Taylor Bennett, Chance The Rapper’s Brother, Comes Out As Bisexual

A talented hip-hop artist in his own right, Taylor Bennett is the lesser known (though perhaps not for much longer) younger brother of Chicago’s Chance The Rapper. Overnight, he will celebrate the milestone that is his 21st birthday and he has decided to kick off the celebrations and this next stage of his life by coming out as bisexual.

In a series of tweets, Bennett, who is dropping his short film, which shares the name of his 2015 album, Broad Shoulders next week, wrote that “Growing up I’ve always felt indifferent about my sexuality and being attracted to one sex, and today I would like to openly come out to my fans…I do recognize myself as a bisexual male and do and have always openly supported the gay community, and will keep doing so in 2017.”

Fans were quick to throw their support behind Bennett’s announcement, many feeling encouraged by his decision to come out not only because he is a hip-hop artist, but because the issue of bi erasure is both real and damaging. One fan Tweeted thanks and praise, saying “proud of you man, bi men do exist…”, while another thanked him for speaking up before sharing the hashtag #BiPride and a number of network handles.

However, some (namely Reddit) have also pointed out that Bennett has a somewhat checkered past. It is undoubtedly a wonderful thing that there is now another member of an industry where hypermasculinity and homophobia are well documented who has come out. It’s particularly important considering his high profile connections, but there is the question of whether or not all his previous wrongdoings are going to be overlooked now.

While some have taken to task his use of the word “gay” as a slur in the past (though this is much to be said for internalised biphobia in this instance) and the more troubling issue of Bennett’s involvement in a 2014 assault which left a young man permanently brain damaged has come up. For his part, Bennett had turned himself into police and was later charged with aggravated battery for causing great bodily harm. Since then, he has been involved, along with his brother, in the 2015 #FaithInAction social media campaign which promoted anti-violence in the city of Chicago by getting hashtags such as #SaveChicago and #PutTheGunsDown trending.

Openly discussing sexuality and identity is incredibly important not only for now, but for future generations of music lovers throughout hip-hop and beyond, and Taylor Bennett deserves support and praise for that. It’s important to consider that an event such as this doesn’t automatically wipe a slate clean, or necessarily allow one to forget past lapses in reason and behaviour. Rather, we can look to the future, and be hopeful that Bennett will use his celebrity status and the public discussion surrounding his sexuality for the benefit of the LGBT community and of its perception within hip-hop, and that his influential status and behaviour will continue down a non-violent, admirable route.

Image: The Mash