Despite the progressive steps that 2015 saw for the LGBT community, it’s blatantly clear that we still have one hell of a journey to go – particularly in the world of hip hop. No matter what way you try to spin it, it’s evident that hip hop is still very much a mostly boys-only club, and we mean a heterosexual boys-only club. Still, comedian Ben Bizuneh wanted to see “just how accepted homosexuality [was] in black America” and his Lie Guys experiment for F-Comedy attempted to probe that thought with a rapper, considering it’s “the farthest away from what people traditionally think of as homosexual.”
“Black dudes can’t even pretend to be gay for acting roles,” Ben said within the first 20 seconds of the “Being a Gay Rapper: A Social Experiment” viral video. “Ever notice how you see straight white actors kiss each other in movies like Sean Penn and James Franco or Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Farrell, but you’ve never seen Kevin Hart and Denzel make out, and you never will because maybe they’re scared if they took a role like that people would think they’re gay in real life.”
Ultimately, he had one question at hand: “Where does this fear of seeming gay come from, and does it affect all black dudes?”
Here’s where Ben’s experiment comes into play with his fictional “hood rapper” Boss Quoss. For the setup, shammed a social media presence, recorded a song about “giving handjobs” called “Strokin!” and put out a music video casting call for paid extras for what turned out to be the most incredibly cliché rap video from the mid-2000s. “Let’s see what happens when straight black men realize they’ve been dancing in a gay rapper’s video,” Ben said.
Oh, and if you didn’t pick up on it yet, he also took it a step further when he decided to make out with another man during the shoot.
VH1 took it to task by speaking with some major hip hop heads to see just what they thought of the experiment. Did they find the result to this social operation accurate? Was it justifiable? Or was this whole shebang incredibly flawed?
Honey German, who serves as a digital content producer for New York’s Power 105.1, was first and foremost worried about the risk factor that took part in all of this. “I immediately thought ‘This is not going to end well.’ Bringing on black men from the hood to take part in a gay rapper’s video without telling them. That might be a problem,” she confessed.
And yet, Honey ended up “surprised” with the amount of men that decided to leave the shoot compared to those that chose to stay. However, she felt like there might not be much progression for homosexuality in the hip hop game even a decade down the line. “I see it being exactly where we are today, with rappers such as Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug being badgered just for moving in a way that may seem ‘gay’ to the hood,” she explained.
Much like Honey, Kemp Parchment, who runs a music blog called Kempire Daily, told us that he was initially worried about Ben’s safety “because the black community is notoriously homophobic,” before questioning the integrity in Ben’s experiment.
“I’m not sure it is a fair experiment because Ben is talking about A-list black actors. These guys aren’t famous (and older) so may be more willing (or desperate) to do things out of the box,” he noted. “While others were just not cool with being on camera in what appears to be support of homosexual activity.”
“I don’t expect a large community of gay rappers in the near future. You might see it more in other genres. The root of the homophobia stems from the black church and it’s ingrained,” he continued.
Sabe F had a slightly different perspective in mind, arguing that while Ben has a point, it was neither “clear nor objective.” If anything, she emphasized that his statements actually perpetuated “the idea that homosexuality is not accepted in the black community whether low (Kevin) or high-brow (Denzel).”
“Has anyone ever asked the aforementioned? Have they given a solid response? Perhaps,” she said, before giving a nod to several black men who have taken on gay roles, including Wesley Snipes (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) and Will Smith (6 Degrees of Separation).
Still, Sabe felt that there’s an underlying concept to the evolution of hip hop (and music in general) that will continue to push forward down the line.
“We are no different from one another…openly gay, closeted gay, straight, bi-curious. We are all in it to win it whether it be through artistic expression or general know-how. You want to belong, identify with something, and hell, if a gay rapper meets my needs, I’ma listen. Straight basics.”
We can’t argue with that.
Watch the “Being a Gay Rapper: A Social Experiment” below!