As I was stumbling my way through the internet recently, I fell upon a YouTube video that I initially believed was part of the “weird” section of the internet. You know the part I mean. After the first couple minutes of watching it, I definitely felt bothered. Then it hit me. Why was it bothering me? Well, because I’m a hypocrite, of course! And chances are you are too.
The video in question is a remix/cover of the song “Different” by 2 Chainz. If you’re not familiar with rap/hip-hop music, or don’t like it, that’s fine. I’m a fan, but that’s because I happen to like music with a rhythm and no thought. After all, I listen to music to relax and not think.
It features a man, Jonathan Monroe, performing a verse (of his writing, I believe) on the “Different” beat, dressed as a woman. Well, not a woman per se, but wearing clothes, makeup, fake eyelashes — things accepted as feminine in American culture (his hair is his own as far as I can tell). He’s also quite talented. Have a watch, but be forewarned; this is NSFW based on language.
As stated above, the video bothered me at first. Something, some part of me, was adverse to a man dressing like this and performing.
But why? After all, I’m as liberal and open-minded as they come. I’m certainly not homophobic, and I talk pretty often about humanity’s need for inclusiveness and love. So why, then, did the video offend me at first, even slightly?
The answer is that, well, it’s different. Strange, odd, not normal. The fact is that human beings are wired to dislike people from other walks of life; in-group/out-group psychology played a huge role in our evolutionary history, and it’s very difficult for us to get past that now.
I’ve been called (many times) a “straight friend” or “straight ally” because of my work helping equal rights move forward. It’s a huge honor every time I am. It’s not an honor because they’re telling me that I’m doing something major for human rights; it’s because my work meant enough to them, as an individual, that they felt they should tell me so, and that means a lot.
Once I figured out that the video bothered me, I watched it three or four times in a row. What was bothering me about it? It was bothering me that I was bothered! In the end, I discovered it was the homoeroticism that was the likely culprit. Something about seeing (gay) male sexuality threw me off. But why? A girl dancing, or a straight couple kissing, wouldn’t. Two men kissing doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Why this?
Part of it may have been the venue. After all, rap music (if you know the culture) isn’t really very tolerant of homosexuals. Although certain members of the community have spoken up (very few) for not bashing people based on sexuality, as a whole it is not accepted.
If you’re a guy, did this video bother you? Not bother you? Girls, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you’d like to see the original song’s video, here it is. It features shooting at the cops, partying in a boat that is still on the trailer and the main rapper is wearing a matching cheetah (or leopard, I can’t tell the difference) outfit. Actually, I think my fiancee might have the same outfit, except that hers is all one piece, has slippers built in and is apparently really comfortable to sleep in.