Sunday, October 11, 2015

Young Thug Named The Real Life Gangstalicious

Young Thug’s sexual orientation has been one of fascination to both his fans and detractors for quite some time. Thug, born Jeffrey Williams, habitually, and with a supreme sense of I-don’t-give-a-f**kness, indulges in behavior that many in the hip-hop community have seen fit to deem “sus.” For example, he has a fondness for calling his closest friends “hubby,” and also recently shared that around 90 percent of his wardrobe is comprised of women’s clothing. Of course none of these things are indicative of Thug’s sexuality or gender identity, and by his own admission, there should be no question that he identifies as a heterosexual male. Nevertheless, his gratuitous displays of affection towards his male friends, and unfettered love of blouses and skinny jeans, have managed to generate substantial dispute.

 Last week, producers London on da Track and Beatmonster Marc, who are affiliates of Thug, added fuel to the fire when they suddenly found themselves embroiled in a gay porn scandal. During a studio session that allegedly included Thug and rappers Kid Ink and Tyga, Marc posted an Instagram video intended to showcase the crew hard at work. The innocent recording quickly attracted the biting commentary of idle twitter fingers when a few keen eyes noticed what appeared to be a bit of male-on-male action taking place on an oversized television screen.

The conclusion many jumped to was that the group had been participating in some sort of group Netflix and chill scenario that had somehow turned 50 shades of homoerotic. Marc quickly refuted the claims, stating they had simply been watching Game of Thrones, which to be fair, has been known to feature its fair share of same-sex loving.

However, given the curiosity surrounding Young Thug’s sexuality, some took the incident as confirmation that Thug was indeed hiding his true preferences. Even if he is, that is of course his right and prerogative. However, that is only one possibility. Another is that Young Thug is simply so comfortable being Young Thug that heteronormative gender distinctions mean nothing to him.
It all combines to make Young Thug something of an anomaly to many. In the same way Riley was forced to reevaluate his perceptions of masculinity and its role in hip-hop, those who come into contact with Young Thug often subconsciously or consciously do the same. With each new outfit or Instagram post, Thug manages to incite debate around what is acceptable as a man, and as a hip-hop artist; he’s also unintentionally (or intentionally) made people question what these supposed acceptable patterns of behavior even have to do with an artist’s ability to make music (nothing, really). And despite, or maybe because of his non-conformist attitude, Thug is successful.

Seeing Thug blur and at times flat out erase the lines of what many perceive as appropriate masculine behavior, and in turn seeing the confusion it causes, is like watching an episode of the The Boondocks play out in reality. But instead of desperately clinging to the status quo in order hide a secret like Gangstalicious, Thug gleefully flouts the status quo. The outcome is still the same in that both the ficitional Gangstalicious and the very real Young Thug cause people to question pre-conceieved notions about gender and sexuality.