The drama surrounding young LA hip-hop collective Odd Future continues. After bestowing the Best New Artist award to OFWGKTA’s Tyler, the Creator at last Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, MTV is has now been criticized by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for supporting Tyler’s violent and often homophobic lyrics. This comes after criticisms made by GLAAD in May of this year denouncing Tyler himself.
In a blog post on the GLAAD website, Matt Kane, the organization’s Director of Entertainment Media, accused Tyler of writing “some of the most violently anti-gay and misogynistic music currently enjoying mainstream recognition.”
What’s really ironic is that in a time when the public is becoming more supportive of LGBT people and other major artists are showing their support through their music, Tyler and Odd Future are padding their lyrics with anti-gay slurs and dangerous, violent rhetoric. But there is nothing ironically clever about hate speech, particularly when a significant part of those listening are adolescents seeking to emulate their favorite artists. It’s simply irresponsible and destructive.
While Kane recognized that MTV did not, in fact, choose the recipient of the Best New Artist Award (as it is chosen through votes by viewers), he pointed out that MTV agreed to nominate him without regard for the possible impact of Tyler’s message. Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD, continued on this point:
“Rather than providing simply a larger platform, MTV and other networks should educate viewers about why anti-gay and misogynistic language has no place in the music industry today … Given Tyler’s history of such remarks, viewers and potential sponsors should refrain from honoring homophobia and in the future look to a more deserving artist.”