If we could have a moratorium on all the patronizing discussions of how “brave” Frank Ocean was for coming out in the hip-hop community, with the implicit understanding there being that black homophobia is somehow particularly heinous, awful or egregious and so this somehow elevates the nature of his coming out, that would be great. Let’s remember that it’s white people who are the driving force behind many anti-gay initiatives at almost every level, from towns to the federal government. Compare the racial make up of the list of the 7 most anti-gay representatives with that of the list of the 11 most pro-gay representatives.
For all this talk about how brave he is and how hip-hop and the black community need this to be brought into the 21st century and all these expectations of backlash, the backlash never comes. When Obama and later Jay-Z announced his support for marriage equality, polls showed that black Americans were not the backwards idiots the media keeps insisting we are.
The NAACP has openly expressed the need for marriage equality. Kanye West has, well I don’t really know what to call this other than Kanye being Kanye, but you get the idea. OFWGKTA, the collective of young people of color that no one could stop talking about for what felt like months due to the extreme misogynistic and homophobic nature of some of their members’ lyrics, not only didn’t hesitate in throwing support behind Frank Ocean, but also have now spawned two young, out, queer artists of color.
Meanwhile, Carrie Underwood is dealing with a lot of crap because she openly voiced support for marriage equality. Notice that doesn’t get portrayed as white people being homophobic, it gets portrayed as country fans and/or southern and mid-western religious folks as being homophobic. But when southern religious black folks express homophobic sentiments, all that nuance and all those qualifiers disappear, they just become black folks and their bigotry becomes typical. Because white people are complex individuals and black people are a monolith. So this type of support of Frank comes off not as actual support, but as patronizing words born racism and stereotyping. If y’all could cut that out, it would be great.