Earlier this week, Taylor Bennett announced on Twitter that he is bisexual. "I want to help others that struggle with the same issues," he wrote.
Possibly inspired by Bennett's courageous act, rapper ILoveMakonnen—best known for his hit single "Tuesday" and his short-lived tenure signed to Drake's OVO label—revealed early Friday morning (January 20) that he is, in fact, gay.
Makonnen's "here some old news to break" comment in the above tweet is in reference to growing speculation within the rap community that he lived a homosexual lifestyle.
In a New York Times profile in May 2015, Joe Coscarelli asked him about the rumors:
“The rap world thinks I’m gay,” he said. “A lot of people out there do. They think I’m a homosexual, which is not a problem. I don’t want to say I’m gay, I’m straight, I’m bisexual or any of that, because that’s just. ...” he said, trailing off. “Who cares? All that’s doing is dividing us.”
While his answer was purposely ambiguous, the Atlanta native is right—labeling people based on their sexual orientation creates division instead of community.
In an interview with XXL 11 months later, Makonnen denied being gay, but declared that it was his mission to "break all that bullshit."
One thing about hip-hop and rap that really gets on my nerve is that they got so much shit to say about gays, lesbians and so anti-gay, all that is just a lot of shit where they want to say faggot and gay bashing. All these designers that y’all are spending on are the gayest niggas in the world. And if you don’t know that you’re the dumbest niggas in the world. So y’all need to stop saying all that gay this, gay that like it’s something wrong with that shit when your bitch ass feels better about themselves in this gay designer shoes or this gay designer clothes. So you going to be bashing gay people, you know what I’m saying? I’m here to break all that bullshit. I may not personally be gay but I got gay friends and people on earth that do what the fuck they do and they need to be accepted as well.
Unfortunately, despite the courageous efforts of artists like Bennett, Makonnen, and even Frank Ocean, we have a long way to go before hip-hop and homophobia are no longer synonymous. It's true that fashion icons like Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace and Marc Jacobs are gay and supported by the hip-hop community, but that support is shown through the purchase of their clothing and not a co-sign of their lifestyle.
Musically, Makonnen's star has faded over the past year—neither Drink More Water 6 or Red Trap Dragon made an impact—but it appears his true mission in life might just be starting.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Twitter