 24—including Ocean’s Odd Future crewmate Syd the Kid—to pick their brains about personal sexual preferences, an end to celebrity coming out parties and the evolution of gay acceptance in hip-hop.

ROUNDTABLE SQUAD

Delilah, 16, Art student; Identifies as lesbian Talia, 18, Premed student; Identifies as straight (Has dated two girls) Syd the Kid, 20, Singer, Odd Future Wolf Gang’s The Internet; Identifies as “Likes girls for right now” Fred, 21, Graphic designer; Identifies as straight Shayne, 22, Accounting graduate; Identifies as gay Chai, 24, Electrician student; Identifies as straight male transgender

PARENTS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND

VIBE: The older generation tends to have a hard time embracing the same-sex lifestyle. Have you had to teach your parents acceptance? Delilah: My mom’s hardheaded and really religious. It’s hard to get things through. When she found out, she assumed every girl I brought in the house was my girlfriend and still kind of thinks that. Now she doesn’t say much that’s bad about it. Syd: Honestly, I really had to back off. When I moved out, my mom started missing me and that’s when things got better. I told her [about my sexuality] when I thought it was a phase—I hoped it was—and she was fi ne at that point. But when she didn’t have a daughter she could share girly stuff with, it really hurt her. She had to realize it’s better to have me around how I am than to not have me at all. If anything, it took more of her teaching me why it was so hard for her to accept.

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R. Kelly's legal team is hoping a Cook County judge will grant the singer permission to travel overseas and perform in order to pay off his child support fees.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 52-year-old singer signed a contract prior to his recent arrest, which outlined Kelly would perform three to five shows in Dubai and travel by private jet. He's slated to meet the royal family and the concert promoter is paying the expenses. Since being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Kelly cannot leave Illinois and has handed over his passport.

The singer's lawyer argues Kelly isn't a flight risk and as an entertainer should be granted permission to still work in order to pay off his debt.

“Mr. Kelly has a job that requires he be allowed to travel,” Steven Greenberg argued in Wednesday's court filing. “He cannot work, and consequently cannot make a living if he is confined to Illinois or even the United States.”

Greenberg noted Kelly isn't a flight risk and appeared in court in 2008 when he faced child pornography charges. The singer was found not guilty in that case.

“Denying him the opportunity to work would be a hardship on his children,” Greenberg later wrote.

In January, Lifetime aired a searing docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed years of sexual assault allegations from several of his alleged victims including Lisa Van Allen and ex-wife Andrea Kelly.

Kelly reportedly owes $161,000 in child support and alleges to have fallen on hard times due to renewed attacks. Last month the Grammy-award winner was indicted on charges he abused three girls and one woman over the span of a decade. The singer vehemently denied the accusations and pled not guilty.

Greenberg also attacked State's Attorney Kim Foxx's intentions behind pursuing Kelly's 10 counts.

“Most if not all of these allegations were all investigated years ago, and charges were not brought,” Greenberg wrote. “There is little if anything that has changed other than State’s Attorney’s desire to thrust herself into the spotlight of the #metoo movement.”

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Tarana Burke Brings #MeToo Tour To HBCUs For Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Continuing her crusade against sexual assault, Tarana Burke will take her advocacy on a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country. Taking to Instagram to announce her #MeToo movement trek, the trip will begin in April.

"I’m so excited to finally announce this!! This has been a vision of mine for many, many years," Burke captioned the image. "Every year during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) college campuses around the country turn their focus towards dealing with sexual violence but very little activity happens on HBCU campuses during SAAM even though we know it’s happening."

I’m SO EXCITED to finally announce this!! This has been a vision of mine for many, many years. Every year during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) college campuses around the country turn their focus towards dealing with sexual violence but very little activity happens on HBCU campuses during SAAM even though we know it’s happening! I spoke at more than 70 schools in 2018 (I know, right! 😳) and only two HBCUs 😐 and I wanted to change that. This year I teamed up with my girl @fiyawata (the original @professionalblackgirl) to bring this right to the yard and provide a space for HBCU students to talk, vent, strategize and heal. 💕 Sponsored in part by @lifetimetv and @the.root #Repost @metoomvmt ・・・ We are so excited to announce that in exactly two weeks, we’ll be kicking off the ‘me too.’ HBCU Tour featuring ‘me too.’ founder Tarana Burke (@taranajaneen), scholar Dr. Yaba Blay (@fiyawata) and special guests! This multi-city initiative is centered around creating safety and accountability for students, faculty and administrators. We have partnered with some of the country’s finest institutions - Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), to have real conversations about sexual assault and consent on campus. Each tour stop includes a strategic convening, a workshop for male-identifying individuals, and a fireside chat featuring a special guest. To get updates about specific stops, register using the link in our bio. #metooHBCU #metoo #metoomvmt #believesurvivors

A post shared by Tarana J. Burke (@taranajaneen) on Mar 19, 2019 at 2:36pm PDT

Burke originally spoke at 70 college campuses during SAAM in 2018 but only visited two HBCUs. Partnering with Yaba Blay, the 45-year-old activist wants to "bring this right to the yard and provide a space for HBCU students to talk, vent, strategize and heal."

“While we are working in service to survivors of sexual violence from all walks of life,  it's always been about Black people, particularly Black women and girls. This tour is important because we know that Black women make up the majority of the student population at HBCUs," Burke said to Blavity. "The college tour is an extension of our work to center marginalized communities in the movement to end sexual violence wherever it exists.”

Each panel will include discussions, strategic sessions with campus leaders, and workshops for men, with a special conversation between Burke and Blay. The tour will be sponsored by The Root and Lifetime with free admission for the public. Howard University, the Atlanta University Center located at Clark Atlanta University, Alabama State University, North Carolina Central University, and Florida A&M University are among the locations.

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Kodak Black Says We Need To Put Him Among The Greats Like Tupac, Biggie And Nas

Judging by Kodak Black's recent Instagram Live session, where he claimed that he was on the same level as rappers who are often revered as some of the G.O.A.Ts in the game, he's got an unshakeable confidence. It's admirable...

In a video, the Floridian urges people to stop paying attention to what they see on the Internet about him, because what really matters in the work he produces.

"I'm the hardest young... I'm the hardest rapper in the game, I promise," he proclaims. "Like, when you talk 'bout me, you should put me in a category of like 'Pac, B.I.G, Nas, them n***as, you feel me? Like really listen to my sh*t. Don't care about how I act, like, on the 'Gram, you feel me? F**k what the blogs say, ask about me in the skreets, I’m a real one, and I spit that fire."

The embattled MC recently made headlines for comments he made towards Young M.A. and Lil Wayne. He reportedly said that Wayne "should have died when he was a baby," which caught the wrath of the New Orleans legend's daughter, Reginae.

Thoughts on Young Kodak's claim? Watch his comments below and let us know in the comments.

 

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Is #KodakBlack up there with the 🐐s? #tupac #biggie #nas

A post shared by Kollege Kidd (@kollegekidd) on Mar 20, 2019 at 2:41pm PDT

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