Queer Rapper Mykki Blanco Arrested in Portugal

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday May 22, 2014

Queer gender-bending rapper Mykki Blanco was arrested in Portugal earlier this week after an altercation with a police officer who allegedly used an anti-gay slur towards the artist, according to Noisey.

Blanco was arrested at an airport while heading to a gallery show.

"I'm being arrested in Portugal for being gay," the musician wrote on Facebook on May 19. "Chilling in the Portuguese Police Station #FUCKPIGSGLOBALLY! Haha," Blanco then wrote, including an image of two police officers.

According to Noisey, Blanco was arrested from an altercation between the musician and his photographer and a police officer at the airport taxi stand. The taxi officials were reportedly giving Blanco a hard time, causing Blanco to ask a nearby officer for help. The cop, however, made things worse by allegedly responding with an anti-gay slur.

Blanco then told the cop to "go fuck himself" and the photographer told the officer to "fuck off." That's when Blanco was arrested.

Blanco explained the incident in a statement to Noisey:

...The altercation escalated because I waited in a long line outside the airport for a taxi and when I was told I could not use my credit card but only cash (which also is not true I later found), the taxi attendant and cop refused to help in any way. They were impatient and short with me all the while eagerly helping white tourists. A Portuguese woman in line with me even leaned over and whispered, 'I don't know why they are being so strange with you, there is a place inside to buy taxi vouchers you don't need cash'. I should have listened to the woman and went inside to find the voucher office but there is a part of my personality that really wants to see if people WILL actually be prejudiced, to see if maybe my PC west coast optimism about the world is being challenged by blatant discrimination and I was right. I asked the police officer where the voucher office was and I was told to "go away" like I was a nuisance and when I asked why he could not help but the other white tourists I was yelled at and told to "go away bicha" which is a gay slur [according to Urban Dictionary: it is an offensive slur meant to challenge a man on his sexuality], even though I had waited in the same line as everyone else

On Facebook, the musician said he was arrested for insulting a police officer, which is a crime in Portugal. Blanco had to pay a 600-euro fine.

"More than racism or even homophobia (which was also a factor) I realized that class matters and that an upwardly mobile black man isn't something people always want to see," Blanco added.

According to Facebook, Blanco has been released from jail and performed in Lisbon on May 21.

"I'm leaving Portugal after my performance," Blanco wrote. "Please stop writing hate speech, threatening to hang me, posting pictures of slaves and leaving gay hate messages on my page, I have seen a really disturbing side of this culture tonight."

Portugal provides many rights for LGBT people, like allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. There are also discrimination protections that cover sexual orientation and gender identity and same-sex marriage has been legal in the South-West European country since 2010.

Watch the music video for Blanco's "Wavvy" below: