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Ja Rule Week Part One: Ja & the Gays…*

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Last Friday, SOHH reported a story about Ja Rule saying some goofy homophobic shit in an interview with ‘Complex’ magazine and GLAAD responding with “a statement” condemning Ja’s words. According to the article, Ja Rule was asked about the issue of “degrading” images and lyrics in rap and he responded with this:“Lets talk about all these f–king shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can’t watch this sh-t…Dating shows that’s showing two guys or two girls in mid-afternoon. Let’s talk about s–t like that! If that’s not f–king up America, I don’t know what is.” Although Ja Rule goes a little far in suggesting that some dudes making out on MTV is “fucking up America” he sort of has a point. If we’re going to play any kind of game of “morals” be those “morals” send gays to hell or respect everyone regardless of sexual preference, it actually is kind of fucked-up that MTV shows debaucherous dating shows. And even though Ja was on some Imus-ian deflection type shit, he makes a good point about the many, many other aspects of popular culture that offend and go unchecked while hip-hop takes all the heat. The fact that GLAAD even responded to Ja Rule shows the way every special interest group jumps on the “hip-hop hate” bandwagon for some quick publicity. It is even more glaringly opportunistic because it’s a small quote in some stupid magazine from a guy no one takes seriously as a rapper, let alone as any kind of valid social or political commentator.

GLAAD’s exploitation of rap controversy is additionally problematic because so much ire is now spit at the minority group whose political protest playbook GLAAD and others stole whole pages from…There’s a quote from Ishmael Reed in the 1992 preface to Eldridge Cleaver’s ‘Soul On Ice’ that sums this maneuver up quite well: “women and gays…have placed their oppression front and center and have even made villains of the former black male machos who fantasized a revolution (while borrowing their strategies)” (8). That is to say, GLAAD uses the same kind of scare-mongering, racism, and phobia of black culture that those partially responsible for GLAAD being able to advance their cause, once opposed!

Additionally, Ja Rule’s statement (and GLAAD’s response) shows the way the right and the left employ the same tactics to silence those that threaten their values. GLAAD, like O’Reilly or Paula Zahn or many others, play the censorship game, scapegoating those they disagree with on some high-minded moral ground even as they scoff and speak-out against other groups that censor and scapegoat on some high-minded moral ground. I know, I know, two men making out on television isn’t quite the same as the “objectification” found in ‘Tip Drill’ but it’s really only “different” in terms of what one deems offensive or morally/ethically “wrong”. The only thing that both sides can agree upon is that rap music is an evil, horrible thing. Like the right and much of the left, GLAAD focuses upon the controversy more than actual progress. Notice how Kanye West’s comments on homophobia were not invoked in reference to this recent, negative incident in rap. In this little article from GLAAD’s website from the time of Kanye’s positive comments, they are still primarily framed within “the fallout” he received, not any of the potential good his statements may have done. Reactionary groups like GLAAD not only thrive on these moronic statements, they seek them out and in this case, additionally find a connection to the rap controversy that is sure to get people talking.

*Just kidding about the Ja Rule week…

-Reed, Ishmael. Preface. ‘Soul on Ice’ by Eldridge Cleaver. New York: Delta TP, 1992. 1-11.

Written by Brandon

September 21st, 2007 at 5:14 am

Posted in Ja Rule, NO HOMO

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