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One of the models I work with is not hard, he’s not soft, he’s not effeminate, he’s not thuggish.
He likes men, he likes women, he’s about to have a daughter, loves to be fucked, and plays with dildos.
With his swishy gait and lilting falsetto, this brother was a universe removed from the menacing homothug portrayed in the media. On his self-distributed debut EP The Notorious Homothug, Tru Dawg raps about a day in the DL life over a house music beat.
“I call them thug princesses,” says Lewis Nicholson, editor of Glamma magazine. A self-proclaimed SGL (same gender loving) rapper who calls himself “out and proud,” Tru Dawg (Anthony Truly) has a day job as a fitness instructor, and he’s bared it all in the gay porn rags.
They may oscillate between male and female partners, but it would be a mistake to call such a brother a closeted bisexual, since it would imply that underneath the veil he’s settled on a stable gender identity. It may even be working toward that elusive phenomenon hip-hop heads call “flow.” Flow is when the MC locks his rapping into a groove, bringing the performance to a rhythmic, surging sense of balance.
Bernard Jones, owner of Freak Dawg Productions, a black gay adult-entertainment company, notes that he’s “seeing more people who just completely defy any category of sexuality.
He’s clearly someone who flows across a spectrum of sexuality and gender.” Kelvin, a middle-class friend of mine, has always had a penchant for hip-hop.
Bla-tino’s street-promo strategy targeted men who wouldn’t otherwise fraternize at gay-identified clubs: “ruffnecks, barriboyboyz, thugs, popichulos, shortys, manchismos, brolic mutherfuckers, ‘n your neighbor.” The door policy rejected fats, femmes, and anyone sporting an “AIDS look.” Implicit in this rhetoric was the fear of effeminacy, a terror that bubbles under the surface of epithets like faggot.One petit guy sported a wifebeater that inched up his torso to disclose a pair of Hilfiger boxer shorts and a midriff Scorpion tattoo.The sweat on his powdered brow was held in check by a Fubu headband, and his mustard-colored oversize Timberlands weighed him down like a pair of gravity boots.But DL parties suggest that that many hip-hop-identified MSMs, even the most flaming ones or those who don’t sleep with women, are rejecting classic identities in favor of simply coming out as “undercover”—despite the ambivalence and irony that underlie that strategy.In the narrative of the closet that’s dominated the gay movement since the late 1960s, men are supposed to be full of self-loathing about their secret sexuality until they emerge into the public like fluttering butterflies or strutting peacocks.
In the wake of parties like Courvoisier Urban Thug Night, this ambition has become more like an ironic pose.