“It’s been phenomenal.”
That’s how Amarillo-based rapper and straight ally Adair Lion described the last three days, since his new video “Gay is Okay” exploded on YouTube and beyond.
“I did figure on a large reaction,” Lion told Instant Tea on Friday. “It’s cool to see the YouTube bar on the video be green [indicating likes].”
But while everyone from the Huffington Post to Perez Hilton has posted the video, underground sites that have shown his previous work aren’t touching this one. These are the sites that he felt had his back. Now, he said, they’ve shied away.
“Everybody and their mom has posted it, but they haven’t,” he said. “Those sites were where all my popularity had come from. Those were my peeps.”
He’s even had friends stop talking to him because this wasn’t street enough. Lion’s only retort is that “you can’t please everybody all the time.”
He said his comments have already been misconstrued as shouting out Kanye and Li’l Wayne as not being supportive of LGBT communities. Not the case at all, he assured us.
“Man, they have been the most influence on my music. They are my idols,” he said. “My point was that if you have that power of influence over the mass majority — especially in hip-hop — and you’re not doing what you can, then the messages continue to be hidden. I was just saying a song like this from the hip-hop community is overdue.”
Lion said he’s already received personal messages from younger folks thanking him for the video. In one note, a listener said that he gave it to his mother to help her understand his situation.
“It means the world to me that maybe I’ve changed some opinions,” he said.
The idea for the song stemmed from a college friend who came out. He was a big-man-on-campus type with a girlfriend.
“He was this cool cat. When he came out, though, I didn’t know what to do,” Lion admitted. “I didn’t know it was OK, but he made me see that it was.”
Perhaps Lion’s biggest realization came within the last few days, when he says many people have blatantly displayed their homophobia in response to the video. It’s easy to see how one of the first questions people may have is whether Lion is gay himself (or bi, on the down low, whatever). But he said he’s been pretty stunned by some of the comments.
“I’ve had to deal with people calling me ‘fudgepacker,’ ‘gay lover,’ ‘homo’ and three days of it wears on you, man. I just can’t imagine how some people have to live their life that way. So many people lack compassion. And yet, some people will mistake me for gay but just say, ‘It’s cool.’ I’m just now realizing these facets,” he said.
Of course, the publicity doesn’t hurt. Any indie musician wants their music out there and with a slew of high-profile websites posting his video, Lion could be on the verge of something bigger.
“It’s been a blast and I’ve talked to a lot of cool people. I mean like every hour almost. It’s been ridiculous and any artist just wants to make good music and get it heard.”
Next month Lion will release his new album Michael and Me, an homage to the King of Pop containing a slew of Michael Jackson inspirations, references and samples. “Gay is Okay” samples “Ben” while also quoting Harvey Milk.
“I wanted to voice my opinion after seeing ‘It Gets Better,” he said. “I love being a straight ally.”
Lion said he just did a couple of shows a couple of shows just last month, one being at a showcase in Deep Ellum at 2826 Arnetic.
Maybe he’d consider Dallas Pride.
Watch “Gay Is Okay” below.