It’s the quiet hip hop scandal that resurfaces every couple of years. Lil Wayne kissing men on the mouth. The first time, it was 2006. He was on a fast ascent to superstardom and I was fresh out of college writing for a hip hop magazine. Despite the hubbub, I didn’t think it was a big deal (there wasn’t any tongue?) and gladly accepted the explanation that they had seen “The Godfather” were mimicking mob behavior. My male co-workers? Not so much.

Their homophobia was showing. They all but wrote Lil Wayne off for being a closeted homosexual man and ascertained that he and Baby’s relationship included all kinds of lewd, lascivious acts we knew nothing about.

It’s been six years since we passed that photo around our offices. Through the recent posting of a video on the internet of Lil Wayne kissing an unidentified man (who many outlets confused with Stevie J of “Love & Hip Hop”), I’ve come to realize attitudes toward masculinity and homosexuality haven’t changed much at all.

What’s alarming is not whether Lil Wayne is gay or not, but how attached society is to male heterosexual normative behavior. Any activity outside what some deem conventionally masculine and heterosexual is condemned and stigmatized.

The act of kissing, even on the lips, isn’t inherently romantic in nature. But since it’s unconventional for two men to kiss in such a way, their sexuality is called into question.

When athletes hit each other on the butts during sporting events, we don’t make assumptions about their sex lives. Those taps aren’t the same as say, Jay-Z hitting Beyonce’s bum onstage in Brooklyn the other night. When it’s an athletic game, the gesture between men means ‘job well done’ and is interpreted to be asexual. The athletes aren’t questioned about their sexual preference because it’s a cultural norm.

That’s the same reason two women might kiss, passionately, with tongue at a bar and not incite as much as a raised eyebrow. Folks assume they’re doing it for attention or maybe they’re wild and drunk. The idea that they’re closeted lesbians acting out their fantasies in front of an audience is rarely even considered.

The hurry to attack Wayne with derogatory slurs says much more about society’s rigid notions of masculinity than the rapper’s actual sexual preference.


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  • Child, Please

    WOW at this comment section. I think it’s interesting that we won’t allow men to define masculinity, but we allow women to define femininity. It’s certainly sad all around because people are missing the point: you really don’t know if this man is gay or not (or any man for that matter) based on this. It’s no different than the girls kissing example; I just guess people are fine with it because their minds are conditioned to see that. I mean how many times have you sen women kiss versus men? Same with the butt pats; would that behavior be considered normal if these were women? It seems some comments, not all, come from gender specific homophobia, while others (@ Lisa Maria) are just hateful (how did that comment get through even). I have to wonder what makes people an authority on male homosexuality (or female homosexuality) beyond what they are conditioned to know? Sad.

  • simplyme

    It seems like those who can’t comprehend the blatant difference between the 2 articles are the ones with the mental acuity of infants….

    Lil Wayne is an already despised man. He makes a living off of misogyny and homophobic lyrics and he may or may not actually be gay and in the closet. The other article was abou two gay men who, despite the pressures around them (thanks to people like Lil Wayne), were strong enough to be out, get married, and ultimately be true to themselves. They are a symbol of progress and strength. Lil Wayne (gay or straight) is a symbol of everything that is wrong with society.

  • Dudes not kiss dudes in the mouth, end of story.

  • maya

    LMAO people are JUST NOW realizing that this negro is gay……..

  • I remember a past clutch article where there were comments about it being weird to kiss parents on the mouth also. Kissing on the mouth isn’t always a sexual thing.