In an interview with Cheddar earlier this week promoting his Urban Outfitters Pride collaboration, rapper Taylor Bennett discussed his recent coming out and being bisexual in a traditionally homophobic industry.
"The reason I came out was for my fans," the 21-year-old Chicago native said. "Because how can you support someone when you don't know someone. I wnated them to know who they supported."
The timing of Bennett's announcement in January was symbolic, he said: "It was the day before my birthday and I was about to be 21. I wanted to go into manhood being a more honest person. That was what initiated it, but the response was amazing."
Bennett's older brother, Chance the Rapper, was a voice in the positive feedback. On HOT 97's Ebro in the Morning show, he spoke about his brother's sexuality with admiration, though Bennett doesn't think coming out should be overly praised. "I don't think it should be something that has to be heroic," he told Cheddar. "I think it should be something that at one point, we can all do and feel comfortable about."
When asked about being an out, bisexual rapper, Bennett said the root of hip-hop's homophobia stretches beyond the industry and into black culture. "There's a lot of black men that feel like to be black, you're already a second class citizen, he said. "And on top of that, to be homosexual just lowers the standard."
But the rise of rappers, such as Lil Yachty, who wear confident queer looks, Bennett said he thinks it's becoming more acceptable to be yourself in the industry and "dress the way you want to dress, speak the way you want to speak, and think the way you want to think." Ultimately, he said, "That's what I want to empower in the hip-hop community."
Late last month, UO revealed that Bennett was the ambassador of their new Pride capsule. Sales from the seven-piece, rainbow-colored range benefit GLSEN to create safe, affirming schools for LGBTQ students. "Love is love," says an UO tee, echoing one of the rapper's simplest, most powerful statements during his Cheddar feature: "The most important thing is to be yourself," he said. Watch, below.