Jay-Z rips anti-gay marriage movement as 'discrimination'
Vice President Joe Biden generated headlines -- and inspired a few jokes -- when he credited sitcom "Will & Grace" with educating the American populace on gay rights. Now it's Jay-Z's turn to make headlines.
This week, the hip-hop star-entrepreneur and longtime supporter of Barack Obama echoed the president's sentiments on the topic of gay marriage. Denouncing gay rights "is no different than discriminating against blacks," Jay-Z told CNN. "It's discrimination, plain and simple."
Jay-Z is one of the most powerful figures in a genre that over the last decade has been shedding its perceived anti-gay tendencies, a dialogue that went mainstream after the union of Eminem and Elton John at the 2001 Grammy awards. To be fair, Jay-Z himself used an anti-gay slur more than once in his early works, but he left no room for misinterpretation this week when he stated that the refusal to allow gay couples to wed is "holding the country back."
Jay-Z could prove to be a powerful ally. For one, his "Empire State of Mind" has positioned him as a modern-day Frank Sinatra, and his daughter with Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, is treated like American royalty. But more important, American voters remain divided on the issue, and ballot box polling has shown that gay marriage is a particularly contentious issue among African Americans. The Times recently reported that in "2008 more than 9 in 10 black voters in California backed Obama, then overwhelmingly voted for Proposition 8, the successful ballot measure to overturn the state Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex marriage."
Jay-Z has been making the media rounds to discuss the two-day Made in America festival he'll be hosting Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia. No doubt by then, more artists will have weighed in with their thoughts on the upcoming election, but one topic won't be up for debate at the event.
"What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love," Jay-Z told CNN. "That's their business."
-- Todd Martens
Image: Jay-Z at the press conference for his Made in America festival. Credit: Associated Press.