OutRage! Campaigner Brett Lock: Ban Trick Trick

To be perfectly honest, until a few days ago I had never heard of Trick Trick, and if things go my way I shan't have to hear his album either. He has apparently banned me, as a gay man, from buying it. This is a request I'm most happy to oblige. But fear not - you don't have to be gay to avoid listening to Trick Trick: absolutely anyone can ignore him. He does seem absolutely desperate for attention though, but don't feel pressured to give him any.

Now I hear he told AllHipHop.com: "I don't like it [homosexuality]. Carry that shit somewhere else. It gets worse. It's just that every time that you turn on the TV, that sissy shit is on."

One piece of musical theatre (or "sissy shit", to borrow his phrase) he really ought to watch is Hairspray. Perhaps he'll absorb one of the central themes of racism in the music industry and pause for a second to reflect: there was a time when images of black people were strictly limited on TV. Does he have enough humility to see his own bigotry reflected in the bigotry of that time?

Through the Stop Murder Music campaign, there has been a lot of focus on homophobic lyrics in the music industry, particularly those that incite violence against gay and lesbian people. Artists like Buju Banton, Bounty Killa, Capleton and Beenie Man have seen their concerts cancelled and their tracks dropped from airplay all over the world. Their stubborn refusal to stop their violent anti-gay solicitations to murder has seriously damaged their careers and I often wonder if, for them, it's really worth it. Is it worth squandering your talent, your career, your art, your livelihood on promoting hatred and violence? So if homophobia doesn't pay, why is Trick Trick going down this route? That is a question only he can answer.

It certainly didn't help his old mentor and collaborator, Eminem, who faced protests and boycotts in the last decade for similar homophobic outbursts. At least Eminem, despite not actually having gone as far as making such extreme statements in interviews, had the good sense to do damage control. He apologised, he performed with Elton John, he took a stand against homophobia in his movie, Eight Mile.

As a gay activist, the question I'm often confronted with is whether I'd support efforts to ban artists like Trick Trick. Generally I don't think so. I think that free speech is important and that bigots, homophobes, racists and assorted cretins should be allowed to speak. More often than not, they damn themselves, but there's another reason to let them speak. Driving them underground makes it look like issues of racism and homophobia don't exist. If we sanitise the public arena, it becomes that much harder to drive home the point that minorities actually do face a lot of shit. I don't want that shit to be hidden from 'polite society'.

So I'd say let Trick Trick rant. At least until he crosses a line.

Read the rest here.