Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Obligatory Usher Post

Usher: Smokes large phallic objects, then performs in Broadway's Chicago

When MediaTakeOut reported earlier this week that Usher, the abs-of-steel-having singer and actor, was a homophobic twit, I didn't pay too much attention to it. It didn't seem possible that he could really be that stupid. He's been in show business for a very long time; surely he must know, and be friends with, gay people. But several days have passed and, as far as I can tell, no one in Usher's camp has stepped forward to refute these quotes from Vibe magazine:
"It can never be bad to have a foundation as a man - a black man - in a time when women are dying for men. Women have started to become lovers of each other as a result of not having enough men.

"Are you not studying the stories? Wake up! Black love is a good thing."
While I agree with Usher that black love is a good thing (though I'm not sure he'd have phrased it quite like that had he known it would make him sound like Martha Stewart), I don't know what stories he's talking about. Perhaps there's more to the quote that the full article will explain. And I'm not sure what he means by having a foundation as a man. Is he talking about cosmetics?

On second reading, what really struck me about Usher's remarks was how they sort of echoed sentiments expressed in a now-infamous sermon delivered by Reverend Willie "Membranes" Wilson of the Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, DC in 2005. (Warning: Link goes to a YouTube page with very explicit audio content.)

Wilson had a lot to say about homosexuality, particularly gay sex (what is it about religious types that they can't stop thinking about hot, sweaty, naked man-sex and toy-inclusive girl-girl action?) and his straight son's difficulty in finding a prom date who doesn't TiVo The L Word. But mostly he rails against the social ills he thinks are driving women to lesbianism, which he apparently imagines is sweeping the nation like a dance craze. At one point he tells his congregation that it's "about to take over our community." Later, he shouts "It's destroying us!"

Lest anyone get the wrong impression of him, Wilson takes pains to clarify that he's in no way a bigot, saying, "I ain't homophobic, because everyone in here got something wrong with 'em." While there's no way of knowing from those Vibe quotes just how kooky Usher is about the gay thing, I have to say I'm disappointed in him. I thought he had something real with Ellen, but if he possibly thinks she's only with Portia because of a shortage of good men (it's unclear from the MediaTakeOut blurb whether he attributes lesbianism among white women to other factors), that's some crazy shit. Maybe what he meant to suggest is that women are becoming lovers of other women because the bees are disappearing. At least a bee mention would indicate he's living in 2008 instead of 1950.

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