There are many people of color in hip-hop who have come out in favor of LGBT people: A$AP Rocky, Snoop Lion, Beyonce, T-Pain, T.I., as well as Mr. Beyonce, Russell Simmons, Will Smith, and 50 Cent (I am aware that some of them might be problematic). I consider B. Dolan to be an honorable mention because he rapped in favor of a black trans woman, which is, arguably, less career-friendly than rapping in favor of same-sex marriage.
Why do so many people think that Macklemore was the first pro-LGBT rapper, then? Sadly, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a white rapper who spends the first verse of his song asserting his heterosexuality before speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage is more likely to get attention than a pro-LGBT person of color. Indeed, there have been openly LGBT-identified rappers, white and of color, for years now. To be clear, the problem here isn’t Macklemore’s message (and he seems to be at least a little aware of what’s up), it’s that we aren’t hearing the voices of the very marginalized people allies like him claim to support. Record labels flock to promote straight white allies (yes, your favorite pro-LGBT straight white rapper isn’t actually indie) while mostly ignoring LGBT rappers of color.
I suppose one could argue from practicality about the matter. A man like Macklemore can get the pro-equality message out in a way that, say, a black lesbian rapper can’t. That aside, this isn’t an exercise in telling you that Macklemore is bad and you should feel bad. There are many better critiques of him than I could ever write. Instead of feeling bad about liking Thrift Shop or Same Love, you can go listen to some of these artists and tell your friends about the ones you like.
Though rumors have surrounded her sexuality for years, she prefers to keep her private life private. However, many other rappers have said that she’s been with women. Also, she’s a positive figure and role model in many ways and thus warrants a mention regardless of her sexual orientation.
He’s more R&B than hip-hop or rap, but is, if I might speak so soon, historically significant. After all, his coming out was what spurred many of the aforementioned hip-hop artists to come out in favor of LGBT equality.
He’s a straight man of color whose song “Ben” earned him an award from Equality Texas.
God-Des & She
I am unsure of their race. They look white to me but will always have a special place in my heart as the first hip-hop artists I listened to who I knew were queer (I discovered them the summer I came out, no less). With such songs as “Lick It” (yes, it’s about what you think it’s about), God-Des’s swagger is swoon-worthy.
Syd The Kyd
She might hate the word “lesbian,” but the Odd Future member definitely and openly loves women.
People about whom I know little other than that they’re LBGT and make hip-hop: Temper, Cat Daddy, Feloni, Deadlee, Rocco Kayiatos aka Katastrophe, MC Crumbsnatcher, and Big Dipper.
Via Queerty: Le1f, Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, Zebra Katz, and JBDubs.
Via Global Grind: Y Love and Angel Haze.
Via Colorlines: Miz Korona, Mz Jonz, Thee Satisfaction, Las Krudas, Collin Clay (of Juha), Wheelchair Sports Camp, and Big Freedia.
Here’s a list that includes some repeats from above. And last, but not least, in case you’re not already overwhelmed, here’s a whopping list of over 170 LGBT hip-hop artists.