The latest colloquialism on the block is “no homo.” A popular phrase used by urban men in America during occasions where this male’s words and/or actions could be up for question and presumed homosexual or homoerotic. The term is sort of a “save face” performance or often a comedic above reproach shield, disassociating this male from the gay community.

The term has been widely debated over the past year on whether or not it’s a homophobic form of gay bashing. Surprisingly Wikipedia has even picked up the term. According to an entry recently modified on Saturday, the term originated in East Harlem, New York in the early 1990s.

“No Homo” is regularly used in hip hop music. A notable example is Lil Wayne’s “Got money out da ass/no homo” on his “Wezzy’s Ambition” record. Or Young Jezzy’s “Looking out for them boyz/no homo” on his “Circulate” track.

Most recently Aaron McGruder’s hit show “The Boondocks” featured the term. On show’s latest episode Riley advises Granddad to use “no homo” when he says something presumed to be “gay.” When Granddad thinks about attending a Tyler Perry open cast call looking for Black men, age 50 or older with “light skin and good hair,” Granddad says, “I’m gonna really let him have it (referring to Perry), show that man my stuff, give that man everything I got.” Riley interrupts his Granddad, “Pause! You said something gay, so you gotta say no homo, or else you a homo!” The topic on the highly watched episode quickly became a Twitter trending topic. While some viewers considered the episode a subliminal oust of Perry’s alleged homosexuality, the usage of the term “no homo” exhibits the increasing public interest in Black sexual intricacies in American pop culture.

But why are Black men really using “no homo?”

Internet personality B.Scott thinks he has the answer. In one of B.Scott’s popular YouTube video posts, he offers viewers a Public Service Announcement stating, “If you go around saying no homo, then nine times out of ten, you’re a homosexual.”

Educator and activist Marc Lamont Hill discourages the hip hop community from using “no homo.” In a 2007 post Dr. Hill states, “In order to punctuate even the most sexually non-suggestive sentences with a homophobic disclaimer (“no homo”), one has to constantly be thinking about homosexuality.”

Black men are often accused of homosexuality or “down-low” tendencies when publicly expressing compassion for each other in the form of hugs or public declarations of gratitude and support. The controversial photo of rappers Lil Wayne and Baby caused stir and even a picture of former label mates The Game and 50 Cent.

Is the effects of Black women’s down-low trauma and paranoia a cause of Black men’s “no homo” disclaimer? Is “no homo” an anti-gay pronouncement? Or do you think the usage of “no homo” means a man is trying to hide something, possibly his closeted sexuality?

You be the judge!

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