Attempting optimistic misanthropy

Posts Tagged ‘Rumours’

Omarion and Sexuality: None of Our Business

Posted by Hussyville on January 9, 2011

Omarion (image via Flickr)I have no idea who Omarion is (I am desperately unfashionable, kids). A cursory Google brings up something about boy-band B2K whose hit “Bump Bump Bump” I can just about remember if I squint really hard and pretend to be a teenager again. But he entered my Twitter feed and hence my consciousness this weekend because he had apparently come out as bisexual.

The original story appeared to be a blog post on TheGrapeJuice, which in turn linked to a website that does free press releases. Apparently there’s been some trouble between Omarion and his erstwhile bandmates, so it wasn’t surprising that a number of his fans refused to believe the announcement, suspecting dirty tricks. And it appears that they were right to be sceptical (I will never spell that word with a K) as Omarion himself later tweeted that he had not sent out the press release and that he is a confirmed heterosexual.

What I found interesting was not the announcement itself — “Singer is Bisexual?” Meh — but the reaction of various people on Twitter who I assumed to be fans, some of whom were rapidly reaching for “former fan” status, as though listening to his songs or having any of them on their iPods would somehow infect them with his (now denied) bisexuality. Tweets about how listening to his music would make you partially gay, or how any singers he collaborated with in the future would also fall under suspicion of not being 100% heterosexual were not hard to find. I’m not even going to bother with the casual homophobia.

Also interesting were the tweets that ignored the fact that the press release clearly stated that Omarion (or his imposter) identified as bisexual. For some reason, this is not allowed. You are either gay or straight, and bisexuals don’t exist: “Dude, you’re not bisexual, you’re GAY!” I am still trying to wrap my head around the logic that would allow for gays and straights to exist without bisexuals. Especially as so much mainstream heterosexual porn features girl-on-girl scenes these days. What’s good for the goose is supposed to be good for the gander, after all.

The fact is, unless we are one of the people that Omarion is hopping into bed with, it really isn’t any of our business who he fucks. I get the unspoken contract between male R&B singers and their (mostly female) fans that they have to project the image of a fantasy boyfriend. I understand why, if that fantasy is shattered or otherwise altered by learning that the object of your fantasy might swing the other or both ways, there might be some disappointment that a fantasy is now even more unlikely to come true. But I still don’t understand why this is anyone’s business. It doesn’t change the lyrics of the songs he sang, nor any of the sentiments behind them.

What I also don’t understand is the attempt, mainly by male twitterers, to erase bisexuality. Why is it so important to them to compartmentalise people into gay, straight and nothing in between? Once again, whether they are fans or not, unless they are one of Omarion’s paramours, it’s none of their business and was unlikely to ever become so.

I do wonder if this has anything to do with acceptance of LGBTQ sexuality being less widespread in the black community, along with the hyper-machismo of modern hip-hop slipping over into R&B. But those deserve blog posts of their own, and have probably been done previously and more thoroughly elsewhere. Nevertheless, the fact remains, who Omarion is sleeping with is none of our business, and until we can accept this, there will not be any R&B or hip-hop stars coming out, because such an annoucement still has the power to shock some tender souls and to destroy a career.

Entertainers naturally give up some of their privacy when they step on to the  public stage. But I can’t help feeling that who they are sleeping with is one of the things fans really don’t need to know. And hopefully, in future, is one of the things fans will not even care about.

[Image via Flickr]


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