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

Macklemore.jpg
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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54 comments
codyshannon
codyshannon

Is this your song? What you have no empathy, or you just like doggin on others who can. Grow up. We ALL live on the same ground, Earth. If we can't get along the whats the point? gays, lesbians, Etc, i care more about my bills. We may not walk the same paths, but we sill have to walk next to each other. whether or not his song helps it doesn't really matter, it exists.

cody

"Love is Life"

codyshannon
codyshannon

Is this your song? What you have no empathy, or you just like doggin on others who can. Grow up. We ALL live on the same ground, Earth. If we can't get along the whats the point? gays, lesbians, Etc, i care more about my bills. We may not walk the same paths, but we sill have to walk next to each other.

cody

"Love is Life"

jdranetz
jdranetz

Is Macklemore the new Al Jolson? 

ggutierrezjr
ggutierrezjr

While I understand his arguments, hip hop is not an exclusively African American musical genre anymore.  In the Latino community, hip hop inspired the emergence of reggaeton.


However, while Macklemore's rap might not have broad appeal among some segments of Black youth, his music has mass appeal in a nation where the majority of people are still "non-Hispanic white."


His message is about social acceptance.  It's not meant to change have gay wedding bells ring in every state of the union.  It's simply an anthem for change.  Nothing more and nothing less.


Also, hyper-masculinity among African American men isn't unique to them alone.  This is also true in other communities of color.



salazarm
salazarm

I think the author is just mad that Macklemore is profiting on an issue which he is not convinced Macklemore cares about (at least a lot less than he gives off). My gripe with this song is how he basically says "I thought I was gay but thank god I wasn't".

WowWhatABunchOfBS
WowWhatABunchOfBS

You are a racist bigot and your articles makes no sense and breed nothing but MORE hate and intolerance.

breaghdawn
breaghdawn

You're a fucking idiot. You compared Mackelmore to Tupac? First of all, they are two completely different people in two different eras. I usually take other peoples opinions rather well but idiotic ones just make me shiver. You say that the 'black community" had trouble digesting homosexuality? What black community? We live in an integrated world, in case you haven't noticed. Whites, Asians, Indians and many more races have also had trouble digesting homosexuality, not just blacks. Like in the song "there's human rights for everybody, there is no different" and "it's the same things that have caused wars from religion, your gender to your skin colour, the complexion of your pigment." Ugh, people like you make me sick.

yooodj
yooodj

The thing is, you assume that only the black community is homophobic. All the young kids in the suburbs could use this as well. But I don't know, but a lot of people who support gay rights seem to argue against man masculinity which is wrong. Not only does it go against nature for the majority of men, but it also is what females are attracted too. Gay rights is fine but it often become anti-masculinity which isn't right.

aokes
aokes

this is fucking stupid. your whole argument comes down to - the messenger isn't right, which is fucking stupid. do you think its possible he's speaking to middle class white kids, many of whom are strongly homophobic and who might not be checking for L1fe (ps who the fuck is checking for L1fe). sending this message to that demographic is nothing but a good thing....of course Mackelmore shouldn't be preaching to the black community but THATS NOT WHAT HES DOING. it doesn't need to be aimed directly at the black community because it's a rap song, what the fuck sense would that make. Is he supposed to sound like Immortal Technique and talk about the WTO when he's making a simple song about human beings and their lives....this shit doesn't even deal with race, why the fuck is anyone bringing that into it. you are aware that the greatest number of gay men and women in the country are A. white, and B. come from white communities, so i don't see why this song HAS to even deal with race. i dont even like Mackelmore but i hate you fuckers and your corny identity based thirsty ass self preserving crusty aint-got-shit-to-put-your-hat-on opinion factories more than almost anything. pick your battles dumb ass.

drummerlove
drummerlove

Well that was rude.  The guy tries to express values to help a community and the official response is "nope, not good enough?"  you gotta be kidding me.  That song is great, touched the lives of tons of people and no where in any contract - moral or otherwise - does it say "by the way dude, you gotta write a song about equal rights for gay people even though your genre already kinda ostracizes you and will definitely continue to do so, if not more so, after this song"  give the guy a break.  What this article says to me is as if someone is starving in the desert and someone came up to say "here ya go man, here's ham cheese sandwich"  and the response was "um, omg gross, I'm vegan"  

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

All I got from this article was "he needs to be black." Which is a bunch of horseshit, really. You're going on and on about how Macklemore is this rich, ignorant, privileged, white dude when he grew up in the ghetto with fuck-all. Check YOUR privilege.

thebluedangercorn
thebluedangercorn

this was actually a well written article with a good point. brava young sir

Vill
Vill

Ridiculous. Mackelmore is wealthy? Sure, after he put out his most recent album. To my understanding he wasn't born to rich parents. He's been an underground back-packer artist for over a decade. Guess it's all relative though. Secondly, music reflects culture and culture reflects music - I can't see how this record isn't a good thing, regardless of where it came from or the intentions behind it. Third, instead of complaining about making progress, as if that will do any good, why no mention of the MURS record "Animal Style." If you're so mad that there aren't more black artists supporting equal rights why not take a moment to highlight a perfect example?


Because this article is about shooting someone down, not lifting people up. No good.

denvernicole
denvernicole

Are you kidding me with this article? Why don't you just say THANK YOU to anyone supporting and/or fighting for the LGBT community, and sit down.

victorfiction
victorfiction

Seriously. Fuck you. You're hating on him for being a white guy. He can't change that. He's done more good for the gay community than this author has for ANYONE.

1984.kstar
1984.kstar

Look. I'm coming from two perspectives, the health aspect, and the Christian aspect. First the health, Black men/women that are homosexual need to be able to come out so they're not hiding it, that does more harm than good. At the same time lets talk about how Christianity has helped our community. The Rev. Martin Luther King is a prominent example, today we want to secularize him but the church WAS the community center, the town hall, for the black community. We accomplished much more clinging to Christianity than without. That's saying something.

JamesRuslter
JamesRuslter

I stumbled upon this article while looking up what Mary Lambert looked like, and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one that found it ridiculous.

madns312
madns312

I agree that the song does more harm than good. I commend macklemore on tackling a issue in an arena in which the subject is "taboo". With that said, he has gone on record to say he intended the. Song to create dialogue, but if that is your intention, then being you have grown up in a church, as well had first hand accounts of the hardship of gay relatives then I expected a little more neutral perspective. Instead. It seems to. only divide religion and gays even more. I also don't think its a fair comparison, to consider the "same love" movement to the civil rights movement for blacks as the same or even close. Sorry to say it like this, but yes love who you want, but its a "sexual" preference, Black people were treated as 4th class citizens or worse. Sorry to say but what gays go though Is not even close to what black people went though and still battle today. I am not black, but find it insulting to compare the gay crusade to black civil rights. maybe if macklemores intent was to create a healthy dialogue, he should of covered all perspectives. Speaking of Tupac..consider this he has been gone for what about 15years..and his music is still relevant to today..I miss the days of tupac too. Thank goodness he was light years ahead of his time, its like he's still here.

password
password

It's fairly obvious Macklemore's just an opportunistic wigger dickbag trying to make some 'cash money', co-opting some credibility from social movements along the way - while patting himself on the back for taking a 'tough stand' (which the author points out isn't so brave for a white dude from Seattle). Unfortunately kids are too dumb not to buy into it - and they also want some of that shallow feel good mock-progressivism.

Unfortunately, in our culture the real party line is that if you criticize someone's phoney feel good attitude, you're a hate-driven monster. And that's the vacuum Macklemore's slipped right into, to much financial success.

myohmy
myohmy

Is the purpose of this article to outline the belief that Macklemore is throwing black people under the bus for the sake of promoting queer acceptance? That his focus in the song on how hip hop regards homosexuality is less because hip hop is what he knows and loves and more because he thinks black people are inherently and unaccountably irrational when it comes to the subject? Or that regardless of his own beliefs or intent, this might be the takeaway message anyway, that this song reinforces racism for racists who support gay rights? I don't know, maybe. But again, 1) those people are already silly in a way that we can't rightly expect a song to change, and 2) Macklemore still doesn't actually matter. Furthermore, I have a problem with the way this article basically expresses the belief that black people are in fact more homophobic that white people; NO. I agree that the reasons you listed are a very real explanation for the hypocrisy some black people have by not seeing queer prejudice as the same sort of nonsense as racism and why black people on the whole haven't rallied with the gay community in a united front for the "why don't you assholes stop it" cause, but please don't give credence to the idea that black people in general are more homophobic, because that's actually not even true.

myohmy
myohmy

I don't understand the point of this writing. What does it matter whether this song is having a real impact? Is anyone relying on it to have an influence? Are people not continuing to strive for change on how we deal with sexuality because of this song? Did anyone anywhere hear the song and go "welp, this is it, this song has done it, this song lays out the entirety of everything having to do with hatred and fear and confusion over queer people, there's no more need to discuss prejudice further, either you're with Macklemore or you suck"? Anyone who does hold that perspective is silly and I don't think it's up to anyone else, popular musician or not, to account for their silliness. If Macklemore himself had those exact intentions with his song (to solve everyone's problems forever), then he's silly too, and of course he failed, but so what? Why does he matter to the discussion any more or less than the strength or weakness of his actual contribution? What I'm saying is, why is the fact that Macklemore's not worth talking about worth talking about?

mcryanoneil
mcryanoneil

and another thing. You miss the days of Tupac?!? Was Pac an outspoken opponent to homophobia in hip hop? Did I miss something? People love throwing Pac around when it comes to "conscious" hip hop. But be honest, "faggot" and "bitch" were used pretty often in dudes lyrics, and not as a term of endearment. 

mcryanoneil
mcryanoneil

this article is ridiculous. first you say it's not what Macklemore's saying that's wrong, it's how he's saying it. Then you go on to say it's because he's a rich white kid from Seattle. So because he's "rich and white" he can't speak on homophobia in hip hop. also thrift shopping is way less expensive so I don't see how that equates to him being rich. This article is filled with nonsense. You seem to be defending homophobia and not giving a good argument as to why Macklemore's song did no good.

kvnheaven
kvnheaven

Your assertion that hetero-supremacy among black people is culturally innate is as silly as your belief that there is some sort of magical streak of pro-gay acceptance in white people.

What does Macklemore's whiteness have to do with his acceptance of gay people? Gay folk have been just as marginalized in the white world as they have been in the black world. In fact, straight white males have rushed to black hip hop artists to display a united front  against gay people. 

A great deal of props is due to Frank Ocean, Macklemore, and every indie queer hip-hop artist that has emerged over the last decade. 

You've written little more than a defense of homophobia. How sad.


jabad
jabad

When did Macklemore say he was trying to change the black community specifically? And if I understand you correctly, you want him to become black so that the song has meaning? Sorry, but not sure he has any control over that. I can see how it might be more momentous coming from a black man, but I don't get the part where this is counterproductive. Sorry, try again.

jabad
jabad

When did Macklemore say he was trying to change the black community specifically? And if I understand you correctly, you want him to become black so that the song has meaning? Sorry, but not sure he has any control over that. I can see how it might be more momentous coming from a black man, but I don't get the part where this is counterproductive. Sorry, try again.

meeko1
meeko1

So, Macklemore is not a part of the right race or socioeconomic class to make a statement about equality??  Do you see the doublespeak there?  Macklemore's message is universal, and the fact that I can hear a song about this subject in a supermarket seems to me to be a step in the right direction.

beanwhoisabean
beanwhoisabean

@JHNYC  Jay, unlike you, is a realist. You're an idealist. You think it's possible for someone to explicitly make a comment like "Hey dude, you're not a rich, white, straight guy. Don't criticize rich, white, straight guys unless we tell you how you can do it, okay?" On the other hand, Jay is making an argument about implicit meaning. Implicitly, further, she might be taken to mean something like "gestalt quality is a matter of implicit judgment." There is no way of getting around this line of thought. It's just always implicit. Is the thing. Realistically. What is problematic is its going unacknowledged nonetheless. What is problematic is its getting taken up despite the willed ignorance as to its meaning. Jay is taking a stab at what this might all add up to in a final plea to Tupac's "Changes," available just as readily online as anything by Macklemore. 

@lund519  Jay seems to be implicitly making a suggestion regarding the abundance of exemplary (not just o.k.) music (including rap) available online. Why not listen to this stuff. We're so quick to want to "act" on things, when what we really want to be able to do is to respond in some way. Any way. Acting on things is an explicit way we have of proving to ourselves that we've responded to things. But it's far from the only way. The implicit mode of response Jay appears to be recommending is far from Macklemore's idea of making a statement. It's much quieter.

Jay, what do you make of Chaz Kangas' take? You two are interested in two very different audiences for Macklemore's material (yes, material, probably, despite the message and despite its virtuality--discursive material, a.k.a. food for thought). This makes for two very different conclusions. "There's no question that so many people being excited about an independent rap artist actually interested in rapping is a good thing." Interesting vagueness aside, do you agree with Kangas/Chaz that Macklemore's raising his own crop of rap listeners and soon too consumers is a "good thing"? I at least take issue with the thought that this is an issue so obvious as to merit "no question", as if our own understanding, if it is to be any good, must be to Kangas'/Chaz's understanding more or less equivalent; i.e., he seems to be saying, we can all appreciate Macklemore if and (according to perhaps both of you, and perhaps @scooterj2003 too--Jay, you just think it's not entirely realistic) only if we can see it like so, remaining optimistic for (or is it because of) the political good fortune. I understand the point in general but wonder--as I think you, Jay, do, implicitly by way of Tupac, who I would not have heard today otherwise, and whose "Changes" was beautiful, sad and beautiful--if Macklemore's music isn't also a waste of our ears' capacity for joy.

scooterj2003
scooterj2003

The author raises some interesting points but ultimately sets an impossibly high bar for a single man to change a community which the author herself admits has been conditioned to hate the LGBT community for centuries -- and then criticizes him for not changing it.

As a gay man, I appreciate music that sends a message about love and equality for the LGBT community, and I am so happy that it has reached millions of people far beyond the hip hop community -- toward which it was arguably not even targeted.

If the music can change one mind for the better - regardless of race or socioeconomic status - that is a positive outcome. Hopefully more music can be produced like this, and less music produced by artists like Tyga and Busta Rhymes that serves little purpose but to perpetuate hate.

And I personally would not wish to go back to the days of Tupac. That was a very ugly time for society's treatment of LGBT people and Tupac made no attempt to address those problems. 

jdranetz
jdranetz

For a time in the 20th century Black men and women could not perform in "White" venues. White musicians would don "Blackface" and emulate them in their place.  I don't think these British musicians understand how offensive this is.

xLioness
xLioness

@denvernicole If the writer did that, than they wouldn't have a right to their own opinion? Not everyone is entitled to accept the LGBT community. 

semajthesellout
semajthesellout

@1984.kstar all that says is that blacks exploited the book that exploited us. It was something that White American Christians could identify with. While it did help with the civil rights movement, it was more than destructive everywhere else prior to that. Salem, the muslim world etc. 

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

@madns312 Gay people are currently being murdered in Russia, were murdered throughout the holocaust, and are still murdered today. Shut the fuck up you fucking asshole.

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

@password Or, you know, he could legitimately have two gay uncles and want to make a difference.

beepboop
beepboop

@scooterj2003 That's what I like about it. I like that it's a top ten sensation, and that it's bringing tolerance into a larger conversation and on a shallow level,  making tolerance "cool" to kids who depend on popular media to help shape their worlds. I had to leave all of the Project Runway facebooks/blogs/etc after the marriage proposal between those two guys because SO MANY of the fan posts were so bigoted and angry at two people loving each other. I'm happy this song is out there 'cause we still have a long way to go and I do think that this stuff helps.

FWIW, Macklemore's pretty good at acknowledging his affluent white privilege. I can't think of another artist that does that as genuinely and thoughtfully as he does. 

yooodj
yooodj

@s.emhecht @madns312 Dude...he's right. The civil rights movement and this are on two different levels. Get out of here with the comparison. I honestly think that being black TODAY is almost (ALMOST) as challenging as being gay. Forget what black people USED to go through.

madns312
madns312

And blacks arent still being murdered.??? Why don't you learn to read before you start calling people asshole. I mean get a grip you. When you are ready to speak intelligently maybe we can listen. Other why don't you shut the Fuck up ..punk bitch

madns312
madns312

Fuck you motherfucker. You call me an asshole cuz I don't think Gay rights should be compared to the Black civil rights. I never said Gays had it easy, but standing up for you right to education, and drinking out of public water fountains isn't the same as roller skating in a banana hammock with body glitter at the parade.. So before you call me an asshole...get you shit straight(pun intended) punk bitch

madns312
madns312

I was gonna let this slide, and after responding twice, and (apparently not submitting) I figured I better speak up. First of all I never said life was easy for gays, I said gay pride shouldn't be compared to black civil rights movement. So you say gays are being murdered, and we can both agree that noone should be killed, nor do I condone gay bashing. But your argument can be said for blacks, whites, etc, so that point isn't relavent to the discussion. So do us all a favor and untill you have something intelligent to contribute, shut the Fuck up you fucking punk bitch asshole.

dbagsio
dbagsio

@s.emhecht @password If you're gullible enough to believe that, then having to live your life as an idiot is punishment enough to redress the intolerance and hurt caused by your comment.

madns312
madns312

I know who Alan Turing is, look up Enmit Till you dipshit...you keep referencing shit like I have some kind of issue with gay people...newsflash Fuck. face, I don't. And I'm not black either. I shared an opinion on why I didn't think its accurate to compare the two. You have gotten all excited for nothing, you haven't even said anything even relevant to what I'm saying. So Fuck off you fucking inbred moron. Get it thru your thick skull, I don't have issues with gay people, Alan Turing was a genius, and it was a loss to the world, it was even a bigger loss since it was a senseless bullshit reason. I get it. Move on. I'm done

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

@madns312 Look up Alan Turing and shut your damn face. When you're ready to actually accept facts and not resort to stereotypes -- banana hammocks with body glitter? Shit, why don't we just start going off about good ol' fried chicken and watermelon, you fuck?

madns312
madns312

So you saying blacks have never been killed for BEING black...uh...hmmm..I never said gays didn't have it difficult, but I do NOT consider this equal in terms of gay pride vs black civil rights. Hard to take the gay struggle serious when they do it in banana hammocks hula hooping down the parade in body glitter. With that said I dont condone gays being killed for being gay. I guess we at least we agree on that.

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

@madns312 You... realize they're being killed BECAUSE they're gay, right? Not just that they happen to be gay, which is what you're going at (stupidly.)

s.emhecht
s.emhecht

@madns312 No, it can't be said for blacks, whites, etc. They're being killed for BEING gay, they don't just happen to be gay you fucking idiot.

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