On February 8th, 2017, a controversial Rolling Stone interview featuring Migos (the Atlanta-based hip-hop trio known for hit song “Bad and Boujee”) was published. During the interview, all three members of Migos make very offensive homophobic comments toward fellow Atlanta rapper iLoveMakkonen. In the article, the interviewer, Jonah Weiner, brings up Makkonen and mentions the fact that he had recently come out as gay on Twitter and how people online had gathered in support of him. That’s when things get messy:
“Bad and Boujee” was the crazy sh** that resulted. The track has put Migos at the forefront of a new wave of Atlanta hip-hop talent that includes friends Lil Yachty and Young Thug. All are wildly different MCs, illustrating the “diversity” that Quavo says is one of the things he most loves about Atlanta. 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 f***ed 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.”
What Migos is implying is that iLoveMakkonen loses all lyrical credibility due to the fact he’s gay. According to Quavo, you have to be straight in order to do the things that Makkonen has said he’s done in his music, and according to Offset and Takeoff if you support him in his coming out apparently you’re “f***ed up” and “not right”. This blatant display of homophobia is appalling, as are the stereotypes.
After receiving backlash, Migos then issued an apology via Twitter:
“We always been about being original and staying true. Staying true to yourself goes a long way. We are all fan’s of Makkonens and we wish he didn’t feel like he ever had to hide himself. We feel the world is f****ed up that people feel like they have to hide and we’re asked to comment on someone’s sexuality. We have no problem with anyone’s sexual preference. We love all people, gay or straight and we apologize if we offended anyone.”
One of the troubling aspects of the apology is the “I’m sorry if I offended anyone” card. Instead of apologizing for being homophobic, they apologized to the people who were offended. They didn’t own up to their actions and admit their wrongdoing. This was just some PR apology made up in an attempt to relieve some of the backlash they were getting. The insincerity in apologies like this astounds me. But wait, it gets worse.
The issue gets brought up again in their cover story for Billboard magazine, but this time R&B singer Frank Ocean gets dragged into it.
“Talking to Quavo, it’s clear he’s not outright homophobic. “If you real from the heart, you real from the heart,” he says. “That ain’t got nothing to do with no sex or gender. It’s 2017, and we all living.” But he still doesn’t quite seem to get it. “When [Makonnen’s] music came out I thought it was hard, so if he would’ve come out the same way…” He pauses. “I got a record with Frank Ocean [“Slide,” a Calvin Harris track featuring Migos and Ocean]. That closes my case.”
No, it “doesn’t close your case”. This is a perfect display of the “I’m not ____ because my friend is ____” schtick that we all know all too well. Sorry Quavo, but having a song with Frank Ocean doesn’t make what you said any less wrong. I hate to break it to you, but you can still be homophobic even if you have an LGBTQ+ friend. You said what you said, and I believe you meant it. Using Frank Ocean as a scapegoat will not absolve you of all homophobia.
We as a society need to stop using our friends/family/significant others who are LGBTQ+, POC, etc. as excuses for our ignorance. Knowing someone in said communities doesn’t make you any less of a bigot, bottom line. Start taking responsibility for your actions instead of defending your ignorance at the expense of others.