Recent speculation of Tyler, the Creator’s sexuality has been one of the hottest topics across the internet, but it shouldn’t be.
From people digging through old lyrics and interviews to notable news outlets posting stories that added fuel to the fire, it’s hard to not know about the topic. Naturally, it is a headline that most of us are going to be interested in but it is something that needs to be left alone.
I’ve always been a fan that had investigative skills suitable for the FBI when it came to my favorite artists. There’s a rush that accompanies discovering a previously hidden demo or a part of their bio that isn’t well known. There’s a small ego boost that comes with dropping those hidden facts on fellow fans. This is how I was with Odd Future in high school. I loved talking about the various aliases that Tyler had donned and especially about the situation of Earl Sweatshirt being in a Samoan boarding school. With the cult of personality Odd Future had in their earlier years, it was hard not to engage in such things. Now with over half a decade to reflect on this time in my life I can say that I was teetering on the edge of crossing the line.
However, when it comes to an artist’s sexuality it is a different matter than finding an early demo or a biographical fact. It is something that has more privacy associated with it as well as a greater delicacy. For years now, there have been fans of the indie-folk phenom Sufjan Steven that have been trying to uncover the musician’s sexuality. More often than not this forces these wanna-be detectives to rely almost entirely on interpreting vague song lyrics to fit their agenda. The problem with this is, as an outspoken Christian it is just as easy to interpret Sufjan’s lyrics in a religious fashion.
This is the same issue we come to with Tyler, the Creator. As an artist, he has built an entire career on developing intricate characters and then wholeheartedly donning the persona of that character. This is the problem we face when trying to put the possible implications of his lyrics onto Tyler, we simply just can’t be sure that this isn’t meant to be some character. The separation between Tyler and his characters have always been blurry and have always caused a level of conflict. So to say that he has come out of the closet via some ambiguous lyrics is a hard argument to make simply because of his history of taking on fictional personas in his music.
This isn’t to say that I don’t support either artist or any for that matter, coming out of the closet. I fully support that, but as fans and as people we need let them do so on their own terms. IF “Garden Shed” was Tyler’s coming out, then there was a reason for it to be as ambiguous as it was instead of him flat out saying it. These reasons we may never know, but it isn’t our right to know. We often forget or look past, that the artists we look up to and admire are just as much people as we are. To dig through their old posts, or interviews, or lyrics to find possible hints toward their sexuality is the same as to do so to a friend. Then to share these findings on the internet is the same as doing so to a friend. This is the same processes as fully outing a friend before they are ready to so on their own terms.
Let these artists live their lives and appreciate their work for what it is. Beyond this, Tyler had the best comments on the topic:
With a background in studying pop culture, philosophy and literature; Nate takes an almost academic approach in thinking about the things he loves whether its punk, hip hop, the NBA or art.