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Elton John’s Campaign Against Dolce & Gabbana is Very Much in the Spirit of WEB DuBois

photo source: nymag

photo source: nymag


The worlds of high fashion and pop culture were set ablaze this week when Dolce & Gabbana were asked how they felt about homosexuality, family values and procreation. These are the quotes that were attributed to them:

“We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one,” Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce recently told Italy’s Panorama magazine. “No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow. There are things that should not be changed.”

“You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be,” Dolce added. “I call children of chemicals synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”

Their opinions are neither revolutionary nor shocking. There are many people who feel this way, although they are not as verbose about stating them. What IS shocking who these views emanated from – that being two gay men who once shared a romantic relationship with one another. These views are what are known as “traditional” values, and only rednecks and people with a third grade education hold “traditional values”, right? No seriously. Read the comments on any online forum and that’s what people think/say.

There is little room for differing opinion in the public discourse anymore, and if you do not toe the mainstream line, one runs the very real risk of being vilified and destroyed. This is what Elton John has set out to do to Dolce & Gabbana: annihilate their brand and tarnish their reputation.

I have only watched the ensuing feud between these titans of fashion and entertainment with passing interest. I’m neither an Elton John fan, nor can I afford D&G. Besides, when white men start fighting, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of us, so I try to stay as far away from white fire as I can. Oh, you don’t believe me? Ask the few remaining AFRICAN veterans of WWII what the consequences of white struggle and ego were for them. How many Black lives and limbs were lost fighting on European soil for the white man’s cause? We will never know, because they won’t even include images of our ancestors fighting in their precious historical movies. So, yes! I was very happy to leave these 3 men to duke it out on their own…until Dolce & Gabbana called Elton John a fascist. Whoa now! Given Italy’s history with fascism and Mussolini, these are pretty strong fighting words! Now suddenly, my interest was piqued.

MOM Squad, I have to tell you, I am pretty intrigued by the dynamics of this quarrel. Something about it was so eerily familiar that I honestly gasped when I realized when I had seen this before. What Elton John has set out to do for gay people is the very same thing that WEB Dubois did to Black people: and that’s to silence opposition.

HarlemIf you ever have the opportunity, please pick up a copy of The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, edited by David L. Lewis. The introduction goes into great detail about how the Renaissance was spawned (or manufactured), what constituted as an “acceptable” Negro message or expression, and who those acceptable Negros would be. WEB DuBois was one of the head architects of the Harlem Renaissance, and he was also instrumental in the destruction and demise of any Black thought or artistic expression that he felt beneath the worth of white acceptance. In truth, DuBois’ entire agenda was to be accepted by white people, something that was fundamentally contrary to the goals of his greatest nemesis: Marcus Garvey. While Garvey felt that there should be a push for Africans in the diaspora to return home to their roots on the Continent, DuBois felt that Negros in America ought to push for white acceptance and integration.

GarveyvDuBoisThe feud between this pair was legendary, as each man (and their supporters) had their own ideas about what Blackness ought to look like in America/globally. There was name calling, mudslinging, and sabotage. Ultimately, DuBois triumphed over Garvey in the end by doing the unthinkable: He colluded with the FBI to have Garvey tried and imprisoned for mail fraud, which led to his eventual deportation. The infant Back to Africa Movement died soon after, the NAACP triumphed as it repeated these tactics again and again against “fringe” groups, and now there was ONE way to be Black in America…just as DuBois had envisioned and advocated for all along. As a people group, we have had to fight against the scourge of homogeneity that has been imputed upon us.

So I have to ask Elton John and his celebrity supporters and his (eventual) federal supporters: is there only one way to be gay in this world? And who gets to decide what way that is? Is there not enough room for differing views and opinions in your existence? You see how far we as Blacks have gotten with this sort of mentality; and it’s done us a great disservice. We are poorer, less educated and probably more internally disenfranchised and disconnected than we have ever been in our history. Seriously, with all this information and technology within Black grasp, we are still having childish and churlish light skinned versus dark skinned wars or looking down upon one another for being ghetto or bourgeois. How many years into emancipation are we?

Open gay expression has only just become mainstream recently. I would hate to see gays as a people group go through what Blacks have because three wealthy guys have had their egos bruised by sentiments expressed that the other did not appreciate. History would literally be repeating itself, and the possible repercussions extend far beyond the nuclear gay community. There isn’t a people group on the globe that hasn’t been affected in some way by the shenanigans that took place during the Harlem Renaissance, and they haven’t all been for the best. It might look like a worthy fight today, but is Elton John ready to be the catalyst and bear responsibility for a possible calamity because he isn’t tolerant enough to allow people to express their opinions? We’ll have to wait and see.



This article has 4 comments

  1. Marshall

    The only thing I’d say is because the upper class gays are white men, they actually will go the way of W.E.B Dubois because unlike us, they aren’t really looking for “class” acceptance but rather absolute dominance over any contrary point of view. They are willing to do anything necessary to get their way including putting all apposed in prison, fines, lawsuits, revoking their ministry 501c3, and destroying them financially.

    We have to admit this is the same group that basically funded our President into power, but then pushed their gay agenda through him. Now we have it (Gay Marriage) going to the Supreme Court, which could overturn the very will of the people in 50% of the states.

    They wont stop until they get their way. Where do you think W.E.B Dubois got this from?

  2. Nuong

    Unfortunately I am not well informed about Du Bois. I didn’t know all these shenanigans he propagated. The emerging fact of present day however is that the gay community is strong in reach and influence. I never oppose being gay but rightly said, gay people should be allowed to have different opinions. I too have been deeply disinterested in this battle. Madonna and Elton John on your case? Whew! . Poor D and G (Yea poor. Lol.) I how they survive this. The world has gotten too sensitive and vindictive. There isn’t one way to be gay, let there be diversity of opinion and thought within. Most importantly my take away from this post is ” there isn’t one way to be black”
    En sum? let the Cosby show, Scandal and Empire live strong in their different ways. The end.

    • Malaka

      Ahaaaa! You see? Just as we were discussing with this while “Empire is coonery” nonsense. It ALL stems from this Talented Tenth boogeee mentality: that there is ONLY one good way to be black.
      The thing that even annoys me about DuBois is that he was very vocal about his disdain for mother Africa, a place he had never been ooo. Then he came to Ghana, met Nkrumah and then ended up living out the rest of his days there. The irony. He pushed so hard against Back to Africa and Africa ended up being his refuge in the end. Tsewww.

  3. Ama

    A very thought-provoking and thoughtful piece, Ms. M. Thank you.

    Your analysis of Dubois’ knavery struck a chord. Before I read your piece, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about the ‘cacophony’ and no time targets of the African agenda. His premise is as follows: Apparently, when Toussaint L’Ouverture chased the white French plantation owners out of Haiti, some slaves were so enamoured of their status that they followed their masters to New Orleans. On arrival, drumming was forbidden by their masters. Now our people did not see that coming and instead of giving their masters the’ finger’, they rather argued fiercely among themselves; some for, some against.

    The end result is jazz and the brass band music that New Orleans is famous for; that genre of music that meanders everywhere and interpret as the spirit moves you to. But it also represents for me, the balkanisation of the African agenda that has occurred and continues to this day, thanks to many in our community like Dubois. Isn’t it ironic that he lived out his days in Africa when he had fought so vehemently against the back to Africa agenda! I like to think that it was Dr.Nkrumah’s practical means of proving him wrong by letting him live quite a privileged life to emphasise that. And naming the Ghana national shipping line Black Star Line was his nod to Marcus Garvey.

    I wonder what the modern equivalents of DuBois in our community are currently up to.

    As for the spat between EJ and the other couple, it is a novel situation that has rendered me rather bemused, especially by the passion with which they state their positions on procreation and the miracle of life. .

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