A few weeks ago we posted about the homophobic lyrics in Eminem’s song “Rap God,” from his new album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which is released today. Either the public chooses not to listen to lyrics at all or they just really don’t like gay people, because Slim Shady took home the Artist of the Year prize at this weekend’s first annual YouTube Music Awards.
To catch you up on what exactly Eminem said, let’s go over some of the lyrics in the song, shall we? At one point he says he can “break a motherf—-r’s table over the back of a couple f-ggots and crack it in half.” He also goes into this charming little tirade:
“Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy”
Luckily Rolling Stone asked Eminem to explain why he still chooses to put such homophobic terminology into his songs and uses the word “gay” as an insult. And Eminem gave a heartfelt apology in which he admitted what he said was offensive and hateful and there’s no justification for it. Haha, just kidding. He did the exact opposite of that by basically saying that, even though he’s totally cool with gay people, he’s been saying terrible things about them for so long that he really doesn’t want to stop, and we should all stop taking his lyrics so seriously.
I don’t know how to say this without saying it how I’ve said it a million times. But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never really equated those words . . .
At this point the interviewer actually has to assist him in explaining himself by interjecting, “To actually mean ‘homosexual’?” Then he really gets going.
Yeah. It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people. And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don’t know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke.
So because earlier in his career he equated “gay” with insulting words like “asshole,” as a 41-year-old man he wants to keep up that tradition and continue to use the word that way. Eminem’s like those immature guys in high school who would say things like, “Look at that guy who dropped his books. He’s so gay.” Using the word “gay” to be synonymous with negative adjectives like “lame” or “stupid” implies that being gay is inherently bad or worthy of ridicule. That’s not even mentioning his use of the f-word, which speaks for itself.
But Eminem apparently thinks we should all just walk around with an encyclopedia of his stated values and personal beliefs, because, as he says in the interview, he’s “been doing this shit for, what, 14 years now?” So when we listen to him saying homophobic things in his songs we should understand that he doesn’t actually agree with any of it and it’s just “tongue-in-cheek.” Silly me, I didn’t realize that publicly stating you’re not a homophobe made it okay to say homophobic things.