R. Kelly and Andrea Kelly’s daughter, Jaah Kelly, graced the cover of Paper Magazine for pride and discussed coming out as a transgender man four years ago, and now a lesbian.
“When I posted that video, I was so scared,” says Jaah about a post she made, coming out as trans. “When I was younger, I always felt like I had to make a choice. I knew that I was a girl who liked other girls. But because of what I was taught, I felt like the only way you could like another girl is if you were a boy.”
During the interview she told a story about the time she attended Chicago pride with her sister Buku Abi after identifying as a transgender man and was called out for using the women’s bathroom.
She fell into a deep depression after coming out as trans and checked herself into a mental facility for three weeks. But she feels better now identifying as a lesbian.
“I identify as a lesbian, I know I like girls, but that’s as far as I’ll go to label myself,” Jaah said. “It’s up to you how you see me. Either way, I don’t care. I stand in my truth, and why does my truth need a label?”
We hope the entire LGBTQ community and those that consider themselves allies had an amazing Pride Month for the entire duration of June!
As the Pride festivities comes to a close today, we wanted to identify that longstanding issue between those who proudly identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or any nonconforming sexual identity and the heteronormative and oftentimes hyper-masculine behavior that Hip-Hop has been built on for decades now, while also standing firmly against any kind of hate that may have resulted from that complicated relationship. Thankfully, we are progressing into a more inclusive era of human interaction, and there are many rappers who are helping to lead the way into a brighter future.
Keep scrolling for a look at five rappers who we feel will push the culture of Hip-Hop into a world that embraces the LGBTQ lifestyle:
As one of the forefront members of the highly popular “boyband” rap collective known as Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract has made it known countless times that he in fact a proud gay Black man. The 22-year-old came out in 2016, and proudly boasts his longtime boyfriend Jaden Walker on social media. Plus, he was one of the stars in Calvin Klein’s recent “I Speak My Truth in #MYCALVINS” campaign. Keep speaking it, fam!
One of the illest MCs to touch a mic in today’s era of rap, male or female alike, Young M.A is truly putting on with an unapologetic take on what it means to be a lesbian in Hip-Hop. The way she handled that unfortunate back-and-forth with Kodak Black earlier this year alone was worthy of respect, and we see her continuing to put on for the “AGs” that can finally see themselves represented in both her lyrics and personality. The story of her sexuality is broken down perfectly during her 2018 interview on Noisey’s The Therapist seen above.
You don’t have to “be” gay to show your Pride — that’s essentially what an ally is. Lil Uzi Vert has been doing so since his first run-in with mainstream success just a few years ago, especially with his flamboyantly fly outfit choices and mannerisms. Just a few days ago, he flexed on IG (seen above) rocking Nike’s latest BETRUE. collection for 2019, complete with a rainbow-themed tee and the new Air Max 720. Looking good, fam!
Even with a jaw-dropping girlfriend and beautiful newborn baby boy — what’s good young Charlie! — Taylor Bennett is very vocal about the fact that he is, in fact, bisexual. It’s a topic that plays a lot into his music, visuals for singles and most recent interviews, and he’s proving that sexuality doesn’t always have to fit into the box that society so often likes to put people in. Along with his big bro Chance the Rapper, Taylor Bennett is a much-needed voice in revolutionizing rap for the better.
Sometimes it starts from the top, and it doesn’t really get much higher than Shawn Carter when it comes to the rap game. As his mother Gloria Carter identifies as a lesbian herself, JAY-Z has one of the most personal connections to the LGBTQ community. However, the power he holds in changing the stigma of homophobia in Hip-Hop lies in the fact that, quite honestly, he used to be one of the main perpetrators of emasculating his foes with “F bombs” and derogatory bars during the earlier part of his career. It’s his strength in seeing those flaws, standing in his mistakes and ultimately being able to rap about them like he did with “Smile” off 4:44 (seen above) that truly makes him the biggest pioneer in bridging that gap between the two warring worlds. We see you, Hov.