There are few things more potent than transparent pride. After all, pied piper celebrities can arouse full movements with just a drip of conviction. I’ll get to the point. Queen Latifah, it’s Woman’s History Month and your curtains are calling. Me and the rest of the LGBT clique are rooting for ya, don’t let our voices run hoarse.
All I’m requesting is one breath of forthrightness. No need for a fist, no need for a roar—a murmur is fine by me—just a second in time to say screw the sexual anonymity. Hi, I’m a lesbian. Now have a nice day. I’m quite aware that my straight friends hardly ever declare their carnal preference, at least not vocally anyway, but I’ve also never heard of parents disowning heterosexual kids. Hearing is believing.
No matter what gay anthem Lady Gaga whips up, her face, although ubiquitous, is far from a reflection of, say, Colorado high school seniors, Rudolpho Tribulio and Anna Carmichael, a black lesbian couple whose hand-holding snapshot was banned from the relationship section of their yearbook this year. Much applause to Wanda Sykes and Odd Future’s Syd da Kid for waving the rainbow flag, but their omnipresence combined is well, not quite present. Latifah in all her charming glory is the standing ovation.
However, I can understand why the Queen would be mum on confirming if she prefers a pretty female lover. Perhaps it’s about not wanting to be the poster child for black lesbians, or an abhorrence for girl-loves-girl sexualization, or maybe a fear of less bankable roles (c’mon son, you have an Oscar!) or how about she just wants us the F out of her love life. I get it. But as a Haitian bisexual gal myself, I can’t help but spill the same damn question— since extroversion already comes with the gig, why not easily flip it into something socially responsible?
Imagine the size of that sledgehammer. The LGBT benefits are obvious; strength in numbers is always a winner, plus Latifah’s likability factor is not to be fucked with. Now the ideological benefits… those are the silent killers. For instance, Queen’s Cover Girl campaign would take on a whole new meaning. Could it be that some women are trying to look their best not for the opposite sex, but the same sex? Hell yes. It’s palpable, effortless, reconditioning, and might I non-hyperbolically add, historical. That’s one hell of a Wikipedia entry.
That Single Ladies stint, where Latifah played estrogen-loving news anchor Sharon Love, was most definitely suggestive, but nonetheless a job. You may recall Latifah making out with Common in 2010’s Just Wright, yeah the cameras were rolling then too. In the valley of nonfiction however, once a journalist’s whips out that recorder, clarity comes into play. “You go ahead and speculate. I’ll just live it,” she told Upscale Magazine two years ago. However, the black community has a habit of keeping “secrets” neatly tucked away into passcoded drawers. Side-stepping the question with ambiguity suggests a thin veil of shame, that loving or lusting someone with the same chromosomes is a feeling or form of PDA only to be expressed behind closed doors.
If Latifah’s sticking to the axiom actions speak louder than words, then fine, swallow those quotation marks whole, I’ll wait for my peck. Oh, and if Dana Owens and her boyfriend are highly offended by these seven paragraphs, my bad. —Tracy Garraud (@trayhova)