Yesterday, I along with nearly every blogger with a permanent tan received an email from a publicist I presume to be from The Kenny Burns Show about a recent Miguel interview in which the singer declared his heterosexuality.
Full disclosure: I happen to really enjoy Miguel. I find his music refreshing and appreciate the fact that he is separating himself from the bulk of his male contemporary R&B peers who largely sing and act like they want to be a either a rapper or R. Kelly. And after seeing him out a few times in Los Angeles I find him to be a very friendly guy. It’s kind of hard for me to speak ill of him. Hard, but not impossible.
Wherever Miguel points his penis is his business so if he says he’s straight, good for him and whatever vaginal cave he enters. However, the manner in which he seeks to shut down speculation about his sexuality is extremely off putting. What he’s essentially saying to Kenny in his dismissal of the rumors is, “I’m not gay, I’m just worldly and cultured. Catch up with me, people.”
To be fair, it is true that
black men collectively are placed under a lot of pressure to behave and appear a certain way. I’ve said many times that these rigid and arbitrary standards to judge manhood tend to create a lot of unnecessary assumptions about people’s preferences.
Not surprisingly, a really short guy who rocks a hairstyle that only Zuul from Ghostbusters and the 1980s lesbians she influenced could appreciate is prone to be assumed as gay. Especially if he wears thigh high boots, mesh tops, and other clothing choices that might be perceived as gender-bending (high) or “questionable” (low). Be that as it may, I get the sense that even if Miguel found a time machine and snuck into Treach’s 1992 closet and dressed like he was about to tell every dude out in East Orange that pussy was his (hey, he’s the one who made the declaration in a song) some people would still think his ass was a same sexer. Some people who have never made that assumption about one of his main inspirations, Prince, included.
It doesn’t add any credibility to that assertion about Miguel, but that does make it his reality. He’s sure not helping matters with lines in songs such as, “Love you like a brother, treat you like a friend.” I hadn’t thought anything of the lyric when I first heard it though I’ve since realized plenty of my female friends who adore the song have. I think Miguel’s point that a lack of exposure to other cultures spawns unfortunately high levels of gay projections is valid (albeit he expressed himself in such a pretentious way), but I don’t think he’s necessarily the best example to make that case.
Speaking of projections, Miguel deep throated his boot on Twitter yesterday when wrote:
I have a problem with black people who throw out these baseless generalizations about their own. It aggravates the living hell out of me. Living in LA has made me more frustrated with this line of thinking than ever as I increasingly wonder if Uncle Ruckus spiked this city’s water supply.
I understand he’s half black, but this tweet is double stupid. More times than not, anyone who starts a statement with something along the lines of, “Black people do…” is usually incorrect. Or they’re trying to make a pointed comment about black folks that applies to any ethnic group.
Listen, if you’re going to vilify your own at least do so with declarative statements that are at least within five feet of the truth. Otherwise, you look like a jackass or in Miguel’s case, an ungrateful jackass. The wee bit of success he’s received is from black people like me who have monetarily supported him. Call it a hunch, but given the fact that his second single, “Sure Thing,” was #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts I believe it’s black folks mainly buying the single on iTunes.
So while he’s busy damning his main audience via social media he’s forgetting who’s largely putting money in his pocket both as an artist and a songwriter (he’s behind songs like Musiq Soulchild and Mary J. Blige’s “IfULeave”).
Even sadder is the fact that by tweeting that nonsense he’s actually falling victim to it himself. Maybe he’s frustrated and perhaps he should be. Unfortunately, you can’t teach people how not to be close minded then repeat that same mistake.
Yes, Miguel’s right when he tells Kenny, “We really have the tools to broaden our horizons.” As right as he may be, it’s equally important to note that before one goes out into the world to gain better appreciation of other cultures that person should respect the one they were born into. Maybe I haven’t been to Japan yet, but I definitely don’t need to travel far to know there’s enough people out in the world who hate black people. The last thing we ought to be doing is help them do their dirty work.