When it comes to reacting to a public figure’s declaration of their dating preferences – specifically those trimmed along racial and ethnic lines – two things can be true: you can both not give a solitary fuck about who they want to date while simultaneously finding the basis of their preferences to be a crock of shit.
Such is the case for Steve Lacy, who before releasing his own solo material, was best known as a band member of The Internet in addition to the supremely talented teenage producer who has worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Vampire Weekend. Over the summer, Lacy revealed that he was bisexual by way of answering a fan question featured on his Tumblr page. In a follow-up question, Lacy also noted that he wouldn’t date another Black man.
It wasn’t until a NewNowNext story published this week, offering an account of the exchange, that more people paid attention, and thus, greater scrutiny of Lacy’s decision to eliminate the possibility of Black men as romantic partners.
Before I dig more into the dick-based brown paper bag test before me, first, some pleasantries. Welcome to the community, Steve Lacy. I imagine to some people, I’m supposed to be “shocked” that another hip-hop artist is out despite the reality that hip hop is merely mirroring the dominant culture of which it reflects. I’m not, though, so let’s move on.
Also, shout out to Black women, who have long bared witness to famous Black men professing to not want to date those who look most like them. Although gay Black men have a ways to go, Steve Lacy, Tyler, The Creator, and others are racing to play catch up. Let’s have happy hour and not discuss any of them, okay?
Now, upon reading Lacy’s remarks, one commentator replied: “Okay i get that you see it as a preference. But don’t you think you owe it to yourself to break down the dynamics that lead you to have a blatantly anti-black preference in partners?”
This is a person making a rational point to an irrational stance, so as expected, it went completely over Lacy’s head.
In response, Lacy noted: “The reason for it all isn’t anti-black at all. Growing up around black males, they were always my competitors ya know? I never viewed or saw myself doing anything sexual with my neighbors. I literally, like I said, see them as brothers.”
Before I dig into the asininity here, Lacy did go on to add in defense of his pathology: “As much as you or whoever thinks this sounds like b.s., it’s from a real place. I’m a nigga from Compton, I don’t dislike black people, I prefer to live here and be around POC because I love black people. I’m just not attracted to black boys, that is it. I still love them and want them to do well in life, we just won’t date. Sorry.”
This Negro is not sorry. Sadly, but not totally surprising, some other gay Black men are defending this stance. Unsurprisingly, the defense is equally as dim.
Writing on Medium, bbyren wrote: “Take your emotions out of this. Man said he doesn’t date black guys because he sees them as brothers. Be happy he socialized himself into positivity instead of hating black men. Tuh. I myself have definitely ruled out white men from my dating pool because of the things I’ve experienced and learned in life. A preference is literally that, a preference. Cultivated uniquely and individually through one’s unique and individual experience.”
What both fail to grasp is that this preference is largely shaped by socialization and that socialization is very much informed by anti-Black sentiments. The lack of will to investigate why you, a Black man sexually attracted to other men, have disassociated yourself from sexual attraction to other Black men is not emblematic of clarity in one’s choices; it’s just another symptom of one’s conditioning.
As for this anecdote by a Lacy apologist of ruling out white men: whatever those experiences are, they don’t matter. After all, whiteness is presented as the ideal, not Blackness. A Black man deciding not to pursue white men because whiteness is so dismissive of us collectively is not the same as a Black man saying he is not attracted to other Black men. If anything, it’s a sign of a Black man following white men’s dismissal of us. Funny enough, the same feelings he professed for Black men here will be expressed to him by some of the non-Black men he covets so.
So, no, I will not be happy because Black men like Steve Lacy only see us as brothers because he is making a conscious choice to not see us, and by extension himself, in totality. Lacy can date whomever he chooses, but be happy that a Black man wants to wrap himself around a stance that downplays us? Nigga please. Never will I ever.
Steve Lacy is only 19-years-old, so hopefully, in time he will try to find out just why he feels this way about us and what that ultimately says about himself. But, if he wants to go the way of O.J. Simpson and other famous Black men who don’t date their own, that’s also his choice.
I don’t have to personally care about it, but I won’t pretend the dressing up of an anti-Black outlook as “preference” is anything but what it is: fucked up.