Hip-Hop and the ‘Double Life’

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by Jineea Butler

New York’s Hot 97.1 DJ Mr. Cee finally addressed his sexuality, after being arrested several times for illegally soliciting transsexual prostitutes.  In many ways, he has been used as a poster boy for Hip Hop’s homophobic issues.  In this day and age, should we be critical of anyone who leans towards same sex practices?   I know that Hip Hop has had a reputation of casting out homosexuals, but are we looking at the same Hip Hop industry?

The Hip Hop I encounter is filled with executives, artists, promoters, and designers etc. who are members of the LGBT Community.  I think the real problem is everyone is trying to ignore it.

I am sure the pressure of living a double life in the public eye, let alone with your family and friends, rents a lot of mental space and the consequences of revealing the truth may even apply its own form of insanity.  Most of the time the insecurities people feel are self made delusions of how other people will react, so they keep repressing their feelings and emotions, remaining in their own personal hell.  Living under these circumstances will also affect their daily life, as they will constantly be guarding their secrets.

Societal discrimination Black men face weighs down their ability to be confident in many situations. It doesn’t help when they battle unwanted feelings of homosexuality. When I worked on Rikers Island, the largest jail in the country, I witnessed first-hand how the toughest men could become vulnerable to homosexual behaviors.

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DJ MR CEE

Veteran Hip Hop Artist Lord Jamar from Brand Nubian said in an interview with VLAD TV referring to Mr. Cee, “You better hide that sh.. the best you can f…..ing hide it,  because that’s not Hip Hop.”  The generation Mr. Cee came from was a hard core group of men who were raised by men.  The values of manhood were very defined on the streets of New York. They were taught how to treat a woman, how to respect and love a woman if not by a male authority, by the music of the day.

When fathers, brothers and uncles were whisked away to serve time, the young boys had to become men on their own with no male guidance.  Prison became a right of passage for young males and a normal occurrence in many families.  The thug mentality was born through the pain many of these youngsters suffered and secretly dealt with during their impressionable youth.

No one talks about the men who were raped and sodomized while in prison. When they were released, they handled their victimization in different ways. Some channeled their anguish by continuing the cycle of abuse.

The incarcerated community is one that destroys the family and the natural make-up of male and female relationships.  A man’s manhood is tested in every way possible.  Being in close quarters with men day in and day out makes them either love, hate or tolerate one another.

We see examples of the hate through the violence being carried out on the urban streets.  We see examples of the love through the reports of undercover brothers infecting their women at alarming rates.  The quality time a man normally spends with a woman, while in prison he is spending with men. He therefore becomes more comfortable sharing his inner feelings with other men.

Think about the groups of men who congregate amongst one another on the street corners, this is transitional behavior from prison culture.  They are not comfortable in the house with their families.  They are disconnected from the women they profess to love.  Their women are reduced to objects of affection, because they are deprived of physical contact.  Women become phone calls that consist of arranging for packages, money and weekend visits.

All of this conditioning separates the weak from the strong, hence the saying “Do the time, don’t let the time do you.” But many fall victim to the never ending series of male breaking exercises designed to destroy the mind.

I am in no way implying that all men who go to prison come out gay or bisexual.  But what I am saying is of the 80% of young Black men who have criminal records, according to The New Jim Crow, many have been subjected to this dehumanizing behavior.  It desensitizes their thoughts and weakens their will power. Their actions or lack there of show us that there are issues deeper than the iceberg we see.

Regardless of ones sexuality, hiding is not the answer. I applaud all gay men and women who have decided to live life free of shame and embarrassment for who they are. It means they have come to terms with themselves.

Mr. Cee said, “They made me feel comfortable to exercise my human right for sexual freedom instead of finding myself being self-detained by the discrimination, judgment, criticism, and even violence from my own community.”

Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union is a Hip Hop Analyst who investigates the trends and behaviors of the community and delivers programming that solves the Hip Hop Dilemma. She can be reached at jineea@gmail.com or Tweet her at @flygirlladyjay

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