Putting This to Bed Once and for All: “No Homo”
Listen, I am sick and tired of people taking things far too literally and engaging in an all-out assault on everything that is not politically correct. Especially as relates to things that are “hood” in origin and have a particular context. I don’t care how sociologically-inclined you are, how etymologically-sound you are and how much you like to argue, dissect and trivialize everything (and BOY do I know people who do this for a LIVING, it seems). The fact of the matter is, the saying is not going away, you can’t make people stop saying it, and no matter how much some idiot will try to make it a hate crime (oh, it’s coming), it’s not going to change. If you ain’t from the hood and don’t understand that it is JOKES and not “offensive to gays, staaaaaaaappppppppp!!!” then you will always find a problem with it.
As is the case with anything with foundations in the hood; either people will cast it off as insulting, offensive, or try to twist it and make it palatable to the masses.
SORT OF LIKE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS DONE TO MY BELOVED HIP-HOP.
But that’s another column for another day.
Jefferson Houses. Harlem. Early 1990s.
As is the case frequently, a lot of the slang, style, swagger/aura (whatever you wanna call it), quirks and colloquialisms that come out of New York in general originate in Harlem. Like it or not, this is fact. Don’t think so? Rewind to 2002-2004 when dudes in every big city nationwide were decked out in pink: pink t-shirts, pink shorts, pink Timbs, pink fitted… all odee, but where did it begin? Harlem. In the hood.
Look at “Lil Wayne” 1999-2005 vs. 2006-present. He comes to Harlem in the summer of ’05, leaves (fake) flagging (Blood gang), using the slang that he heard while recording with Juelz Santana and Cam’ron (and still does today; heard him say “Slime” in a song late last year — RIP OFF FROM VADO). You feel me.
The phrase “No Homo” began in the early 1990s as a lighthearted joking means to disqualify something that SOUNDS gay. It doesn’t mean you’re “in the closet”. It doesn’t mean you’re “thinking gay”. It isn’t OFFENSIVE TO GAYS, nor intended to be. If they are offended, then so be it, all of us hear things that are said around us throughout the day that are offensive to some of us more than others. People have free speech. Deal with it. There’s no need for rallies and censorship on songs played on the radio or TV shows because ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE’S whims and desires are catered to more than anyone else’s.
I still do not understand how people can find a way to make it offensive to begin with.
First off, if anything, gays should be just as wary as straight men are (in particular) about down-low cats like a certain radio personality who shall remain nameless, but was exposed for his trysts with transvestite prostitutes for YEARS down in the Christopher Street/Rainbow Alley area. Hey, to each his own, if that’s what he’s down with, then so be it. But most straight men have been around guys, especially at gyms, in the showers, at bars, etc., who have given off this “different” vibe, all while trying to overdo this macho exterior. Some straight up violate with it.
SIDE NOTE: I ain’t never been with, nor ever will be with the butt-slap thing that dudes have historically done in sports. High-fives, creative handshakes (not too much touching to where it becomes like a massage like your girl would give you) and side bumps are KOSHER. I don’t need to do more than that.
NOT WAVY EXAMPLE:
Guys offering to give guys massages on the subway or bus, or on a long LIRR/MetroNorth train ride? C’mon son. I can get a chick to do that, or stay in pain, but thanks for looking out for the kid though. Guys sliding their feet in another dude’s face while he drives a cab? WHAT IN GOD’S NAME? I’ve heard it all now. When these types of things happen from a guy who, by any other measure, doesn’t appear to be or outright says he’s gay, makes you feel uncomfortable. Gays should be offended by the down-low types who perpetrate one thing and then live the life of gay people while trying to avoid any public attention to the latter. Gays have to put up with a ton from society and I can’t knock them for that. If you choose to live your life that way, which is your right — and know the kind of treatment you will get from a large swath of society — then you deserve a modicum of respect. I will say that MOST gay dudes that I know tend to be respectful towards me and don’t do any of that shit that is flat out violating. As long as that doesn’t happen, I have no qualms with them nor their lifestyle, because it is ultimate up to God to judge each of us, not ME.
Chicks kill me with the faux-advocating though. They swear they can’t understand why it bothers straight men at times, qualifying it with the classic “If you’re comfortable with your sexuality…” or “A grown man shouldn’t have to say…” and all that balderdash, but let a non-curious (that’s the female term for DOWN-LOW) chick run up on Butchy Betty and be around a few of them for long periods, while Butchy Betty and Burly Bertha are comfortable doing what they do, and see how uncomfortable they become.
YEAH I THOUGHT SO. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THAT BULLSHIT.
Back to what I was saying.
Here is an explanation from the legend who made it popular outside of Harlem/NYC in general:
It’s NOT that serious DEAR GOD. Passive-aggressive people like to shout down everything that they deem to be offensive, but the minute they (the “faux-advocates” mostly, in this case, frequently) do things that others don’t like, their sentiment is “Oh well, deal with it”. Don’t believe me? Say something that isn’t “politically correct” and then rationalize it with them such a person inevitably becomes enraged and rails against you and your “intolerance”.
See how off topic something that is so dismissive and comical, and downright meaningless at its core can become the spectre of some social debate? People kill me with this.
Gus Johnson & Spike Lee:
Gus is THE MAN, BTW. Not just for this, but because, well, Gus is THE MAN.
Listen, I am a tactful person. I don’t engage in socially-destructive behavior and I don’t attack people along the lines of lack of synergy on particular issues. I don’t attack people physically or verbally because we disagree politically, musically, religious faith-wise, where they live versus where I live, or if they are LGBT. Truth is, I have a few gay and lesbian friends. So f’n what? The ones I’m cool with are actually good people and have looked out for me, as I have for them. And everyone who knows me knows I’m antithesis of a hypocrite, so why would I espouse one subject and then be about anything BUT in the next breath? Calm down, people, it’s not that serious.
You want to know who else kills me on this issue? Dudes who can’t start a sentence without saying “M’nigga!” or end it with a mush-mouthed “Yumsayin???” (or create a segue between each incoherent and unintelligibly-conveyed “thought” with the same amalgamation of SIX words, somehow) trying to say a man is not a “real man” if he has to say “no homo”, “pause”, “no limpwrist”, “no unnamed local radio DJ”, etc. “Has to” being the key word here. No one HAS to, but as human beings, we like to JOKE.
And it is NOT at the expense of gay people DEAR GOD. STOP IT WITH THE MADNESS. This is the last time I’m speaking about this.