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February 22, 2009

Kanye West dresses better than a lot of gay people

Or so he thinks. Or maybe not. I don't know. It's hard to tell what he thinks.

Apparently Kanye West was very ignorant about homosexuality in the past (you know, last month), but now all of a sudden he's seen the light. Or something. But he still doesn't get it. He's been doing a lot of blabbering lately, but isn't making much sense. It seems as though he has a good point in there somewhere - that's just struggling to get out. It seems as though he's trying to tell the world that it's wrong to be homophobic and that it's okay to be gay. However, his way of making that point is by regurgitating dumb stereotypes and expressing overall ignorance and idiocy. And by talking about rainbows!

Now this is what's so tricky about his comments... He hasn't actually said anything bad about gay people. In fact, I'm pretty sure he thinks he's doing an awesome job of letting everyone know that there's nothing bad about gay people. But he's not. Even if the stereotypes are positive ones, they're still stereotypes and they're still wrong and they're still ignorant.

Earlier this year:

"Gays know how to dress.”

“People always try to discredit gays altogether, but they really know how to dress. They dress good.”

“You got to peep at them really quick because if they see you looking at them they might think you’re looking at them in another way, so you have to keep looking away. If they catch you staring it’s like, ‘No dog, I’m looking at the gear!’”

What Kanye thinks he's saying: You shouldn't criticize gay people! They're awesome!

What he's really doing: Making a gross generalization (albeit a positive one) about gay people.

What he should have said: He could have mentioned some of the many prominent gay people in the fashion industry, which would have been more accurate than "gays know how to dress". He also could have pointed out some of the other contributions that have been made to society by homosexuals, without jumping to stereotypes.

Now, he regrets his earlier statements:

"Your dress don't give away whether or not you like a man."

"That's when I was ignorant to gays ... Because there's a lot of gay people who don't dress good at all. There's a lot of gay people that I dress way better than."

What he thinks he's saying: When I was trying to compliment gay people, I accidentally may have said something that wasn't always true. My bad.

What he's really doing: He's simultaneously complimenting himself, while trying to deny being gay. He's technically not saying anything incorrect... but he's not exactly saying it in the right way either.

What he should have said: He could have just said that he was wrong to make generalizations about homosexual people, period. Instead of claiming that he dresses way better than a lot of gay people, he could have simply said that your sexual orientation has nothing to do with the way you dress or any other stereotypical indicators.

Wait, there's more:

"Because stereotypically gay people got such good [style] ... they were smart enough to take a fresh-ass logo like the rainbow and say that it's gonna be theirs.

I've been collecting all of the freshest stuff that's rainbows – Denver Nuggets jerseys, BAPE shoes, Nikes with rainbows on 'em – and saying, 'Man, I think as straight men we need to take the rainbow back because it's fresh.'

I mean how is that a gay thing? Colors? Having a lot of colors is gay?"

What he thinks he's saying: I'm not sure what he thinks he's saying. Maybe he thinks he's saying there's nothing wrong or gay about dressing well, flashy, or in bright colors.

What he's really doing: He's repeating and reinforcing the stereotype that all gay people have good style and he's misunderstanding the symbolism behind and usage of the rainbow flag as a LGBT icon.

What he should have said: There's nothing wrong or gay about dressing well, flashy, or in bright colors.

Kanye is taking the rainbow back

And yet there's still more!
“Titles are very important. I like to embody titles, y’know, or words that have negative connotations, and explain why that’s good.

Take the word gay—like, in hip-hop, that’s a negative thing, right? But in the past two, three years, all the gay people I’ve encountered have been, like, really, really, extremely dope. Y’know, I haven’t, like, gone to a gay bar, nor do I ever plan to. But where I would talk to a gay person—the conversation would be mostly around, like, art or design—it’d be really dope.

From a design standpoint, kids’ll say, ‘Dude, those pants are gay.’ But if it’s, like, good, good, good fashion-level, design-level stuff, where it’s on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it’s, like, gay people that do that. I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, ‘Dude, that’s so good it’s almost . . . gay.’”


What he thinks he's saying: No more negative, homophobic language - I'm taking it back and making it my own!

What he's really doing: Trying to "take back" a word that isn't exactly his to take back. And trying to put a positive spin on a word that isn't inherently negative. We're all for trying to refeul words with your own connotations (ahem, evil slut) but "gay" is not actually a negative word. He's not wrong to acknowledge that homophobia is rampant within the Hip-Hop music industry, however that's a problem within that scene and not a problem with the word "gay". Oh and he's still reinforcing those old stereotypes about gay people being great at fashion, art, and design.

What he should have said: He could have said that it's wrong to use "gay" as a negative term, because homosexual people are just like everyone else. Again, he could have acknowledged the accomplishments made by gay people in fashion/design/art without implying that all gay people or only gay people are accomplished in those fields.

Our advice to Kanye: just shut up already.

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Anonymous said...

Check out Morningwood's That's So Gay PSA. Sometimes it really is gay.

raz said...

I am guilty of calling certain kinds of outfits "kind of 'queer eye for the straight guy'" but only because they really really are.

GayPeople said...

There are some gay people who dress extremely fashionable. That is not incredible though.