Tyler, the Creator: Homophobic or Not?

Possibly just a
dumbass with a bully pulpit. Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for the BLURT dissection of the
rapper’s new Goblin album…


By Fred Mills


Fresh from an extended stroke-job courtesy of the New York Times and a celebrated (by the
record label, at least) #5 debut on the Billboard album charts for his Interscope release Goblin,
Odd future frontman Tyler, the Creator now sets his sights on star billing in
the arena of public outrage.


If you’ve been keeping up, last week Sara Quin of Tegan
& Sara laid in to the 20-year old rapper for his relentless and
well-documented misogyny and homophobia, additionally taking to task the
journalists who give him a pass in the name of artistry.


Wrote Quin, in part, at the band’s blog, “While an artist
who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is
celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I’m disheartened
that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so
vile. As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate ‘Tyler, the
Creator,’ I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be
expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening
rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its ‘brilliance’ when the
message is so repulsive and irresponsible?”


Hmm… sounds remarkably similar to an editorial I penned many
years ago when a similarly misogynistic/homophobic Eminem was also being let
off the hook because he was “an artist.” (For the record, Em: you’re STILL an
asshole in my book. But I digress.)


At any rate, things have started heating up. this morning Pitchfork took due note that GLAAD
(the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) had also weighed in on the
matter. Referencing an earlier statement from the organization, GLAAD posted on
their blog
the following:


Tyler has said in interviews that he is not
homophobic, yet his Twitter feed and rhymes are rampant with anti-gay slurs and
references. His defense that “people take things too seriously” or that he’s
“just a kid” is inexcusable. Using hateful language, regardless of the context,
is unacceptable and in fact, very serious. Tyler’s attempts to be provocative as well as
his indifference towards the consequences of his actions are irresponsible. In
an earlier statement issued about rapper Lil B, GLAAD stated that “…words
matter. Slurs have the power to fuel intolerance.”


GLAAD stands by its statement and
continues to hold artists across all genres accountable for the messages they
send to fans. We commend Sara Quin for speaking out publicly against Tyler’s lyrics and hope
others will follow in her steps. GLAAD will continue to monitor media coverage
of Tyler.


Amen to all that. Whether or not Tyler, the Creator takes a hit or gets a
sales boost from all this is up in the air at the moment – smart money is on
the latter, unfortunately, if the Eminem affair is any historical precedent –
but you can be assured of one thing: that music journalists, chickenshit by
nature, won’t step up and do the right thing by condemning Tyler. After all,
they’d be “racist” or “anti-hiphop” or, worse, “unhip.”


BLURT steps into the fray tomorrow with an extended look at Tyler’s new Goblin. In the commentary, our writer ponders whether or not the
rapper is an amoral asshole or just a dumb kid – and why, if he’s just a hot
property at the moment, he crafted such a tedious, mediocre major label debut.





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