Eminem will be performing in South Africa next year, but should members of the LGBT community attend his shows following his continued use of anti-gay slurs?
On Monday, Showtime Management announced that, together with Primedia and Dainty Group, it would bring the Eminem Rapture Tour to the country.
The American hip hop superstar will perform only two concerts; Wednesday 26 February at the Cape Town Stadium and Saturday 1 March at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.
Eminem, however, has recently come under fire for using anti-gay references in his latest album The Marshall Mathers LP 2.
In the first verse of the track Rap God, he raps that he can “break a motherfucker’s table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half”.
He goes on to rap in the second verse: “Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.”
Eminem has previously been slammed by LGBT activists for lyrics on his 2000 The Marshall Mathers LP album and in the 2002 track Without Me.
In an apparent attempt to show that he was not really homophobic he famously performed with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
Eminem recently justified the use of gay slurs to Rolling Stone. “I don’t know how to say this without saying it how I’ve said it a million times. But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never really equated those words… [with homosexuality]” he said.
“And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don’t know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke.”
Bisexual singer Sia, who collaborated with Eminem on a song on his new album, has defended the star by insisting “that he is not homophobic, but a performance artist. I would never work with someone I believed to be homophobic.”
She explained that “he has a character called slim shady who represents the worst and darkest bile of America. I see how it can be unclear. But I assure you he is not homophobic himself. He does certainly respect the gay community he is close to in his personal life.”
Despite her words of support for the performer, Sia decided to donate her proceeds from their song to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centre.
The Week’s Scott Meslow is not convinced and urged fans not to buy or download Eminem’s new album or tracks.
“Since the height of Eminem’s popularity, hip-hop’s biggest names have made major strides to tear down the once-entrenched homophobia of the genre,” he said.
“With The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem had a similar opportunity to demonstrate growth as both an artist and a human being — and once again, he failed to take it. Instead, he’s turned his considerable talents as an artist to the same regressive, lazy garbage he was spewing in 2000,” said Meslow.
Tickets for the Eminem Rapture Tour go on sale this Thursday, 21 November at 9am via Computicket.
What do you think LGBT South Africans should do? Go watch one of the world’s top rap performers in action or boycott his shows?