By L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith

White privilege reared its ugly head at the Grammys on Sunday. It was no surprise that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won many accolades, including Best Rap/Hip Hop album, even though he and many others knew that that award did not belong to him.

Macklemore even sent a text to Kendrick Lamar after the awards apologizing for “robbing” him. The Seattle native posted the private message for the world to see and to garner even more sympathy points on top of the ones he has already acquired by exploiting the gay community.


His song “Same Love” has been dubbed an LGBT anthem, but Macklemore himself identifies as straight. Gay artists themselves have been speaking on issues such as gay marriage for years but they’ve been silenced or ignored. Apparently supporting the gay cause is profitable as long as you aren’t actually gay.

During the Grammys, he performed “Same Love” on stage and had many same-sex couples’ marriages officiated. Call me a cynic but I was not here for it. That is the biggest scheme of empathy-garnering that I have ever seen in my life. Macklemore is riding the wave until it can’t be ridden any longer by forcing this marriage agenda down our throats as if it’s the breaking point for the gay movement.

The thing that annoys me the most about “allies” is the fact that they expect cookies for their support. Macklemore got his cookies—in a variety of flavors! He got the coins. He got the endorsements. He got the Grammys. He even got the white heterosexual support. But I refuse to praise this man for “supporting” my community as he profits off his vocalization, be it valid or not. That’s outright exploitation of our community and I am not here for it.

Let’s also get into the fact that through this “advertisement,” he is forcing this heteronormative marriage agenda on us like that is the biggest thing that gays have to worry about—not health disparities or job discrimination but marriage.

No, thanks. I’ll pass.

L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith is a 20-year-old queer woman of trans* experience. She attends Xavier University of Louisiana and is majoring in Biology with a minor in Women’s Studies. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, L’lerrét has grown to appreciate the importance of fostering community and now dedicates herself to movements that eliminate barriers for marginalized people. 

5 Responses

  1. TC

    You’re a cynic. Macklemore’s success is certainly related to a heavy dose of straight white male privilege. That said, I don’t think that means he is using the cause of marriage equality as a self-marketing scheme and business opportunity; why do you think it’s all about the cookies? Are we supposed to believe that being a straight white male precludes one from having authenticity? Of course he profits from the message, that’s indicative of how many people, and particularly young persuadable people, are getting the message. From the standpoint of activism, I don’t see opening a space for public dialogue among young people to talk about the identity politics that will decide policy of the future generation as exploitation, just because people want to give him money for spreading that message. Is he just in the wrong profession? What about straight public intellectuals like Cornel West? Finally, I hope you aren’t trying to speak for the whole queer community when you suggest that “he is forcing this heteronormative marriage agenda on us” as if their aren’t a great deal of committed gay marriage activists. Your outrage leaves little room for pragmatism

  2. Justice

    JJ and Audrey,

    I agree as well.As soon as the performance was over I ranted my frustration.In the LGBTQ community we are afraid to criticize one another. We always want to throw a party for a celebrity when they announce that they’re pro-gay rights. Okay, but that’s nothing now. This was indeed exploitation, which others don’t understand. We can’t pretend this is ok when it’s not. In 2014, I hope we learn to speak out against things like this mockery.

  3. Helen

    I hope you know that Mary Lambert, the featured singer of the song is a lesbian, and Macklemore was supporting her and using his fame to make her voice heard, not doing it for selfish reasons

  4. JJ

    I so agree with you on this exploitation of us LGBTs!

    It’s a pity so few of us think critically about this.


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