Macklemore's strange "no homo" tweet raises eyebrows

The prominent gay ally is getting scrutiny for an old tweet declaring "No homo" and "Pause," anti-gay slang

Published January 28, 2014 4:28PM (EST)

If Macklemore's tweets aren't homophobic, they're certainly homophobe-ish.

The rapper delighted his fans over the weekend with a Grammy Awards performance of his pro-marriage-equality single "Same Love," complete with mass wedding of straight and gay couples. And yet as he's come in for closer scrutiny in the wake of his strange public self-flagellation following his Grammy wins in rap categories, his Twitter history from years ago has raised new questions. As noted yesterday by the Washington Post, it's easy to take years-old tweets out of context -- not least because their author, at the time, was not famous enough to know that issues of tone are actually important online.

The Twitchy crowd, for instance, is lighting up over the revelation that Macklemore is an apparent 9/11 truther:

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And, more apropos of the music that's fueled Macklemore's rise to fame, gay fans who swooned to his "Same Love" performance may feel a bit more mixed in light of a strange, possibly sarcastic tweet that uses the anti-gay argot "No homo" and "Pause" (both popular among the rappers "Same Love's" lyrics address: "If I was gay / I'd think hip-hop hates me").

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The problem isn't really that this is or is not sarcastic -- it's that it's impossible to parse. Is Macklemore joking about the hip-hop community or seeking to join it? It's the same issue raised by Macklemore's public text to Kendrick Lamar: How much of this guy's present-day earnestness is just an act designed to present him in as flattering a light as possible?

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It's unfair to rely unduly on old tweets in wholesale condemning Macklemore -- even if the single "no homo" tweet were in earnest, five years is a long time. (Later tweets, screencapped by Flavorwire, earnestly declare that saying "No homo" is bad.) But the degree to which it's caught people's attention synthesizes something rather uncanny about the "Same Love" phenomenon and the degree to which it distances itself from its subject even as the song unfolds. The song is one long "no homo," with its entire first verse about how people thought Macklemore was gay as a child but he definitely, definitely isn't. He's so secure in that.

By Daniel D'Addario

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