Wired4Music member Maedb’s kindly written an article about Musician and Artist Broke Boy – but also reflected on society’s approach to supporting Queer, Trans and Nonbinary artists! A fantastic read! – Jasmine

 

Meet Broke Boy, an Underground UK Rapper Challenging Queer Stereotypes in the
Media!

In recent years, the once underground UK rap scene has been making its way into
the mainstream. It’s in our adverts, on the charts and all over social media. But, are
all underground UK rappers afforded the same visibility?

Meet Broke Boy, a rapper, sex worker and transgender activist from London. His
latest single TAP is a remix of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s popular single
WAP. [Content Warning: Explicit Language]

Exchanging gender-specific language, for inclusive lyrics; his song takes a
poignant and political stance, enforcing the importance of representation of
queerness in the media.

The LGBTQ+ community has always been marginalised; it is still illegal to marry
someone of the same sex in some countries, only in recent years has it been made
legal in the UK and many still hold negative and damaging attitudes towards those
that identify as queer.

Alongside this, queer people who also work as sex workers
face another intersection of marginalisation. And, as a result of societal stigma and
legislation, are forced to create their own support networks, communities and
families. With this in mind, it is no surprise that queer artists have often existed in
DIY spaces such as underground cabaret nights, open mics and queer exclusive
spaces.

But queer people are everywhere. So why are we not represented in mainstream
media?

Sure, you could argue that shows such as Queer Eye and Ru Pauls Drag
Race increase the visibility of those within the LGBTQ+ community. But, what about
transgender and non-binary artists that don’t fit the specific mould of what society
deems to be ‘marketable’ and ‘acceptable’ for mass consumption?

Stigma and lack of education contribute to the ongoing marginalisation of our
community. This leads to isolation, lack of support networks and internalized guilt
and shame. And, perhaps – that is why we exist in DIY spaces – only sharing our
work to those that we feel comfortable with to do so, out of fear of judgment.

Moreover, the need for accurate queer representation only iterates the importance
of artists like Broke Boy, showing others within the LGBTQ+ community that society
is the problem, not those that identify as transgender, queer or as a sex worker.

Broke Boy creates politically engaged music with an important message. With lyrics
such as – “there’s some queers in this house” and “sex work is real work get the
memo” – his music acts as a vehicle in which we can celebrate the different
intersections of identity. Broke Boy’s catchy melodies and punchy lyrics illustrate to
others that they can turn societal shame into celebration, discovering a sense of
pride through their individuality.

There is a need for queer artists within the mainstream media. However, shadow
banning and censorship on various social media platforms continue to target those
within queer and sex work communities. It will inevitably be harder for artists like
Broke Boy to build their audience and following. But it is up to us as a collective to
push underground marginalised artists into the mainstream.

 

It takes two seconds to
like a post, share it, comment or save it. This all contributes to and boosts the
algorithm. The mainstream only accepts what it deems palatable, but it is time for
us – to change that.

By Maedb Joy

Maedb Joy is a queer, working class poet, theatre maker, actor and writer from
South London.

She is the founder and co-artistic director of Sexquisite Events, a
community arts project for sex workers and one third of the writing collective,
Women of Words.

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