Living your live the way you see fit remains one of life’s most vital yet elusive freedoms. Being able to be you, enjoy the things you enjoy, say the things you want to say without fear of backlash, being outcast or facing ridicule – it’s something everyone should aim for in their lives.
Being free within yourself is something that even the most popular, attractive, wealthy and intelligent people struggle with on a daily basis and famed DJ Mister Cee is no different. Cee, born Calvin LeBrun, admitted this morning in a tearful interview on his home radio station Hot 97 that he has engaged in sex with men, being forced to publicly state his preference after a secret video of him in a car with a transgendered prostitute surfaced Wednesday.
Cee, best known as the DJ during Big Daddy Kane’s heyday and the man who discovered the late great Notorious B.I.G., resigned his position at Hot 97 Wednesday but co-workers are asking him to reconsider today in the wake of his confession.
There are so many issues to address in this recent development, where to begin is irrelevant. Well, almost. For starters, Mister Cee works and is famous in an arena where the environment is unfriendly to anything that isn’t heteronormative.
Rap/Hip-hop has always had contentious relationships with women and the LGBT community. On one of rap’s most famous records, “The Message,” Melle Mel said “Now your manhood is took and you’re a Maytag/Spend the next two years as a undercover fag.” That was said in 1982. Think much has changed in the 31 years since? I wouldn’t bet on it.
While no one is saying Mister Cee should be the face for LGBT acceptance in hip-hop, one would hope the situation forces hip-hop and everyone in it to look at themselves and see how the atmosphere contributes to awkward situations such as this.
Another important element to the situation is the forced outing of Cee, which is dead wrong, no matter what side of the fence you stand on. People should be allowed to speak their truth and preferences in their time, when they are comfortable and not a moment sooner.
The secret recording of Mister Cee engaged in sexual activity being distributed for public consumption is a low blow and it does nothing to advance the conversation of sexuality, gender roles or anything else in that vein. It just looks like a witch hunt that was successful in the short run.
There’s also the issue of sex work, which honestly ties in to a lot, not just Mister Cee. Everybody got their something, as Nikki Costa once sang. What rocks the next person’s world is honestly none of my business or yours. However, because people make it their business, those who enjoy people and acts outside of conventional, heteronormative sex are forced to go underground to find what satisfies them.
I’m of the thought that decriminalizing/legalizing sex work would make life a lot easier for everyone who has different kicks. Make sure everyone’s of age, tax it off, put some health rules behind it and let everybody go for what they know. It won’t stop rape or anything else sexually criminal, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
Last, but certainly not least, Mister Cee is being forced to explore his preferences in public view, which doesn’t help at all. Everyone should be afforded the right to process their feelings, likes and dislikes in private, without being ostracized for it. Yes, Cee being married to a woman and being caught with prostitutes is not a good look, transgender or not, but safe spaces are important for everyone – not just in terms of sexuality, but as far as mental health, religious upbringing, etc. Everyone should have somewhere or someone they can turn to without being judged or ridiculed.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this and it’s unfortunate that Mister Cee is the tester for it all, but if he can find peace and a safe space, then he’ll likely inspire others to do the same thing. Then and only then can the conversation about gender norms and sexuality advance without agendas on either side polluting the thought process.