Macklemore Raises Up Gay Rights in Hip-Hop

By Doug Rule
June 28, 2013 10:51 AM |

Is there a hot new pop act more gay friendly than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? At the least the Seattle hip-hop duo has definitely given fun. a good run for the LGBT money.

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Instead of simply starting a pro-LGBT nonprofit and organizing fundraisers for gay/marriage equality causes -- nothing simple about that, of course, and it’s all to the good, but -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have one upped Jack Antonoff and fun., putting their LGBT and marriage equality support in song. The duo has now registered a hit -- No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and climbing -- with the tinkling piano, tearfully sweet “Same Love” featuring vocals by lesbian singer Mary Lambert. “And I can’t change, even if I tried; even if I wanted to,” Lambert coos. “My love, she keeps me warm.” 

Meanwhile, in his rapped verses Macklemore ticks off nearly every way our culture slights being gay, from language usage and stereotypes to religious teaching and conversion therapy to hip-hop and cultural conditioning. “If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me,” he raps. Macklemore, born Ben Haggerty, also gives a shout-out to his gay uncle and the quest for marriage equality. “And a certificate on paper, isn’t gonna solve it all,” he reasons, “but it’s a damn good place to start…Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one. Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love. About time that we raised up.”

 

The touching video, directed by Ryan Lewis and Jon Jon Augustavo, even follows a handsome interracial gay couple from young first kiss to elderly last touch, with a wedding ceremony as the centerpiece. Amen, hallelujah, praise be.

“Same Love” follows on last year’s charming and fun breakout hit “Thrift Shop” featuring singer Wanz and its dance hit follow-up “Can’t Hold Us” featuring singer Ray Dalton. Both tracks topped the Billboard Hot 100, impressive feats especially considering that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are independent artists, not part of a major label. The band’s 2012 set The Heist also reached the No. 2 spot on the main Billboard album chart and has been certified Gold. But will that nearly unprecedented success translate into sold-out arenas on a fall tour, including a stop at the Verizon Center? It’s not clear if any of the duo’s many featured vocalists on record will appear on tour, though well-regarded hip-hop acts Big K.R.I.T. and Talib Kweli (formerly of Black Star with Mos Def) will be on hand.

If nothing else, the duo’s nearly unprecedented LGBT support should inspire brisk ticket sales among our community.

Tickets, priced from $34.50 to 52.50, went on sale this morning for the Monday, Nov. 18, show at Verizon Center.


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