Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
March 1, 2015

Prophet of Respect: Why Malcolm X Still Matters 50 Years After His Assassination

And Malcolm X stands for self-empowerment. He is proof that anyone, even those who have fallen far, can free himself. You just have to work harder. That's why his spirit is very much still alive in the whole wide world even 50 years after his death.

Former Knicks Player Anthony Mason Dies

461009391
Brad Mangin via Getty Images

REPORT: City Of Cleveland Says Tamir Rice's Death Caused By His Own Actions

Tamir Rice
AP

Mo'Nique Debunks Lee Daniels' 'Blackball' Comments: 'There Were No Demands'

Monique Lee Daniels
YouTube

How One Superintendent Is Improving Her Community By Improving Her Schools

Jennings
Photo Credit: Dr. Bill MacDonald

Here's What Happened When Detroit Youth Got Real With Police

James Craig Detroit
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Deshawnda Bradley: A Reminder That Self-Definition Is Essential To Our Survival

Deshawnda Bradley
Deshawn Bradley

How Boko Haram Uses Female Suicide Bombers To Terrorize Nigeria

Suicide Nigeria
ASSOCIATED PRESS

How To Create A Sustainable Black Future

Ferguson Protest
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

Someone Should Have Warned Kid Rock Not To Mess With Queen Bey

Kid Rock Beyonce
Associated Press

Protests Erupt Over UNC Board's Decision To Shutter Poverty Center

North Carolina
Lance King via Getty Images

The Reason I Do NOT Think This Is Blackface

Claudio Cutugno
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

KKK Was Terrorizing America Decades Before Islamic State Appeared

Kkk
Photo 12 via Getty Images

Black Lives Matter to Labor

Fast Food Workers Protest
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images

10 Must-See Black Landmarks At Your Fingertips

Little Rock Central High School
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Three Years After Trayvon Martin Killing, Two Women's Lives Intersect

Sybrina Fulton
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Marissa Alexander, The One Who Lived

Marissa Alexander
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bill Cosby Says His Career Is 'Far From Finished'

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Life in Prison for Selling $20 Of Weed

Black Person Prison
Dietmar Klement via Getty Images

America's Unfair Rules Of The Road

Riding Public Bus
Fabiana Domingues via Getty Images

When Whites Get A Free Pass

White Privilege
Lisa Cranshaw via Getty Images

Derrick Rose Releases Inspirational Commercial Days After Injury News

Youtube
YouTube

After Years Of Taking Questions, Obama Turns The Tables On One Teen

Barack Obama
JIM WATSON via Getty Images

As Selma Anniversary Nears, Here Are The Lawmakers Actually Trying To Strengthen Voting Rights

Patrick Leahy
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

50 Cent Shares His New Thoughts On Fox's 'Empire'

50 Cent Empire
YouTube

Nevada GOP Pushes New Gun Law Reminiscent Of 'Stand Your Ground'

Roberson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Everything We Know About The Alleged Dez Bryant Video

Dez Bryant
Tom Pennington via Getty Images

Texas Sports Anchor Delivers Stirring Anti-Racism Speech

Hansen
YouTube

San Francisco Police Officer Hits, Kicks Homeless Man Who Slept On Bus (VIDEO)

Pepper Spray Bus
San Francisco Public Defender

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

See The First Photo Of Alicia Keys' Baby Boy!

Alicia Keys
.

Kobe Bryant's New Documentary Goes Beyond Basketball To Explore Fatherhood And Failure

Kobe
Eric Charbonneau/ Invision for Showtime/AP Images

Kelly Osbourne Quits 'Fashion Police'

Kelly Osbourne Quits Fashion Police
Stefanie Keenan via Getty Images

Raven-Symone To Play Gay Character On 'Black-ish'

Raven Symone
Tommaso Boddi via Getty Images

Bella Thorne Opens Up About That Controversial Zendaya Hair Comment

Bella Thorne
YouTube

'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: Nothing Good Ever Happens In A Basement

Its All My Fault
Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images

HBO Is Determined To Tackle Its Diversity Problem

Girls
HBO

5 Big Reveals From 'How To Get Away With Murder' Season 1 Finale

How To Get Away With Murder
ABC

Moschino Pays Homage To The Looney Tunes' Hip Hop Days

Moschino
Catwalking via Getty Images

Naomi Campbell Will Have You Feeling Déjà Vu (And Not In A Good Way)

Naomi Campbell
Tim P. Whitby via Getty Images

The Unsettling Racial Satire America Needs Right Now

Welcometobraggsville
William Morrow

Halle Berry Always Has 'A Hard Time Getting Roles'

Halle Berry
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Kanye West: 'Exclusivity Is The New N-Word'

Kanye West
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ice-T Reveals He's Actually The Voice Of 'Dora The Explorer'

Icet
NBC/Nickelodeon

Oh No! Lupita's Oscar Dress Was Stolen

Lupita Nyongo
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

7 Times When Cookie Spoke The Truth On 'Empire'

Cookie Empire
FOX via Getty Images

No Respect For Hip-Hop's O.G.s: Why Many Legendary MCs Still Need To Hustle

Public Enemy
John Davisson/Invision/AP

'Empire' Co-Creator Is 'Gutted' By The Bill Cosby Allegations

Lee Daniels
Arnold Turner/Invision/AP

Here's The Timberwolves' 'Welcome Home' Video For Kevin Garnett

Garnett
YouTube

Apparently This Is How Kim Kisses Kanye

Kim Licks Kanye
Insttagram

Will Smith Continues His Nostalgia Streak With 'Summertime'

Will Smith Jimmy Kimmel
Randy Holmes via Getty Images

Beyoncé's Workout Video Is BEYond Motivational

Beyonce Workout
Instagram

Everything You Need To Know About That Beyoncé College Class

Beyonce
John Shearer/Invision/AP

Mic Check: Here's Why Hip Hop Hasn't Grown up Yet

John Legend
Kevin Winter via Getty Images

Kelly Osbourne Threatens To Quit Fashion Police' Over Zendaya Controversy

Zendaya Kelly Osbourne
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

Kanye West Just Debuted Another New Track

Kanye West
Brit Awards

LeBron James Wants College Coaches To Stop Recruiting His 10-Year-Old Son

Instagram
Instagram

Damon Wayans Comedy Tour Sidelined

Damon Wayans
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bobby Brown Cancels Australian Tour To Spend Time With Bobbi Kristina

Bobby Brown
Kris Connor/BET 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.