One of the most popular songs of the last year has been “Same Love,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, with Mary Lambert on the chorus. The rapper Angel Haze (who I happen to adore) has put her own spin on the song, telling the story of when she came out.
The lyrics start thus:
At age thirteen, my mom knew I wasn’t straight
She didn’t understand, but she had so much to say
She sat me on the couch, looked me straight in my face
And said you’ll burn in hell or probably die of AIDS
It’s funny now, but at thirteen it was pain
Personally I think her version is more powerful than the original. Angel talked to the Huffington Post about her take on the song:
“It took me like literally 10 tries to say the first line [in 'Same Love'],” she admitted to HuffPost. “I don’t want to make [my mom] look like a malicious person. But at the end of the day, the reality of this is that it does happen, it still happens and this is something that kids my age and kids who are so much younger have to deal with now … this whole ‘you are going to burn in hell’ thing. [Not to mention] all of the disapproval, all of the backlash you get for simply being yourself.”
“I’ve got fans who email me every day,” she said. “[They tell me,] ‘I’m so ashamed, I wish I could be straight so bad.’ And it’s like, why? Just be you, and that’s going to be so much better than wishing to be anything else.”
While Haze has in the past referred to herself as pansexual, she admits she’d really rather not apply any label at all. Part Native American, Haze said she’s always felt herself to be “two-spirited,” a concept others often seem to have a difficult time wrapping their heads around.
Angel also addresses some of the backlash Macklemore has received for being a straight guy delivering this message. Her take?
When asked about her take on the controversy, Haze nodded knowingly. But beneath the rapper’s trademark backward ball cap, her dark-rimmed eyes remained mischievous.
“I get it. I’m capable of understanding both sides,” she said, smiling. “But … where there are so many people against you, why not accept someone who’s for you? At the end of the day, that’s another voice on your side.”
Exactly. If this is the first time you’re hearing of Angel Haze, it won’t be the last. Last year, she created an incredible version of Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which told the harrowing story of her sexual abuse, and her ultimate triumph over it. I’ll post that one too, but with the obligatory trigger warning, because it’s brutal. Brilliant, but brutal. If you notice on the players, you can download both tracks for free.