Pic: Anton Mak
Canadian R&B star The Weeknd is under fire for singing that he can turn a bisexual or lesbian woman straight by sleeping with her.
The 28-year-old performer, real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, recently released the collaboration Lost in the Fire with French DJ and producer Gesaffelstein.
In the song, The Weeknd sings: “You said you might be into girls, You said you’re going through a phase…”
He then continues: “Well, baby, you can bring a friend, She can ride on top your face, While I fuck you straight.”
The English musician Marika Hackman was one of the first to call The Weeknd out for the lyrics. “Well done to @theweeknd for managing to deride, fetishise and dismiss lesbianism all in one verse,” she tweeted.
Hackman’s post was dismissed by many of The Weeknd’s fans who accused her of being overly sensitive. “Why is our generation so sensitive… it’s just a song move on,” said one, while another told her to “stop looking for something that isn’t there…”
The idea that a man can make a lesbian or bisexual woman heterosexual through sex is a long-standing homophobic myth that is not only offensive but has sometimes led to deadly consequences. It suggests that a woman’s queer sexuality is simply due to her not having experienced sex with a man or the ‘right man’.
This belief is the basis of so called ‘corrective rape’, in which lesbian women are raped to make them straight or teach ‘them a lesson’. Many have been murdered in these brutal incidents which have been widely reported in South Africa in particular.
The Weeknd has won three Grammy Awards, eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards and has been nominated for one Academy Award. He has reportedly sold more than 60 million records in the US. He has not yet responded to the furore on social media.