As Hip Hop music’s popularity has grown over the years, so has the controversy surrounding the genre. Although most seem to critique Hip Hop for its overt misogyny, homophobic lyrics have remained a constant within the lyrical content of Rap songs. Besides Kanye West, many within the Hip Hop community have remained silent on the matter. However, Russell Simmons has now added his name to the short list of those within Hip Hop who sympathize with the gay community.
In a blog written for GlobalGrind.com, republished by The Huffington Post, Russell Simmons explains his deep contempt with the fact that the California Supreme Court has decided to uphold Proposition 8. Simmons is not only bothered by the outcome of this, but he is also furious with how the civil rights of oppressed individuals have been either granted or denied based on the outcome of votes placed in a ballot box.
Simmons explains: “If President Johnson had to take a vote, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have passed. If Congress took a vote in 1920, women may still not have the right to vote today. And if President Lincoln went to the polls, blacks would definitely have endured many more years of slavery. We trusted our government to make the right decision and protect the minority, and yesterday we, as a nation, failed.”
Simmons then goes on to challenge those within the African American community who are opposed to gay rights. “As an African-American, I urge my own people to take a deep look at our own struggles and not wish them upon anyone else. Simply, civil rights for all is about being connected as humans, united, tolerant, loving and brave.”
Although Simmons is disturbed by California’s upholding of Proposition 8, he remains optimistic. “In my heart, I know that marriage equality for every human being isn’t a question of if, but only a matter of when. I ask those who feel that giving freedom to others somehow binds you, to please take a good look at what you are standing behind. It is only through opening your hearts will you be able to see that by promoting freedom for all, you are unchaining yourself. I guess I’m an optimist. I have faith in people and our government ultimately to do the right thing. And to my brothers and sisters in California, I’m there with you every step of the way until that day comes…”
Reported by Ernest Crim.