Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MURS, Tackles Homophobia in Latest Rap Song

In the following video rapper Murs tells the story of two young men and the danger of same sex love, in a homophobic world.  By now, I am sure that many of you have seen this video, but I thought I would share it, for those of you who have not seen it.


lyrics below the fold.

Fresh outta high school
Glad cus he hated it
Everybody in the senior class would call him gay but it
It never bothered him
His name Jonathon
Best friend Julie she was cool she went to Prom with him
The principle said prom was no place for a queer couple
If he showed up with a boy then there'd be real trouble
Empty threats
But what really got to him is that his boyfriend didn't wanna go to prom with him
Boyfriend Roderick kept his secret closeted
Scared to come out into this world of zero tolerance
Kinda popular
Played a lot of politics
Jonathon was book smart
Just received a scholarship
Off to college
Wanted Roderick to follow him
He see him in the halls but Rod would never acknowledge him
Away from school though he was so affectionate
Jon had a good thing, no use in upsetting it
Besides at college everything would be different
Everyone is educated no one would be trippin
He had it all figured out plus his parents were excited just to get him out the house
So they bought him a ticket
Even bought one for Roderick
Said to leave the end of summer they would pay for all of it
So excited on his way to work at In-N-Out
End of the shift he drove straight up to Roderick's house
He hopped out
Saw him with his crew
He walked right up
He was ready to share the news
It had been a few days
He forgot how much he missed him
So exited that he moved in and kissed him
Roderick dissed him
Threw him to the floor
Said, "You faggot what you have to go and do that for? "
Looked at his homies, "Ya'll know I'm not gay"
They just shook their heads
Turned and walked away
("Fuck. Fucks wrong with you? ")
Now he's screaming at Jonathon
"What the hell is wrong with him? "
"Ok it's over then let's be honest then.
They never knew the real you they're not your real friends."
He drove away and vowed to never speak to him again
It had been a few weeks
Before Jon left to college
He thought that they should speak
Scared to do it for fear of rejection
But either way he knew the world would never accept them
(Dear America, When you tell gay Americans that they cannot serve their country openly or marry the person that they love, you're telling that to kids too)
Roderick was seventeen
In n out of jail since ten
Never knew his father
Or spent time with any other men
He started runnin in them circles with the hustlers
Gang bangin' dope slingin'
Had some loyal customers
Locked him up at a very young age
Found religion and it ended all his criminal ways
He also found his first boyfriend when he was locked up
Came home conflicted
So he really didn't talk much
The beginnings of a double life
The chaplain back in juvie used to tell him that it wasn't right
His bond with God was so strong it was until he met Jon
And it felt so perfect
But suffering eternal damnation,
Was it worth it?
He still had to see him it had been two years
He knew that he could never leave him
So he lived in fear of God's wrath
The preacher said God loves us all except fags
That made him so mad he started packing his bags
Said he's run away with Jon until it went bad
("Like, did you know, did you hear about him? I mean like, Jonathon, he's my friend, he's my gay best friend, of course, but like, Roderick? I fucking kissed him. He tried to fuck me! What the fuck? I hope I don't have anything. Should I go get tested? What a fucking faggot. I fucking hate that piece of shit faggot. What a fucking bitch. Fucking cunt. I fucking hate him.")
The big incident
Jon slipped in front of his friends and started kissing him
Now everything was different
He shut him out
Never thought about forgiving him
Until he got that text
Jon wanted to meet up the day after next
They met at In-N-Out
On his dinner break but he was so mad he couldn't look him in the face
Soon as he spoke they both started crying
Said he missed him so much it felt like he was dying
Jon said, "I can't describe how much I missed you"
That's when Roderick pulled his pistol
Shot him right between the eyes
Then turned it on himself cus he refused to live a lie
Suicide was against his beliefs but he knew it was the only way they'd ever find peace
I like that Murs dealt with the pressure that religion and society places on young GLBT teens, as well as the expectation of heterosexuality.  I understand why he ended the song with a murder suicide, but at the same time, I would have much preferred that it not end that way, because gay death is what we see in the media far too commonly. Yes, all heterosexual people need to see the harm that homophobia causes, but at the same time, I think that GLBT youth in particular need positive representations.  They need it affirmed continually that suicide is not the answer and that as long as there is life, there is hope.

I really like that Murs decided to use same gender loving youth of colour.  In every article that I have read about this video, so much was made of the kiss the two teens shared, but more important than the kiss to me, was the fact that Murs affirmed the existence of GLBT youth of colour, because they are so often erased from the narrative. They are a part of our communities and deserve not only our respect, but our recognition.

As far as hip hop and rap goes, this song is a huge leap forward and I hope that it encourages GLBT rappers to tell their own stories.  While what Murs did is important, the voices that have the real story to tell aren't straight allies, but GLBT people themselves.  This is who we need to learn about homophobia from because they have lived it and unfortunately have intimate knowledge of its damaging effects.