In recent years, so many strides have been made for the LGBTQIA+ community within the entertainment industry. From increased representation to better education and communication, things have never been better for treating the LGBTQIA+ community with respect in the music world.
With everything that Kanye West has done and said over the years, a headline that involves “Kanye” and “homophobia” in 2005 sounds relatively menacing. However, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. That’s because in 2005, Kanye West did an interview with MTV News’ Sway Calloway in which he discussed discrimination in hip-hop, and considered his own history of homophobia.
In the interview, he starts off by talking about how he was bullied in high school for being “gay” and acting feminine, which made him adopt some toxic attitudes. “It made me homophobic,” he said. “I would question myself, why does everybody else walk like this and I walk like this? If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation towards it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic by the time I was through with high school.”
However, there was a turning point for West that made him question his mindset—when his cousin came out as gay. “At that point, it was the turning point where I was like, ‘Yo, this is my cousin and I love him and I’ve been discriminating against gays.’ Do I discriminate against my cousin? Then everything starts to click, you know, he brings his partner with him to Thanksgiving and all that, and I just had to sit back and think.”
This didn’t just change his mind about homosexuality or homophobia in general, but specifically as it applied to the world and industry around him. About this, he said, “Hip-hop really was about fighting for your rights, in the beginning. About speaking your mind, and about breaking down barriers,” he said.
“But everybody in hip hop discriminates against gay people, that’s one of the standards of hip hop. Me speaking for my entire culture, me looking at my rappers out there, hip-hop is discriminating against gay people. I really wanna say this, I really wanna say this to America. I wanted to just come on TV and tell my rappers, just tell my friends, ‘Stop it, fam.’ Seriously, that’s really discrimination. To me, that’s exactly what they used to do to Black people. I just trying to tell people to just stop all that.”
These are some pretty pointed and clear statements from someone who has recently made a name for himself as someone who says and does unstable things. But one must admit, he has quite a point that many people need to take to heart.