The Black church has, for years, been known for not being the biggest supporter of the LGBT community, but today, Kirk Franklin, a respected force in the religious community, has come forward to apologize on their behalf.
“I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the church that have been talented and gifted and musical, that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed… and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” he told The Grio. “We have not treated them like people. We’re talking about human beings, men and women that God has created.”
The “I Smile” crooner explained the Bible was not written as an anti-gay work, but rather, the opposite: “The Bible is not a book that’s an attack on gay people,” he said. “It’s not a book written to attack gay people. It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual.”
Bringing it all together, Franklin said that he just wants all LGBT-identifying people to know that God is in their corner. “I mean, you want to talk about things that God gets at… pride and jealousy and envy and arrogance,” he said. “But what we also see is God sending his son to save us all, because we were all… straight, gay or whatever, lost and in need of a savior, and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”
Jamaica is set to hold its first gay pride celebration next week. Security concerns prevent a parade, but organizers have planned a full week of events. This is monumental because Jamaica is a country that is known for extreme homophobia. According to the Human Rights Watch, Jam Rock’s LGBT population lives in constant fear, and anyone who listens to (and understands) dancehall may be familiar with anti-gay sentiment in a lot of the music where many artists make references to “burning the chi chi man,” etc. Marriage between men is is also illegal in the country, which is a holdover from British Colonial law.
However, the festivities will commence from August 1-8 in the nation’s capital city, Kingston. This is also concurrent with Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence celebration. Festivities will include a flash mob, an opening ceremony, an art exhibition, an open mic night, a flag raising ceremony, and a coming out symposium that will feature allies to the community, reports the Advocate.
“We will pause the negative vibrations from anti-gay lobby groups and focus on the strides we have made as a community. More importantly, we will recommit to initiatives that see us moving forward as one community,” said Latoya Nugent, the associate director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).
PASADENA, California (AP) — The creator of Fox’s prime-time soap “Empire” said he wants to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community with a depiction of the show’s lead character’s hostile relationship with his gay son.
Lee Daniels, who was also behind the movies “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Precious,” said that his own father’s hostility toward gays frightened him and he knows the same attitudes are being passed on from one generation to another in households around the world.
“What we’re trying to do is to give people the opportunity to see that what they’re doing is painful,” Daniels said at a television conference on Saturday.
“Empire,” the story of a strong-willed music family whose patriarch, Lucious Lyon, is portrayed by actor Terrence Howard, has gotten off to a strong start this month at the ratings-challenged Fox network. The series had the unusual feat of growing in viewership from its premiere week to its second, compelling Fox to quickly give the go-ahead to a second season.
During the show’s first episode, Lyon learns he has a fatal disease and is battling with his just-released-from-jail wife over which of their three sons will take over their music empire. Lyon is openly hostile to his gay son Jamal. During a flashback, Lyon is shown stuffing Jamal into a garbage can when he sees the boy trying on his mother’s high heels.
“I’m glad that I can show the African-American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street,” Howard said.
Daniels said that he believes if his father were alive today, he would have evolved in his thinking.
Jussie Smollett, the actor who portrays Jamal, said he’s been overwhelmed by the response to the story line that he has seen in social media.
If there are viewers who can see themselves in Jamal, “that’s incredibly dope and I embrace that,” Smollett said.
At a time the movie industry is under fire for its commitment to diversity — only white actors received nominations when last week’s Oscar contenders were announced — “Empire” is seen as making strides in that area.
Taraji P. Henson, the actress who plays Lucious’ wife Cookie, said entertainment executives take notice when shows dominated by minority cast members make money.
Viewers want to see people who look like them on television, Smollett said. They’re also interested in people that don’t look like them, he said.
“Right now we’re seeing people enjoy the culture of America, the culture of the world,” Daniels said. “We’re showing real life now.”
On Sunday night, Michael Sam made history. The college football standout and likely top NFL draft pick publicly acknowledged that he is gay, which would make him the first athlete in a major American professional team sport to announce he is gay at the very beginning of his career. Sam’s announcement is already one of the biggest sports stories ever, but the timing of his announcement could make it one of the biggest cultural stories ever as well.
Some of you may be scratching your heads right now trying to figure out why this story matters in an age in which the president of the United States is on the record supporting same-sex marriage, and NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay last year. But Sam’s story will likely have a far more significant impact than either of these milestones. Here’s why:
President Obama certainly has a measure of influence, particularly among black audiences. When he first ran for president, data showed an “Obama effect” among black test-takers whose scores markedly improved when he won. But influencing test scores in a condensed time frame is very different from having a long-term impact on community behavior. For instance, so far there is no data to suggest that the image of the president’s nuclear family, comprised of two married parents raising their children and two dogs together, has significantly altered the landscape within the black community, in which single parenthood has become the norm. That is simply to say that altering social behavior in a meaningful way is a tall order for any one man, but it may be particularly tough for a president.