With social injustice at an all time high and the recent conclusion of pride month, it’s important now more than ever that we use this time to check our ignorance and right the wrongs of our ancestors. A lot of times these things start with a simple conversation. As for rapper and actor Fat Joe, he’s chosen to lead by example and set the discussion into motion.
During his Instagram live stream he officially declared it “gay pride day” on The Fat Joe Show with the purpose of learning more about the LGBT community and shedding light on the hypocrisy LGBT people face from others.
Entrusted to lead this conversation was none other than Miss Lawrence, a celebrity hairstylist, singer, actor, best known for his appearance on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Star. Miss Lawrence, who identifies as a gender non-conforming gay black man from the South, has been a pioneer in LGBTQ activisim, working with organizations like the National Action Network, the Human Rights Campaign's “This is Luv,” and with the Ali Forney Center.
The interview that took place between the two was just under an hour long and candidly discussed the issues within the Black LGBTQ community, attempting to put common misconceptions to rest.
One of the first questions Fat Joe posed to Miss Lawrence was in regards to Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s daughter, Zaya Wade and her recent coming out as a transgender. Being that Zaya is only 13 years old, Fat Joe asked a question that most people were concerned with: was it too early for her to come out?
Miss Lawrence appeared to set the record straight stating, “I think the earlier the better because if a child is that comfortable to tell their family ‘I think or I want to identify as this or as that’. That’s the perfect time when they’re younger so that way you know how to prepare them for an evil world that will say you don’t belong and you can’t be this way…”
He went on to say how black families will commonly sweep issues about sexuality under the rug. He further explains that the disregard of this topic is wrong because when parents force their child to wait until a specific age who to share who they truly want to be, the concern is no longer about the child but about the parents and what makes them more comfortable.
The conversation later switched over to gays during the time of slavery. William Dorsey Swan who was born into slavery and was the first to self-identify as a drag queen and an openly gay slave, Swan was frequently targeted by police and suffered from police brutality simply for being true to himself. Miss Lawrence pointed out the importance of understanding the correlation between being gay and being black because many people feel as if this is something new that erupted within this generation.
Nonetheless, gay black men are simply part of civil rights history and its unfair to value black straight lives more than gay black lives when they were all fighting for the privileges that we have today.
Towards the end of the interview, Miss Lawrence talked about a new movie that he’ll be starring titled, The United States vs. Billie Holiday which is based on the life of famed jazz singer, Billie Holiday, the war on drugs and the mistreatment of the black community in the 1900s.
Under the direction of Lee Daniels and Suzan-Lori Parks, Miss Lawrence was assigned to play Miss Freddy who was Billie Holiday’s dresser and also her confidant. Miss Lawrence indicated that his role is important simply because no one knows who Miss Freddy was or even what he looked like, perhaps revealing that no one wanted to know. He continued reflecting this to the present day where the stories of the LGBTQ communtiy are unheard of or not valued. Within this role, Miss Lawrence hopes to be the voice of the silenced and properly depict the true essence of the source behind the force of Billie Holiday.
At the conclusion of the interview, Fat Joe made it clear that in no way was he trying to push a “gay agenda” and only wanted to use his platform to dismantle the stereotypes and cure his own ignorance about the LGBTQ community.
What are your thoughts on this one gayes? Are we ready to take in Fat Joe as one of our new allies?