RICHMOND, April 6, 2013 – NBA star and multimillionaire business mogul Ervin “Magic” Johnson recently came out in support of his son EJ who recently announced, via TMZ, that he is a gay man.
As unimportant as this announcement might sound, the long reaching effects of a famous athlete’s well liked black son presenting as gay, will have lasting effects in the Hip-Hop community.
Magic Johnson is a man every rapper and up and coming black musician idolizes, wants to get close to. His sheer financial and political power is what hip-hop music is all about.
What the Hip Hop artists sings about, Magic lives.
Johnson has been an open and vocal supporter of HIV treatment and education for the past 10 years. Johson revealed his HIV positive status in the early 90s.
The announcment of his own HIV status, leading to support of HIV education, were both important to the gay community. However, his vocal support of his son will also positively affect the gay community, those out and those not out.
Intimations in the media that four major league players will be coming out is proof that Magic’s support of EJ is just one step in a tidal wave of acceptance of gay players in professional sports, something many people thought would not happen.
Begging the question as to whether Hip-Hop, a music genre known for misogyny toward women, can also learn to accept the LGBT artist.
The United States is at its tipping point around the topic of “gay/lesbian” rights and acceptance of a group of people who have, in more ways than one, “come out of the closet,” gaining a strong voice in Hip-Hop communities all over the country.
The timing of Johnson’s comments, and the fact that Hip-Hop is seen as one of the biggest enemies of gay men and women, will have an effect. Rap has always had a very negative view towards the idea of homosexuality, and many artists make it clear gay is not acceptable.
But boom… here comes the real “Don,“ the image of what every rapper wants to be, Ervin Magic Johnson, and guess what? His son is gay, and mom and dad are OK with that.
As odd as it might seem, Hip-Hop has a huge influence on public opinion in certain communities; and if these guys change a lyric here, and line there, offer a push to universal acceptanc of LGBT, yet another civil rights movement will come to transpire.
No more crabs in a bucket, Hip-Hop needs to understand its place in and eternal connection with the gay community and the rights and liberties its members fight for. And then maybe the genre can roll back the misogyny and offer better treatement to women as well.
The same civil rights that NWA and Public Enemy were yelling about have parallels to the struggles and battles the gay community today is facing. Hip-Hop, know your history and embrace the future.
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