Despite the very welcomed presence of a continually growing number of inspiringly open-minded voices in music, hypermasculinity remains an unfortunate problem. In hip-hop, that problem has been met with outspoken pushback from many voices ranging from a pre-Trump era Kanye West to the more recent discussions surrounding Lil Nas X, Frank Ocean, and others.
Still, homophobic and hate-inspired comments can—to this day—be found in reply tweets, Instagram, and YouTube comments, and sometimes from other artists themselves. In the latest edition of Complex News Presents, Kameron Mack takes a look at this issue as it stands in 2019 by speaking with a variety of industry voices.
"I think a lot of our entertainers don’t realize the power that their words hold," pro wrestler and LGBTQ activist Anthony Bowens said. "It's very important for entertainers to be at the forefront of social change because we're not getting it from our politicians, clearly, so it has to be us to help push forward progress."
Though the problem persists in a general sense, the future—as Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin explained—looks bright when considering the impact of a new generation of voices in music and beyond.
"I'm inspired and encouraged when I think about the future of hip-hop. . . We're living in a time where queer narratives and black narratives are much more important and so we're seeing more of that in streaming and in Hollywood and on television," Wilbekin said. "So to see that manifest itself in music is amazing. What I always loved about hip-hop is the innate creativity that exists within the culture and seeing how that creativity has now blossomed into this kind of gender-fluid, you know, non-binary creative culture class is just amazing to me."
See the full episode up top.