If you have read the recent interview with the music legend, Quincy Jones, then you are well aware about the secrets of other celebrities, his thoughts on music, the murder of JFK and politics. But one thing that I’m sure is the question on everyone’s mind is Jones’ declaration about Richard Pryor’s homosexuality. Richard Pryor has a homophobic past but the sudden reveal of being homosexual himself, as well as his wife admitting that Jones’ statements are true is shocking yet eye opening to me. As a fan of Richard Pryor with vast knowledge of his stands up specials, movies, friendships, and even jokes, I have to say that I am amazed by this claim, considering how Pryor used to make tons of homophobic jokes, even claiming that “I’ll be damned if I ever did such a thing.” I would say I was confused as well as anyone else who’s a huge fan of one of the greatest comedians of all time but at the same time I accepted it. Regardless if he was or not, it doesn’t change my view of him. I just wish that others would be just as accepting.
This topic is important because it intertwines with society’s views on the LGBT community, especially in the black community when being gay, bi, lesbian, or asexual is seen as a weakness or a sickness that needs to be extracted from one’s body. As many have jumped on the bandwagon to react to Pryor’s bisexuality as a major scandal, it serves as another example of how far the “black” community has yet to grow in acceptance of its LGBT brothers and sisters. People around the world face violence and inequality, and sometimes torture, even execution because of who they love. Sexual orientation is still hard for others to accept to this day and can sometimes lead to discrimination or abuse, but even more so for their African American counterparts. The coming out rate of blacks is less than those of European (white) descent. The black LGBT community refers to the African-American (black) population who identify as LGBT, as a community of marginalized individuals. They are judged, ridiculed, and shamed more often than other groups, which is something that hasn’t changed. With his being the case, it’s easy to see why Pryor did not come out if he was.
I wish my readers would stay true to themselves and accept all of the diversity into their groups. No one should be excluded but everyone should be included. I understand that coming out is a hard thing but I only ask that they find support. While Pryor will not be able to defend himself, it should not stop others for doing so for themselves. There has and will always be Black LGBTQ entertainers. LGBTQ individuals, like every other population on the planet, have been around since the beginning of time, and just because some are finally coming to terms with their existence doesn’t mean it’s new. Silencing and erasing those who are openly gay and singling out those inside a group is a trend that should stop. Everyone should be allowed to love who they love and do so without any fear of a horrendous act of being done to them.
As an African American female who has friends in the LGBT community, I speak from an understanding and sympathetic viewpoint. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against for my skin but not for who I love, but I have seen my friends be discriminated for both. This is an issue that a lot of people go through every day and everyone should pay attention to it. This could be someone’s mother, father, brother, sister or friend. No matter who they are or where they live, they should be allowed to love freely and openly without any fear of discrimination or hate.