Mayor Pete Buttigieg sat down with Charlamagne Tha God on his 105.1 FM show The Breakfast Club on Friday morning for a wide-ranging nearly hour-long discussion.
Part of the discussion turned to the recent exchange between Lil Nas X and Kevin Hart on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted in which Hart pretended to not understand the homophobia in the black community described by Lil Nas X as he was growing up, and dismissed his sexual orientation as unimportant.
Said Charlamagne of Hart: “People think he was being dismissive of Lil Nas X by saying ‘he’s gay, so what?’ If I say I don’t care about who a man is sleeping with, why is that a problem?”
Replied Buttigieg: “I think it was the fact that he found it necessary to interrupt Lil Nas X and jump in and let everybody know that he doesn’t care. It’s almost like — I don’t want to say that I know how this sounds to other people — but I will say a lot of gay people hear that and hear something that might not be that different than what some folks here when they here somebody say ‘I don’t see color.'”
“Ohhh,” replied Charlamagne, nodding.
“This is a thing,” Buttigieg added. “As much as we might want to believe that our marriages are gonna be treated the exact same, that we just move through society like everybody else and we’re just living our lives, no, this is actually a thing. Kids are putting bullets through their heads over this.”
Buttigieg continued: “What’s so impressive about what Lil Nas X is doing — I actually think he downplayed it a little bit, cause he talked about (making the decision to come out of the closet) from a position of strength, and I was impressed. At this moment when he’s blowing up, he decides to do this. But what he’s downplaying is that there’s a lot to lose, right? Cause now he gets to talk about that whether he wanted to or not, maybe he’d rather be talking about his music. He took that step and that took a lot of courage.”
Buttigieg then went on to explain what was troubling about Hart’s reaction: “I think when somebody finds it necessary to wave their arms up and down and jump up and down telling you how much this isn’t a thing for them it makes you wonder whether they’re being honest with themselves.”
“Ohhh,” replied Charlamagne. “So you find yourself in that position, I guess. Being a candidate – ‘I’m gonna say this, put it out there.’ But you say you don’t want people to care, though.”
“Look it means different things to different people,” said Buttigieg. “I’m not out to be the president of gay America. I’m out to be the president of the United States of America. But it’s part of who I am. It’s part of my experience. It shapes me, I think it informs the way I come at the world. Part of it is the fact that I’m in a marriage. Not a gay marriage. Just a marriage, right? And like everybody else who is married, that’s part of how I come at the world. But also that I belong to a group that’s been impacted by hate. It does affect the way I understand the world.”
“In the same way that we can’t pretend that identities don’t exist, we can’t pretend that this isn’t a thing,” Mayor Pete continued. “It’s just to make sure we have a way of going through life that it’s not the only thing.”
The Breakfast Club hosts then explained they weren’t sure whether it was okay for them to ask Lil Nas X about his sexual orientation.
Said Buttigieg: “I think we have to talk about it … especially if we’re going to trip over something on the way. [Lil Nas X] made a decision to put [his sexual orientation] out there. I think part of the good that that’s going to do in the world is the conversations it’s going to launch. So let’s have the conversations. We’re having trouble talking about things in this country.”
“How should we handle it?” asked Charlamagne.
“”Find out if somebody wants to talk about it,” said Buttigieg. “It’s like anything else in our life. Do I want to talk about being a veteran, do I want to talk about how I grew up, do I want to talk about race? Why wouldn’t we want to get into this. I think where it’s a problem is if we define people around it.”