Why Macklemore's "Same Love" Isn't Very Helpful

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Macklemore has good intentions in his hit song "Same Love." They are intentions I won't bother rehashing or defending because you've heard the song blasted in every store, car, bus, boutique, and street-corner you've stood on for the past couple months--but they are also intentions that do not translate to real life and social change. Like other people with good intentions (the pilgrims, the missionaries, Michael Jackson, etc.), Macklemore does more harm than good by failing to take into account the socio-historical climate he is attempting to address.

See also: Critics Need To Lay Off Macklemore

Which is not to say that music championing equal rights for people of all genders and sexual identities isn't absolutely necessary--after all, the arts are supposed to lead culture--but the manner in which these messages are dispersed is just as important as the content of the message itself. So when it's a white and wealthy, non-rap rap-sensation proclaiming that we are all human and deserving of the same rights and respect because "there is no difference" on a languid, piano-driven hip-hop track, sorry, we got a fuckin' problem.

And yeah, this problem has to do with race.

It's no secret that the black community has had difficulty accepting homosexuality at home and in music. As our ancestors were indoctrinated into Christianity and stripped of their families and dignity upon arrival in the United States, masculinity--and the protection of it--rightly or wrongly became something to desire and defend. It's more than a matter of Christian dogma. To this day in the black community, any hint of homosexual inclinations is frequently ignored or denied. Our gay black men are relegated to lives on the "down low" for fear of judgement and retaliation from family members and friends. The situation is only worsened by the culture that a warped rap scene has created, in which musicians are applauded for extreme dismissals and degradation of homosexuality (hey, Tyga!), or quickly forgiven when private conversations cross the line (hello, Busta Rhymes!)(No homo).


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