Eminem is no stranger to controversy. His lyrics often allude to or directly mention several taboo subjects such as drugs, violence, and homophobia.
But despite repeated allegations, the legendary rapper claims that he does support the LGBTQ community even though his lyrics do not align with the statement.
The rapper has on many occasions stated that much of the lyrics come from his alter ego Slim Shady and that he is simply acting a role within those songs.
He has also stated in interviews that he supports gay marriage, regrets certain lyrics written within songs, and is even close friends with LGBTQ icon Elton John.
However, for many, this isn’t seen as good enough. Regardless of the persona that he raps as Eminem has such superstardom and influence that simply cannot be ignored.
And these hurtful lyrics can have massive consequences for the underrepresented and often-discriminated community.
Throughout this article, we’ll take a look at both sides of the argument and try to come to an unbiased conclusion as to whether or not Eminem does really support the LGBTQ community.
Where The Homophobia Accusations Began
Eminem is unarguably one of the most popular rappers of his time, having sold over 220 million records worldwide and having over 52 million listeners on his Spotify.
However, that doesn’t mean that the rapper hasn’t come under the firing line for the lyrics in his raps – this has happened on several occasions.
But the first time that Shady got really called out was during the release of his album The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000.
In his song ‘Criminal’ Eminem states ‘That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a f– or les/ Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/ Pants or dress, hate f–s? The answer’s yes.’
These lyrics were heavily criticized for being quite obviously homophobic and the rapper received quite the backlash.
You have to keep in mind that Eminem is such an influential figure and homophobia is a learned behavior. However, the rapper has never been one for seeing it as his responsibility to guide or set an example for this audience.
How Eminem Responded To The Backlash
Eminem collaborated with Elton John for his performance of Stan at the Grammys. Elton John has been very open about his sexuality and came out way back in 1988.
Apparently, he even brought Elton John and his husband David Furnish a gift for their civil union (a pair of diamond penis rings!)
Since the performance, the rapper and singer have become quite close friends. Elton John addressed Eminem in his memoir Me and even revealed that he is Shady’s sober sponsor.
The ‘Tiny Dancer’ singer even told Beat’s 1 host Zane Lowe that ‘Eminem was never homophobic. I listened to the whole of The Marshall Mathers LP album when I drove down to a show […] and was floored by it.’
The rapper also told the New York Times that he supports gay marriage. ‘I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable if they want’
This was somewhat unaccepted by the LGBTQ community though, since the rapper never actually formally apologized for his lyrics.
And it could be argued that the collaboration was nothing more than a publicity stunt. While others argued that if the rapper was truly homophobic that a genuine friendship would not have formed between the two musicians.
Eminem’s Quest To Hurt
Any fan of the rapper will be well aware of the anger and angst that comes through in most of his records. And if you are in his firing line, the goal is to hurt and to hurt as much as possible.
And really, there is no other rapper that can compare to the level of savagery that Eminem exudes in most of his songs.
But is this purely because other rappers know when not to overstep the mark? Does Eminem mean what he’s saying? Or does his level of anger and intent to wound take over?
Possibly, but the rapper is still accountable for the things that he says. And there is a lengthy process of production where certain lyrics can be revisited.
And it’s not just the LGBTQ community that is in the firing line. Mathers has revealed that he no longer performs a song called Cleanin’ Out My Closet at shows as he now realizes the song overstepped the mark.
However, the same mindset has not been seen for similarly aggressive songs attacking LGBTQ members.
Though Eminem has since admitted that he feels uncomfy and regrets the lyrics in his song ‘Fall’ from the Kamikaze album the song is still performed.
In this song the lyrics read ‘Tyler create nothing, I see why you called yourself a F—-t b—/ It’s not just ‘cause you lack attention/ It’s because you worship D12’s balls, you’re sack-religious.’
Eminem has since come out and said about the slur that ‘I felt like this may be too far’ and that in his anger and quest to hurt him he realized ‘that I was hurting a lot of other people.’
The rapper also admitted that during production he felt uneasy about the slur and that is why it is slightly distorted on the track.
It is quite clear that Eminem cannot really be seen as an advocate for the LGBTQ community. It is unarguable that throughout the lyrics of many of his raps that homophobia is present within them.
And regardless of whether these are his personal beliefs or just his persona Slim Shady, if you were a real supporter of the community you simply would not be using these types of lyrics.
The rapper may not be homophobic in his day-to-day life, and may not actually discriminate against other LGBTQ artists or fans, it is hard to really argue that the rapper is supportive of the community.
Especially considering at no point has he ever formally apologized.