Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 25, 2014

Amnesty: Ferguson Police Committed Human Rights Abuses

Ferguson
AP

Beyond 42: Jackie Robinson and the Quest for Racial Justice

Jackie Robinson 42
ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Racial Disparity Among Working Artists

Painting White
Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images

The DEA Once Turned A 14-Year-Old Into A Drug Kingpin. Welcome To The War On Drugs

Black Person Angry Eyes
Raido VAljamaa via Getty Images

Will Judge Jump Into Fight Over Georgia Voter Registration?

Abrams
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Entire School Holds Early Graduation For Teen With Cancer

Graduation
KLTV

Current And Former NFL Players Say 'No More' To Domestic Violence

Nfl
Patrick Coffee

Alarming Actions Of School Officials Allowed Academic Fraud

Carol Folt North Carolina
ASSOCIATED PRESS

5 Things About Slavery You Probably Didn't Learn In Social Studies

3418198
Jack Delano/Library Of Congress

Report: Chicago Police Are Getting Away With Brutality

Chicago Police
Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

New Orleans Biennial 'Prospect 3' Leads The Way In Diversity

Here

NYC Doctor Tests Positive For Ebola

New York City
Steve McBeath via Getty Images

Young People Show World There's More To Haiti Than Poverty

Women Artist Haiti
Lucie Cincinatis/Instagram

Industry Group Tries To Rally Black Caucus Against Solar Incentives

Sun
Ross M Horowitz via Getty Images

Trump Rips 'Reckless' NYC Ebola Doc, Demands Obama Resign

Donald Trump
Paul Morigi via Getty Images

Ferguson Protester: Things Will 'Never Be The Same' If Darren Wilson Isn't Indicted

Ferguson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Chris Paul: Becoming A Mentor Like The Ones Who Helped Me Succeed

Chris Paul
NBA Cares

Do Toni Morrison's Papers Belong At Princeton Or Howard?

Toni Morrison
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Americans Are Really Confused About Which African Countries Have Ebola

Africa
David Santiago Garcia via Getty Images

12 Of The Sketchiest Things The DEA Has Ever Done (That We Know Of)

Drug Enforcement Administration Seal
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

WATCH
Mo'ne Davis' Chevy Ad Will Leave You With A Lump In Your Throat

Money Davis
YouTube

No Plea Deal In FAMU Hazing Death Trial

Drumline
rainaraina via Getty Images

30 Numbers That Prove Domestic Violence Is An American Epidemic

Black Woman Abuse
isitsharp via Getty Images

Darren Wilson's Lawyers Say They're Not Responsible For Leaks

Michael Brown Autopsy
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Boko Haram Suspected Of Kidnapping 25 More Girls In Nigeria

Boko Haram
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI via Getty Images

Bloomberg Businessweek's Obama Cover Is 'Too Cool'

Obama Cover
Bloomberg Businessweek

Get Set For The Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse
DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY via Getty Images

DOJ Condemns Leaks In Michael Brown Case

Michael Brown
AP

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

Tommy Davidson Weighs In On Hannibal Buress' Bill Cosby Takedown

Tommy Davidson
Andrew Toth via Getty Images

'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: What Would Annalise Keating Do?

Annalise Keating How To Get Away With Murder
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Adam Sandler Gets Animated About Shaq's Penis

Sandler
TBS

Why Jasmine Guy Used That Accent On 'A Different World'

Jasmine Guy Whitley Gilbert A Different World
NBCU Photo Bank

Amber Rose Tweets Sweet Message To Wiz Khalifa After Split

Amber Rose Wiz
C Flanigan via Getty Images

Dave Chappelle And Paul McCartney Are Killing Wyatt Cenac's Career

Wyatt
TBS

Halle Berry Wants You To Take Your Clothes Off

Scandale
Scandale

Comedian's Idea For New Redskins Logo: A Sunburnt White Person

Dan Snyder
Twitter

How To Look Like Gugu Mbatha-Raw's 'Elle' Cover

Gugu Mbatha Raw
Paola Kudacki for ELLE

Marching Band Covers Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies,' Deserves A Ring On It

Fsu Single Ladies
YouTube / Karrissa Wimberley

Kanye West Takes Kim Kardashian On Surprise Birthday Getaway

Kim Kanye
Chelsea Lauren via Getty Images

Zoe Saldana Wants This Word To Disappear

Zoe Saldana
Albert L. Ortega via Getty Images

Alfonso Ribeiro Injured Doing The Carlton Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro Fresh Prince
NBC via Getty Images

CaCee Cobb And Donald Faison Expecting Second Child

Cacee Cobb Donald Faison
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Revisit The Grit And Glamour Of '70s and '80s NYC

Angel

'Racism Insurance' Is The Full Coverage Policy A LOT Of People Need

Racism Insurance
YouTube / Dear White People

Exploring The Graffiti Hidden In New York's Abandoned Military Base

Tilden

Hannibal Buress Opens Up About Bill Cosby Rape Jokes

Hannibal Buress
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

13-Year-Old Kim K Answers All Your Questions

Kim K
Youtube

London Richards Is Your New R&B Obsession

London Richards
Jared Thomas

Diddy And Nas Set For Alicia Keys' Annual Black Ball

Diddy And Nas
Richard Bord via Getty Images

WATCH:
Baby Spinach Has Never Sounded More Hardcore

Ice Cube
ABC

'Saturday Night Live' Gets More Diverse

Leslie Jones Nbc
NBC

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.