Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 31, 2014

There's History Behind Those Halloween Blackface Fails

The Jazz Singer Blackface
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nelly Reveals Why He's Worried About What May Soon Happen In Ferguson

Nelly Ferguson
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Boyz II Men: We 'Represented Our Race' With Future Artists In Mind

Boyz Ii Men End Of The Road
HuffPost Live

Walking The Streets Of Baltimore With The Other Barksdale

Baltimore
Kyle Reid/Getty

Advocates Demand The NYPD Stop Handcuffing 5-Year-Olds

Handcuffs
Chris Mathias

Man Convicted Of Double Murder In Landmark Case Released From Prison

Alstory
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Problem With That Catcalling Video: They Edited Out All The White Guys

171248054
olaser via Getty Images

Ta-Nehisi Coates On White Supremacy And A Life Of Struggle

Ta Nehisi Coates
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

It's About Time Someone Other Than Straight White Males Got To Be Superheroes

Chadwick Boseman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Twitter Account Leaking Details About Ferguson Investigation Was Hacked, Prosecutor Claims

Bob Mcculloch
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Black Women Are Less Likely To Survive Breast Cancer

Black Woman Patient
Siri Stafford via Getty Images

Halloween: The Season for Culturally-Insensitive Fashion

Native Feathers
Milk & Honey Creative via Getty Images

Mitt Romney: Obama Hasn't Given The Poor And Minorities Enough Gifts

Mitt Romney
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Beyond Ferguson -- Unrepresentative Democracy in City Elections

Election
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis for Black Women

Here Is Why 'Redskins' Shouldn't Be Heard On Television

No Honor In Racism
Red Circle Agency

California Health Officials Investigate Illness At NAACP Conference

Ambulance
PNC via Getty Images

Chicago Man Says Police Stormed His Home After He Was Just Walking Down The Street

Arrest Video
NBC Chicago

Cosby Has No One to Blame But Cosby for His Sullied Image

Bill Cosby
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Watch Nas React To Seeing An Ancestor's Bill Of Sale Into Slavery

Nas Finding Roots
PBS

Republicans Fear Price To Pay For Attacks On Black Interests

Vote
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Zambian President Michael Sata Dies

Michael Sata
Pool via Getty Images

Ebola Appears To Be Slowing In Liberia: WHO

Liberia
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Giants Are World Series Champions!

Giants World Series
Pool via Getty Images

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

Nigeria Soldiers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch This Dancing Traffic Cop Tear Up The Roads With His Sweet Moves

Dancing Cop
WTHI

Meet The Guy Who Just Bought 6,000-Plus Neglected Properties In Detroit

2551 Fischer
Motor City Mapping

LOOK
Kansas City Star's Stunning Royals Front Page

Kansas City Royals
Newseum

Coke Is Targeting Nations That Don't Have An Obesity Epidemic... Yet

New Bill Sets A Precedent For ‘The Erosion Of Free Speech'

Mumia Abu Jamal
Lisa Terry via Getty Images

New York Police Study Reveals 'Stark Racial Biases'

Nypd
Travelif via Getty Images

When It's OK To Use The 'R-Word'

Cover Mouth Black
g-stockstudio via Getty Images

Meet 3 People Working To Ensure The Next Hurricane Sandy Doesn't Take Such A Terrible Toll

Hurricane Sandy
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

White House Fears Cyberattack Underway

White House
JIM WATSON via Getty Images

How Felons' Right To Vote Protects American Democracy

Voting
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Freedom Summer, 2015

Freedom Summer Civil Rights
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

Bad News For Pharrell And Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke Pharrell
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

23 Things Any 'Scandal' Fan Knows To Be True

Olivia Pope Scandal
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

What Nelly Tries To Remember About Raising Kids Today

Nelly
HuffPost Live

Why Deion Sanders Will Never Be On 'DWTS'

Deion Sanders Toe
HuffPost Live

Chris Rock Shows A Totally Different 'Prince' In 'SNL' Promos

Snlrock
NBC

Rihanna Gets Risqué For AmfAR

Rihanna
Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Real Story Behind Boyz II Men's Estranged Fourth Member

Boyz Ii Men
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

'SNL's' Michael Che Takes Heat For Street Harassment Comments

Michael Che
NBC via Getty Images

Things You Don't Know Your Natural Hair Can Do

Teyonah Parris
Bright Ideas Magazine

WATCH
This Was One 'Thriller' Of A Baseball Game

Thriller
AOL Huffington Post Video

Viola Davis Explains Why The Wig Had To Come Off

How To Get Away With Murder
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

This Is The Greatest Boxing Moment Since 'Rocky'

Tyson
NBC

At Least Theophilus London's New Song Features Kanye West

Theophilus London
SoundCloud

This Is What Happens When Fred Armisen & Ice-T Play Video Games

Ice T
Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

Marvel's Making A 'Black Panther' Movie

Chadwick Boseman
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

Man Arrested For Pot Tells Cops He's Denzel Washington

Justin Lee Seay
Rutherford County Jail

13 Real-Life Struggles Of Perpetually Forgetful People

Forget
Imgur user: larhavoc

Dionne Warwick: Don't Call Me A Diva

Dionne Warwick
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

That Time Blake Griffin Attended A 'White Party' At Donald Sterling's House

Blake Griffin
YouTube

David Oyelowo Talks 'Selma'

Selma
CloudEightFilms

How Beyoncé & Jay Z Spent Their Monday Night

Beyonce Jay Z Nightcrawler
Mammoth PR

Angela Bassett Really Doesn't Want To Sing On 'American Horror Story'

Angela Bassett
FX

IT'S A GIRL!

Lebron James Savannah
Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

A Day in the Life With Angela Simmons: Girl Boss on the Rise

Angela Simmons
Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images

Down Low in Hip-Hop

Comments (134)

By Felicia Pride

"It was important for me to continue my double life. One for my career and the other for myself--the real me. Only I didn't know who the real me was. I was so accustomed to living in multiple worlds I often confused myself. As a down low man, I had to make sure people saw me as a heterosexual man; they had to see me with women...Nothing about me could be associated with the gay lifestyle."

So writes Terrance Dean in his new "tell-some" memoir Hiding in Hip Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry--from Music to Hollywood (Atria, May 2008). Dean worked in the entertainment industry for more than ten years and spent most of that time struggling with his sexuality. He was a "down low" brother who felt like he couldn't be himself: a gay man.

In Hiding in Hip Hop, Dean writes of tight-knit communities of down low men in both Hollywood and the music industry. He writes of thugged out rappers with girlfriends and wives who sneak around to sleep with other men. He writes of down low ministers and in-the-closet R&B singers. He writes of down-low "jump off" parties. He paints a world where sex, lying, and cheating are the norm. He writes of a world where fear, pain, shame, and a lack of self-love are the dominant emotions. He paints a world where masculinity is narrowly-defined, heterosexuality is the only option, and down low men spew hatred toward homosexuals because they hate themselves.
Dean doesn't name names. Regarding his decision to semi-protect the identities of those he writes about, he says, "I have no desire to ruin anyone's dreams or careers. That's not why I'm writing this book. What I'm truly hoping for is the start of a real conversation about why, in this very contemporary day and age, we as black people are still made to feel that we cannot be comfortable in our skin? This is a particularly valid question because there is a sizable community of gay and lesbian White business leaders in Hollywood and they are not ostracized from the industry. In fact, they are considered major dealmakers and power players. Also why is bisexuality and homosexuality still a 'dirty little secret' in the black community?"

Dean raises an important question regarding acceptance of homosexuality in the black community. And in Hiding in Hip Hop, he provides some context for his life by discussing his tumultuous upbringing. His mother was a drug-addicted prostitute who died from AIDS. Two of his brothers contracted the virus and eventually died from AIDS. As a teenager, he was molested by a older male friend of the family. By his senior year in high school, Dean was attracted to men, but felt guilty for his feelings. He would carry that guilt and shame through a large part of his adulthood.

Hiding in Hip Hop could have been a poignant memoir, but when Dean starts to explore some of the deeper aspects of his life, he cuts the discussion short to return to another sexual escapade. For example, when he contemplates that he may have a sexual addiction (which could possibly explain why sex makes up like 85 percent of the book), that thought is quickly dropped to usher in more sex. Then more sex. Did I say more sex?

Sex sells right? If that's the case, Hiding in Hip Hop will be a bestseller.

But let's hope that Dean, who founded Men's Empowerment Inc, an organization dedicated to empowering men of color, is able to spark real dialogue about acceptance and sexuality and that his story isn't overshadowed by booty call discussions and down low guessing games.

Oh that reminds me, for those who really just want to know which celebrities are living double lives, Hiding in Hip Hop provides tons of blind items. Have fun:

Jazz
, "a nice looking brother, had women swooning when his character as a hard-working, married man graced the television screen. His hit show marked a milestone because of its accurate portrayal of African-American family life. The world doesn't want to know that their favorite actor likes sleeping with other men."

Lucas
, "a megastar. No matter what film project he was attached to it was bound to be a box office smash," and Kareem, "a leading sitcom actor, is married to an actress." The film crew took bets on "how often Lucas's 'boyfriend' Kareem would show up and how long he would stay. It was like clockwork; Kareem arrived each day at the same time and went straight to the trailer for hours on end. Our circle was talking about the down low circle Lucas and Kareem were in. But it was a hard nut to crack; they were superstars."

Gus, a singer, attractive with "clear skin, dark eyes, bushy eyebrows, and short, wavy hair did not give way for a thug image. He was just too pretty." "One morning, I turned on my television and I wasn't prepared for what I saw on BET- my boy, Gus, parade in his video with a host of celebrity cameos mean mugging for the camera- I just wondered how he would keep his secret of sleeping with men a secret."

Lola, an R&B singer and songwriter, who was "a staple on the New York scene,partying with big name celebrities" and whose style was "hard-edged rap with a little rock and R&B." "She would often say to us, 'I'm going to be the first lesbian R&B singer...As much as Lola wanted to be a trailblazer and open doors for other gay artists, she was still part of the machine. Lola had to do what the label told her to do."


Photo credit: Michael Scott Jones


Felicia Pride
is an author, speaker and welcomed voice of her generation. She's the founder of The BackList (www.thebacklist.net), an organization dedicated to using the power of words to uplift individuals and their communities. Felicia facilitates writing, publishing, and other creative workshops, curates events, and develops community initiatives. Shes a featured speaker at schools, universities, and events around the country, and has written for an array of publications. Her most recent book is The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop's Greatest Songs. Visit her online at www.feliciapride.com.

Comments: (133)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 14

Most Commented Articles

Daily Drama

The Best Clips From TV's Hottest Shows


More Daily Drama >>

Get Closer to BV

  • slider Image
  • slider Image
  • slider Image

BLACK MUSIC NEWS
The latest news and updates on a multitude of music stars.
Check It Out!

BLACK MUSIC NOTES

       

MEN OF MCCAFÉ SEARCH
McDonald's continues its nationwide search to find five community-service minded black men during this year's CIAA tournament.


LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN

       
 

Find a Message Board

Discover conversations on everyone from Barack to Beyonce. There are nearly 50 forums, so click on a category below and find the right one for you.