Video: Jay Smooth and W. Kamau Bell discuss homophobia and hip-hop

By Arturo R. García

I thought W. Kamau Bell’s interview with Jay Smooth was worth sharing and getting our readers’ impressions.

After some talk about Kanye West’s run-in with Jimmy Kimmel and the appearance of a White Jesus character at the first show of West’s new tour, the discussion turns toward the LGBT community and hip-hop, and Jay acknowledges the generation gap at work — while acknowledging the presence of LGBT rappers — in commercial circles.

“There’s a sort of old-fogey, anti-gay Tea Party contingent among hip-hoppers my age,” Jay tells Bell. “They see the tide of history turning against them, so they’re becoming this really loud, freaked-out minority who thinks that our culture’s going to lose its moral center if people are openly gay or wear skinny jeans and things like that.”

Jay also name-checks James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin and points out that the modern LGBT rights movement began with a “bar fight” — the seminal encounter at Stonewall.

“There’s nobody more gangster than the LGBT community,” Jay explains “If they knew their history, like, Rick Ross would be pretending to be gay instead of pretending to be a drug lord.”

Racializens, your thoughts on the interview?

  • PavarottiShakur

    I am definitely in hip hop’s tea party

  • PavarottiShakur

    Jay Smooth’s social commentary is so earth shattering it makes me feel like a young and hungry Jay-Z just obliterated the cypha and I should just spit my bedroom rhymes the next time this cadre of rhymers spontaneously forms.

    • Michelle Kirkwood

      Exactly! Jay always drops some mad knowledge—I liked that last point he made about the definition of manhood amongst young boys/men of color,because it is really twisted and lopsided. Been listening to his video blogs for a good couple of years now, and it’s always worth it to hear him discussing the latest issues with fun, humor and intelligence all at once.

  • Zambos79

    Excellent talk! Jay Smooth made some really good points.