Just two weeks ago, R&B singer Frank Ocean came out on his blog, taking the hip hop community by storm. But now, California-based rapper Murs is shaking things up even more. His newly released music video, “Animal Style,” addresses the homophobia that still pervades American schools. In the video, Murs plays Roderick, a closeted 17-year-old who refuses to openly display his affection for his boyfriend, Jonathan.
The video features scenes of the two young men cuddling, holding hands, and even sharing a quick kiss, interspersed with clips of Murs rapping while sporting a “Legalize Gay” t-shirt, which calls for the repeal of Proposition 8 in California. All of this occurs before Roderick’s situation turns for the worst, in a way eerily reflective of the experiences of many LGBT youth who face bullying and peer pressure at school.
Murs described his reasons for producing the video on his YouTube page:
“The first [reason] was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out...I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?”
He continues by saying, “I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable.”
And command some attention it has. The music video has already attracted over 200,000 views on YouTube and over 1,700 “likes.” Combine this with the Huffington Post Gay Voices vertical article posted about the video just yesterday and it becomes clear that Murs is certainly creating a dialogue surrounding hip hop’s perception of same-sex love, homophobia, and the dangers of social pressure for LGBT youth.
Take Action: Check out our recent Facebook post about Murs’ new music video and click LIKE so you can help spread the word. As more music artists step out of the closet in support of LGBT equality, the hip hop community continues to struggle with its homophobia. Yet with the support of artists like Murs, our children may just be able to find rappers and R&B singers they can look up to after all.