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Lately, a very good friend of mine–who is also involved with the entertainment industry–has been encouraging me, as part of my growth and evolution as an artist, to become more at-ease with the “mainstream” part of the industry, that is, the artists and production people we meet and work with.
I admit, even as I reach for new creative horizons and extend my reach beyond the LGBT community that has served me so well for so long, I’ve had my reservations about how comfortable the “mainstream” is with openly gay artists.
Now, I know that gays and lesbians essentially run the industry–as stylists, makeup professionals, composers, hairdressers, production people, and so on–but as talent, we’re still few and far between. The big names in show business are still overwhelmingly straight. This morning, my reticence to embrace the “mainstream” without fear was reinforced by one artists’s blatant expression of homophobia.
Fantasia, the R&B sensation whose career skyrocketed after she won on American Idol eight years ago, blasted the LGBT community–her most loyal fan base–in an Instagram rant last night, saying, “I rise above it all!!! [sic] The world is [sic] gone mad, kids, the government, church house…Its a lot that [sic] going on that the Bible speaks about that we should not be doing…weed legal in some places, gay marriage legal…YET I’M JUDGED!”
Yes, she said it, in spite of the fact that the LGBT community has supported her day in and day out, year in and year out, and that there are gay people in her production camp. We support artists like her all the time, and all the time, the thanks we get is to be swept under the rug, and thrown under the bus.
Make no mistake, I’ve lately met quite a few artists, PR people and the like, from the “mainstream”, who have welcomed me with open arms. But they are overshadowed by people like Fantasia, who returns our love with the sane kind of hateful homophobia we must contend with every day. I can’t help but wonder, then, how many more like her will smile and nod at me, but in reality harbor such underlying contempt for me, just because of who I am?
On a recent trip to a major record label’s studios, I asked a music mogul, “If you liked an artist’s music, and he then comes out, shouldn’t your toe still be tapping?” He agreed with me, but in the back of my mind, I ask if he was just appeasing me.
Fantasia’s example gives me a moment of pause, and makes me think whether we’ve made as much progress as we’d like to believe, if a big-name singer like ‘Tasia can be so publicly outspoken in her hatred of us. I am weary of feeling the back wheels of the bus rolling over me. In my dealings with the “mainstream”, I’ll still go forward, but you can be sure I’ll look both ways before stepping off the curb.