8 Rap Stars Show Hip Hop's Changing Attitude Towards LGBT Rights

The hip hop community gets a bad rap (see what I did there?) when it comes to dealing with LGBT issues, and deservedly so. One doesn't have to look hard to find examples of ignorance and stupidity. But, thanks to protesting fans and increasingly progressive attitudes, things are changing. Some of the hip hop world's most influential voices are speaking out against discrimination. Here are eight rap stars at the forefront of hip hop's LGBT-friendly progress.

Frank Ocean

In a letter intended to be released in the liner notes of his second album, Channel Orange, Ocean wrote lovingly about a relationship he had with a man when he was 19. His coming out made national news, and Channel Orange debuted at #2 on US Billboard's 2000.

Jay Z

In Rolling Stone, HOVA backed Barack Obama's support of gay marriage, saying "I’ve always thought it was something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple."

Kanye West

After finding out that his cousin was gay, Yeezus said "It was a turning point when I was like, 'Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays.'"

Yeezy also answered critics questions about the way he dresses with the Kanye Westiest response ever: "There are lot of gay people that I dress way better than." Take that 50 Cent!

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

From their support of the You Can Play ad campaign aimed at erasing homophobia in sports, music and entertainment, to their "Same Love" song supporting gay marriage, this duo has LGBT cred.

Macklemore had this to say on the subject: "Don’t let being gay hold you back. If you’re straight, do not hold others back. Anti-gay language has no place in sports, or music. If you can play, you can play."

ASAP Rocky

To Interview Magazine, he said "One big issue in hip-hop is the gay thing. It's 2013, and it's a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It's crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid — and that's not the case. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they're gonna represent me. And if I'm gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way."

Fat Joe

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In 2011 during an interview with VladTV he put it quite succinctly. "You gotta hide that you gay? Be real! ‘Yo, I’m gay. What the fuck!’ If you gay, you gay. That’s your preference. Fuck it if the people don’t like it.”

Common

In 2007, Common said he would respond to gay fans' concerns by no longer producing homophobic music, saying to World Star Hiphop, "They was like, 'Why you keep disrespecting homosexuality?' I thought about it. I ain't here to judge 'em, so I just decided not to approach it like that."

Russell Simmons

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In an interview with Reuters TV today, hip-hop mogul and founder of the label Def Jamz spoke up for the LGBT community. "You still have the mirrors of our societal sickness: the homophobia, the sexism, the racism, the gangsta stuff. You still have all that, but that’s important because they’re not as homophobic as their parents. They’re not as racist as their parents. They’re not as sexist as their parents. You hear their language and its scares you. They’re not as gangsta as our government."