A$AP Rocky has a simple life motto: “treat everybody equal.” And, on a day when the Supreme Court is taking up the first of two potentially landmark gay marriage cases, his message couldn’t be better timed.
That’s what he told Interview magazine in a new profile conducted by fashion designer Alexander Wang in which the “Goldie” rapper held forth on his love of high fashion gear, his breakout year and responsibility to use his newfound fame for good.
Specifically, speaking out about gay rights. “One big issue in hip-hop is the gay thing,” he said. “It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid, and that’s not the case.”
Rocky said that he felt the need to speak out not just because it’s the savvy move for his image, but because he’s stepped outside the environment he grew up in and realized there’s a bigger world out there.
“If I have an opportunity to say something positive, then I’m gonna take advantage of it, but there are two sides to that,” he said. “It’d be politically correct for me to say something good for the kids when I have a chance — say something that’s positive — just because it’ll help my image. But I came up in a world that was just crazy — and it was hectic and kind of radical at the same time.”
Rocky described how he easily moved from his rough upbringing in Harlem to the artsier scene in New York’s SoHo and Lower East Side, learning a few things along the way about equality.
“So now that I’m here and I’ve got a microphone in my hand and about 6,000 people watching me, I need to tell them how I feel,” he said.
On Tuesday (March 26) morning, the Supreme Court will begin historic arguments on whether California’s gay marriage ban is constitutional. It is one of two gay rights cases the court will take on this week. In the second, the court will consider the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
A$AP pointed to icons such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, who’ve helped blunt some of the anti-gay stigma that has traditionally hung over hip-hop. “We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that,” said A$AP of the slowly changing attitude in rap, which includes 50 Cent saying in an interview last year that he supported Frank Ocean’s candor about his bisexuality and that he was following President Obama’s lead in supporting gay marriage.
“I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me,” said A$AP. “And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.”
Support for same-sex marriage has reached all-time highs over the past year, with a majority (53 percent) of Americans saying they are in favor. Among people 18-29, support for gay marriage is even higher, polling between 74-81 percent.
“But now you see me — and other people like me — who are standing up and saying, ’All right, the jig is up. It’s not a joke,” he said. “These are actual people we’re talking about.’ It’s same as with racism. There was a time when someone would get on a plane and request to move their seat just because the person sitting next to them was of a different ethnicity or religion or nationality.
“But I don’t think my generation wants that. That’s how it used to be. People are racist because parents and grandparents are embedding that kind of sh– in their heads,” Rocky said. “But it’s 2013. Time goes on. We’ve moved past that. Everybody should be able to enjoy their life, because you only live once. So I just want to get it all out there and be the best role model that I can be, if people want to put me in that kind of predicament.”
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