You’ve probably heard his popular hit, "Thrift Shop," as it’s been rocking the top of Billboard’s charts in the last few weeks, but have you heard Macklemore’s lesser known single, "Same Love"? The rapper has been working as a duo with producer and friend Ryan Lewis since 2000. Their 2012 independently produced album, The Heist, sold 78,000 copies in its first week.
From that album, the single "Same Love" stands out because of the statement it makes on gay rights. In the remarkable music video (embedded below), Macklemore depicts the journey of a gay man from his youth into old age, describing a life from struggle to joy.
Listening to his heartfelt lyrics, I am reminded of my close childhood friend, who went through so much undeserved torment because he is gay. Thinking back on the pain and sorrow I once felt for my friend, I can understand what many others still suffer to this day for their choice of who to love. It is a blessing to hear someone use music to support equality in this way.
The issue, and surrounding controversy over gay rights, has been a heated discussion for some time now. Yet it is something that isn't often addressed by the hip-hop community, which is known for being generally homophobic, according to Macklemore. He discussed this in an interview before the release of The Heist, along with his personal connection to the issue and his thoughts on the contemporary fight for same sex marriage. As a sober, white rapper who supports gay marriage, Macklemore is not conforming to the conventions of the hip-hop genre.
Macklemore's open support for gay rights seems to mirror the changing tides of the nation. Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted to allow gay marriage in their states during last year's November election. Coincidentally, Macklemore used this song and video to throw his support behind Washington's ultimately successful Referendum 74.
We live in a changing world, and in this time the fight for gay rights can be seen as a contemporary equal rights movement. To think that there would be a popular hip-hop artist and a U.S. President who endorse same sex marriage would have been a far-fetched notion, years ago. As we move towards a more accepting world, our society is beginning to realize that despite our differences, we will always share the "same love". This is a change that is taking place right now in our country, and for the sake of my friend and all those touched by this issue, it is a change that I believe is long overdue.