NEW ORLEANS (April 13, 2018) – Self-described gay rapper Fly Young Red encouraged students to love themselves and their communities during President Walter M. Kimbrough’s Philosophy 444 class March 1 in PSB 200.
His message to the class was one of self-love, which he said should be everyone’s first priority in life: “All we can do is be ourselves.”
Fly Young Red, a New Orleans native who moved to Houston post-Hurricane Katrina, told about 30 students that he prefers to specifically be called a gay rapper than just a rapper because he doesn’t want to “trick” people into supporting him.
Fly Young Red, born Franklin Randall, said he made the songs “strictly for gay clubs” and didn't want it to go viral or mainstream, but “the music took over.” He gained notoriety in 2014 after he shot a video that went viral of his song “Throw that Boy P—y,” about gay men dancing in a club.
Fly said that when he first began to rap, he rapped about women and drugs even though he’d never experienced either because that’s what the rap community would accept, and he just wanted to be successful.
Even so, he said, he never hid his sexuality to other industry professionals. He said he’s been overcharged and forced to leave studios because producers and audio engineers refused to record him. This, he said, only fueled his love and pride in himself and the community that he represents.
“People will try to intimidate you because you’re different from them,” he said.
He gave the class a lesson on the dangers of being a transgender woman in America, a topic he became extremely passionate about after his best friend, a transgender woman, was murdered two years ago.
“The faster we can humanize transgender women, the safer they’ll be,” he said. Though he sometimes feels silenced by the black community, he said there’s a method behind his “vocal madness,” and he feels more people are exploring and accepting themselves because of him.