Hip-Hop’s longstanding (and unfortunate) history of homophobia and misogyny has dogged the culture for decades. Yet fans of the genre saw a glimpse of a possible future where gays are accepted in the macho world of the boom and bap after Odd Future crooner and songwriter Frank Ocean bravely admitted his first love was a man. Taking things to a fever pitch, west coast rap veteran Murs challenges the global Hip-Hop community with a new video “Animal Style” – and also a bold move onscreen.
Created by the Hobo Stew Creative Group, the video opens on a shot of one of the main characters in the song, Jonathan, an openly gay high school student who has suffered discrimination because of his orientation. Murs depicts his story in vivid detail, and plays the closeted gay boyfriend, Roderick, in the clip as well. What has the Internets stirring is Murs kissing his onscreen paramour in the video – a happy moment shared well after the video’s tragic, and jarring, end.
“Animal Style is a song I did for many reasons,” Murs explains. “The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out. It’s also a love song, which is nothing new for me. But with this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex? And finally, I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Even if it came at the cost of my own comfort.”
“Animal Style” appears on Murs’ latest album, Love & Rockets, Volume 1: The Transformation. What do you think Murs is trying to accomplish with this Hip-Hop cinema?
Watch the “Animal Style” clip below.
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