Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Sep 26th 2007 11:25AM by Jessica Robertson
The quote sparked an immediate backlash, with GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) issuing the following statement: "No fair-minded person can look at Ja Rule's interview with Complex magazine and believe for one second that his children could be more harmed by what they might see on television than by the vulgarity and prejudice that comes out of their father's mouth."
Spinner spoke with the rapper -- who releases his new album,'The Mirror,' a collection of songs he says reflects his own recent self-discovery, on Nov. 13 -- to find out what truth actually lies in that reflection.
Let's get to this straightaway: You caused quite a bit of controversy with your comments in Complex magazine, saying -- and I'm paraphrasing -- that homosexuality is what's wrong with America. Is it accurate to say that you suffer from some degree of homophobia?
I'm a very avid speaker for all people's rights and people having their own preference. I was taken out of context. My statement was more about where our mind state is as a people. We're focused on the wrong things -- like, our country is at war right now. These things are more of a problem to me. Like another case I just read about -- young ladies being raped by six white men. These are the stories that should be popping up on my TV screen. That's what I was talking about, and somehow it got spun into some other s---.How would you react if one of your kids told you that he or she was gay?
That's their own preference. I'm going to love them regardless. I have relatives that are homosexuals and, you know, they come over for Christmas, hang out. It's something that starts with us. That's why my album is named 'The Mirror' -- because everybody has to look at themselves and take it upon themselves to educate. It's my responsibility to educate my children -- not the TV. I think a visual is more influential than audio, but that goes without being said. You know, that's the world we live in and people are tight in the collar about a lot of issues. It is what it is.
Where do you stand on gay marriage?
It's really not my business. I really could care less. It's not something that bothers me.
This seems to contradict some of the preconceived notions the public may have about you.
People have a lot of misconceptions about me and it has a lot to do with me being a rap artist -- me being a young black man. You know, I get it a lot when I do films. Sometimes, I come fit and they just automatically think that I'm going to be late or I'm not going to be focused because that's what other rappers do on the set. I'm a hard worker, I come here to do my job and that's what it is. There's a lot of stereotypes that we get as rappers and young black men that are not fair.
Does that frustrate you?
Sometimes, but you gotta take the good with the bad. That's life. I understand it. I know it'll be a struggle for me -- being a young black man in America. And it's always been tough for me to get my point across as a rap artist.
How do you feel about the state of hip-hop today?
I think it's at a good state. I think there's some good dance music. The kids are having fun with. It reminds me of a time when I was younger when older records came out. And, with Kanye [West] releasing his album, people have some substance. That's what my album is -- straight substance.
Speaking of Kanye, it's not uncommon to hear about rappers having "beef" with one another, be it genuine or for publicity. Case in point: Kanye and 50. Who is someone that you've been accused of having beef with that you don't at all?
For the record, I don't have beef with anybody. "Beef "is a very serious word and when it hits the media, it becomes more of a circus or a WWF-type thing. That's what beef is to the media. To me, and where I come from, it's a very serious thing. If you've got beef with somebody, it's a dangerous thing. So I don't got beef with anybody. There's no dangers. There's just hip-hop, just words, you know. Sticks and stones.
In addition to your new album, I know you have a couple of movies coming up. What do you get from acting that music doesn't or can't necessarily provide?
I just finished two films: 'Half Past Dead' and 'Don't Fade Away.' They'll be out later this year. I think 'Half Past Dead' will be going straight to video and 'Don't Fade Away' will be out in theaters. [Acting] is a rush. I get to get my crazy on -- I get to become someone else. I get to go away for two to three months and become a whole other person. The last [movie] I did, I played a surgeon. So for a couple months before I even went to shoot the film, I'm hanging around hospitals over in my neighborhood, trying to get a feel for what they do, how they live. I grew my hair out, they cut my mustache, my beard ... I had my hair parted. I was living that role. Sometimes that release, as crazy as it may sound, is a breath of fresh air. I get to release that energy.
Do you find it hard to be in the public eye given the expectations that surround you or the stigma that's attached to your name?
It's not always all good being an artist. Sometimes that stuff gets frustrating. I don't let it bother me, but I know how it gets. Other artists talk to me about these things and I try to get on my page and say, "F--- 'em. Let them say what they're gonna say." I got a song on my album called 'Heard 'Em Say,' and it's just about that. I'm rhyming about myself on the record saying s--- that the haters would say. It's refreshing because you don't gotta say it, I say it my motherf---in' self. It doesn't matter what people think about you, it doesn't matter what people say about you. Be your own person. At the end of the day you can't look at the mirror and lie to yourself.