Marsha Ambrosius, best known as half of the soulful R&B duo, Floetry, just released the video for her latest single, “Far Away,” which addresses bullying and suicide in the LGBT community. The “It Gets Better” campaign has already created much online solidarity and support so it’s dope to see a women of color artist talking about homophobia and bullying in communities of color.
Often in the media, homosexual relationships in the African-American community are portrayed as “down low” or men who have sex with men whom often are married or in relationships with women, and do not identify at all as gay. It’s been fairly alarmist compounded with the media’s recent theme around Black women never getting married/having to settle, etc. The “down low” phenomenon has been linked to increases of rates of HIV transmission among African-American women in the last decade but the CDC shot down that theory in late 2009. But in this video these men were openly gay which ultimately leads to their attack.
Ms. Ambrosius notes at the end that one of her close friends committed suicide because of bullying and asks her fans to maintain an open mind and heart for “alternative lifestyles.” I appreciate that she posted resources such as the phone number and website for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The song’s lyrics don’t necessarily suggest the scenario she creates in the video and she could have easily done a cliche emotional lost love story but instead she took the opportunity to advocate to a cause that’s personal to her. It’s genuine unlike Mayor Bloomberg’s “support” of LGBT youth. It’s refreshing to see (somewhat) mainstream artists using their talent and reach to educate and inspire.