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Atlanta rapper/actor T.I. (Clifford Harris) has plenty of street cred, thanks to his various drug and firearms charges, as well as probation violations, which have led to numerous stints in county jail and prison. But the self-proclaimed "King of the South" appears to have lost some credibility with the gay community, after his recent remarks to Vibe magazine that gay people are "too sensitive."
During the interview for the December/Janauary issue of Vibe, T.I. brought up the subject of Tracy Morgan's controversial June stand-up routine, in which Morgan unleashed a homophobic rant that included a joke about stabbing his son to death if he ever came out as gay. Engaging in real talk, T.I. said:
"Man, I will say this, the funniest joke I ever heard Tracy say during a stand-up was, 'C'mon man, I think gay people are too sensitive. If you can take a dick, you can take a joke.' [Cracks up laughing.] That shit was funny to me. And it's kind of true."
Attempting to bolster his argument, T.I. alluded to his First Amendment rights:
"They're like, 'If you have an opinion against us, we're gonna shut you down.'...That's not American. If you're gay you should have the right to be gay in peace, and if you're against it you should have the right to be against it in peace."
Sharply disagreeing with T.I.'s line of thinking, Alvin McEwen writes in LGBTQ Nation that
"Free speech does not mean you get shielded from the consequences of opening your mouth. If you say things about groups of people which are deemed offensive, you should expect some blow back. T.I.'s claim that he believes 'gays should live in peace' is weak in light of the fact that he thinks it's hilarious to make fun of a real problem which in fact does prevent gays from living in peace. Gay children are often threatened with violence in their homes."
Unfortunately, T.I.'s comments will most likely slip by without much ado, because he's not the household name that Morgan is, and, to be blunt, it's just not as surprising coming from a gangsta/thug/hustler. Morgan's insensitive comments were so jarring because they contrasted so violently with his lovable persona. T.I. just doesn't inspire that same kind of affection, especially now.