Eminem Responds to Anti-Gay Criticism
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, iconic rapper Eminem talks about the use of anti-gay slurs in his lyrics and responds to claims that he’s homophobic.
The rapper has been surrounded by controversy since his debut record in 1996, but as he’s gearing up to release his eighth studio album, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," out on Tuesday, he’s once again come under fire for anti-gay lyrics.
Rolling Stone (via the Huffington Post) points out that Eminem, 41, has performed with Elton John, supported same-sex marriage and has said a number of times in interviews that he doesn’t hate gay people. Nevertheless, he’s never been afraid of using anti-gay language through out his discography. In the interview, Rolling Stone asks why the musician continues to use offensive language and gay slurs like "faggot" in 2013, when more Americans are backing marriage equality than ever before.
"I don’t know how to say this without saying it how I’ve said it a million times. But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never really equated those words?.?.?.," Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, told Rolling Stone.
"To actually mean ’homosexual?’" Rolling Stone asked.
"Yeah. It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people," the rapper said. "And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career - man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself.
"But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all," Eminem added. "I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don’t know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke."
Rolling Stone asked the musician about Eminem’s alter ego, Slim Shady, and if he was using the hurtful language to annoy people.
"Well, look, I’ve been doing this shit for, what, 14 years now? And I think people know my personal stance on things and the personas that I create in my music," he said. "And if someone doesn’t understand that by now, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change their mind about it."
Eminem was slammed with criticism after releasing the single "Rap God" in October, specifically for its lyrics, which can be perceived as anti-gay:
"Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ’Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy."
The single received praise from many music critics, but Richard Lane, the media manager for the British LGBT organization Stonewall, disapproved of "Rap God."
"Compared to inspirational modern artists like Frank Ocean and Macklemore, who have vocally supported tackling homophobia, Eminem seems stuck in the last century with these outdated and deeply offensive lyrics," he sad.