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It's OK To Like Macklemore But It's Also OK To Feel Weird About Him

I think it's important to discuss that Same Love, and Macklemore in general, probably wouldn't be as successful if he was a person of color. Or queer. Or both.

As I pointed out in BigDamnHeroes' earlier thread, the Black queer rapper Le1f, tweeted his frustration about Macklemore's win.


Say what you will about his claims that Macklemore's Thrift Shop is ripping off his song, Wut, or unhappiness and venting about the win but I think it's fair to discuss the fact that a cis straight white male just won a prestigious award for a song about gay rights. As others have stated (in BigDamnHeroes' thread and other places), when he won the award, the queer artist, Mary Lambert, who wrote and sang the hook, accepted the award along with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis but didn't get to speak. I don't think that was a purposeful slight but it's certainly worth noting.

I am not queer and don't claim to speak for for the queer community but after the initial success of the song, I couldn't help but think about how I would feel if White guy wrote an extremely successful and money making song about women's rights or the struggle of Black folks. The answer is: I would feel kind of weird.


As pointed out on Racialicious,

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeGeneres introduced them by saying, “Here’s why you need to care about our next guest. No other artists in hip-hop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality the way they have.” But, how can this be the case when there is already an entire genre, Homo Hop, comprised solely of queer hip-hop artists? Whether it is intentional or not, Macklemore has become the voice of a community to which he doesn’t belong in a genre that already has a queer presence waiting to be heard by mainstream audiences.


This flavorwire piece sums up my feelings well:

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.


I don't discredit the work that allies do and I constantly stress how important and valued allies are. I appreciate Macklemore's candidness about his White privilege but the conversation shouldn't end there.

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