By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com May 22 2014 2:00 PM ET
Gender-bending rap artist Mykki Blanco was arrested in Portugal earlier this week for what he describes as “being gay,” reports Noisey.
Blanco initially reported the news himself via his Facebook page, writing, “I’m being arrested in Portugal for being gay,” and posted photos taken in a Portuguese jail followed by numerous additional posts in the comments section.
The artist claims the arrest took place after he and his photographer were being treated unfairly by a taxi stand employee, and when they asked a nearby police officer for help, the lawman responded with a homophobic slur. Mykki then told the officer to “Go fuck himself,” and the rap artist was promptly arrested and taken to jail.
Mykki explained in a statement to Noisey:
“The altercation escalated because I waited in a long line outside the airport for a taxi and when I was told I could not use my credit card but only cash (which also is not true I later found), the taxi attendant and cop refused to help in any way. They were impatient and short with me all the while eagerly helping white tourists. A Portuguese woman in line with me even leaned over and whispered, ‘I don’t know why they are being so strange with you, there is a place inside to buy taxi vouchers you don't need cash.’ I should have listened to the woman and went inside to find the voucher office but there is a part of my personality that really wants to see if people WILL actually be prejudiced, to see if maybe my PC west coast optimism about the world is being challenged by blatant discrimination and I was right. I asked the police officer where the voucher office was and I was told to ‘go away’ like I was a nuisance and when I asked why he could not help but the other white tourists I was yelled at and told to ‘go away bicha’ which is a gay slur [according to Urban Dictionary: it is an offensive slur meant to challenge a man on his sexuality], even though I had waited in the same line as everyone else.”
Officially, Mykki was arrested for insulting a police officer, which is a crime in Portugal, and ordered to pay a fine of 600 euros.
“More than racism or even homophobia (which was also a factor) I realized that class matters and that an upwardly mobile black man isn't something people always want to see,” Blanco added on his Facebook page.