The Offensive Phrase: "No Homo"

Are you terrified that people may think you’re gay? No worries, hip hop has coined a phrase to get you out of the stickiest situations. Read on…

I remember the first time I heard the phrase, “no homo.” I laughed and shrugged it off as ignorance, but, then, I kept hearing it from different people, it spreaded like wildfire. For those of you unfamiliar with the offensive phrase, defines it as: “A phrase used after one inadvertently says something that sounds gay…[eg:] Paul and I had each other’s back all the time, no homo.” Basically, it’s similiar to the expression, “that’s so gay.”

No homo began life as East Harlem slang in the early ’90s, and in the early aughts it entered the hip-hop lexicon via the Harlem rapper Cam’ron and his Diplomats crew. Lil Wayne brought the term into the mainstream, sprinkling “no homo” caveats across cameos, mix tapes, and his Tha Carter III LP, which was 2008’s best-selling album. (Jay-Z has used the word pause in a similar way.) The term’s appearance in hip-hop coincided with the rise of the so-called “down-low brother,” a closeted black figure often demonized as a disease-spreading boogeyman, invisible by definition and thus potentially, frightfully, everywhere.

Aside from the obvious homophobia implicit in “no homo,” the main thing that phrase says to me is that the person is so uncomfortable with himself and his place in the world, that he needs to constantly prove his heterosexuality. I’m not sure if Lil Wayne or Cam’ron are homophobes or where they got this phrase from, but it is strange that the mere fact of some emotional connection with the same sex frightens people. Dude, its okay to tell your best friend you love him and care for him without being a homosexual. Or, if you have his back in a fight or disagreement. I thought, we, the American people, were becoming less homophobic and more gay friendly these days.

So, if you’re one of those people saying, “no homo,” just stop. Not only do you sound ignorant but you’re following a trend of idiots that lack some vocabulary. Do the smart thing and don’t be “that” person.


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