The phenomenal success of “Empire” has catapulted a taboo subject out of the shadows: homophobia in the African-American community. From its roots in slavery to its modern-day manifestation in pop culture, we tackle insidious racial tropes and stereotypes head-on in this BOLD conversation with LeRon Barton (“How My Friend Came Out to Me: Homeboys, Hip Hop and Homosexuality in the Hood”).
“Empire’s a game changer. Essentially for black men, the pathology is we’re supposed to be hyper-masculine. And that’s on top of the anti-gay doctrine of the church that’s so entrenched in the community.”
A straight man who learned to accept and fully embrace his gay friend, LeRon shares his own healing journey of transformation. “When I think about my younger self 15 to 20 years ago with all the gay slurs and jokes, I shake my head in sorrow, thinking of how many people I might have made afraid to come out.”