Hip-Hop Star The Game Wants Gay Rappers to Come Out, But Spreads Downlow Myth
During a recent interview with VladTV, two-time Grammy Award nominated rapper Game (formerly known as The Game) said he doesn’t have a problem with gay people. His issue, however, are closeted gays who he says are responsible for spreading diseases.
“Beyoncé should’ve said, ‘Who run the world? Gays, because they’re everywhere and rightfully so,” said Game, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor. ” Do you. It’s a free country. Be gay, you can do that. Game don’t have a problem with gay people.”
Game is part of an industry that readily spreads homophobic lyrics and so he was praised when he joined the likes of Russell Simmons and Kanye West who have openly and fearlessly said they accept gays and lesbians.
But the words that came after Game’s support for gays is where he does more harm than good.
“Game has a problem with people that are pretending not to be gay and are gay because the number one issue with that is that you could be fooling somebody and you could give them AIDS and they can die.”
He was referring to so-called “down low” men—or, black men who sleep with men while identifying as straight and having sex with women, too. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found no evidence that they are responsible for high HIV rates among Black women.
“There’s been an awful low of dialogue about the “down low” over the last 4-5 years and the degree to which they may be associated with HIV-infections in the black community,’ Greg Millett, a senior policy adviser from the White House Office of National AIDS Policy said at a briefing in Washington DC last year.
Millet is among a handful of researchers, working with CDC funding, who have spent recent years researching the repeated assertion that “down low” men are driving the epidemic. In the video below that comes from the July 2010 White House briefing on Black men and HIV/AIDS, Millet summarizes the findings. And here’s how he and his colleagues summed it up in the American Journal of Public Health in September 2009:
Black men “on the down low” have been considered prime agents of HIV transmission in the Black community despite little empirical evidence. We assessed the relationship between down-low identification and sexual risk outcomes among 1151 Black [men who have sex with men]. Down-low identification was not associated with unprotected anal or vaginal sex with male or female partners. [Emphasis added.]
The truth “is not as fun as speculating about somebody’s man creeping around to sleep with his best friend and spread HIV.” Colorlines.com editor Kai Wright said last year when comedian D.L. Hughley and The View’s Sherri Shepherd made the same assertion Game did this year.
“But then again, neither are most things that actually matter in making Black people account for roughly half of all new infections every year. Things like a woman’s access to preventive health care, which would increase screening and treatment for the STDs that help HIV transmission.”