“No Lesbo”: Girls, “No Homo,” and Lesbians In Hip-Hop

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I spent D.C.s snowed-in weekend sipping bourbon, building an igloo, and listening to a horrific karaoke rendition of Deborah Cox’s 1998 power ballad, “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here.” At one break in the snow shelter action, a friend popped in a cassette tape containing the butchering of Cox’s song, which he claims to have found discarded on the ground at a Six Flags theme park.

Being unfamiliar with Cox’s work, we hopped onto YouTube to listen to the original track, a resounding tribute to the man who made Deborah Cox love again. Beneath the video, a Cox fan had filed the following comment: “man she can sing so gud man i love her no homo she is now my idol like´╗┐ 4 real my gaol is too sing like her cuz she is truly amazing.”

No homo? Seriously? I always thought that homophobic declaration was a product of hip-hop’s aggressive masculinity. Now, girls, too, are invoking “no homo” to clarify that they want to be able to belt maudlin R & B ballads about falling in love with men without being perceived as lesbians? What’s going on here?

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