The Macklemore Dilemma



Over the past couple of months or really this past year Macklemore has been in the forefront of music when it comes to “music consciousness”. Specifically, in reference to gay rights and the seemingly prevalent story that Hip-Hop is anti-gay.

But issues arise on how society values the voice of an individual of the majority (the majority meaning white males) over individuals actually apart of the disadvantaged group. Let’s be real, historically the lesser voice has always has been perceived as needing help from the more willingly heard. But things shouldn’t be that way. It’s not Macklemore’s fault of course, in reality, he’s just trying to help. The question is whether his help is a hindrance or truly beneficial.

Angel Haze

Angel Haze

Macklemore has attained a stamp of approval from many, if not all, popular entities or individuals of the gay community. If I remember correctly and I might not be (I prefer to write from memory) he’s been praised by the Human Rights CouncilGLAAD and our favorite gay godmother Ellen Degeneres. The exposure, it’s been lovely. But why oh why, can’t we just listen to the voices who are the voices. Why can’t we do that? Artists like Angel HazeMykki BlancoBig FreediaZebra Katz and Le1f (who had a lot to say about Macklemore’s privilege as a straight white male). Each whose message if heard and respected properly would have been more prolific in meaning than a white man who can try but never truly understand. In fact Angel Haze did a remix of Macklemore’s Same Love, I felt her remix in a way I could never feel about the original.

Mykki Blanco

Mykki Blanco

Another point I wanted to hit on is the promotion that Hip-Hop ain’t sh!t, that Hip-Hop can’t handle diversity. If Hip-Hop couldn’t handle diversity then Eminem wouldn’t have became Eminem no matter how good he is. If Hip-Hop couldn’t handle diversity then Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, or even Nicki Minaj wouldn’t be who they are. Of course there are still hurdles, but there are still hurdles in every aspect of life that have yet to be overcome. In many ways, Macklemore song was just opportunistic, a way to capitalize on a message that I feel the Hip-Hop community wasn’t even sure it needed to give at that point. That is not to say that Macklemore is just trying to capitalize on black culture (he could be but I have no right to say so).

All of this could be talked into the ground and talked around and talked over. But my point in all of this is that music of the people should be by the people and as eye-opening as Same Love was for many it was only eye-opening because the message came from a straight white male. It should be heartbreaking that the supposed need for a white savior is still prevalent today.

I just want to leave it at that.


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