In the August 2005 interview with MTV News’ Sway Calloway, the 22-time Grammy-winner passionately defends the LGBTQ+ community and calls out discrimination in the hip-hop industry. In the video, West also revealed that in high school, people would often use the word “gay” as an insult and frequently asked if he was gay, which made him feel “homophobic, because I was like damn, why does everybody else walk like this and I walk like this?”
West continued in the interview: “If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation towards it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic by the time I was through with high school.”
But for West, despite societal influences that impacted his opinion as a teen, he later had a change of heart after learning that his loved one was gay. “I remember my cousin told me that another one of my cousins was gay, and at that point was the turning point where I was like, ‘Yo, this is my cousin, I love him. I’ve been discriminating against gays. Do I discriminate against my cousin?’ And then everything starts to click,” he said.
West went on to tell Sway with a smile that his cousin brought his partner to join the family for their Thanksgiving festivities.
“Hip-hop seemed like it was about fighting for your rights in the beginning and about speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers,” West explained. “… But everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people. To me, that’s one of the standards of hip-hop … Matter of fact, the exact opposite word of ‘hip-hop’ I think is ‘gay.’”
West then called out his contemporaries and made a call to action, urging them to be more inclusive. “Me speaking for my entire culture and me looking at my rappers out there, hip-hoppers discriminate against gay people. … I wanted to come on TV to just tell my rappers, tell my friends like, ‘Yo, stop it, fam.’ Seriously, that’s really discrimination. To me, that’s exactly what they used to do to Black people. I’m just telling people to stop all that.”
Since the video resurfaced, a number of social media users have expressed their support for West, saying that they wish more platforms would highlight his positive contributions to the industry, culture and beyond.
The resurfaced video comes after DaBaby issued a second apology on Monday for his Rolling Loud remarks, saying he was sorry to the LGBTQ community for his homophobic rant, during which he made inaccurate and hurtful comments about HIV, AIDS and queer people. Throughout the week, the rapper has been dropped from six music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Austin City Limits, Music Midtown and more.
Watch a clip from West’s 2005 interview below: