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May 17, 2012 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Formerly Hasidic black rapper Y-Love has come out of the closet and is now probably the only person who could beat Sammy Davis Jr.'s famous quip.
posted by Joe in Australia (26 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I missed the bit where he lost an eye.
posted by unliteral at 4:50 PM on May 17, 2012


...the son of a Puerto Rican mother and an Ethiopian father, grew up in Baltimore. Even at the age of seven, he was fascinated by Judaism and decided that one day he wanted to join the chosen people. After studying in Jerusalem and Brooklyn as a young adult, he finally converted in 2000...Y-Love, 34, told the world for the first time that he no longer cares enough about his “public reputation” to remain in the closet and that he’s finally ready to “date in the light” and even find a husband, although he is aware he might alienate some Orthodox fans.

Life's hardest difficulty setting.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:51 PM on May 17, 2012 [25 favorites]


Sammy appeared on the Tonight show. Johnny Carson's reaction to Sammy's being a black Jew who married white: "When you move in, you wipe out a neighborhood".
posted by Cranberry at 4:51 PM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Never heard of this guy, but good for him. Listened to the songs linked in the article. Uh. And the article says he used to be bad. He's not bad anymore, but he certainly still has a ways to go. Good for him though. I wish someone would have told him that Drake style bitten from Big Sean (bitten from Ye) came and went.
posted by cashman at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2012


This... isn't a surprise. My wife knew him back in high school days, and our paths crossed once or twice. For at least some time back then he identified as bi. But good for him to make it public now, and I hope he finds himself a nice man. Even a doctor, maybe?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yasher Koach, Y-Love
posted by The Gooch at 5:52 PM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


"who could beat Sammy Davis Jr.'s famous quip."

Okay, let's be honest here. Does anyone else what to try Champale after reading that article?

posted by schmod at 6:08 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Y-Love, 34, told the world for the first time that he no longer cares enough about his “public reputation” to remain in the closet and that he’s finally ready to “date in the light” and even find a husband, although he is aware he might alienate some Orthodox fans.

Living openly with pride instead of shame is never an act of not caring about one's public reputation. It is an act of becoming a whole person for the first time and of establishing one's reputation as being one full of integrity and truth instead of broken in two covered with lies.

Bravo, Y-Love. Even in 2012, it isn't an easy choice to be an out gay man. To be an out gay black Jewish rapper... that's one hell of a brave choice and one I applaud. May you find peace and love, and may you discover that there aren't nearly as many hate-filled hearts in the world as your earlier fears had led you to believe. Your courage inspires; your strength astounds.
posted by hippybear at 6:10 PM on May 17, 2012 [33 favorites]


I hope I live long enough that a story like this is a yawn.

My expected time left according to all the time-wasting sites--39 years. I suppose if I quit wearing a seat belt, started smoking and raised black mambas I could speed up the process. I'm willing to take one for the team.
posted by dutcherino at 6:29 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good for him!
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:37 PM on May 17, 2012


I hope I live long enough that a story like this is a yawn.

Yawn. My only surprise is that "Y-Love" is a Jewish name.

Life's hardest difficulty setting.

Would be in the NBA or NFL or if you really want to turn it up to 11 - to be a black, openly gay man in the NHL. The world of music got over the "OMG he's gay" thing a long time ago.
posted by three blind mice at 6:47 PM on May 17, 2012


Living openly with pride instead of shame is never an act of not caring about one's public reputation. It is an act of becoming a whole person for the first time and of establishing one's reputation as being one full of integrity and truth instead of broken in two covered with lies.

So beautifully and powerfully stated. Thank you, hippybear.
posted by treepour at 6:48 PM on May 17, 2012


Does anyone else what to try Champale after reading that article?

About 10 years ago, I was in a liquor store in a strip mall in Bridgeport, CT. They had pink Champale in the cooler. The radio (tuned to an oldies station, I guess) was playing 'Baker Street.' I had to run outside to reassure my self I hadn't walked into a wormhole.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 PM on May 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


It may or may not be life's hardest setting but nobody wins the Opression Olympics. Good for him; it's a brave and freeing act. Everyone's hardest journey is their hardest journey, jessamyn has said.
posted by rtha at 7:11 PM on May 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Everyone's hardest journey is their hardest journey,

Nahh. "Stone in Love" is the hardest Journey,a fter that they lapsed into too many ballads.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 PM on May 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


It takes a lot of courage to come out for most people even though it's 2012 and all. Especially when you are a gay black male with a rapping career.

I hope that we can reach a point where everyone will be accepted for who they are despite differences. Many of us might be different when it comes to sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, whatever, but at the end of the day we are all human.

Unless, you're Barbara Walters answer to the question: Did Jessica Simpson have a baby and if so, what was it?
posted by livinglearning at 7:46 PM on May 17, 2012


three blind mice: "Would be in the NBA or NFL or if you really want to turn it up to 11 - to be a black, openly gay man in the NHL. The world of music got over the "OMG he's gay" thing a long time ago."

Except that if you're in the NBA or NFL, you're rich. This guy is a rapper who now "works as a web developer".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:50 PM on May 17, 2012


"ebony handicap one-eyed negro jew" WTF??
posted by a non e mouse at 8:17 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Springer still running? Weird Al totally called it:

It's been three days since the bitter fued
Between the KKK and that gay Jewish black dude

posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nice! Good for him. :)
posted by zarq at 8:56 PM on May 17, 2012


It can be incredibly difficult for musicians to come out. Country singer Chely Wright has endured all manner of rude questions from radio DJs and actual loss of gigs since she came out. Ill Doctrine recorded this video about the absence of out gay rappers, and four years later and with due respect to Y-Love and the courageous move he's made, there are still no big time rappers who are out and gay.
posted by chrchr at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


there's some bi female rappers and i've heard talk that at least some of them are actually lesbians. but, on the male side, yeah, no big names who are out (names are floated around but they are very much closeted). on the not so famous or big side, we did talk about this crew a while back.
posted by nadawi at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2012


I am in no position to tell gays or lesbians that they are under any obligation to come out of the closet. But it's hard not to feel that Harvey Milk was right, that everybody who comes out of the closet makes it a bit harder for people to feel like there are no gay people they know, no gay people they respect, no gay people who meaningfully contribute to their community.

It's a tragedy that, for so many, coming out is such an act of courage. And I cannot find it in me to condemn those who don't, or, at least, haven't yet. But for a black former hasid to come out the closet is for entire groups of people to have their understanding of who is in their community suddenly exploded. Blacks can be Jewish. Orthodox Jews can be black. Both can be gay.

Sometimes it seems like we're are just groups of sometimes warring tribes. It helps to remember that we aren't. Your people are often my people too. They share experiences that I had thought were mine and my people's alone. And their differences aren't so different, because if they are like me, there must be more of them that are like me, and maybe I am more like them than I realized.

This is an unequivocal good.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:46 PM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]



Well there you go. I'd just like to say that life is a journey and what suits us, faith-wise at one time, may not as we get older.

Congratualtions to anyone who is living more authentically, who may be afraid of what others think, but are more afraid of living one more day in a way that isn't 'them'.

I'm am really happy that most religions have different degrees of orthodoxy, so that you have a buffet when your life goes in different directions.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This... isn't a surprise. My wife knew him back in high school days

Ah, but that was before he found Orthodox Judaism and "reparative therapy." One might say he went back into the closet, even to himself.

But for a black former hasid to come out the closet is for entire groups of people to have their understanding of who is in their community suddenly exploded. Blacks can be Jewish. Orthodox Jews can be black. Both can be gay.

It's a nice thought, and there are some openly gay Modern Orthodox Jews, but I doubt there are any haredi/ultra-orthodox ones, or will be for some time. Y-Love no longer considers himself haredi and says that the haredi world will never consider him observant.

Let's not underestimate the threat of fundamentalism here.
posted by callmejay at 7:07 PM on May 18, 2012


Y-Love has followed up with an interview in Advocate.com:
"What will the Orthodox community say?"

This question has loomed over me for years. I've been alternately afraid of losing my community and my fan base for my entire music career. As I told Out magazine, I fully was prepared to lose all of my Orthodox and religious fans the instant I revealed my true identity. This past weekend was the first Shabbat since my coming out, and the first time synagogues would fill with parishioners since my announcement. I asked on Facebook if anyone heard their rabbis mention me, and what the word "around the Shabbat table" was in the Orthodox communities of the world, where my Orthodox fan base resides. To say I was shocked at the response would be an understatement. [...]
This guy has strengths that I can't begin to imagine. To start with, Orthodox conversions are hard. I don't suppose it's easier if you're black. From what I understand he then spent years studying in a yeshiva - also not an easy thing to get into without the right background. Then he built up a career based on selling music primarily to Orthodox Jews. And then, after all that, to set out on yet another quest, one which might isolate him from his career and his community? I don't know much about him; I posted the link partly because of the cute comparison to Sammy Davis Jr; but the more I think about Y-Love the more I admire his courage.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:09 AM on May 24, 2012


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