Shalom Life | April 19, 2014

African-American Orthodox Hip-Hop Artist “Y-Love” Comes Out

Y-Love speaks out on being a gay man of color and Jewish.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: May 15th, 2012 in Culture » Music » News

African-American Orthodox Hip-Hop Artist “Y-Love” Comes Out

Hip-hop artist, Yitz ‘Y-Love’ Jordan, is speaking out for the first time about being a gay man of colour, existing in both the Hassidic Judaism and hip-hop communities.

Y-Love was born to a Puerto Rican mother and Ethiopian father. He chose to convert to Hasidic Judaism in 2000, studying at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach yeshiva. When he released his first mixtape in 2005, he was touted as the world’s first African-American Orthodox hip-hop artist. Y-Love has been featured in hundreds of international publications including USA Today, XXL Magazine, The Australian and La Repubblica.

Y-Love has chosen to publically “out” himself, stating “I want mine to be the last generation of LGBT Americans that remembers what a closet is. I want kids in 20 years to sit annoyed through LGBT history class to learn about that long ago time ‘when gay people used to have to lie,’ much like segregation is a far-off time to many of today’s middle-class black youth.”

“Why come out now? I’ve wanted to for a long time. I feel like I have wasted years of my life worrying that my ‘public reputation’ will be negatively impacted by my identity. Now that I’m over 30, I simply can’t care as much about what people think, despite the prospect of alienating the community I dedicated my life to as an artist and a man. My hope is it will open their eyes – and hearts. I’m ready to live authentically. I’m ready to find a husband. I’m ready to live without fear of being outed or the stress of keeping my whole self from people. And I’ve waited too long to do that,” Y-Love continued.

Y-Love understands that revealing his sexual identity might lead to losing much of his former audience.

“So many conservative-minded hip-hop fans have listened to me to be their ‘voice of Jewish values’ for so long that I’m sure some will huff off in disgust at seeing the real me. What will not change is my art. My rhymes will still be 20% Hebrew and full of Jewish quotes as always. I also fully expect that these people who no longer find me “appropriate” will be replaced by fans who can truly appreciate the real me — with a particular emphasis on LGBT hip-hop fans, who I think will be able to identify with my struggle and triumph and have few out artists and role models.”

“If anything, I’d say that being closeted about my sexuality gave an edge of anger to my tracks, which, while couched in revolutionary terms, stemmed from a place of inner anguish and frustration.” Continued Jordan: “‘Focus on the Flair’ is my first album where I feel like my music reflects an inner happiness and joy instead of primarily an inner conflict. And that is a reflection of what it means to come out and be true to oneself – the joy, the relief and the hope. I hope that is what people will see and focus on.”

For more information visit: http://thisisylove.com/

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