Attributing The City Girls’ Homophobia To Their Upbringing Is Simplistic — And Misconstrues Bigotry

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Miami duo The City Girls are in hot water again. After both Yung Miami and JT were exposed for colorist, homophobic, hateful tweets in August, Yung Miami slid further into the bigoted quicksand Tuesday by reiterating comments that “if I saw anything ‘gay’ in my son I would beat him” because “I wouldn’t want my son to be gay.”

She attempted to clarify that she had no problem with gay folks — and had gay people on her team — but she had already put her foot in her mouth by comparing “beating the gay away” to beating a child because they broke something. Being gay is clearly wrong to her. Her comments reignited ire from former fans who believe that the duo’s unearthed August tweets about dark skin women, Haitians and even six-year-old Blue Ivy Carter were too hateful to overlook, no matter how empowering records like “F*ck Dat N—-” are.

But along with the rightful outrage, there was a section of people who were relatively unbothered by her comments because they surmised that the City Girls were from the hood and that’s simply the kind of mindset that persists there. On Twitter, HBCU Professor Dr. Rondrea Mathis noted “the problematic ideology of the hood,” where “City Girls aren’t saying anything different from Boosie or Trick Daddy.” Another tweet stated that, the “city girl chick made a statement like any random person would from the hood,” and that “ppl from the hood not worried bout whats going on with gender or sexual orientation, n—-s is broke.”

That kind of defeatist, classist statement implies that “the hood” is somehow an inherently less humane place than any other community. It sounds too close to often-racialized pathology that people who grow up in low-income areas are unable to be discerning, civilized and compassionate because of their surroundings. It’s true that there are internalized phobias and masculinized ideologies in disenfranchised communities like the City Girls’ native Miami, but there’s not a dollar amount attached to them. Some people theorize bigotry as a consequence of being uneducated, but there are homophobic college professors like Aron Wall, who criticized the gay community as “promiscuous, reckless and obscene.”

There are politicians like Wes Goodman, Troy King, and Roy Ashburn, who have consistently voted against pro-LGBT measures and publicly condemned the community, but were then outed for their own sexual relationships with gay men. In their dissonance of condemning gay people while exploiting them for selfish means, the City Girls exist on a similar plane of hypocrisy as these well-off, conservative politicians — which dispels any notion of the hood being some solitary breeding ground for homophobia. The politicians wanted sex, and the City Girls want money, but neither want to view the LGTBQ community as full equals.

There’s homophobia on Wall Street, in Hollywood, in the sports world, in the tech industry, and any other sect of society you can think of, privileged or not. Homophobia is everywhere. Unlearning regressive politics aren’t about how much you’ve been formally educated or your income bracket, they’re about the effort you and the people around you put into socially educating yourself.

Black people who attempt to pair hateful worldviews specifically with low-income levels are in the same denial as white classists who attempt to lay all blame for racism on backwoods conservatives. It’s inherently dehumanizing and strengthens the insidious nature of homophobia by putting the blame on one group of people while marginalization festers systemically. When it comes to any measure of widespread oppression, we’re all culpable, and class isn’t a determinant. People from the hood, like Yung Miami and JT, are just as responsible for unlearning oppressive actions as anyone else.

In August, Yung Miami initially commented on Instagram that “Idk what’s so disappointing about” her tweet threatening to beat her son if he ever showed signs of “any type of gay sh*t.” She’s had three months to simply search her own name on Twitter and figure out why some of her biggest fans were disappointed in her, but she didn’t care enough to.

Perhaps she would have understood people’s disappointment if she had read about Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old who was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend for admitting that he “liked boys.” Or an LA mother who, along with her boyfriend, “beat, starved, tied up, locked in a cabinet, shot with a BB gun, and knocked the tooth” out of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez with a bat because they believed he was gay.

She could also take a look at the thousands of hate crimes against gay people that have taken place over the world, including a record 86% increase in hate-based killings of LGBTQ people in America from 2016 to 2017. Would Yung Miami be any better than those parents if she acted on her comments without actually killing her son? Considering that you can’t “beat out” being gay, she basically inferred that she’d be beating her child until he found a way to get away from her.

Her comments make her complicit in the normalization of hate that fuels those violent crimes, and The Breakfast Club is liable for amplifying her bigoted comments over nationwide airwaves just to promote an album. The Breakfast Club’s Youtube view count may turn into profit, but it will also reflect how many people ingested her retrograde comments, and either felt emboldened or disheartened by them. Is that manner of profit ever worth it? There’s no more space for projecting unpopular opinions as #content when lives hang in the balance; they’re unpopular for a reason. It doesn’t matter if she merely vocalized beating her child when kids are actually being beaten to death. There’s no distinction to be made between degrees of hatred in a world where hate is a predominant factor in homicide every single day.

The apology letter she wrote in September reeked of damage control. She didn’t express contrition, she simply gave the classic “I apologize if anyone was offended” response that omits accountability for her statements. The only implication that can be gleaned from the double down on her comments is that to her, gay people are good enough to style her and good enough to help fund her newfound lifestyle, but her son is too good to be like them, and they don’t matter enough for her to learn otherwise. That conditional acceptance permeates the lives of so many gay men who wrestle through fractured relationships with loved ones, and it’s unfair for them to also face that trauma through the sphere of music. People listen to frenetic acts like the City Girls to feel empowered against patriarchy and dance their problems away. No one deserves to have to compartmentalize the group’s male-identified hatred (and internalized self-hate) while enjoying themselves.

Yung Miami is just one of the many recent examples of artists like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and others whose comments have served to throw their fans under the bus while expecting them to hold on to the undercarriage. The City Girls have a considerable fan base of gay men, but until they truly reckon with the danger that their comments sustain, they don’t deserve them. They also don’t deserve continued promotion from media outlets who may enjoy their music but have a responsibility to refrain from rewarding people espousing bigoted worldviews. Will they ever truly see the error in their comments? Will it matter if they don’t? There are many questions to be raised as long as the City Girls continue to ascend while spewing rhetoric that sustains a cycle of violence against their core fans. The answers will come with time, but first Yung Miami, and eventually the incarcerated JT, must ask them of themselves.