ENTERTAINMENT/OPINION

Tales Of A Reckless Outing

I’ve never had much use for “tell-all” books. Now, if you’ve got a legitimate story to tell, and if telling that story requires you to reveal unflattering facts about someone, then that’s perfectly valid. But putting somebody else’s business in the street for the purpose of embarrassing them, getting revenge - or worse yet - making yourself rich and famous, is pretty despicable as far as I’m concerned.

Terrance Dean claims that he doesn’t want to “ruin anyone’s dreams or careers” with “Hiding in Hip Hop,” his new book about “down low” black men in the entertainment industry. Dean states in an official press release: “What I’m truly hoping for is the start of a real conversation about why, in this very contemporary day and age, we as black people are still made to feel that we cannot be comfortable in our skin?” Sounds like a noble aspiration, but I’m skeptical. Since his book provides detailed descriptions of several known entertainers, Dean’s lofty mission statement seems disingenuous.

If Dean truly wants to get folks talking about anti-gay bigotry, then why does he cheapen the subject by teasing readers into a tawdry game of “guess who?” This salacious approach might sell books, but it cheapens any serious discussion about an important and dead-serious topic.

It might also put a few careers at risk, which Dean claims is the last thing he wants to do. You don’t end bigotry by putting its victims in the line of fire. You end it by challenging the social conditions that turned them into victims.

Terrance Dean should also be reminded that black entertainers aren’t the only ones keeping their sexuality hidden. Dean claims that “there is a sizable community of gay and lesbian white business leaders and celebrities in Hollywood, and they are not ostracized from the industry.” Really? Who? How many white pop stars are openly gay?

Lindsay Lohan’s mom recently told “Extra” that “it really hurts” when people suggest that her daughter and Samantha Ronson are romantically involved. Hurts? Why? Because in the straight world, being labeled gay is an insult that could threaten one’s social standing and livelihood.

Given the wild lives that so many entertainers live, society’s attitude toward homosexuality is perplexing. We live in an age when entertainers have no shame about being alcoholics, drug addicts, drug dealers, gang members and sex fiends. But, call someone gay and the world turns upside down.

Homophobia is the last, socially-acceptable form of bigotry in America, but it will eventually go the way of Jim Crow (California’s recent Supreme Court ruling upholding same sex marriage is a positive sign). For now, however, the struggle for equality continues. But tell-all books that indirectly “out” people don’t really help the cause.

Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.

THINK! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL…YET!

Cameron Turner is a Los Angeles-area native whose editorials, entertainment news features and audio documentaries have appeared on national radio networks, online and in print for over 20 years.


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Comments

May 21st, 2008 at 2:07 am SweetSis says:

People will do anything for a lil bit of fame.

May 21st, 2008 at 2:12 am Freshest07 says:

for a minute i thought you’re gonna talk about the barbara walters/star jones book thing when you said,
“I’ve never had much use for “tell-all” books… But putting somebody else’s business in the street for the purpose of embarrassing them, getting revenge - or worse yet - making yourself rich and famous, is pretty despicable as far as I’m concerned.”

May 21st, 2008 at 2:12 am Freshest07 says:

don’t that sound like what walters did to star? not fresh.

May 21st, 2008 at 2:31 am young clean bastard says:

-i know it aight right but i wanna read it-stone me now-

May 21st, 2008 at 3:31 am Regina Holloway says:

Regrettable that some folk feel they can only get ahead by tearing others down. But our celebrity culture fosters this attitude and we feed into it buying gossip magazines and reading celebrity blogs and watching Entertainment Tonight, so what do we expect? They do what sells and we as a culture are buying it all hook, line and sinker.

May 21st, 2008 at 9:42 am Tawnie says:

i won’t be supporting this bok and this guy should be shamed, but i know we going to hear it all over wendy williams and baisden. watch.

May 21st, 2008 at 11:10 am Allison says:

I don’t think he should put details in the streets. I am however concerned that Black women and Hispanic women have the highest rate of new AIDs victims which can partly be attribute to the fact that their male partner are not being truthful about their sexuality. Yes women should be more careful and always use protection but what about the wife who is trying to get pregnant and the husband has a male lover and is not telling the wife. Maybe if some of the entertainers are more open about their sexuality it may make other males and society more open about it. Excepting is a whole other story.

May 21st, 2008 at 11:46 am nomoredrama says:

I agree with him that the stigma is lopsided for black folks. But I agree with Cameron Turner that this isn’t the way to fix that.

May 21st, 2008 at 11:53 am pmatters says:

I have to admit it I want to pick up the book too

May 21st, 2008 at 12:29 pm Tina says:

I have to agree with Cameron that people deserve their privacy and he doesn’t need to make money off of putting people’s business out there like that.

May 21st, 2008 at 1:06 pm lolalove says:

this is a shame

May 21st, 2008 at 1:15 pm thelma says:

What a nail on the head point Mr. Turner. I mean, these little girls are drinking and drugging their lives away! But if Lohan is gay, then her mom is hurt. too ironic!

May 21st, 2008 at 1:40 pm chica22 says:

I heard about this book. He’s plainly trying to create a buzz like that other down-low book had. I say who cares what people do in their bedrooms. I’m too worried about my own!

May 21st, 2008 at 1:49 pm Stephanie says:

ok i must admit i want to get this book. it wouldn’t be any different if it where straight celebs that he was talking about i would still want to read it

May 21st, 2008 at 2:18 pm Binta Rohan says:

Dispicable and lowbrow.

May 21st, 2008 at 2:33 pm culturepop says:

Don’t matter what laws get passed, black folks ain’t buying it.

May 21st, 2008 at 3:20 pm heatmizer says:

I GUESS IF YOU MAKE PEOPLE GUESS THEN HIS BUTT AIN’T ON THE LINE. COP OUT

May 21st, 2008 at 3:32 pm blkbutter says:

I wish people would just be themself why care what is the deal with this guy saying he will tell but he won’t. coward

May 21st, 2008 at 4:00 pm UncleD says:

Homophobia is indeed a poison that this country and the world needs to rid itself of. Everyone needs to start with themselves by the way you treat your neighbor (golden rule: treat others how you’d like to be treated) and by boycotting trash like this.

May 21st, 2008 at 4:01 pm superjonesy1 says:

Wait so he is not really going to name, name? Well if not then I know I don’t want to read it.

May 21st, 2008 at 5:04 pm nicq says:

I would hate to be one of the dudes in that book

May 21st, 2008 at 9:00 pm blkbutter says:

ALWAYS SOME B.S.

May 21st, 2008 at 9:02 pm Kenneth Boston says:

Half of it probably not true. I gotta see who it is but I don’t think I’ll believe everyword this cat sez.

May 21st, 2008 at 11:39 pm Tera says:

I can’t even front…I’d read it!

May 22nd, 2008 at 2:27 am kamalp says:

i wanna know whose who - and whats what - when it comes to this topic - u never know - and can never be too careful

May 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 pm Evelyn Jacobs says:

Lohan’s mother is a crcakpot.

May 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 pm Evelyn Jacobs says:

Sorry for typo - CRACKPOT!!!

May 22nd, 2008 at 1:58 pm buttabrown says:

It is hard to admit you guys but you know he can’t be outing nobody just name for name. He problable would turn on his car and get blown up!

May 22nd, 2008 at 9:28 pm JamieSez says:

I PLAN TO READ IT. I WANT THE SCOOP. DON’T LIE. YALL DO TOO!

May 23rd, 2008 at 11:45 am BigSingh says:

It is crazy, but there are a few outed stars that are doing well or starting to do well.

Ellen DeGeneres is lesbian and she came out on her sitcom (at that time she was involved with Anne Heche). People thought her career was over because she did. It only made her stronger. She’s now an Emmy winner with her talk show because she’s being herself and doesn’t flaunt it in nobody’s face.

Amanda Bearse (ex-Marcy, Married With Children) - Bearse kept hers secret for a long time, even when she was on All My Children. She came out to her co-stars and they were accepting of her.

Melissa Ethridge - she came out just after Bearse did, and is still a multi-platinum singer/songwriter.

George Michael - granted, he hasn’t had a hit in years, but if when he quits arguing about being under contract with Sony (NOTE: he left back in 1992, dealing with one-album stints with Hollywood, Virgin, and Dreamworks - he’s long since come back to Sony through Epic), he could be back on top.

Michael Stipe - The R.E.M. frontman came out earlier this year, the group’s new album is their best sounding yet.

The funniest thing about this is that all of these stars came out, and none of them flaunted their choices with an ‘in-your-face’ attitude.