After initially canceling his appearance, Wale did step up and perform @ the D.C. Black Pride Legacy Festival, a gay pride event.
Wale told the crowd, ”One thing I stand for is Hip Hop music. And Hip Hop music knows no race, no color, no age, no gender, no sexual orientation — none of that. So, the most important thing about it is the music, and if it makes the people feel happy, that’s what we hear.”
He continued, “I will say, sometimes in this business you get aligned with people that don’t understand that, or don’t necessarily have the same beliefs that you do. And I apologize for not having my best foot forward to understand the people I’m in business with. And I’m going to do better, as we all do.”
All of this coincides with another article I read yesterday @ Clutch, entitled “Questioning the Sexuality of our Slow Jam Kings”. It’s worth a read, but in a nutshell, the question posed is would the Black community support an openly gay male artist. One of the names invoked struck me by surprise, Donnie. I absolutely loved The Color Section and wrote about it many moons ago. The young singer was poised for a promising career…but then it was if he vanished off the radar. What happened? I don’t think he “came out,” but that the industry found out instead. I have to admit the news took me by surprise, but it didn’t change my relationship with his music or my thoughts on his talents. Apparently, others don’t share my stance.
As grossly homophobic as Hip-Hop is (second only to the Reggae community IMO), I have to tip my New Era to Wale for making a move like this. To call it a tough decision is most likely an understatement. As I said before, most wouldn’t walk in the store with a gay friend or relative, much less be associated with a performance in front a crowd of homosexuals. Yes, it is a saving face maneuver, as Wale’s always played tug of war with DMV residents for their support and having more people backing you (uhm…pause) is always a blessing. But, we all already know there will be those that will throw barbs, saying “Oh he’s gay now!” No direct shots, but I’ve always found it a little offensive that people like Sandra Rose continually assert that certain males in the music industry are gay. As if defining & accepting the role of manhood wasn’t hard enough, there’s constant assailing from media outlets and the peanut gallery that make every choice a tough one.
Wale knows what I know. Members of the gay community are openly supportive of acts who show them respect. And they show that admiration in the form of filling venues (and thus performers’ pockets) and using their collective buying power. If I produce my content and someone whose lifestyle I don’t necessarily agree with listens, relates and likes it, does that make me gay? No. I continue making my art with the same original sentiments in mind, the goal being to reach as many listeners as possible with my message. By stepping foot on onstage @ this event, Wale may have sent a message more powerful than words could ever be.
Maybe heterosexual Hip-Hoppers could learn a thing or two from him and the LGBT community.