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BSA and Spectrum Meeting Discusses VH1 Special “Out in Hip Hop”
Photo courtesy of VH1 website information on “LHH: Out in Hip Hop”

On Monday, Nov. 9, the Black Student Association (BSA) and Spectrum, the LGBTQPIA+ group on campus, joined together in a discussion about the VH1 Special “Out in Hip Hop.” In this special, hip-hop stars Miles and Milan, who are also in a relationship, reveal what it is like to be gay in hip-hop.

The meeting opened with an introduction to the topic by Bianca Bertier ‘17, the public relations coordinator for BSA. She summarized VH1’s program “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood” and how it inspired “Out in Hip Hop” by featuring its first openly gay couple. Next, the group watched a clip of Milan speaking about coming out to his family as well as coming out in the hip-hop world, followed by a clip of Milan and Miles being interviewed by Wendy Williams.

After watching, the group discussed how these men were addressed. Kyhla Desire ‘17, president of BSA, noted how much she liked that “[Wendy Williams] normalized and represented them as a couple, not just two gay men.”

A few people made comments about how homosexuality is becoming more visible in hip-hop through artists such as Frank Ocean. “Hip-hop is traditionally very masculine,” said BSA Vice President, Joy Holland ‘18. She expressed her appreciation for the trend of visibility of the gay community in hip-hop, but also her concern in reference to the interview when Milan claimed that, “hip-hop doesn’t believe we’re here,” when talking about members of the LGBTQPIA+ community in the industry. For one of the members of the discussion, this called to mind a trans* rapper that received death threats a few years ago. “Homosexuality has always been in hip-hop,” he said. “We just haven’t always been allowed to see it.”

The conversation moved from homosexuality in hip-hop, to homosexuality in the black community. Holland, a joint member of BSA and Spectrum, commented that, “the black community is extremely homophobic,” relating the reasoning back to the emphasis on masculinity. Desire agreed, adding, “I won’t say all black people, because that’s simply not true, but black people are historically religious.” From there, a discussion about homosexuality and religion arose as devout Christians and members of the group who do not identify with a faith or religion each reasoned their respective side.

The evening concluded with Valerie Jean ‘17, chief of staff, explaining how important open conversations like the one they had that night are because they “lead to understanding and unity” among people of different backgrounds.

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BSA and Spectrum Meeting Discusses VH1 Special “Out in Hip Hop”