Target: Hip hop artist Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis
Goal: Thank hip hop artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for their outspoken advocacy of LGBT equality
The hip hop music industry has a long legacy of deep division over the question of LGBT equality and advocacy. Infamous derogatory statements by artists such as Rick Ross and Eminem cast shadows over the entire genre since the late 1990s, leading to widespread accusations of intolerance and homophobia.
Over the last few years, however, major shifts in public opinion and increasing blowback from pro-equality fans changed the expectations of hip hop leaders. One of the most successful artists to emerge during this period is Seattle-based independent rapper Mackelmore. Following years of substance abuse treatment in the early 2000s, Macklemore’s 2012 album with producer Ryan Lewis, “The Heist,” prominently featured a pro-marriage equality anthem, “Same Love,” with backup vocals from Mary Lambert. In addition to its commercial success, the song debuted during debates over Washington State Referendum 74 which legalized gay marriage in November 2012.
As an outspoken advocate for and ally of the LGBT community, Macklemore uses his platform as a successful recording artist regularly. At a recent concert in Omaha, Nebraska, however, he took his pro-equality support to a new more personal level. As the Human Rights Campaign reports, following Macklemore’s performance of “Same Love” the artist brought two “‘friends of a friend’ onto the stage.” One of the two women brought to the stage gave a beautiful speech about her girlfriend, declaring her “the love of [her] life.” After the crowd settled the woman, identified as Danielle Powell on YouTube, then proposed to her girlfriend. She said, “yes,” prompting an uproarious response from the audience.
Although norms concerning sexuality continue advancing throughout the hip hop community, the deep level of personal support and advocacy by leading artists like Macklemore remain uncommon. Thank Macklemore and Ryan Lewis not only for their consistent support of the LGBT community, but also for using their platform to illustrate the uncompromising love and commitment of one same-sex couple.
Dear Macklemore and Ryan Lewis,
The hip hop community has long struggled with issues of homophobia and widespread anti-equality views. While the norms of the industry are progressively changing and artists can no longer use epithets without backlash, the genre needs committed leaders to advance the cause of equality. Your song, “Same Love,” is a beautiful tribute to same-sex couples seeking marriage equality in America and puts the LGBT community center stage in hip hop. Your consistent advocacy as influential allies of the LGBT community is both unambiguous and enormously appreciated.
Your recent concert in Omaha, Nebraska, however, provides a particularly poignant example of pro-equality advocacy and compassion. After the performance of “Same Love” you brought two committed lesbian women onstage to enormous applause. When one of the women proposed to her girlfriend your stage became a powerful showcase for the pro-marriage equality cause: the question of gay marriage is a question of love and commitment, above all else.
Thank you for your ongoing support of LGBT equality, through your words and compassionate actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: russavia via Wikimedia Commons