Society/Culture — 10 April 2011

By Odeisel

It wasn’t the best week for Mr. Cee.  It was an even worse week for Hip-Hop because we fell for the okeydoke again. The basic story was very simple: DJ arrested for a lewd act. A guy married with children. Very common act in the land where paid playtime is illegal. It just so happens that this time, the playee had outdoor plumbing.

Of course came the jokes, and that’s the price of fame. Things get magnified. You see Twitter and the web ablaze with the jokes and the barbershops on fire with “Naaaah son, stop playing…it was a dude!?” And then it escalated when friends and foes made it more a matter of corporate competition; doing no favor to Cee and keeping the story alive. Sites ran headlines with like “tranny” and other derogatory epithets with the intent to garner attention and get readers. The heart of this issue goes deeper.

It’s deeper than rap, because Hip-Hop’s hypermasculine shell is just a manifestation of what this issue is really about. The undefined model of Black manhood and masculinity that has been with us since we were brought here lies at the root. What is a man? A protector? A provider? Whatever that definition is, for Black men it has been reduced to one thing: our sexuality. Our ideals of manhood, with all the damage done by slavery and the fracture of our family, is so warped that the idea of being gay and manhood cannot comfortably coexist.

And so we have the culture of down low gay men afraid to be who they are because they don’t want to lose the respect of their community. There is an overarching backlash against being gay because if your dick is what makes you a man and your quest to conquer women is an extension of that manhood, then if you don’t subscribe to that, you’re not a man.

In reality though, we know better. Everyone has gay friends whether they admit it to each other or not. Revealing that or accepting it doesn’t change the dynamic of any relationship. You’ve probably always known anyway. Which brings us full circle to Mr. Cee.

Is it a big deal because he’s a celebrity? Hugh Grant can tell you that while there’s going to be some attention, you can move on. Celebrity teaches that as long as you are an asset and can make someone some money you will stay winning. Is it that it was a guy? Hugh Heffner, Baron of Bunnies once engages in a gay male experience. It never stopped anyone from going to the mansion. Eddie Murphy once helped a transgender person find their way home. The cops got involved, but he went on to make movies for children.

So how should we react to Mr. Cee getting caught with his pants down? Like we do anytime someone gets caught in the act. We have a little laugh, pray for the welfare of his family and his children who may be old enough to know what’s going on, and we move on. He wasn’t the first or the last.

As a culture, we have to start looking for ways to expand our understanding. We can’t keep running around with the tough talk, lying to ourselves about what we all know is true. It’s like Senator Craig, openly lobbying against gay rights but getting arrested for secretly soliciting sex in airport bathrooms. Most of this anger is misdirected at the gay community. It should be aimed at finally coming to some collective definition of our manhood, something that affects the survival of the Black family and Black people. Incidents like this offer opportunities to look at these issues and find a way to deal with them as men. They shouldn’t be squandered shooting wildly at an easy target.

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