We all owe Mister Cee time and patience.
Written by Lenee A. Voss (@dopegirlfresh)
“I hold my family down. You know, man?” —DJ Mister Cee
This morning, in an interview with his boss, Hot 97 program director Ebro Darden, DJ Mister Cee provided listeners with insight into the journey he’s been on regarding his sexual expression. Cee, through tears and chokes, said he’s been “trying to move better.” After going to court on solicitation charges this past May, and a sensationalized video from supposedly popular gay blogger Bimbo Winehouse, Cee’s sexuality has been questioned, picked apart, and mocked. Speculations and assumptions have come from far and wide. Until today, Cee had been relatively silent.
Thankfully, Mister Cee chose to speak for himself. He explained himself with the language he knows how to use. (This is where we all do some research on trans* 101, as well as what the LGBTQIA acronym means). He discussed his fears and concerns on live radio, which is more or less unheard of in hip-hop or mainstream culture. Cee let us know that he didn’t want to hurt his chosen or biological families through of misrepresentation of who he is/was. He said he’s still “in denial,” which suggests that he’s still in the process of figuring out who he is and where he falls on the queer spectrum. That’s very messy stuff—and very real. It’s beautiful, too. It's honest and transparent in a way that we may not have expected from a traditionally masculine-presenting man in a hypermasculine environment such as hip-hop.
How do we support him? How do we create a safe space and give love to someone even when they aren’t 100 percent clear about what’s going on with themselves?
But it’s not as simple as, “Cee said XYZ on the radio, and now we need to celebrate his gayness.” Because he didn’t identify himself as a gay man. He’s still discovering things about himself. And it’s the job of the rest of us—queer or not—to allow him that time and space to grow into an identity that fits him. Ebro said “people just wanted [Cee] to be honest.” Well, we have that now. He was honest. But what he said does not fit into a column. It doesn’t suit the binary thinking we’ve all become too accustomed to. How do we support him? How do we create a safe space and give love to someone even when they aren’t 100 percent clear about what’s going on with themselves?
This is where we all have work to do. Loving Cee and seeing him through a tough time is not about imploring him to come clean in order to satisfy our hunger for knowledge, or even a genuine desire to understand. And shaming him into talking about his journey is wrong. Let his voice (and the voices of other queer folks) be heard, regardless of what we think or want to say. If it isn’t your story, you’re not the right person to tell it. That includes this Bimbo Winehouse character, whose Twitter feed overflows with praise at having made it into the NY Daily News. Tacky? Yes. But it is also symptomatic of a culture-wide fascination with folks being exposed—as power play, as entertainment, as jokes. Especially queer people. This is problematic because of a very obvious contradiction: If there’s “nothing wrong” with being queer, then why the kerfuffle? And, if the secrecy of a queer person is the concern, what are we (straight and queer folks alike) doing to make sure we don’t shame people into staying in the closet?
Ultimately, there’s much to be discussed here. There is also a lot for us to learn. Homophobia and transphobia dominated much of yesterday’s social media talk. But on this day? There is room for calmer conversation about sexuality and gender, about coming out, and the role of self-acceptance in all of these areas. And that is the most important part of holding our family down.