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Friday, January 4, 2013
When The Fantasia Hits The Fan: When Divas Wax Homophobic...
Okay. So this whole Fantasia "gay marriage legal, weed legal BUT YET I"M JUDGED (her all caps, not mine)" Instagram mess has got me thinking about fans, loyalty and mutual respect. In other words...what do you do when an artist who you think is talented and whose music you like (or love/adore, take your pick) says something homophobic, or even vaguely anti-gay?
It's easy to tune out or flip the proverbial bird to the Buju Bantons of the world since they never represented themselves as anything other than not being down with the gays. But what about when the artist in question's music has become a part of the soundtrack to your life, or at least the background to important moments? And said artist has gone out of his or her way to appeal to the gay community?
Such is the case with Fantasia. She's reached out to the gay community, performed at gay clubs and pride events, is, according to her, surrounding by a gaggle of gays, and now has come up out of her face with this. To quote Madonna in "Justify My Love," "so now what?"
My first reaction to Fantasia saying her comments were taken out of context was "chile please. go ahead and start booking the dates for your apology tour." However, after reading and re-reading her now infamous remarks and her latest statement, I honestly think Fantasia doesn't believe what she said was wrong.
Stay with me on this. I think what she was trying to say is that society and the world has changed so much from biblical times to one where marijuana and gay marriage are legal and in some cases celebrated, and that she should not be judged for her past "indiscretions," just as weed smokers and the gays are not judged for theirs. However, it came out as "weed legal, them dirty gays can get married, but poor lil' ol' me is gettin' judged for sleeping with a married man!" Whether you want to burn a scarlet A onto her chest is on you, love and relationships and breakups being private and complex and all that jazz. But I digress.
Of course both we gays and pot smokers get judged aplenty, and I find her lumping in homosexuality with her "we all sin" mentality problematic. It also leaves open the question that if society was to return to a strict biblical code, would Fantasia in turn become virulently homophobic? She's also (probably inadvertently) insinuating gay marriage is all part of how society has "fallen" from the perfect holy days of the bible, and therefore is wrong. After all, if people can smoke pot legally and two guys or two girls can get married, why are people tripping about adultery? It's all wrong and "sin" isn't it?
No it's not. Which is why 'Tasia dear, you are wrong. You probably didn't mean for your little rant to be taken on so many levels; it was more than likely meant to be a straightforward "only God can judge me" salvo to shut up the haters. But for better or worse, it wasn't received like that. And all of these statements and "my team is gay, my manager is gay" proclamations are doing nothing to help your cause.
It's best to wake the hell up, realize you put your foot in your mouth and apologize.
Unfortunately--or fortunately, depending on how much you like her--Fantasia now joins that elite group of "are they, or aren't they homophobic?" divas. Donna Summer got the side eye from some queens 'til the day she died about her allegedly homophobic comments at a show in the early '80's, despite all her protesting and performing at pride and AIDS events. Gloria Gaynor, whose collected countless coins from "I Will Survive," has made some eye-brow arching comments in recent years. Even the late great Whitney tried to kill speculation she was "family" by telling Rolling Stone then-husband Bobby Brown is "all boy" and wouldn't go for her being involved in any girl-on-girl action. And my eyes are still rolling from Prince coming up out of her face about gay marriage a few years back, though she says she was misquoted. Yet I have posted clips of his music on this very blog.
Which goes back to my point/question. What would you do if an artist you admired or respected said something anti-gay? Would you be willing to forgive if they apologized? And if you forgave them, could you ever totally believe they are a true friend to the community ever again?
I just hope I never, eva, eva, eva, have to write something like this about Madge. 'Cause it won't be pretty.