Summary: Seattle rapper Macklemore’s hit track “Same Love” provides a social commentary for the relatively absent discussion of homosexual love in mainstream hip-hop culture. In “Same Love,” Macklemore expresses his support for gay marriage and creates a space for listeners to reflect upon their views of both gay marriage and homophobia—online, in rap music, and in our daily lives. The video tells a story of struggle with sexual identity, acceptance, love, and marriage. The video follows a man from childhood to old age, unraveling a story about the difficulties of navigating queer sexuality in a heteronormative environment. In the song’s opening lines, Macklemore unpacks stereotypical assumptions that society holds of prescriptions that define “gayness,” explaining his own confusion with his sexual identity as a child because he was “good at drawing” and “keeps his room straight.” Macklemore’s music provides a counter-narrative to typical messages in hip-hop centered around sex, money, drugs, and objectifying women. Instead, he uses his music as a forum to spread awareness about social issues. He effectively flips the discourse from the glorification of homophobic language in mainstream hip-hop to a discussion about prejudice and discrimination. Some questions that instructors can ask students include: “What do heterosexual people take for granted at school dances? At parties? At family dinners with their partner? How do these events illustrate some of the privileges associated with being heterosexual? What are some of the ways we “properly” perform heterosexuality in high school? Do you think hip-hop is an effective medium to educate and create discussions about social issues? For another post that features hip-hop music as a forum to engage social issues, click here.
Submitted By: Pat Louie