Lakeith Stanfield: The Sunken Place

The soon to be released movie “Sorry to Bother You” star Lakeith Stanfield recently posted a video on his Instagram, which is now deleted, allegedly “portraying a character” that freestyles lines such as:

“Take that chump change back, that’s some gay shit/ Only black rags in my cab like I’m racist/ F*g, I don’t really like to brag, but I’m straight rich.”

  • Lakeith Stanfield

Initially, Stanfield posted the video with the caption “Offensive freestyle (not for the easily offended)” and only after receiving backlash, did he decide to clean up the mess he created by making the following statement:

“I make videos all the time, which I usually end up deleting as soon as I make them, I assume characters that have different viewpoints and different views on life, and just from different perspectives. Some things my views are in line with, and some things my views aren’t aligned with. And this character that you’ve seen is a character I’m definitely not in line with and I definitely don’t believe those things… never been homophobic.”

  • Lakeith Stanfield

Stanfield should have deleted that video as well. Since he “makes videos all the time, that he usually ends up deleting,” signifies that he has the mental capacity to discern what is appropriate for public consumption that won’t negatively impact his image. Yet he knowingly and admittedly posted the video with not only offensive content, but disregard to those in which it would offend. What I always find perplexing is the argument individuals make after stating problematic perspectives and only when found unfavorable, will they generally recant, particularly if they have something to lose. Suddenly they are never such things. My issue with such a self-preserving process, is that I fail to see the logic and point in emulating something so outwardly damaging if that is not truly in your heart.  If it was never truly there to begin with, than why even bring it to the surface? I wonder how Stanfield would feel about someone calling his son a f*g/got?

I thought about being constructive, reasonably unpacking this, however at this point, continuously experiencing such an exasperating thought process, I don’t feel like it. I’ve been called a f*g/got far too many times to honestly believe anyone, particularly a heterosexual black man, that they mean no ill will by utilizing such damaging language. It’s essentially the equivalent of a Caucasian individual referring to a African American/Black/POC as a n*gga, yet turning around only to say they merely meant it as a greeting.

I cannot seem to find the answer as to why this thought process seems to be portrayed by several individuals that claim to be “woke,” or have reached such a level of consciousness that invokes superiority over other individuals that essentially have the same skin tone as them. Yet these same individuals will ignore other traditional standards of society, by, for example, having a child out of wedlock. It’s always “cool” and “okay” to be a woman beater, drug dealer, drug addict, a convict, or even a lesbian than to be a f*g, anything but a f*g. Anything but a transexual. Anything that’s not gender-conforming. If you disagree, just look at the several injustices that have occurred and continue to occur, outside of the celebrity world and within it towards and in the LGBTQIA and gender non-comforming communities.

Yet here we are, once again, in 2018, dealing with yet another case of “I’m not homophobic but I just like to spew and disperse such a thought process, under the guise of being creative and artistry.” I feel, if you truly want to be creative, you could always showcase the injustices several LGBTQIA and non-conforming individuals experience that never hit the main media platforms. You could always portray, for example, a young-man who was literally minding his business waiting for the public transit to arrive, only to be physically assaulted by two black men, because they thought said “we don’t like f*ggots looking in our direction.” Be creative in showcasing that it’s not just wrong to physically assault someone who’s not provoking you but as well as targeting someone specifically for their sexual orientation. That would be just too much of the right thing though, it’s much easier to freestyle as a character who freely feels comfortable referring to someone as a f*g.

Being homosexual, transgender, and/or gender non-comforming, for some of you, a “f*ggot” if you will, are identities many consider punishable by death. They are labels some equate to be beneath humanity, undeserving of basic human rights, and frankly are abominations. I just don’t understand why the need to play with such dangerous verbiage or even play with such a way of existence; particularly when such individuals fight on the daily, internally and externally, for their right to exist without explanation. If you wouldn’t make a freestyle about finding humor in the constant unjustified killings of unarmed black and brown individuals across America, why make one involving known homophobic jargon?

It’s interesting how so many individuals claim to have never visited the sunken place, but exhibit characteristics of individuals who currently reside there. No matter how you try to play it off, or dress it up: homophobia will be homophobia, present in a variety of manifestations. There is no excuse to be this ignorant in 2018. There is no excuse to be this reckless and careless about the impact and weight of ones words. There is simply no excuse.

  • Alex N. Wanderland