Today must be my day to talk about female rappers across the pond. Australian rapper Iggy Azalea had an interview with PrideSource, where she discusses her sexuality, and the portrayal of her sexuality in the media.
I know I talk about women a lot, and I think women are beautiful and I like talking about them, but I didn’t want people to misconstrue that and think that I was being a fake lesbian. It wasn’t a, “Don’t think I’m gay,” but more so me being like, “Hey, I’m not a fake lesbian.” Straight’s cool too, you know! It’s almost like gay nowadays is so trendy that people want to be gay and then they don’t. I’m not gay. I love gay people, but I’m straight. I don’t wanna kiss girls. I’m not into girls. I appreciate women, and I like rapping about them, but in case you thought I was a lame person pretending to be gay, um, I’m not.
I thought that this was a mildly interesting response and ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have paid it a second thought, though honestly that maybe has more to do with the fact that I’m not really a fan of Iggy Azalea… at least not yet. It isn’t that I don’t like her, or that I don’t think she’s talented; I just haven’t given her a chance yet. The only song of hers that I know is “Fancy” and that’s only because the music video was done as a spoof of the Alicia Silverstone-era Clueless, and how could I not check that out?
Anyimreallygettingofftopic, Iggy Azalea’s comment remained with me because I was discussing pretty much the same thing with a friend of mine only two days ago. These days, especially in the music industry and mostly with female singers, it seems that the newest fad is publically labelling yourself as bisexual when you first appear on the scene, only to miraculously become heterosexual when you make it big.
You may have heard of Jessie J’s recent revelation that her previously announced bisexuality was just a phase. Jessie J is another one whom I’ve never given a chance, but the news was still enough for me to take note and shake my head in disgust. Yes, I was extremely offended when I first read the admission. It wasn’t until later that I realised that I was being really unfair to someone whose personal life and history I knew absolutely nothing about. How many persons have gone half their lives under the impression that they were heterosexual, only to realise in their forties that they were actually gay, and we felt a surge of sympathy for them? Is Jessie J’s situation deserving of contempt instead of understanding simply because hers is the reverse of the norm?
In all honesty, Jessie J’s news didn’t really matter much to me – again, probably because I’m not a fan, and it wasn’t about her that I was speaking with my friend. No, the topic of our discussion was actually Nicki Minaj. Now, I love Nicki. I’ve loved her since her mix-tape days, and to this day I still feel a thrill whenever I hear the intro to “Itty Bitty Piggy”. Does anyone else remember when Nicki first came out, and the word was that she was bisexual? There was even this viral video of her giving tips to females on how to approach her in the club (specifically instead of males because according to her, “Guys are such dudes and they don’t have any fun parts [for her] to squeeze!”) However, since then, there hasn’t been much (if any) from Ms Minaj about her possible attraction to or preference for females (whether in interviews or in song). Now, I understand the desire for artists to remain as heteronormative as possible in an attempt to not alienate certain factions of their fan base. That’s completely understandable, if maybe a little insulting. However, when the opposite appears to happen, and heterosexuality is being initially denounced and then later reclaimed, I’m afraid I can’t help but wonder if Iggy Azalea has a point, and these artists aren’t just pretending to be sexually fluid because it’s “the in thing”.
As sad as it is for any celebrity who is proud of their sexuality (gay or bi) to be forced back into the closet by latently – or overtly – homophobic record labels, I think it’s even more despicable for a straight artist to claim to be anything other than that simply to appeal to the LGBT community for no other reason than to rack up album sales.
Are we, the LGBT consumers, being effortlessly played by some artists? If so, I think it reflects more on us than it does on them. I mean, sure, they suck major balls for doing this to us – that’s a given. But what does it say about us that we’re so ready and enthusiastic to throw our money at celebrities who identify similarly to us? One can make an argument that because of all the discrimination that we face on a daily basis, it’s refreshing to be able to identify with a celebrity and therefore support them… and it would be a valid point. However, we’re equally likely to support a heterosexually-identified celebrity who merely states that they support marriage-equality. Indeed, a lot of pro-gay celebrities tend to have an immense gay following.
Why then would any celebrity feel the need to manufacture a sexual orientation just to cheat support from us? What vibe are we putting out there that makes it seem that this is an ok thing to do? What are we doing (or not doing) that makes a heterosexual feel that it’s fine to adopt a faux sexual orientation simply because they would look “cool” or “impressive” by wearing it? This, I think, should be most offensive to people who actually identify as bisexual. If shit were to ever hit the fan, a heterosexual could easily shed off their adopted sexual fluidity to become “normal” again. An LGBT person could never do that. Even if a bisexual settles down with someone of the opposite sex, they could never not be bisexual, and they get a lot of shit for that. So many people accuse them of being “disgusting” or “greedy” and all sorts of vile things.
It is no cooler for a straight person to pretend to be LGBT than it is for an LGBT person to pretend to be straight, and people need to get that. While sexuality may be fluid, honesty and respect should never be!