For the past month, all the stars have aligned for Nipsey Hussle and the forthcoming release of his long-awaited debut album, Victory Lap. That is, until Monday, when Nipsey posted a photo to Instagram with a caption that quickly shifted from the empowerment of young, black youth to tone-deaf in a matter of characters.
“They gone feed us every image of our men and boys but this one. No hyper violent…No homo sexual…No abandoners….JUS STRONG BLAC MEN AND YOUNG Men,” Nipsey wrote.
There’s plenty to unpack here, but let’s start with the obvious question: Considering Nipsey Hussle is such a smart and prosperous businessman, why would he purposefully want to alienate a chunk of his fanbase?
Jokes aside, there are few things worse for a queer hip-hop fan, such as myself, than hearing one of your favorite artists say something homophobic in real-time. Listening to classic rap albums, you train yourself to reconcile the liberal use of “faggot” and “dyke” as a symptom of the times, but an Instagram caption in 2018 is a different beast.
Though 2017 saw the rise of BROCKHAMPTON, a 14-member boy band from Los Angeles who push acceptance as a tenet of their persona, a moment like this serves as a friendly reminder that we still have a long way to go before hip-hop as a whole is more accepting of those who are different.
To make matters worse, when asked by one of his followers to edit his caption in order to “practice inclusivity,” Nipsey merely doubled down on his stance, saying “I ain’t Changing shit I said what I said…”
I will no longer be pressing play on Victory Lap when the album is released by Atlantic Records on February 16, but I do hope that this caption can be flipped into a teachable moment and that by release day, Nipsey Hussle is able to clean up this mess.