When President Obama publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage, Hip Hop titans came forward in surprising numbers. It’s no secret that Hip Hop culture has been littered with homophobic lyrics and misogynistic views. Jay-Z, a long-time icon in the genre, expressed his support of marriage equality despite the homophobic lyrics in his older tracks, such as “Lucky Me,” and “22 twos.” When asked about Obama’s support of marriage equality, Jay-Z responded to the CNN video interview with, “I’ve always thought of it as something that is still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple.” Other notorious rappers such as Eminem, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg have come forward to show their support.
Although we love the upcoming support of the Hip Hop community, no one has quite taken a stand like Seattle natives, Macklemore (Facebook, Twitter) & Ryan Lewis (Facebook, Twitter). A week after R&B singer, Frank Ocean came out to the public via Tumblr, Macklemore released the marriage equality anthem “Same Love”, from his and Lewis’s 2012 album The Heist, on his blog. The chart-topper hits on the duo’s conflict with religion, Hip Hop, and society’s oppression of the gay community.
With the release of the track on his blog, Macklemore talked on the process of writing the lyrics: “Initially, I tried writing from the perspective of a gay, bullied kid, but after getting some feedback, I felt it wasn’t my story to tell. What I do know, and where I wrote from, is my own perspective growing up in a culture where ‘that’s gay’ was commonplace, with a huge stigma on those who identified and were perceived as gay.”
So much of the world still harbors a lot of hate and prejudice towards the gay community. It is refreshing to watch an ally take such a strong stand against a culture known for its homophobic and misogynistic attitude.
Through verses of powerful lyrics, the rapper/songwriter expresses how simple words can be the oppressors:
During an interview with Fuse, Macklemore speaks on his influence on the Washington Referendum 74, a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Washington. Hip Hop influences its audience; when lyrics resonate with people, the impact can be overwhelming. He ends his “Same Love” blog post with, “My hope is that my personal testimony can help in some way to not only advance the dialogue and approve Referendum 74, but also to help shape a culture of belonging in which ALL people are equal.”
Music has been an outlet for people. Hip Hop was created as a cultural movement; a way to rise above racial oppression. Unfortunately, it has also bred hatred and anger, oppressing the rights of individuals when it has the power to positively influence equality. Ten years ago, Frank Ocean wouldn’t have been able to come out to the public and leaders of the Hip Hop community wouldn’t openly support marriage equality. The world is slowly beginning to change and Hip Hop artists are beginning to realize that they hold the power to spark a movement. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis declare their support of marriage equality through their lyrics of “Same Love:”
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it.