Rap star Tyler the Creator defended his use of antigay slurs during an appearance last week on the Arsenio Hall Show.
The 22-year-old rapper, producer, director, designer, and dancer told the talk show host words such as "faggot" are only offensive if a person chooses to be offended by them, and compared their use to the way some racial slurs are currently used in pop culture.
“That’s just a word, you can take the power out of that word," Tyler told Hall. "The way that I see things, you chose to be offended if you care more about stuff like that, and that might sound very ignorant, but if you're a black person and someone calls you the n-word and you get offended, maybe you might be. But if I know that I'm not a n-word...I'm not gonna get offended."
Then the rapper cited his friend, fellow artist Frank Ocean, who came out in a blog post last year, to prove that Tyler isn't homophobic. "Frank is gay and I use that word all the time," said Tyler. "He doesn't care because he knows me. He knows when I say that word I'm not thinking of someone's sexual orientation. It's just another word that has no meaning."
The young performer’s words echo those of rap star Eminem, who said in a recent interview that he does not equate the antigay slurs he uses in his music to animus toward LGBT people. Instead, he views them as generic insults like “calling someone a bitch, or punk, or asshole.”
“I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself,” Eminem told Rolling Stone. “But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all.”
Watch Arsenio Hall’s interview with Tyler The Creator in the video below.