‘Pride is Hiphop’ – straight rapper Black Liquid on his return to the Virginia Pride stage this Saturday
I remember last year when I first was presented the opportunity to perform at the All Ages Area for Pridefest.
I’d be lying if I said there were no questions from my people; possible concerns about what the public perception may be, and if it was wrong to be considering such things being I’m “straight.”
To me, the term “Gay rights” is ridiculous, as it’s my opinion one’s sexual orientation should have nothing to do with a person’s rights to the liberties we, as citizens of this country and Earth, are supposed to have and celebrate. Nonetheless the world is not perfect.
In 2015 there were huge, long overdue victories such as the Supreme Court ruling regarding Same-Sex Marriage. Now Richmond, just like my shirts says, Is For Haters. Why? Because in Richmond we seem to have the odd habit of hating things first, then learning to love afterwards.
Water becomes ice, ice becomes water.
I remember when I first started rapping; how hard it was for me to even book shows, to feel accepted as a Hip-Hop artist in this city. I chose to undertake the responsibility of deciding my career and I remember what it was like to decide to define my success and how it affected the people around me.
I was born Black Liquid, Robert Fields is just my government name.
I can’t imagine how hard it has been for people who were born to the life of being gay in America, even today, and what that can entail.
Hardship is hardship, prejudice, ignorance…these are all enemies of progress.
“Person” is smart and “people,” well, people are often downright stupid. So I looked at playing Pride again this year as an opportunity, but really as more of a responsibility. Last year I had to push the boundary and show people and myself that no one limits me but me. No one tells me who or what I am.
That’s why I chose Hip-Hop as my path, and why I felt Hip-Hop chose me: it allowed me to find my identity, which is the very reason and method by which I teach and why I have never given up no matter how hard or lonely this path gets.
So last year, in the same week I opened for Slum Village at The Broadberry, I turned around and set my mind on doing a profanity-free set at Pridefest for all ages and there we were.
As we passed out CD’s and ruined my sneakers in the mud, it was clear that this was no ordinary pre-show experience.
In this crowd, we seemed to be the exception. We were the ones who didn’t necessarily fit in and it made me feel stupid to feel that way.
These were my people and I am theirs, it was that simple. I had to make that decision right there to do this for the love on the spot and not look back, and I am thankful that I did. It turned out to be a great day – despite the weather – with lots of friendly people, a fun set on an excellent sound system (thanks to a respectful staff who I simply told “anything, anytime”) and a historic day as I was the first Hip-Hop artist (as far as I know) to ever perform at Virginia Pridefest in Richmond.
So here we are a year later, and on the 24th, after a long night at Strange Matter for Face Melt Friday, I’ll become the first Hip-Hop artist to rock the main stage at Pridefest.
I’m so hype about this!
I intend to bare my soul for my 45 minute set. Your faces will be melted. I want you to come up and talk to me if you see me walking around. I want you to feel and know that I have had to find myself just like you, and stand up for the love and respect I have earned, the very things we all deserve, just like you.
Most importantly I want you to know we are out here celebrating the same thing together: the freedom to be who you are, to love yourself, others, and be whoever you want no matter what… and if you ask me, that’s Hip-Hop.
Virginia Pridefest 2016 happens this Saturday, 9/24, at Brown’s Island. It is free and open to the public – come show your support and catch Black Liquid at the Main stage.
This is no I Love Lucy. Maybe Ethel Loves Lucy.September 30, 2016
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