migos

Migos’ comments about Makonnen in Rolling Stone were ignorant. And most will probably forget them.

In what has arguably been the greatest two month stretch for the city of Atlanta, they’ve begun stumbling into February.

Let’s quickly recap January, shall we? Donald Glover won two Golden Globes for Atlanta, a show based around the culture & hip-hop scene of the city. The Atlanta Falcons found their way into Super Bowl LI after thrashing the Green Bay Packers. And finally, to top it all off – Migos, the fully realized form of Takeoff, Quavo & Offset had not only released their biggest single ever in “Bad & Boujee”, their Culture album debuted at No. 1.

This should be a victory lap for Migos, a fettering of praise and applause from music magazines, pop culture aficionados and more. But as February has started to show us, the karma Gods aren’t taking kindly to the home of Magic City, Blue Flame & more. The Falcons blew a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl on Sunday, replacing the “Warriors Blew A 3-1 Lead” meme for all-time. It should have been the only blip on the radar.

Then Migos’ Rolling Stone profile hit. It reads like standard copy, one writer peeling off thoughts from the trio during a marathon night in the studio. When the topic of fellow Atlanta rapper Makonnen recently coming out as gay comes up, Migos’ stumble. They effectively blew a 28-3 lead of good publicity right then and there.

And so I’m surprised by Migos’ reaction when I mention iLoveMakonnen, the local MC who just came out as gay on Twitter. “Damn, Makonnen!” Quavo bellows after an awkward interlude. I mention support I saw online for Makonnen’s decision. “They supported him?” Quavo asks, raising an eyebrow. “That’s because the world is fucked up,” says Offset. “This world is not right,” Takeoff says. “We ain’t saying it’s nothing wrong with the gays,” says Quavo. But he suggests that Makonnen’s sexuality undermines his credibility, given the fact that “he first came out talking about trapping and selling Molly, doing all that.”

He frowns. “That’s wack, bro.”

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“The world is not right…” – Takeoff

So, as you could expect – backlash ensued. And much like another apology that wasn’t an apology, Migos offered a mea culpa earlier this afternoon to apologize for offending anyone. Instead of saying their quotes were taken out of context, the Migos instead centered on the idea of Makonnen being gay in their apology. However, they left out referring to Makonnen’s credibility as a musician who rapped about selling drugs and trapping. Apparently one cannot be gay AND sell drugs, according to the logic presented here, even if Moonlight crushed that stereotype dead.

Hip-hop has contained and held onto an image of hyper-masculinity that has permeated for decades. It has also contributed to some of the dumbest, most illogical mission statements from people who could care less about it, even as more progressive mindsets have come in. Billboard posed a question online about whether or not homophobia in hip-hop was waning after the news of Makonnen coming out. I scoffed, because I knew better.

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Will America finally become progressive in regards to homosexuality & hip-hop? Not very likely.

A week or two after this Migos news blows over, it will be forgotten. People will return to dancing to “Bad & Boujee” and using homophobia slurs to demean and lessen people. What could have been a lesson in allyship for Migos, especially in regards to their “Whip It” brother has instead turned into their first bit of controversy since their pop culture ascent. And it will be a largely ignored controversy after today because it’s the controversial news of the day.

Was Migos wrong in how they initially viewed Makonnen coming out? Yes. Did their apology attempt to slide some good PR their way afterwards? Yes. But believing that a backlash against the world’s most popular rap group will lead to more acceptance of gays in hip-hop is sadly foolish. This is still America after all. It’s going to take more for people to ultimately give a shit, regardless of how rooted many of us have become in our thoughts regarding homosexuality. The Migos will take the L for the day. The world will still dance rabidly to “T-Shirt” and “Deadz” from Culture. It is what it is.

Photo: Atlanta-Journal Constitution

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