The Migos are in a tough spot right now; trapped between hip-hop’s traditions and its possible future, the way forward grows murkier the longer they face their current situation. Receiving backlash for reportedly refusing to perform alongside a troupe of drag queens for their appearance on pop singer Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” for Saturday Night Live, the Atlanta Versace aficionados were handed a puzzle with no solution and told to figure it out on their own.
Yes, they have landed in hot water already for comments they previously made with regard to fellow trap entertainer Makonnen’s recent coming-out as gay, and for turning down the possibility of a performance with him at a gay venue. Look, no one is excusing the things they have said. This is not a defense of Migos’ rights to say offensive things with regards to marginalized groups. They absolutely have to face consequences for their actions, whether that be a hit to the pockets or a potentially embarrassing article on a popular rap blog.
However, the way we box artists in — especially black rap artists — with respect to their slip-ups in the social media era, is concerning. There are any number of reasons Takeoff, Quavo, and/or Offset may have felt uncomfortable with the performance, yet their past comments, even the ones that weren’t so disparaging, have come back to haunt them and continue to fuel speculations of the group’s supposedly homophobic leanings.