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‘Faggot’, Tyler the Creator and a Culture of Homophobia

Culture in itself is harmless. Simply a hallow word that curls off the surface of one’s tongue. It is only when culture is contextualized that it begins to define our world, our actions, and our perception. When “culture” is paired with another term, it ceases to be ambiguous and comes to life to either uplift or bring peril to the communities that we’re apart of. There is a culture to everything and it is inside of this infinite possibility of culture that lives are both made and destroyed.

There is drug culture, rape culture, black culture, city culture and the list goes on. These various cultures can support, sustain, and nourish both young and old. However, there are cultures that must be fought against at their inception. There are some cultures that should not be allowed to flourish in a society where we desire everyone to be equal. I declare war on the culture of homophobia.

This is a culture in the black community led by many pastors and hip-hop artists. A culture that rattles off homophobic slurs and then pretends as if they did nothing wrong. Tyler the creator is not the first rapper to participate in the culture of homophobia, particularly in the black community, and I am sure he will not be the last. Nevertheless, we must still wage non-violent and political wars against any individual or entity that participates in the culture of homophobia. As they continue to make homophobic noise, we must also continue to build up a culture of tolerance and acceptance in the black community and make just as much noise for this cause.

Tyler the Creator was confronted for some of his homophobic lyrics that use “faggot” as a derogatory term and gay as a synonym for something that is stupid. Here is what Tyler had to say:

“I’m not homophobic. I just think ‘faggot’ hits and hurts people. It hits. And ‘gay’ just means you’re stupid. I don’t know, we don’t think about it, we’re just kids. We don’t think about that shit. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic,” Tyler told NME in an interview. And he told MTV: “I have gay fans and they don’t really take it offensive, so I don’t know.

A theme in most of what Tyler says is that he doesn’t know. Which I agree with, he doesn’t seem to be very conscious about the words that he says or even about the culture he is participating in, and when he is called out for what he is doing, his response is equally offensive as most of his lyrics are cocooned inside of an excuse that “he doesn’t think about that shit.” In the same way that sexist men don’t think about the comments they make when contributing to the culture of rap in America. He doesn’t think about it in the same way that the government fails to see how they are perpetuating a culture and cycle of poverty by not equally funding education across the country. He doesn’t think about how he participates in the culture of homophobia and then expects people not to think he is homophobic.

Tyler…break out of your comfort zone and start “thinking” about it. Your culture of homophobia is actually impacting the lives of many young black youth who identify as LGBTQ.


m4s0n501