Eminem has repeatedly made it clear to the world that he is a misogynist and a homophobe. There are those that would declare him the best free style rapper of this generation but when his words are laced with hate speech, who cares how well he rhymes?
In his new song “Elevator”, Eminem uses the words “fake it” to refer to Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert. The implication is clear.
Sorry Lance, Mr. Lambert and Aiken ain't gonna make it
They get so mad, when I call them both fake it's
All these fucking voices in my head I can't take it
Someone shut that fucking baby up, 'for I shake it
You're standing adjacent to Jason's last slut, they're facing
Together makes 'em, a fucking bad combination
I lashed at the doctor in my last operation
Shoved the weiner snitzel up his ass, hopped away some-
body please stop the patient, get the cops to mase him
I would love to be able to ignore Eminem and his issues but because he is such a musical phenomenon, his words will carry great importance to his young listeners. When we talk about the ways in which an ism manifests in a systemic way, there is no greater evidence of this than the words of artists like Eminem. With each word that falls out of his disgusting mouth, he is creating and informing a discourse. The children that listen to his music are learning that homophobia makes you cool and rich.
Eminem may have had a hard life growing up, but there was absolutely no reason for him to turn that difficulty into hate. It is as though he looked around for someone that was considered lower on the social ladder than himself and then specifically sought out ways to demean them. Growing up poor and White had to have been difficult on Eminem but relative to others in the same class position as him, he had privilege. Poor WOC, poor disabled people etc suffer marginalizations that he could not even begin to comprehend. As a heterosexual Eminem need fear being subjected to physical violence because of his sexual identity. He can walk freely down the street and hold his lovers hand.
Eminem is White, male, cis gendered, able bodied and now rich. His every breathe is privilege and this is often reflected in the hatred that he chooses to spew. Despite all of the power that he has, he consistently attempts to demean others and this is because he has failed to understand that to be powerful one need not spew the rhetoric of hate. He has many personal issues, which he clearly must deal with but he does offer us all a lesson. When we feel attacked by someone or a group, reaching for hatred as a response does not heal the pain; it only perpetuates that idea that cruelty and hatred have a place in this world. Somewhere in the rage that we feel at our marginalization, we need to realize that even those who lash out against us are themselves somehow demeaned in this existence.