For a long time, sexuality, or at least homosexuality and bi-sexuality, were taboo subjects to talk about in the music industry. Those artists who were anything but straight, either avoided talking about their personal life or they put up a front for the sake of not losing their fanbase. However, it seems as though we’ve seen a shift over the last few years as artists like Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks, Ke$ha and most recently Frank Ocean have talked openly about their bi-sexuality and attraction to the same sex.
Legendary music executive Clive Davis is releasing a new memoir titled, “The Soundtrack Of My Life,” and inside he reveals that he experimented with his sexuality after his second marriage failed. He also says that he believes that bi-sexuality is misunderstood:
After my second marriage failed, I met a man who was also grounded in music. Having only had loving relationships and sexual intimacy with women, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have that with a male, and found that I could.
I never stopped being attracted to women. Bisexuality is misunderstood; the adage is that you’re either straight or gay or lying, but that’s not my experience. To call me anything other than bisexual would be inaccurate.
Interestingly enough, in the urban music community, an artist who says that they are bi-sexual will either be labeled as gay or will be written off as trying to gain attention for the sake of publicity and album sales.
While revealing to the NY Times that she was bi-sexual, Azealia Banks said:
I’m not trying to be, like, the bisexual, lesbian rapper. I don’t live on other people’s terms.
Most believed she only said that to get people’s attention.
Music producer Jermaine Dupri recently stopped by Power 105.1FM’s Breakfast Club and when he was asked if he felt as though Frank Ocean “coming out” was a marketing ploy, he responded:
100 percent. I mean sometimes, I don’t even believe that, I believe it’s a marketing plan. A person that comes out and lets his sexuality be known is considered a person that has balls.
Back in 2009, when I interviewed Nicki Minaj, I asked about the bi-sexual references in her songs and her choice to dodge questions regarding her sexuality in interviews. I said, “There are some people that feel as though you gave black women who were afraid to be “free” with their sexuality a voice (especially in Hip Hop) but then you sort of pulled back. How do you feel about that?” Her response was:
I pulled back on a lot of things so to specify that is kind of unfair. When I started to see how influential I was, I toned a lot of things down. I want to think more before I speak, I want to think about every message I’m sending. I did not realize I had 10-year-old fans. When you are in that position, it’s your job to be responsible. I say what I say in my rap.
I believe that rap is art. It’s like people want art and life to coincide. Sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes you do not want it to. Sometimes you want to have an interview and not discuss anything about sex. That’s how I feel sometimes. I do put the block up because I feel like all people want to talk about is sex. I give you enough in my record. You know who I am and you can hear what I’m saying. It’s just too much.
Looking back, there are still a few critics who think that Nicki Minaj talked about liking girls in her earlier records for attention but would it be that hard to accept if she really was bi-sexual? Is it still taboo in today’s music industry or are we in a time when an artist can be accepted for being gay or bi-sexual without it ruining their career in some way or another?