Alexander Wang is a big deal fashion designer, best known for his quite masculine take on womenswear. A$AP Rocky is a a rap artist, recently styled for his latest video by Alexander. Robbie Rogers is an international footballer who recently came out and simultaneously retired from the game. Fashion meets music meets soccer.
Fashion is often described as a 100% gay domain. It's certainly much quicker to list the few mainly straight designers (Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Smith, Rick Owens, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Yohji Yamamoto) than the mainly gay ones. It's one hell of a contrast with the worlds of sport and music
The Hip Hop genre has a track record of homophobic abuse that beats any other high profile creative territory. So the interesting news that Harlem native A$AP Rocky had addressed "the gay thing" in hip hop during an interview with Alexander Wang for Interview Magazine got our attention.
"So now that I’m here and I’ve got a microphone in my hand and about 6,000 people watching me, I need to tell them how I feel," he said. "For instance, one big issue in hip hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip hop is small-minded or stupid -- and that’s not the case."
Rocky went on to cite a few like-minded liberals. "We’ve got people like Jay-Z. We’ve got people like Kanye. We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me. And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.”
A month ago, Russell Simmons, hip-hop baron, claimed that rappers are less anti-gay than before. Singer Frank Ocean came out in July 2012 as a member of the LGBT community and other artists, like Snoop Dog have recently felt the need to add their voices to the pleas for tolerance in the hip-hop community.
This contrasts poigniantly with the coming out of Robbie Rogers. The whole story is below, but just the following quotes from a subsequent interview with The Guardian, the first since his coming out announcement, reveal the depth of homophobia endemic in our "beautiful game".
He said: 'In football it's obviously impossible to come out – because no-one has done it. No one. It's crazy and sad. I thought, "Why don't I step away and deal with this and my family and be happy?" Imagine going to training every day and being in that spotlight? I was just fearful. I was very fearful how my team-mates were going to react. Was it going to change them? Even though I'd still be the same person would it change the way they acted towards me – when we were in the dressing room or the bus? Football is an amazing sport,' he added. 'But it is also a brutal sport that picks people up and slams them on their heads. Adding the gay aspect doesn't make a great cocktail.'
Lustralboy says: Roger's insider insights sadly reflects just how ingrained are the sport's homophobic attitudes. He will never be able to return to the game he loves. What a sad condemnation of the game, of its players and of its leading characters that is. At least in the hip hop world, some voices are now being raised in the cause of tolerance. It's taken forever to happen. But that progress contrasts dramatically with the pathetic fear and lazy abuse that lies at the heart of football. That coach who abuses his players with "Don't kick the ball like a fag" is the one who deserves the kicking!
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