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Tuesday, January 22

Pull your pants up or you're gay

Update: article amended because I didn't do my research and made some accusations that I can't substantiate and may be completely inaccurate.  See the comments.  Deletions indicated in strikethough, additions in red.

In response to the city of Dallas' campaign to end sagging pants, a Dallas rapper named Dooney da Priest wrote and released a song called "Pull Your Pants Up." While I would normally support all efforts to end the abomination that is excessively sagging pants what I believe to be a silly looking style, Da Priest employs homophobic lyrics to discourage sagging in youth.


From the song:
You walk the streets with your pants way down low
I dunno looks to me you're on the down low.
...
I think its gay, but some of y'all think its cool
Walking around showing your behind to other dudes.
In case you don't know, "down low" is slang for person who lives a straight life but also has secret gay relations.

To discourage sagging by implying that those who wear their pants low are homosexuals plays upon the homophobia that is already prevalent and well-documented in Black communities among young men. Yesterday, Democratic hopeful Barack Obama addressed a Black congregation and spoke out against the rampant exact kind of homophobia Da Priest perpetuates as a failure in achieving Dr. MLK's goals of equality.

Thanks a lot "da Priest" for perpetuating stereotypes and expousing hate speech.

The city of Dallas plans to erect a billboard featuring da Priest and his song.


Listen to the whole song on Da Priest's myspace page.

7 comments:

Rob Harman said...

" While I would normally support all efforts to end the abomination that is excessively sagging pants, da Priest employs homophobic lyrics to discourage sagging in youth."

"To discourage sagging by implying that those who wear their pants low are homosexuals plays upon the homophobia that is already prevalent and well-documented in Black communities."

I pulled those two comments because those are the ones that immediately stood out. The second one I'm going to address. That statement is incredibly inflammatory. When I read this I immediately think you are accusing the Black community of having a bigger problem of homophobia than anyone else. The entire statement is a huge ignorant generalization not backed up by any quantifiable evidence. While I may have an idea of what you mean many will take this as an insult and an accusation made towards the Black community, sort as if you believe somehow the Black community has a bigger problem of homophobia than anyone else.

I would also like to note that Obama's statement was made toward the Black community, for the Black community. Not for other groups to use it as cannon fodder for accusations of homophobia against the Black community. Which will just result in fighting and homophobia never actually being solved.

If anyone has actually listened to the song it's stupid. Which I'm sure few have. In fact he also mentions something that you are a Nigger if your pants are sagging and your are a disgrace to your race (as if Black people are required to carry the weight of everyone like them by having to represent their race all teh time).And the idea that sagging pants are way to display homosexuality is unfounded and unproved.

Here is where I have a problem with the issue. Who are the heads of the anti-sagging movement? Are they made up of rappers like Da Priest no? He is one of a few. Most people are old people, white people, people out of touch with modern hip-hop culture. If this was a movement that was happening organically I would be all for it. But it's not, it's a movement being led by people who are frankly afraid. They don't understand how the fashion trend developed, they can't understand why it spreads, they can't understand the people who like it. They are frankly out of touch with those who are letting their pants sag, so they want to control them. Which is bullshit.

I'm all about self-determination, and if the hip-hop community, Black America, and America as a whole wants to let it's pants sag than so be it. And frankly at this point just let it sag to show these out of touch people whose actually in charge of your own fashion trends.

Chad Carson said...

Who is at the head of the anti-sagging movement?

Well, I can only speak for the movement in Dallas. In Dallas, the movement started among black community leaders including the Deputy Mayor, CEOs, and several pastors. Perhaps this doesn't disprove your speculation that those working against sagging don't understand hip-hop culture, but these people certainly were not white. Again, the fact that they are black doesn't mean they aren't working toward the goals of the people in power, much like how Nagin won the mayoral election by building his platform goals toward rich white voters.

" While I would normally support all efforts to end the abomination that is excessively sagging pants, da Priest employs homophobic lyrics to discourage sagging in youth."

I going to back my statement here. Its my belief that sagging pants look ridicules. Are they particularly offensive, no. Should legislation be passed to prohibit them, no. But I'm looking forward to the day when the fad is over.

"To discourage sagging by implying that those who wear their pants low are homosexuals plays upon the homophobia that is already prevalent and well-documented in Black communities."

Here's where I went wrong to some degree. There's no doubt that homophobia is present in all communities, regardless of race. I hadn't done all the research I should have done before making the statement I did. It certainly does pervade popular culture that the black community is openly homophobic and that alone should have made me cautious. I did find several articles pointing out the homophobia in black communities, but that's not to say that white communities aren't just as homophobic. So no conclusion can be made.

My use of Obama's statement was completely legitimate. Yes, it was made to a black audience. How does that mean that I can't analyze it? That just doesn't make any sense. Rather, I meant it to be an illustration that Da Priest isn't fitting in with Obama's call for making the Black community that he was addressing right with the homosexual community that Obama acknowledged has been neglected/abused.

Chad Carson said...

And yes, I listened to the entire song and linked to the myspace page where it can be heard.

Rob Harman said...

"Well, I can only speak for the movement in Dallas. In Dallas, the movement started among black community leaders including the Deputy Mayor, CEOs, and several pastors. Perhaps this doesn't disprove your speculation that those working against sagging don't understand hip-hop culture, but these people certainly were not white. Again, the fact that they are black doesn't mean they aren't working toward the goals of the people in power, much like how Nagin won the mayoral election by building his platform goals toward rich white voters."

My original comment was "Who are the heads of the anti-sagging movement? Are they made up of rappers like Da Priest no? He is one of a few. Most people are old people, white people, people out of touch with modern hip-hop culture". No where did I explicitly say it was white people. I actually added commas for distinction, I believe the "anti-sagging" movement is being led by "people out of touch with modern hip-hop culture". Those out of touch people can be White or Black, in fact when I made that statement I was specifically thinking of old Black leaders. I am the very last person on the planet to assume someone is on my side just because they share the same skin color as me.

"My use of Obama's statement was completely legitimate. Yes, it was made to a black audience. How does that mean that I can't analyze it? That just doesn't make any sense. Rather, I meant it to be an illustration that Da Priest isn't fitting in with Obama's call for making the Black community that he was addressing right with the homosexual community that Obama acknowledged has been neglected/abused".

I never said you couldn't analyze it. I said "I would also like to note that Obama's statement was made toward the Black community, for the Black community. Not for other groups to use it as cannon fodder for accusations of homophobia against the Black community. Which will just result in fighting and homophobia never actually being solved". In other words I feel his statement just shouldn't be used for any accusations of a sort of greater amount of homophobia in the Black community. Which is often what people use statements like this for? It sort of goes back to the airing dirty laundry debate that Black leaders have had off an on. On the one hand we can and should openly discuss issues within the community, but at the same time if that is done outsiders will often use those issues to further degrade and misrepresent the community. This is not saying that you are doing this, I am just saying that is what often happens. One gets easily afraid it is happening again.

"And yes, I listened to the entire song and linked to the myspace page where it can be heard".

Just in case you took my comment about no one actually listening to the song I was referring to other people beside yourself.

Danielle Gaubert said...

though homophobia is a huge problem everywhere, in all u.s. communities, it does play out differently in the black community than it does in the white community. it has to do with how we construct gender--how we construct masculinity. we construct masculinity through economic and social means. in this society the hegemonic man or "real man" is white, rich, and heterosexual. when a man can't "do" masculinity through one means, he comepensates in another. so for black men, being rich and being heterosexual are more paramount in the construction of masculinity. for poor black men, being heterosexual is even more definitive for masculinity. that is why it is less acceptable for a black man to be homosexual--he no longer has his heterosexuality to construct his masculinity; he no longer has that access to power. (that's also why violence and misogyny play out differently in the black community than the white--they are ways to achive masculinity and power in spite of racial and economic disadvantages)

so that's my explaination of the difference in homophobia among the black community and the white community--this is not to say homophobia is not a problem in the white community, and it is certainly not to say that black people are "less tolerant by nature" or anything like that. it is a socio-economic reality. as far as documentation--there's a plethera of sociological, psychological, and feminist literature on the subject.

this is also part of why hiv is more prevalent in the black community and more black women are hiv-positive than black men--they are getting it from their homosexual and bisexual male partners who are not "allowed" to be gay.

and that's why this rapper thought his campaign to rule out baggy pants would be effective if he said it indicated homosexuality--it's a way of saying if you wear baggy pants you're not man enough, you're not black enough.

as far as the saggy pants thing in general, that (like most black fashion) is also connected to economics/class conflict. oversized clothing--pants, shirts, hats, sunglasses, chains, diamonds--is a way for black people to resist the oppression that renders them invisible; it's a way to say "i'm here, and if you deny that i will be so in your face that you have to acknowledge me."

so no, none of this is about black people being inately intolerant or unaccepting of homosexuality, or black people having inately bad fashion sense. it's about social construction of identity in our racist, sexist society.

Rob Harman said...

I'm just going to have to hold back on that last one.

Anonymous said...

Danielle definitely has the issue down to a T. However, I would just like to throw out there that the sagging pants phenomenon is so prevalent in African-American culture because it has its origin in prison culture, which, as we are aware-is disproportionally dominated by black men. In jail, for obvious reasons, you can't wear a belt. Hence the sagging. But however "DL" homosexuality is in black culture-in jail the degrees of sagging is actually code for how sexually available you are. So ironically, the sagging pant phenomenon really is very homosexual. But I don't think many people are aware of these origins...including da Priest. But who knows...