Kanye West is an outspoken artist -- that much we know. But we're never able to predict exactly where he will direct his passionate stream of thoughts. During an August 2005 interview with MTV News (exactly 10 years ago) for example, we witnessed one of his most important tangents to date.
During the extensive interview with MTV News' Sway Calloway, Kanye spoke about his music and his mom, but things took an interesting turn and led him down a path to discussing homophobia in hip-hop. This was a very bold move for a rapper at the time.
“Everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people,” he said, getting visibly upset. “Matter of fact, the exact opposite word of ’hip-hop,’ I think, is ’gay.’ You play a record and if it’s wack, 'That’s gay, dog!’ And I wanna just come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it fam.'”
Kanye explained that he wanted to take a stand after dealing with some homophobic issues of his own. Those issues started after he was mercilessly teased and taunted in high school.
“If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation toward it, you try to separate yourself from it so much," he said, admitting that he even used homophobic slurs at one point. "It made me homophobic by the time I was through high school.
"Anybody that was gay I was like, ’Yo, get away from me.’ It’s like I was racing to try to find that constant masculine role model right there, right in front of me. I would use the word ’f–’ and always look down upon gays.”
Thankfully, Kanye reached “a turning point,” when he realized that one of his favorite cousins was gay. Meeting his cousin's partner, and seeing that their relationship was just as special as any heterosexual couple's, really put things in perspective for him.
It’s clear that hip-hop still has a long way to go, in order to completely overcome homophobia, but the progress has been remarkable to watch -- with many thanks due to Yeezus for being so brave and outspoken.
This year, once again, Kanye moved the needle on hip-hop's perspective towards the LGBT community when he publicly supported Caitlyn Jenner.