The June '06 issue of VIBE is a hodgepodge of mixed messages. Look at the cover: One the hand, there's the obligatory attempt at consciousness in the form of a tease for "Images of Hate: The Photos You Weren't Supposed to See", a not-so-recently discovered photo archive from the Birmingham civil rights years. But at front and center, the cover features a supersized head shot of Busta Rhymes with a duct-taped mouth promising an "The Untold Story." Venture inside and you'll soon see that the "untold story" discounts Busta Rhymes' recent anti-gay episodes and, more importantly, the star makes even wilder homophobic statements. How about changing that tease to "Images and Sounds of Hate"?
The editors describe Busta's recent "troubling headlines"—his close friend and bodyguard Israel Ramirez was gunned down and "the drama continues" with "a civil suit from a previous confrontation with a fan as well as another volatile fan encounter that implied gay bashing." There's also mention of the alleged fight in a Miami nightclub with Source owner Dave Mays, which Busta denies via unnanmed proxy. Sure, it's insulting the readers by glossing over criminal allegations through anonymous denials. But, it's blatantly hypocritical to footnote "implied gay bashing" and then, a page or two later, to read more. Behold. The Busta Rhymes description of courtroom "drama" with his baby's mama:
It's ill when you have to go on TV and smile, but earlier you were in the court getting shitted on by your baby's mother and a lesbian man-looking bitch holding your child in her arms, talking about she gonna replace you as the father—looking like a dude in a three-piece suit.
Hmm. Maybe somebody needed to man up and act like a father?
Busta's words are disturbing but not shocking. Apparently, the "lesbian man-looking bitch" may or may not have been the girlfriend of his ex. But the hateful words and the "no snitching" (the duct tape?) aesthetic are simply a reaffirmation of his street cred to the masses who are looking for heroes in all the wrong places. They won't get any direction from the editors. VIBE online is well-noted for its attempts to legitimize gay concerns but the offline magazine clearly caters to the conventional wisdom. Too bad.
Mouth Almighty (Vibe)Busta: Gays Better Not "Touch It" (Rod 2.0) Busta Remix Homophobic (Jasmyne Cannick) Rough Trade: Busta Loves the Gays (Novaslim) Maurice Jamal: Kanye West For President (Vibe) Hip Hop and Homosexuality (Keith Boykin) Is Hip-Hop Homophobic? (Vibe) Kanye on Gay Bashing (Rod2.0) Kanye: "My Own Homophobia" (Rod 2.0) Stuff Like This (Scott Poulson-Bryant) A "Gay Friendly" Voice (Rod 2.0)