Tag Archive for homophobia

To J. Cole: an open letter from a faggot

Dear Mr. Cole,

I have just listened with interest to the first track, “Villuminati” from your new Born Sinner album; and my attention was caught most not by the excellent beat or your finely-tuned flow, but by a couple of lyrics early in the song. They were these:

“My verbal AK slay faggots and I don’t mean not disrespect
Whenever I say faggot, okay faggot? Huh, don’t be so sensitive
If you want to get fucked in the ass
That’s between you and whoever else’s dick it is, pause
Maybe that line was too far
Just a little joke to show how homophobic you are
And who can blame ya?”

Well, let’s take this line by line.

• The first thing is that I’m not sure that you mean no disrespect. Calling for my slaying, whether metaphorically or otherwise, isn’t the most cordial of greetings.

• There’s also the issue of the word “faggot”, which when said in such an apparently aggressive fashion as this is pretty much the same as a racist cop calling me “nigger”.

• There then follows a blanket assumption about what gay men do in bed. Of course, an ignorant heterosexual man’s analysis of gay sex between two men is about as welcome as a woolly sweater in a steam room, but thank you for giving us your two cents. Actually – wait. No thank you. No thank you at all. Please close our bedroom door, we didn’t ask you to open it.

• It’s a strange claim that, by drawing attention to your prejudice, I myself am prejudiced: “Just a little joke to show how homophobic you are”. I would also suggest that, when you have more than 3.8million Twitter followers as you currently do, then such a “little joke” is not in fact so little, and that’s why I am responding to it.

Mr. Cole, two things are almost entirely certain about this letter to you. The first is that you will not read it. The second is that you will not care. As a result, I have decided to write it merely for the record. The truth is, of course, that two gay men having sex is absolutely no threat to your career. What is a far greater threat to your career, at present, is the pressure to produce outstanding material in the lull helpfully provided by the absence of Jay Electronica. That should be the greatest focus of your attention.

It’s early days to say so, but your views on gay men may do some damage to your legacy. Of course, two of the reasons that you enjoy the platform you currently do in the USA – “a young black man with a college degree” – are James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin, two great human beings who knew a thing or two about the word “legacy”. They were both gay black men, and their names ring through the ages. Time will tell if yours does the same.

Regards,
Musa Okwonga

Euro 2012 gives us a new noun: the “cassano”

Euro 2012 has so far been an extraordinary tournament, for so many reasons. We have seen passing, playmaking and finishing of the highest order; we have seen two of the game’s elder statesmen, Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko, at their most lethal; we have seen the Dutch undone, the Spanish stymied, the Germans surging. And that’s only on the field. Off the field, we’ve seen civil unrest, and vigorously-denied allegations of racism. But that’s not all. Euro 2012 has also given us a new noun: a “cassano”.

This noun is named after Antonio Cassano, the Italy forward who this Tuesday was asked what he thought of the rumour that there were two metrosexuals and one homosexual in his squad. He was somewhat wary of the query – “the (national) coach had warned me that you would ask me this question,” he said – but was still game enough to give an honest response. “If I say what I think … I hope there are none”, he replied. “But if there are queers here, that’s their business.”

These comments had the predictable effect. Cassano, seeing the media ablaze, quickly issued a fire blanket of a press release. “I am sincerely sorry that my comments have caused controversy and protests among gay groups”, he said. “Homophobia is not a point of view that I share. I didn’t want to offend anyone and I absolutely don’t want to put a person’s sexual freedom under discussion. I only said that it was a problem which was nothing to do with me and I don’t let myself express judgments on other people’s choices, which should all be respected.”

This press release is a textbook cassano: a retraction of an offensive statement, a retraction which occurs even faster than that very famous Dutch dragback. Typically speaking, a cassano is beautifully drafted, yet strangely unsatisfactory, as if it did not truly acknowledge the degree of offence that was caused. It wasn’t only “gay groups” – read, special interest whingers – that were put out by the forward’s words. It was a whole lot of regular people. What’s more, the presence of gay people in a football squad should not be “a problem”, as was implied in the cassano; and given the apparent contempt with which the Italian used the word “queer”, it seems unlikely that his press release was prompted by a genuine change of heart.

This is not his finest few hours, it must be said; and most people seem content to let the matter rest there. In the wider scheme of things, then, let’s look on the bright side. This forward, who has produced several memorable moments since he first emerged at Bari, has given us a new word, and has thus added to his legacy in the unlikeliest of ways.