I had the opportunity to be part of a story by Mikelle Street (published by .them on August 13, 2018) about Nicki Minaj, her new album Queen, and her problematic use of lyrics containing such slurs as faggots and sissies. Now, Eminem has dropped his new album, Kamikaze, as reported by E! News:

One of the more egregious parts of the song [Fall] comes when Eminem disses Tyler, The Creator, rapping, “Tyler create nothing, I see why you called yourself a f—-t, bitch / It’s not just ’cause you lack attention / It’s ’cause you worship D12’s balls, you’re sac-religious.” Eminem received criticism for using anti-gay slurs on his first two albums, as well as when he released “Rap God” in 2013. But Eminem has always denied being homophobic, once defending himself in a Q&A with Rolling Stone. “It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or a–hole. So, that word was just thrown around so freely back then,” he said, arguing that he says “so much s–t that’s tongue-in-cheek” and has no legitimate problems with LGBTQ people. “The real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.”

Tyler, the Creator, to be fair, has a checkered musical past as well; the fact that he may identify as queer compunds the problem. My take on this is very simple: I don’t support censorship or any restrictions on creativity. And in some instances, uses of certain words are acceptable in the appropriate context. But if there is another lyric that can be used to convey the same feeling or sentiment, use it in place of one that targets a particular community or whose use could justify or promote bullying, violence, self-harm, and even suicide.

Unless you are that 12-year-old gay kid who hears his favorite rapper spewing a term used by his classmates to torment him every day at school, you have no clue as to the detrimental power of words that you deem “tongue-in-cheek.”

Written by Mark Zustovich

After several years of working on Wall Street straight out of high school, Mark enjoyed nearly twenty years as an award-winning broadcast journalist and news director whose career included 1010 WINS Radio (New York City), WHWH-AM/WPST-FM, WSRR-AM, WRNJ-AM and the Star-Ledger (all New Jersey), as well as CNN Radio, ABC Radio, and the Associated Press (AP), which honored him as the Best New Jersey-based Correspondent in 2000, 2001 and 2003. He has spent the last decade as a nonprofit and government communications specialist. In addition to being a youth mentor and LGBTQ and social justice advocate, Mark is a writer, genealogist, biographer, photographer, two-time New York City Marathon finisher and a martial artist who aspires to perform on the stage. He is also an avid backpacker, hiker and camper. A Long Island native, Mark lives in New York City.

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