But You Don’t Like Ladies

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When I saw people tweeting about the latest episode of TV One’s Unsung, I tweeted, “Freddie Jackson is the ‘You Are My Lady’ dude who wore heels & was on that one episode of Family Matters, right?”  I was quickly informed that he was also on an episode of The Golden Girls. Come on, homie, we major.

Anyway, after watching his special in full I started to remember more about him. “Oh, he had that other song they still play on the auntie stations, ‘Jam Tonight.'” Then there’s that other tidbit I could recall: He was gay as hell.

A few days before the Freddie Jackson episode of Unsung aired, there was a story posted on Ebony.com teasing the segment — basically Freddie answering longstanding questions about who he chooses to do the dip ‘n pitts with. I’m thinking, “So he’s gonna admit the obvious? Good for him!” As you can see, that didn’t happen. All he did was a praise dance around his preference.

As a regular person, Freddie Jackson doesn’t owe anyone an explanation about Freddie Jackson. However, when it comes to selling fantasies – and the more I thought about his catalog, the more clear it became – he’s made money off selling a hetereosexual fantasy. He might not be selling it well considering he spent much of the 80s boppin’ around in sequens and flailing his wrist like it takes salsa lessons, but he’s selling it all the same. So it’s natural for people to wonder. Doesn’t mean he can’t continue to sell the fantasy as a performer/entertainer, but the curiosity is natural. But again, he doesn’t have to tell anyone anything. I just find it unfortunate that he chooses not to, especially so many years later after his peak (maybe he’s pining for a comeback…good luck, pimp).

Actually, that’s not it. What I find troublesome is the language in which he uses to deflect rumors about his sexuality. Namely “I’ve never had to explain myself to my mother” and “God will judge us for who we all and what it is that we do.” Homeboy is giving typical church queen open closet realness with each quote. It’s one thing to profess that your private life is just that, it’s another to state such with this sort of air that signifies that if you are indeed gay, you will be judged accordingly by the ultimate judge for your behavior like everyone else. That mindset is indicative of someone who may very well lead a gay life with those who know him personally yet still feels some sort of guilt about it because in their minds it’s wrong.

Of course, his mama had him and his sister in church all day so that point-of-view was indoctrinated. For that, I feel sorry for him. I know what that is like. I read someone elsewhere chalk it up to age and there’s some truth to that. Unfortunately, I’ve found these sorts of sentiments can be found in younger generations of gay (black) men (who tend to find me…to my annoyance, but I digress). I just wish I could shake them all and say, “There’s nothing wrong you. Absolutely nothing.”

While I do appreciate little notes like these, I don’t think it elevates the conversation enough. Then again, getting people to actually read their Bibles before they condemn someone else would do a world of wonders in of itself. Baby steps. Afterwards, maybe then someone will listen to the heathens (and select clergymen, didn’t I say go watch For The Bible Tells Me So?) who want to talk about idioms, context, hyperbole and metaphors.

That way I can stop hearing holy gays one, two step over themselves trying to say, “Even if I was gay, let God handle it, ’cause we all got dirt.”

To Freddie’s credit, this segment posted exclusively online is a bit better as it shows that there is some nominal level of comfortability with homosexuality. There’s still evidence of discomfort. Enough surely to have an ex of Freddie is sucking their his teeth in shade and disgust. Yet another cliché constantly taken from the closeted gay’s codebook.

“I don’t like labels.”

You don’t like them because you are afraid, ashamed, and disgusted by the connotations with those labels that apply to you.

“We’re all human beings.”

Thank you, Bill Nye the Science Guy.

“You don’t have to label anyone’s life.”

Labels aren’t the problems; prejudices attached to them are. Openness can help fight them. Unfortunately, some of them will never be completely inescapable, but if you ever do want to get to the point where being gay is much ado about nothing for the most part, we’ve got to speak up.

Everyone’s not down for such a fight. Even still, God bless you, Freddie. Seriously. I know how hard it can be and while some of your language bothers me a bit, I’ll take you over Donnie McClurkin any fucking day of the week. Your ‘secret’ is about as protected as the color of the sky, though.

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