Thoughts from the Headteacher’s office

Taking the hate out of Rap lyrics

Macklemore  is an American Rap Artist his real name is Ben Haggerty and he is 30 years old.

Macklemore has made several albums. The Heist, released in October 2012 went to No. 2 in the US Album Charts and received a Gramy Award the same year.  Macklemore was engaged to his girlfriend, Tricia Davies in 2013 and he lives in Seattle.

However – Macklemore  is a rap artist with a difference. He has constantly spoken up against some of the hate lyrics in rap songs. particularly against:

  • The glorification of violence and guns
  • Misogamy
  • Homophobia

 In 2013 another rap artist Eminem released a single called Rap God which was widely criticised as being full of homophobic slurs. This prompted Macklemore  to team up with music producer Ryan Lewis and singer-songwriter Mary Lambert who is gay, to produce the single “same love”. In the single, Macklemore and Lambert challenge some of the stereotypes of hip hop.

Rap lyrics can be very powerful as they are listened to intently by many millions of young people, so negative lyrics can be a real force for evil.

Macklemore’s lyrics attempt to counter some of the overtly homophobic lyrics of other rap and Hip Hop artists.

“If I was  gay I would think that Hip Hop hates me.

Have you read the You Tube comments lately?”

 The single also attacks the right-wing religious movement in the US.

 “The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision and you can be cured with some treatment and religion man made re-wiring of a pre-disposition”

The song  also condemns homophobic bullying and relates homophobia to the sort of racism that was prevalent in the US in the 1950’s and 60’s.

As a society we have come a long way in tackling racism in its many forms, but are we as far down the road tackling homophobia?

I would like to think that everyone at Woodcote High School works in a tolerant comminity that respects all differences between human beings.

But, do we?