Wednesday, June 12, 2013

THE MUSICAL ROAD TO GAY ACCEPTANCE (Part V)

I began this “Musical Road” thread on the blog because of the current song “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. I first heard the song on YouTube two months ago and tears rolled down my face sixty seconds in as Ben Haggerty aka Macklemore shared that he thought he was gay in third grade. Frank Ocean opened a door or two last year with a blog post about his first love being a man, but Macklemore’s put the quest for equality directly in a hip hop song.

Macklemore is not gay which may make his plea and his perspective more powerful in hip hop music, a genre where homophobia has been common. In the song, he references his gay uncles. He tells Entertainment Weekly in the May 31/June 7 issue: “As a straight male, how do I write a pro-gay song? I struggled with that for a while and then I got it: Just talk about my own perspective and experiences growing up.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have the two biggest singles of 2013, with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”. This provides them a platform to ensure their message is heard by the largest possible audience. “Same Love” is yet to be released as a single, but radio stations have begun playing it at the request of listeners. Moreover, the video has more than 45,000,000 views. Even before the single’s release, the song is currently at Number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, according to Wikipedia, has reached Number 1 in Australia and New Zealand. The impact of this song has the potential to be huge.

Watch the video, which celebrates a first kiss, a glorious leap of faith and the wedding of two men. The video also captures the lifetime of love between the men, lingering in the final moments with a close up of them holding hands at the end of one’s life, the wedding rings a prominent symbol of the love they shared.

This same video shows the struggles along the way, featuring an adolescent trying to find his place in a game of Spin the Bottle and at a dance. There is the gay slur two men face when walking hand in hand down a street and also the apparent rejection when one brings his partner home to a family dinner.

What makes the video more impressive is the fact it was conceived of and co-directed by Ryan Lewis (along with Jon Jon Augustavo), making the project a fully shared work between musician and producer.

The lyrics follow:

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
'Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k, trippin' "
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago.
I don't know.

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me.
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily.
We become so numb to what we're saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em.
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it.
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself.
When I was at church, they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service, those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned.
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom till we're equal; damn right, I support it.

(I don't know)


We press play, don't press pause.
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start.
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one.
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up.

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I'm not crying on Sundays)

Love is patient
Love is kind

Thank you, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis!

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