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“‘Animal Style’ is a song I did for many reasons. The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out…. I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip-hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Is the love shared by two people of the same gender really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?”
Los Angeles underground rapper Murs, on his video, “Animal Style,” the latest single from his album, Love & Rockets Vol. 1: The Transformation. In the video, writes Danielle Levy at the Billboard.com’s The Juice, “Murs — who identifies as straight — plays Roderick, a closeted 17-year-old high school student in love with his openly gay boyfriend Jonathan. The video traces the unstable love story of the two conflicted boys — an ultimately tragic tale filled with moments of self-hatred and religious confliction that leads to an altogether disturbing and unexpected ending.”
Throughout the video, Murs sports a “Legalize Gay” T-shirt, and engages in a brief, tender same-sex kiss in the video’s closing shot. It’s “a prominent and powerful heterosexual endorsement of gay rights in a community that has stayed mostly silent on the issue in the past,” writes Levy.
Murs is the latest rapper to try to bridge a gap between the hip hop community and its perceived homophobia. Last month, Frank Ocean revealed that he’d had affections for a man in his younger years. The revelation put Ocean’s album into the sales stratosphere, and while some have waxed cynical on whether or not it was a marketing ploy, Ocean’s intentions appear to be genuine.
Watch the full video at Soundwaves.
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