Taylor Bennett Says Fellow Rappers Supported Him When He Came Out Publicly As Bisexual

Coming out as gay or bisexual is not an easy thing to do, especially in Hip Hop, which still has a stigma attached to anything deemed overtly gay.

That’s always been ironic considering the music industry as a whole is filled with gays–some open, some not-so-open, on every level of the industry.

But for rappers, the general rule for many years was: don’t ask, and you damn sure are better off by not telling–unless you don’t want to make it in the game.

In recent years, however, some straight rappers such as Young Thug have rode the wave of a pretend-gay persona to commercial success and notoriety, another irony considering no actually LGBTQ male rappers have found his level of success.

But times are changing baby, and so is society, and so is Hip Hop.

Taylor Bennett, little brother of Chicago’s Chance The Rapper, said he found acceptance from fellow rappers when he made the decision back in 2017 to come out as an openly bisexual man.

He did so with a tweet:

According to Bennett, that one tweet was his first acknowledgment that he’s bisexual to not just his fans, but his family, friends and the rest of the world.

Bennett shouted out a few fellow rappers for not switching up on him as a result of him coming out, including Vic Mensa, and particularly Lil Yachty, who Bennett credits with bringing attention to issues facing gay youth on his album Teenage Emotions.

Yeah, I’ve received a lot of support. Nobody that loves me or cares about me or shared a friendship with me has turned on me in the hip-hop community. If anything I’ve gotten a lot of support. Instantly, Kehlani hit me up, Vic [Mensa] hit me up. Just a lot of different people that are in the industry that are supporters. But I’m also still really good friends with Lil Yachty; he’s never changed. Actually, he’s helped promote for our community with his last project, Teenage Emotions. So there’s artists like that that media tries to portray as these aggressive, savage, misunderstood, ignorant rappers, and that’s not what they are at all. A lot of them are very conscious.

I’m really good friends with Offset, I just did this track with Thug, Uzi’s my homie. I’ve never, ever felt uncomfortable. And the things that they’re doing right now, especially in the Atlanta scene—no matter if it’s how you’re dressing or the colors that you wear—they’re really saying be yourself. Do your thing. And that’s one thing that I respect about Atlanta fo’ sho’. It’s their style, and I love that about them.–XXL

Bennett previously said he found his strongest support from his brother Chance, who himself has described the unity between the siblings as being like “one dude”.

Bennett’s new 6-track EP is called Be Yourself, an obvious reference to the freedom he’s found in being true to himself and others, and that’s a message he shares with people in and out of the music industry.

Not specifically to just artists, or anybody, but I would say the most important thing is you gotta’ be happy. Nobody else is going to push you to come out; nobody else is gonna’ force you to come out. Nobody else is going to be able to give you the comfortability and the satisfaction that you feel when you’re open and you’re actually living your truth. And if you’re worried about friends, if you’re worried about family, if you’re worried about any of those things, those people will love you for who you are. And if they don’t it’s a tough world, but you gotta’ be yourself. You gotta’ be who you are in this world. That’s word to Denzel Washington.

Bennett also touched on the album’s cover art, which features him almost nude save for a rainbow thong–an unfortunate pic in my opinion because Bennett could use some gym time, and maybe he could stay away from those Chicago pizza shops too.

No shade.

Tracklist:

1. Be Yourself (Feat. Bianca Shaw)
2. Rock N Roll (Feat. ZXXK)
3. Hype Me Up (Feat. Supaw BWE)
4. Better Than You Ever Been (Feat. Young Thug)
5. Everything I Can’t Handle
6. Know Yourself (Outro)

The day before I turned 21 I came out as openly bisexual, so that’s the idea of the balloons and the birthday hat. But I’m also not smiling because I’m not happy. Because I’m the only person that I feel can be by myself and be myself. And that’s also kinda the point of the cover art. When I was thinking about this cover art, it was crazy. People could bash me, people could say just all types of crazy things. But what I realized is that leaders don’t think about that and if they do think about it, they don’t fear it. And if they do fear it, eventually they become brave. I wanted to do this for every single person in five years so that shit is just okay. Or in two years. I mean, I guess it’s OK now, because it’s happening.

And then there was this picture I remember seeing as a kid: It’s a sad clown sitting in the same pose. Something about that really struck me. I don’t even know what it was about it but I think it was how ironic the sad clown is.

And the thing about [the cover], too, the rainbow underwear. Clowns also wear rainbow, so it was a pretty deep context, but the biggest reason for picking the cover art was for a roundtable discussion. If you’re a homophobe and you see that picture, you gon’ be like “Ay man, this shit gay, bro.” But y’all talkin’ about it. And that’s the first start of it.

Taylor Bennett’s Be Yourself drops July 12.

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