After all of this post-VMAs debate about cultural appropriation and when it is and isn’t OK, when will we get the think pieces about the irony of a straight rapper complaining, in a very popular song, about how the hip-hop community is generally homophobic when there are queer artists making very similar (and, in my opinion, better) music? Is it because the people who are listening to this kind of music would rather hear a song with a “social message” come from one of their own? It certainly makes it more convenient when you can feel all fuzzy and warm because there’s someone like you spreading watered-down positivity rather than some Other suggesting that your passive acceptance isn’t really doing much to change a damn thing.
It’s complicated, obviously. Sure, we need people like Macklemore to promote our causes, because there are unfortunately a lot of people who need to be validated by someone who looks and acts like them. So I can concede that the success of “Same Love” is a positive thing, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. When there are queer artists striving to make interesting and thoughtful art that represents them and their ideals, feelings, and experiences, it’s a true shame to watch what feels like a calculated bid for cheery, yet benign, mass appeal outshine the artists whose community these more popular acts are apparently representing.