Mister Cee’s sexual preference should not matter, but so often who we are has some bearing on completely unrelated aspects of our lives—whether we like it or not. This is particularly true for men like Mister Cee and other Black men engaged in acts that can be brushed under the umbrella of “alternative lifestyles.” You can clutch your idealism and preschool perceptions about the world as tightly as you wish, though if you truly want to make it a better place for brothers like Mister Cee, you meet them where they are versus where you’d rather we all be.
Thankfully, Hot 97’s program director Ebro Darden did just that on Thursday morning by standing by Mister Cee amid the fallout from the release of a YouTube video featuring audio of the legendary hip-hop DJ and producer engaged in a sexual encounter and financial transaction with a transgendered prostitute. Mister Cee’s first reaction was to resign from the station [Hot 97 FM] that he has worked at for two decades. But unlike the last time Mister Cee spoke about a similar incident, this time he was as honest with himself and the listeners as he could be in this moment.
A forthright Mister Cee said, “I am tired of trying to do something or be something that I’m not. I’m tired. Have I lied about getting sexual fellatio in a car with a transsexual? Yes, I have lied about that.”
The pleasant surprise was that Ebro and the Hot 97 family was adamant about not wanting to see Mister Cee resign.
Through tears, Mister Cee went on to compare himself to Anthony Weiner, noting that he had already acknowledged an obsession with prostitutes and strippers, but that the particular case that first led to the interview last May was dismissed. Cee says he wants to move on; unfortunately, there is some indication that people with bad intentions won’t allow him to.
Indeed, if you take one look at the timeline of the other person said to be in the YouTube clip, “Bimbo Winehouse,” you’ll see a retweet in which a person congratulations him, calling it the “break” he’s “been looking for” and to “push that s**t like a Kardashian.” That is the most despicable, bottom feeding, delusional statement I’ve read in quite a while. Nonetheless, a despicable act with petty intentions has given hip-hop an opportunity to show waaaay up, to show real social progression.
Mister Cee went on to express remorse to listeners for it taking a video to get him to see himself as he is. Still, he said he did not consider himself to be gay—saying another man has not penetrated him nor has he ever penetrated one himself. Even so, he copped to continuing to deal with levels of denial.
The verdict on that doesn’t matter, though, as sexuality can be fluid. If only more people could understand this, or at the very least, shut up about something they know nothing about, everyone would be better off. Seriously, straight people, stop trying to dictate how people try to classify themselves sexually.
Regardless of how Mister Cee ends up choosing to identify himself, what matters most is that he is allowed a comfortable space to exist after the fact. Such a space will allow Mister Cee to finally grasp the fact that he needn’t be ashamed of his urges or fall prone to the fears that they taint the place he works for and the people he cares about.
That is the support Hot 97 lent Mister Cee this week—and it is the sort many of us long for.
The most annoying, last-nerve-tapping, disingenuous sentiment ever conveyed about any person of note believed to be gay—particularly a Black man —is the most common: “He should be himself! It’s okay! No one cares anyway!”
If you or someone you even like a little bit clings to that Disneyesque fairy tale, do the world a favor and mentally grab a shovel and proceed to bury that silliness six feet deep into the ground. The novel (albeit well-intended idea) of “just being yourself” because “no one cares anyway” about what tickles your testicles is a point of view typically held by a straight people living it up in the penthouse of heteronormativity. Meanwhile, most of us Black men not strictly into sexual relationships with women don’t reside there and won’t ever receive an invitation to visit.
Still, there was a lot of that kind of happy talk from Cee supporters in the Hot 97 family. Again, the idea behind it is great, cloaking him with the feeling that “all is well” seemed to be what he most needed in the moment. We all need this, but we all—us “alternative lifestyle” folk—also know better than to believe that.
Yes, progress has been made, hip-hop has officially chimed in on the stance that homophobia is as a crime worthy of public shaming. But, it’s impossible for some of us to forget that up until literally Thursday morning, there’s not been a hip-hop outlet with a major platform that didn’t feign repulse at a man being frank about sexual encounters with other men.
Mister Cee didn’t owe us any explanation, but thank goodness he gave one. Now it would be so great if we could just skip over to the finish line and be done with all of the legwork needed to elevate the culture so people like Mister Cee can live without shame. The kind of shame that makes them be repulsed with themselves over their desires, and yet, cannot completely stave off—often leading to them turning to unsafe and sometimes illegal activities to deal. The kind of shame that forces you to lie when you are not a liar.
But that’s not realistic. We have to do the work. Hip-hop has to keep doing the work. Black people have to keep doing the work. Hot 97 isn’t known as talk radio, but please, don’t stop talking now.