Exploring male androgynous figures in Hip-Hop: Let men be free!
Written by: Alexis Copeland
A while back on Twitter, a question was posed on my timeline: “How do y’all feel about men wearing crop tops?” Attached to this post was leading men in Hollywood wearing them, one of which being Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Will Smith. Initially I thought, “no way”. But today I question, why are some fashion statements rejected? Why do we turn away from our most daring clothing choices? Opinions about men wearing clothes deemed as "for women" have grown on both sides of the issue . Ultimately, history has a way of repeating itself.
Young Thug is a popular rapper who rhymes about cars, clothes, women and money; all things that exude masculinity in today’s societal standards. And yet he will still be suspected of being homosexual. His sexuality is called into question based off the clothing he wears. In the late summer of 2016, Young Thug released a mixtape entitled Jeffrey. The music was superb, but what seemed to have people’s unwavering attention was the cover of the mixtape; Young Thug sported a fitted white top paired with an elaborate lavender ruffled skirt by VFiles.
The topic of conversation centered more around his unconventional fashion choices rather than his music or lyrics. A lavender skirt doesn’t fit into the schema of how a rapper should dress according to their standards. But let’s rewind 30 or 40 years back in the age of Michael Jackson and Prince. These were some of the most flamboyant straight males of the time. They even wore noticeable makeup such as heavy eyeliner. Ironically, this didn’t bother most people. In fact, some felt it was innovative; sexy even. But to think we have progressed as a society and are more accepting of those who don’t fit into strict labels would be a mistake. Fast forward 40 years to the present and androgyny among figures such as Young Thug, Lil Uzi and Jaden Smith is still a controversial topic.
Jaden Smith wearing Women's sneakers
What shifts have taken place since then? Does hypermasculinity still reign dominant? Can straight men dress feminine without it affecting their sexuality? If you ask these questions to yourself or others, it may be because world has only been seen or taught one way. We should stray away from some such constricting standards. Let men be free.
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