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Homophobic Idiots On My Radio June 3, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Black folks, Gay and Lesbian Issues, Rants.
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Skippy’s pissed off.

In the mornings, I usually listen to the Tom Joyner Morning Show. I usually find Tom Joyner, Sybil, and J. Anthony to be funny–hell, I even listened to the show during the years in which they had that mushmouthed self-aggrandizing idiot Tavis Smiley on as a commentator/misery pimp. I’ve even ignored their often reductivist, simple-minded assessments of African American life.

Today, however, they went a bridge too far. They had Eddie Levert, the lead singer of the O’Jays and father of the late Gerald Levert on. He released a song that is on a gospel music CD, and the TJMS played it. It’s called, simply, “Why?” and is a hot, wheedling mess. Why, indeed!

I had switched to NPR for a second and when I switched back, the song was in the middle of the following enlightening lyrics: “…men living with men, women living with women; IT JUST AIN’T RIGHT? Whyyyy? Whyyy?” At this point, my blood began to boil—-it wasn’t on full boil, but it was getting there. Anyway, after this stupid “song” was over, Tom and Sybil told him what a lovely, wonderful song it was. They went back to some anecdote about Eddie “saving” Tom from some stupid boating mishap or something…and then in a moment of literal homophobia, Tom and Eddie prattled on about how they loved each other, but NOT IN THAT WAY. Because that would be gay. And that’s totally not what they meant. Because they’re not. gay. Oh, and they laughed and kee-kee’d like they were in fifth grade. Because, you know, making fun of gays and lesbians is FUN.

At that point, my blood was in full on boil.

You know what pissed me off? Tom and Sybil and J. Anthony just let this stupid song pass without comment—-I take that back; their “humorous” commentary at the end of the song was all the comment I suppose I needed. They coddled Levert’s homophobia and told him that he sang a lovely song. Of course, in the Black Community, you don’t mock or criticize gospel music. Hell, NeYo could nasally whine through a Jesus song and everyone would clap their hands off and say dumb shit like, “Oh, he’s so anointed!”

Fig. 1: This idiot cannot actually sing…but don’t tell him that.

No, you don’t criticize gospel music…and you don’t question homophobia and anti-gay rhetoric that falls out of the mouth of a “legendary” singer like Eddie Levert. That would have been too uncomfortable, too “real.” And what happens is people like Tom and Sybil and J. Anthony will have what I call a “Nicodemus moment.” When they (rarely) have an out, black gay person on the show, they then will pay tepid lipservice to equality and so forth.

Oh, wait–they HAVE had a black gay commentator on before. Now, help me understand something here. You have Jeff Johnson of the National Black Justice Coalition straight up saying that there’s a problem in The Black Community concerning homophobia; he doesn’t sugarcoat it. While he doesn’t want to argue about the [fucked up] theology that supports anti-gay discourse, he does want to have an open conversation about homophobia—-he says we have to have open and honest conversation and stop being afraid.

Now, despite the fact that Joyner didn’t enter into any kind of discussion with Johnson about what he said—-it was a commentary, not an on-line discussion with Joyner—-it’s amazing to me that, apparently, NONE of what Johnson said stuck. To me, this is what constitutes a Nicodemus moment—-the heterosexual says to the homosexual, “Sure, I agree with you; you should be free to pursue your happiness, blah, blah, blah.” But when the moment comes to actually stand up and be about something, where are they? In other words, where was Joyner when it mattered? Joyner had an opportunity to engage in this conversation that we so desperately need. Even questioning why they kept using the term “gay” as a pejorative would have been a step—-it may have been a baby step, but it would at least signal something other than the unalloyed bullshit that spewed forth on the radio waves today.

Fig. 2: Imbeciles.

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