Friday, April 22, 2011

Black Men Loving Black Men is a Revolutionary Act (a response to the Mister Cee Story)

I've been trying to gather my thoughts on Mister Cee, Biggie's producer and DJ who was recently "caught" with Brooklyn/Pink Lady a self proclaimed drag queen, but media proclaimed "tranny," "transsexual," and "prostitute." First, I have to say, I don't care that much about Mister Cee's sexual identity or his sexual practices. And, I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't the first time he's had sexual relations with a man, like many others in hip-hop, who may or may not identify themselves as LGBTQ. And personally, I am not invested in any performer in hip-hop declaring their sexual identity, gay or straight, as I don't see coming out as a path to liberation.

But, I am disturbed by the comments in just about every article where folks call Mister Cee a "faggot" who "got his dick sucked by a 'he/she.'" And it's not that I'm surprised that these are the comments, I know what homophobia and hatred looks like. Feels like.  Like this:

What he does to get off is his business. Period. However, I do have a problem with "downlow bros" who are married contributing to the high % of HIV within the African-American community. I don't give a fck who you are, if you on the DL and having unprotected sex with your woman, YOU ARE DESTROYING OUR COMMUNITY! In fact, if you on the DL, you a fckn coward, and we don't need you. Stand up and be who the fck you wanna be, not what others want you to be. If he were real, he's just say, yea, I did it. What?! Now, let me go deal with my wife in private. It's time for her to make a choice. That's right... give ppl the choice of dealing with who the fck you are!

He is lying ( Mr.Cee) they have the police report on the internet. He is GAY!!!!!! Nasty fool

Shut up 50 [who came out in support of Mister Cee]. Bashing the gays when your mom was well known to be bisexual.

[And, in response to Brooklyn's "confession" tape] 


And while it may not be surprising (nor is the violence directed at sistahs who speak up), as much as I may say that to myself, it does evoke a pain in me as a Black woman, a queer woman, who aims to build relationships with my straight and male allies. And while this homophobia is all too familiar, it represents a larger hatred and sense of loss in the Black community and signals a need, the need to crush the internalized and external racism and hatred that we, as Black people, continue to struggle with and fight against--especially as it is connected to our bodies, our sexuality (in whatever form), our sexual practices, and our overall love for one another. 

I was reminded of another loss this week after showing Tongues Untied in my LGBTQ Cultures class yesterday. None of the undergraduate students, a good number of whom are queer identified and who have cut their queer teeth in the San Francisco Bay Area, had heard of Marlon Riggs and none of them had seen the film. That surprises me and rips me apart at the core in ways that the fearful, hate filled and homophobic rants directed at Mister Cee (and from Cee himself) never will. I understand, to some extent. I hadn't heard of Marlon Riggs until I was in college, but I was in college in 1989-1993, waiting, hopeful that this living, gay, black filmmaker was going to continue to change my life for many years to come. I got a taste of that hopefulness while he was alive, even as  he was dying.  And while his death was heartbreaking, it left me  hopeful about all of us that he left a transformative mark on. 

Brother to brother brother to brother brother to brother brother to brother brother to brother brother to brother brother to brother.
Now we think / as we fuck / this nut / might kill us
Black men loving black men is the revolutionary act

That kind of intervention. That kind of fearlessness. That's what allowed me to not only "come out," but to feel safe. It wasn't aligning myself up with some mythic LGBT community, it was about Black folks--Audre Lorde, Pat Parker, Essex Hemphill, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Cheryl Dunye, Barbara Smith, Jewelle Gomez, Cheryl Clarke, June Jordan, Alvin Ailey, Willi Ninja, Willi Smith, Sylvester and Jermaine Stewart--who, like Riggs made me feel at home. Feel like this was mine. Know that I could fight and have my people. His fierce voice in the face of racism, of AIDS and his resolve to keep loving Black men, desiring Black men in the face of society's hatred, denial, and disregard for Black men (and women). And it's the heartbreak, loss, and fear that that history, his life, is being forgotten. Wiped from our collective queer consciousness, similar to the way the collective structures ignored AIDS as it took all of the men listed above from our communities. I have been reminded these last few weeks of what motivated me, of what I fight for. Not the self-hating, racism and homophobia that exists in the dominant culture (and yes, Black and queer communities), but for love and for the love of my people. Like a real, aching love.   

So thank you, Marlon Riggs. Thank you for living and loving Black people. 

Forever yours, 


Joan said...


Joan said...


lex said...

Well said! And this cannot be said enough! Grateful for your voice in the world.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me how special Mr. Riggs was/is. And your refusal to be distracted by 'incidentals' when there is so much healing to be done is admirable. Blessings.