Breaking homophobia in Aussie hip hop

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By Davey Duzit

 

“Brother, Don’t try and bring homosexuality into music, especially Rap. This gay shit you’re pushing will cause you trouble bro.”

As I read this comment on my Instagram I’m a little angered, but not really surprised. It’s not the first keyboard warrior to voice (type) their opinion and it certainly won’t be the last.

I remember buying my first rap album in grade 8. It was Dr Dre’s ‘The Chronic 2001’ and it’s safe to say I instantly became obsessed with not only hip hop as a musical genre, but hip hop as a culture. Being an introverted, awkward and very closeted gay teen, I never thought I would be able to pick up a mic and perform my own raps, so I kept my dream to myself and went on with life hiding in the shadows and keeping to myself.

It wasn’t until two years ago at the age of 26 that I decided to put that pen to paper, get in the studio and record my thoughts and feelings through rap. Since then I have recorded and performed music in both Sydney and New York and recently signed to an indie (independent) label.

The question I’m constantly asked is: “Is there room for a gay rapper in Aussie hip hop?”

While artists like Mykki Blanco, Le1f, Cakes Da Killa and Cazwell are all making moves over in the USA, there is also room for an openly gay rapper here Down Under.

In late December 2013, Melbourne based rapper 360 spoke out on homophobia in Aussie hip hop and the word “faggot”. Having used the word in his raps in the past, he admitted to being ignorant and now understood how hurtful the word was – vowing to remove it from his vocabulary.

It’s been a good ten years since I have come out of the closet and ten years since I have ever personally had to deal with homophobia. Until now…

Hip hop, having been brought to New York in the 1970′s, was culture for the black and Hispanic communities and used to fight oppression and express themselves in tough times.

The movement spread rapidly to all corners of the world and today is a huge part of pop culture.

Issues of race and cultural appropriation in hip hop make headlines all the time – just ask Iggy Azalea. But add being gay on top of being a white person in hip hop and it becomes a whole other obstacle.

Gay culture in Australia tends to have less diversity in musical tastes than cities like London and New York and therefore I often find myself being “too straight for the gays and too gay for the straights”.

The last few years have seen openly gay artists like Sam Smith and Frank Ocean win Grammys and TV programs with LGBT themes like ‘How to Get Away with Murder’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Transparent’ win Golden Globes and AFI’s.

Are we just behind the times here in Australia? Or is Australia ready for more mainstream openly gay musicians?

 

You can listen to my latest EP here daveyduzit.com

and find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daveyduzit

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