Tuesday March 11, 2014
A group of activists called the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law has petitioned Uganda's Constitutional Court to dismiss the country's anti-gay law
. Activists say the law violates the constitution by encouraging people to discriminate against gays.
The case is lead by prominent lawyer and rights activist Nicholas Opiyo who says it could take years for the court to reach a decision.
Until the case is decided, Uganda will still hold one of the most aggressive anti-gay laws in the world. The month-old legislation, signed by Pres. Yoweri Museveni, allows jail terms of up to life for persons convicted of engaging in gay sex.
Tuesday March 11, 2014
"F*** OFF" Yes, that was the message in the memo line of a check out hip hop/soul singer Frank Ocean
wrote to Chipotle. The massive $212,500 payment is a return of the fees the fast food chain gave to Ocean for a version of the song "Pure Imagination". Chipotle never received the track and sued Ocean for the money.
Ocean's legal team, however, says there's more to the story. Attorneys say "When Frank was asked to participate in this project, Chipotle's representatives told him that the thrust of the campaign was to promote responsible farming. There was no Chipotle reference or logo in the initial presentation, and Chipotle told Frank that was an intentional element of the campaign. Frank was also promised that he'd have the right to approve the master and all advertising."
No satisfied with Chipotle implying that he was a no-show, Ocean posted the Wikipedia definition of "defamation" on his Tumblr along with an image of the cashiers check
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Engaged same sex couples in Illinois will no longer have to wait until summer to apply for a marriage license. According to Attorney General Lisa Madigan county clerks statewide can begin issuing licenses months ahead of schedule.
How Gay Marriage in Illinois Became Legal
Illinois legalized gay marriage through a state law, but last month a federal judge in Chicago ruled the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. However, the ruling only applied to Cook County.
In the confusion, Madigan took the opportunity to clear up the legal and legislative mess by moving operation of the statewide marriage bill ahead. This way the judge's ruling stands and the voters get their request at the same time.
In a statement of solidarity, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn urged county clerks to comply quickly with Madigan's request.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Since the early 70s, inter-artist feuds have fueled the game of rap and hip hop. Even the word "rap", according the Oxford Dictionary, means to "strike (a hard surface) with a series of rapid audible blows". We may measure the success of a hip hop artist today by how many Bentleys they have with millions in the trunk, but when hip hop began it was the lyricist who could properly dis his opponent that won ultimate credibility.
Little has changed in decades to pass. So it's of no surprise that 50 Cent took to Instagram
to call out rivals Diddy and Rick Ross in the latest of an old quip about their sexuality. To appear as or be shown to be weak is a sure way to lose a lyrical battle based on the 'hardness' of street authority.
Still today, this impermeable shell of a hip hop man can only live in one image: a hard worn, larger than life, ultra masculine figure, ready and willing to defend his generalization in inevitable challenges toward the top of the rap game. And still today, despite much proof otherwise, the image of gay man is a hip hop star's most powerful weapon since being (or even appearing) gay is seen as the ultimate sign of weakness.
"I ain't saying nothing, but something ain't right. Lmao," 50 captioned on Instagram, showing an obviously well planned montage of mogul Diddy embracing former record exec Steve Stoute with what appears to be him nearly kissing Rick Ross in another photo. The final seal: Diddy is licking his lips in a freeze frame inches away from Ross's lips. He and Stoute are also both wearing pink shirts in what looks like a department store couple's photo.
I ain't saying nothing. It would appear that 50 is saying plenty by posting the photos, which his conscience or his well paid Vitamin Water funded PR agent realized soon after when it was taken down. However, the damage had been done. Most in the hip arena, artist and fan alike, will point their eyes toward the latest prank in a long running rap feud. They will blog heavily about the incident. The picture will circulate, as will the rumors. Columnists and fans will debate Diddy, Ross and Stoute's next moves. If stereotype would have it correct, there may even be some violence involved, although it's likely to be on streets neither 50, Diddy, Ross or Stoute have seen in a long time.
And in all of the hottest hip hop commotion, few will notice how fast homophobia has once again spread through the hip hop community, now frequented by all races and ethnicities. This time, homophobia is literally in the water. 50s. It lives in the innuendo and message he's the latest to circulate through our every day lives: gay men are weak.
Most will take for granted that 50's strike will last far longer than the pic on Instagram. His rivalry with Diddy and all will surely be reinforced, but so will the imagination of gay men as weak, pink wearing, 'soft' men, the anti-man of hip hop. Those that are gay on the streets that rap wholeheartedly cherish will vanish further into isolation, as millionaire (sorry billionaire) bad boys battle it out in the comfort of their Bentleys. Pushing send is the new violence in hip hop and its repercussions will never be felt by the so-called kings of the game.
Even if it was rare, at least in the 70s there was opportunity for a direct hand to hand between those that were gay and those that claimed to own the mic and thus the streets. Today, it's all played out on our smart devices, which to the benefit of gay men and their allies is no longer a one way conversation.