Spoiling an otherwise beautiful moment during last night’s Grammy Awards marriage ceremony was the presence of Queen Latifah, who presided over the mass nuptials on live TV.
Included among the 33 pairs that were married during the telecast were many gay and lesbian couples. It was a momentous spectacle — the weddings of gay and lesbian couples being celebrated on a nationally televised awards show while the crowd cheered and cried. The times have certainly changed from the days when LGBT people were rendered invisible in pop culture.
But Latifah’s involvement illustrates just how far we still have to go toward full equality and true mass acceptance. Latifah is a closeted singer/actress, a fact confirmed over the years by several colleagues and personal friends and in photos snapped by paparazzi of Latifah with her partner.
Her presence on that stage was baffling. Was it a tacit acknowledgement that she’s gay? Does she think it’s enough for her to make carefully scripted pro-gay appearances without having to actually come out?
Why do we keep rewarding closet cases when there are so many other openly LGBT people deserving of attention and praise? Bring out Wanda Sykes, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, Ellen DeGeneres or Neil Patrick Harris to do the honors. The irony of that Grammy moment was glaring: a beautiful hit song celebrating same-sex love and the unions of gay and lesbian couples introduced and presided over by a closeted lesbian.
It’s akin to the farce of President Obama granting an exclusive interview announcing his historic support of marriage equality to Robin Roberts, who at the time was also in the closet. There are plenty of openly LGBT journalists who should have been given that honor.
How can we expect average LGBT Americans to come out when some of the wealthiest and most successful among us — like Latifah — continue to cower in the closet?
Queen Latifah can’t change, even if she tried.