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Black male celebs and homophobia: 1 stereotype, yet many perspectives

Terrell Scuggs

Black male celebs and homophobia: 1 stereotype, yet many perspectives

      Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers cornerback, Chris Culliver, began making amends for the inflammatory anti-gay remarks he made prior to the Super Bowl. “We don’t got no gay people on the team,” he infamously boasted to reporters. “They gotta get up out of here if they do.”

     Culliver spent March 4, 2013, at the Los Angeles offices of the Trevor Project, a crisis-and-intervention center for LGBT youths. Culliver received sensitivity training from an educator whom he flew in from New York specifically to work with him, spent time with LGBT youths and learned more about the challenges they face. Other members of the 49ers also participated in the training session.

     Despite some evidence to the contrary–such as numerous surveys and voting patterns–the perception of pervasive homophobia within the Black community, especially among Black men, has evolved into a media narrative. Yet while Culliver’s remarks created a firestorm, other Black athletes and entertainers made pro-gay statements around the same time frame that received nowhere near the amount of attention as Culliver’s comments.

     Here are just some of the recent pro-gay statements made by Black celebrities in recent months that we think you should be aware of–comments that paint a more nuanced story about homophobia among prominent Black men, as well as within Black America.

     * Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried publicly spoke out against homophobia and in support of civil unions in Colorado. Faried was raised by “two moms”–his mother and her long-term partner. “No one can ever tell me I can’t have two mothers,” Faried said in a video for the gay-rights group One Colorado, sitting between his two moms, “because I really do.”

     * Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said that he would “absolutely not” have an issue with a gay teammate. “We just accept people for who they are,” said Suggs. “We don’t really care too much about a player’s sexuality. To each their own.”

     * Baltimore Ravens linebacker and outspoken LGBT ally Brendon Ayanbadejo promised to use the Super Bowl as a platform for gay rights. He wrote an op-ed in USA Today calling for an end to homophobia in professional sports. “This is our time and our cause,” he said.

     * Singer-songwriter Jamar Rogers passionately spoke out at against homophobia and for greater awareness around HIV/AIDS. “[We have to address this because] there is homophobia in the Black community,” said the semifinalist contestant from the second season of NBC’s hit reality talent show The Voice. “As a community, we need to talk about this openly and honestly. Speak up if you want your brothers and sisters to live!”

     * Actor Mehcad Brooks has previously spoken out for gay rights and marriage equality. The star of USA’s Necessary Roughness criticized homophobia, homophobic athletes and sexism. “It’s 10 times worse to be homophobic than to be gay,” Brooks told the Windy City Times. “It’s not OK to be homophobic, racist or sexist.”

     Rod McCullom has written and produced for ABC News, NBC and Fox, and his writing has appeared in Ebony, The Advocate, the Los Angeles Times and many others. Rod blogs on politics, pop culture and Black gay news at

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