BY Brandon Voss
March 19 2010 1:40 PM ET
Your first son is due this May. How do you plan to instill in him those same values of love and acceptance?
That’s easy. Love is easy to instill; it’s just hard to practice. We can all lose our tempers and our focus when our insecurities get the best of us, but it’s easy to preach and teach love and open-mindedness.
Who’s your best gay friend?
Probably somebody who won’t admit it. [Laughs] That’s the catch-22 of the hip-hop and R&B music world: There’s so much bravado and chest-thumping, you can’t help but be afraid to come out and be yourself. I actually have a couple friends in that world I’m wondering about right now.
How can the homophobia in that world be diminished?
I really don’t know. It’s this religion thing that’s so mind-boggling. Religion is an epidemic, you know what I mean? How do you justify what people have in their minds because of a book that they read — that your life has to be a certain way or you’re damned? It’s very difficult to understand how some people can be so open-minded in some realms but so closed off in others.
How do you personally handle the homophobia you encounter?
I’ve always been the guy at the table who will fight these people until the bitter end. I’m a fighter — maybe too much sometimes. Sometimes I ruin dinner.
You’re married to black actress Paula Patton, which would’ve also been illegal in many states not all that long ago. What are your thoughts on gay marriage?
When I was growing up and had my first apartment, my very next-door neighbors were a gay couple named Stan and Wayne. They were two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, and they’re still friends of mine to this day. I think of them not being able to get married because of some law — and they’ve been together for 25-plus years — and there’s just nothing right about that. Why can’t they profess their love to the world? Why can’t they have the same legal tax credits and all those other things that everybody else gets to have? There’s a lot about all that that doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s hard to reason with people who get all caught up in their Bibles.
Thanks to her role as lesbian teacher Ms. Rain in Precious — not to mention her next film, Just Wright, with Queen Latifah and Pam Grier — Paula is quickly becoming an icon in the lesbian community. Are you loving it?
Oh, yes, and we’re both so grateful. My wife has been my teacher of open-mindedness since I met her. If I hadn’t met her, I would probably be more of a cocky jerk, but she’s always reminded me of the struggles that other people are going through, which has made me a better person. She’s got an enormous heart.
Your current single, “Sex Therapy,” samples “It’s My Party” by out lesbian Lesley Gore. Are you trying to cultivate more lesbian fans yourself?
She’s a lesbian? Oh, I had no idea! How cool is that? Well, there you go. See, subliminally I’m tapping into my lesbian side. I was born a lesbian, so all that makes sense.
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