If you’re not in the know, let’s get you caught up. Mister Cee is a legend.
“Calvin LeBrun better known as Mister Cee or DJ Mister Cee, is an American hip hop DJ, and radio personality on New York’s Hot 97 FM, and a respected record producer. LeBrun is best known as the DJ for hip hop artist Big Daddy Kane during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also served as an associate executive producer for The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album, Ready to Die (1994). He has also developed and endorsed a variant of the Tropical Fantasy soft drink, which he named “Island Punch Finisher”.” (source)
But marring (in the opinions of some) his credibility and standing as a music industry legend who has introduced us to Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) and other game changing artists, are Mister Cee’s repeated scandals with what he and interviewer Ebro Darden, in the course of the now infamous interview, call transvestites, ‘a transgender… man? woman?’, prostitutes, and ‘shemales’.
Over the course of 29 minutes, Ebro and Mister Cee speak frankly about Mister Cee’s trysts with his lovers. Mister Cee confessed to having gone to therapy and being addicted to visiting sex workers. Ebro says repeatedly, “You’re breaking the law,” “It’s illegal,” “soliciting prostitutes,” and other incendiary phrases. We listen through the interview and hear sex workers and Mister Cee’s visits to them painted as harmful and problematic.
What’s also extremely interesting is Mister Cee’s emotional response to Ebro’s questioning of him regarding his consistent lies and denial of his sexuality and attraction to transwomen. He resigned from Hot97 before being asked to come back by Ebro and Hot97 management during the interview. Mister Cee has compared himself to weathered politician Anthony Weiner regarding this scandal.
Missing in this discussion is, in this writer’s opinion, education regarding transgender women, sex workers, and hobbyists who visit sex workers. While it is understandable the discussion surrounds Mister Cee’s discovery of himself and opening up to the world about his sexuality, there is an opportunity here to talk about how the hip hop community sees sex workers and transgender women, and how we can begin the journey of acceptance in our community.
Janet Mock, an incredible activist for trans people, and a trans women herself, has written a really poignant piece called “How Society Shames Men Dating Trans Women & How This Affects Our Lives“. Ms. Mock also joined Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Laverne Cox (of Orange is The New Black fame), scholar Mark Anthony Neal, and The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith in an in-depth discussion on Huffington Post Live.
Laverne Cox says, “The shame that society attaches to these men, specifically attacking their sexuality and shaming their attraction, directly affects trans women. It affects the way we look at ourselves. It amplifies our body-image issues, our self-esteem, our sense of possibility, of daring for greatness, of aiming for something or somewhere greater.”
This shame also directly affects sex workers. It also affects the way we see ourselves. When we are constantly portrayed in every media and entertainment outlet as things; Shameful things. When our humanity is repeatedly and largely ignored, we cannot help but internalize it. The shame and hatred is damaging and dangerous for us and those who love us, be it professionally or personally.
Laverne Cox said, “This really is a state of emergency for transwomen,” and it is. This is a necessary and urgent opportunity for the hip hop community and the Black community at large to examine why we feel how we feel; Not only our feelings but what we can do about them.