The usual m.o. in music (mainly R&B and hip-hop) has been to use the word ‘gay’ and ‘faggot’ freely as negative terms, used mainly to insult and hurt. But, in the last year I have noticed a trending change. Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis have the #1 album (The Heist) on iTunes and the song ‘Same Love’ is the one generating interest. It’s a conscious rap song that advocates for gay rights and equality. It’s being tweeted about by Ellen Degeneres, which has helped it get more exposure.
Another artist that admits to having feelings for another man is Frank Ocean. Ocean wrote an open letter, intended for the liner notes on Channel Orange, that would preemptively address “speculation about his same-sex attraction,” he instead blogged it on Tumblr. Ocean became one of the first major hip-hop/R&B artists to announce that he had fallen in love with someone of the same sex, notable because the industry is known for expressions of homophobia. Many artists of the the hip-hop community have openly supported Frank Ocean for his openness, including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Russell Simmons, and Tyler the Creator.
This is a positive sign because music often reflects the world it is being created in. As the world trends towards a more open and equal world, so does the music. It is a comforting and pleasant sign of the changing landscape of the world and our culture.