Prior to writing my next column, I had to pay tribute to somebody that has been such a great inspiration to me and in many ways paved the way for young LGBT people, such as myself, to truly make a difference...
I love my job! A simple declaration perhaps, side-stepping all the tremendously tedious and frustratingly brutal baggage that tends to come attached, but frankly all industry BS aside I genuinely do enjoy my work. That being said, however, perhaps one of the best parts is when I'm able to throw aside all expectations and explore the two conflicting sides of my identity. In my humble opinion Hip-Hop has always been about fearless self-expression....unless you're gay apparently (that's right, I said it)! One of the best things, however about being known for your big mouth, is the ability to speak the unspoken and shatter taboos with relatively little consequence - or at least not give a proverbial f*** about said repercussions.
With that in mind, it is understandable that a conversation with best-selling author Terrance Dean is always something to look forward to. Having not long put the phone down from an extremely inspiring and insightful conversation, I couldn't help but reflect on what he has done for not only the culture but also for many young LGBT people within the Hip-Hop community - myself included. I will freely admit that 'Hiding in Hip-Hop' changed my life and I know I am not alone in that admission; it not only broke down barriers and misconceptions, it shattered them and ever since Terrance has worked tirelessly to help build bridges and challenge preconceptions about LGBT identity. The main struggle for many young people, however, is not the social injustice but rather the internal conflict they face - and most notably the shame that sadly often comes attached. It is therefore perhaps worth mentioning that he has also worked extremely hard to reassure young people in that position today, such as my interview today, his 'I Love My Gay Best Friend Forever' contest and videos like this PSA:
Furthermore, it is also worth adding that he was so passionate about tackling this very difficult and incredibly important issue that throughout the duration of our interview, he did NOT once mention that he has just released a new book, which is very commendable indeed!
Look out for my next column on the subject of LGBT identity in Hip-Hop, complete with some very special insights from the talented Mr Dean (and of course be sure to look out for his new book 'Straight From Your Gay Best Friend'). After all, if we can't educate the culture then who can?!
To hear more about Terrance's new book or his 'I Love My Gay Best Friend Forever' Contest, you can go to his blog http://www.terrancedean.blogspot.com/