Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a Tyler, the Creator concert! I've watched his Adult Swim and VICELAND specials for many years now, but I was actually relatively new to his music when IGOR came out a few months back. It was a really phenomenal show that I won't soon forget. Here's a bit of my cell phone footage, taken during his performance of the hit single from IGOR, called, "Earfquake":
Tyler's openers were Goldlink and Jaden Smith. While Goldlink gave a pretty traditional hip-hop performance, Jaden kept using his time on the stage to announce Tyler as his boyfriend. If you've listened to IGOR, you know that Tyler has some bisexual tendencies, so it's not really a big deal for me to hear Jaden trolling in that way (or maybe the two are in a relationship - I don't know), but it made the whole experience feel a little different.
I guess I should make it clear that this was definitely a younger crowd - most folks I saw had X's on their hands, which meant they weren't allowed to drink at the bars. With younger crowds come younger perspectives, and it's probably safe to say that younger people tend to be a little more progressive, right? Am I becoming the old(er) gay man who's always going to be surprised by a little cultural competency in spaces I wouldn't expect to see it? Maybe I should have a little more faith in where society is headed. Quite frankly, "queer" events tend to be unattractive to me, because I don't like the idea of reinforcing the white-centric nature of most LGBTQ+ spaces. With that being said, it felt nice to find myself in a space where I could be me, naturally - 100% black and 100% queer. Shout out to the Armory for hosting this really cool event.
There's a clip from HBO's "The Shop" that's been circling around. In it, Lil Nas X is forced to address his coming out, which highlights one of my biggest challenges with my black people - our lack of ability as a race to make sure our spaces are ALL of our spaces. Here's the clip:
There are a number of reasons why I'm challenged by this clip. First of all, why is Kevin Hart acting like he doesn't understand black homophobia, considering his recent drama with the Academy Awards? Also, why was this even a topic of discussion? As much as I feel like I have to validate blackness to white people, I feel like I have to validate queer-ness to black people. The problem is, I refuse to align myself with any white-centered effort to cancel a black person. We're here for our brothers, but our brothers are (more often than not) not here for us. It's tiring.
Shout out again to Tyler, the Creator, for figuring out how to authentically (and naturally) create spaces both black and queer, simultaneously. I'm still working on it, myself.