Yesterday, CNN reported that Yitz “Y-Love” Jordan, a black Jewish rapper from New York, had come out of the closet. Jordan admitted that doing so might very well cost him some fans but, at the same time, he was never one to hide his sexual orientation. Rather, he has “…always known when to be in the closet and when not to.”
“I feel like I have wasted years of my life worrying that my ‘public reputation’ will be negatively impacted by my identity. Now that I’m over 30, I simply can’t care as much about what people think, despite the prospect of alienating the community I dedicated my life to as an artist and a man. My hope is it will open their eyes – and hearts.”
Originally of Puerto Rican and Ethiopian descent, Jordan converted to Hasidic Judaism in 2000 before studying Jewish values and beliefs in Jerusalem.
I’ve already stated my support for the LGBTQ community in my article regarding Against Me!’s Tom Gabel. I’m also cautiously optimistic that Obama’s support for gay marriage will result in something political actually happening. But this tackles some other issues that I feel need a quick mention.
You see, as a Jew, I know that the issue of homosexuality in my religion is somewhat difficult. There is a strong gay community in Tel Aviv but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t met with struggles and issues. Also, keep in mind that according to 2010 numbers there are only 13 million Jews in the world [source]. Like it or not, we’re pretty much an endangered species at this point. Therefore, there is this pressure to marry and have children, particularly Jewish children.
Also, Y-Love is a black hip hop artist and that genre is very well known for gay bashing and lack of support for the LGBTQ community. Need an example? How about this: Tyler, The Creator, who won MTV’s Best New Artist in 2011, used the word “faggot”, or a variance of it” 213 times on his album [source]. 213 times!!! And he didn’t think that there was anything wrong with what he was doing.
Then there is Eminem and his song “Criminal”, which has these lyrics: “Hate fags? The answer’s “yes””
So, Y-Love is taking an incredibly courageous step by facing criticism from Conservative and Orthodox Jews as well as the hip hop community, which is only just beginning to see support for the LGBTQ community. Considering that both of these communities are incredibly important to him not only as an artist but as a way of life, I’d say that this step was one that must’ve given him great fear and pause.
As a straight Jew, I can only say kudos sir and I wish you the best of luck. I hope that your coming out of the closet brings you nothing but inner peace and tranquility.
Got any thoughts/questions/concerns for Jonny B.? Shoot him a message on Twitter!
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