|THE MO'KELLY REPORT 7-6
Sunday, April 13, 2008
There is a real and measurable percentage of African-American men who engage in bisexual relationships. The exact number…who is to say? Regardless of the exact number, there is no argument to be had that the percentage is real and measurable. Additionally, there are men who engage in bisexual relationships who both have a wife and children. A wife and child do not absolve one from the possibility of a clandestine homosexual relationship.
These are the facts and they are indisputable.
The only “phenomenon” related to the “down-low” discussion was that the African-American community was actually discussing it AT ALL in the public space.
The hindrance to that discussion heretofore can rightfully be blamed on African-Americans’ collective stigma placed on anything and anyone connected with homosexuality.
This is not an editorial in support of Gay Rights or an endorsement of any type of alternative lifestyle. It’s just a statement of fact as to African-Americans and our collective conceptions of those things considered "virtuous" and "shameful."
Conversely, the stigma that accompanies all things homosexual within our community has led to the ubiquitous hyper-faux-masculinity found in our music, movies and our general everyday mentality.
This is not an editorial meant to diss hip-hop or its related elements. It’s just a statement of fact as to African-Americans and our collective conceptions of those things considered "virtuous" and "shameful."
R&B singer Johnny Gill, recently took to the radio airwaves to “clear his name” in regards to the rampant rumors surrounding his “rapport” with actor/comedian Eddie Murphy. In an interview on the nationally syndicated radio show The Ride with Doug & DeDe, Gill pleaded his case as to how he “is” heterosexual, “has always been” heterosexual and “always will be” heterosexual.
“I got a stable (of women), I keep a stable. I’ve got all kinds of girls from Whites, Blacks to whatever you want to call them. I’ve got ‘em all. Cuz that’s the way I choose to live…working with the hand I was dealt. And until somethin’ comes along, one of them get their hooks in me…hey, I’m livin’ and having fun.” - Johnny Gill
Since we now know for a fact that Johnny Gill reads anything and everything in relation to him in the media, he’ll be reading this edition of The Mo’Kelly Report too.
Having said that, Brotha ... (and those like him) pay close attention.
Although I’ve had comedic fun with Johnny Gill on a number of occasions regarding these “rumors” and his supposed “rapport” with Eddie Murphy, his public statements serve as the perfect entry point into the serious discussion on the definition of “manhood” and “masculinity” within our African-American community.
What’s not included in Gill’s quote but should be noted is the fact that it was made with his illegitimate 23-month old son in his lap. What’s not included in the quote is that it is coming from Gill “the son of a minister.” The Black church and its role in the stigmatization of homosexuality and misguided reinforcement of an erroneous definition of manhood must also be acknowledged if we are to honestly and intellectually address this issue.
This is not an editorial meant to slander the Black Church; just a statement of fact.
Having a “stable” of women doesn’t make any male “more manly”…and surely doesn’t prove heterosexuality. It just means the male equates women with animals, to be used at his breeding whim.
“I got a stable (of women), I keep a stable. I’ve got all kinds of girls from Whites, Blacks to whatever you want to call them. I’ve got ‘em all. Cuz that’s the way I choose to live…working with the hand I was dealt. And until somethin’ comes along, one of them get their hooks in me … hey, I’m livin’ and having fun.”
It is also though part and parcel of a larger problem…how we as African-American males are socialized and brainwashed to believe that sexual conquest is tantamount to “manhood.” It is indicative of a symptom of a larger malady as to why 70% of children (including Johnny Gill’s) are born out of wedlock.
There is something inherently wrong with a Black man getting on national radio and arguing his “heterosexual masculinity and manhood” through his objectification and dehumanization of women “from Whites, Blacks to whatever you want to call them” as Johnny Gill said.
Just in case Johnny Gill didn’t know…it’s quite alright to spend your life with a woman, and not just the night. It’s quite alright to defend your manhood through the respect of womanhood. And it’s quite alright to let one’s manhood speak for itself quietly through actions, not instead “speaking up” through the debasement of women.
Yes, Johnny Gill has a bevy of women he sleeps with, without commitment or consideration…because he’s “livin’ and having fun.”
Yes Johnny, that surely is a compelling argument in support of heterosexuality and if actor Rock Hudson were still here he would probably agree with you.
There are thousands upon thousands of men who engage in homosexual activities daily in prison who would not dare characterize themselves as “gay.” There are thousands upon thousands of African-American men who likely engage in homosexual behavior in the free world who would not dare label themselves as “gay”…and promptly go home to their wives and families afterwards. This is not an editorial intended to diss or disparage the homosexual lifestyle…but it is a statement of fact as to what transpires in our African-American community.
Let’s get beyond the “labels” and get to the heart of the matter of what’s important and it isn’t Gill’s sexuality one way or the other.
Johnny Gill’s public plea for Black people to “believe” whether he’s wholly heterosexual is a red-herring and neither here nor there. It really doesn’t matter whether Johnny Gill (or Eddie Murphy) is gay, beyond their respective insecurities over what “fans” think and say.
I don’t care either way and neither should anyone else, truth be told.
What DOES matter is in Gill’s attempt to “save” his masculinity, he threw women under the bus, further ingraining the misguided stereotypes found in the faux-hyper-masculinity permeating our community.
This “fake manhood” is at the root of why HIV/AIDS is rampaging through our communities at breakneck speed, disproportionately affecting our Sistas. This “fake manhood” is why Johnny Gill’s own son is likely to eventually start his own “family” with children out of wedlock. And this “fake manhood” is the largest variable in the equation of why “street cred” tends to trump education and puts our young men on the path to the prison.
Personally, Johnny Gill’s appearance on the Doug Banks Show reeked of the classic Shakespearean quote, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
No underhanded “lady” pun intended...just how the quote reads.
In the end, I’m more alarmed at how Gill fashioned his illogical rebuke of the rumors at the expense of African-American women…while metaphorically beating his own chest in the process. Johnny Gill did not “prove” his manhood, he simply reinforced the fact that he is anything BUT a man, irrespective of his sexuality, heterosexual or otherwise.
The Mo'Kelly Report is an entertainment journal with a political slant. It is meant to inform, infuse and incite meaningful discourse...as well as entertain. The Mo’Kelly Report is syndicated by Newstex. For more Mo’Kelly, http://www.mokellyreport.blogspot.com. Morris W. O'Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary.