Press Room

August 17, 2005

Category: In Communities of Color

Rapper Kanye West Speaks Out for GLBT Fairness

'West is taking a stand for millions of Americans who struggle with discrimination every day,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - Rap musician Kanye West speaks out against homophobia on an MTV special set to air tonight saying hip-hop is supposed to be about "breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people." West was prompted to speak out on anti-gay bias in hip-hop, and his own, after learning that his cousin is gay.

"West is taking a stand for millions of Americans who struggle with discrimination every day," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "From schoolyards to popular music, the word 'gay' is used as a way to put people down and mark them as different. His message of tolerance and inclusion reminds Americans that discrimination has no place in this country."

According to an Associated Press story, West said, "Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it.'" West called his cousin's coming out a "turning point" and thought to himself, "I love him and I've been discriminating against gays."

HRC's National Coming Out Project Director Mark Shields added, "West's experience emphasizes the importance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people sharing their stories with family and friends. But just as significantly, it also highlights the role that straight people can play in helping to promote respect and understanding for all people - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.