Let’s take a walk through the Hollywood PR machine. When a celebrity has a new project, they’re required to do press to promote that project. During these press tours, actors and artists will often reveal a well-crafted piece of juicy gossip to generate attention and drive up sales. In other words, it’s safe to say that if a celebrity makes headlines for personal matters, it’s probably because they’re promoting something. And if a celebrity makes headlines for talking about their sexuality, it’s definitely because they’re promoting something.

This is essentially what just happened with rapper Tyler, The Creator. In a relatively casual interview with Know Wave’s Koopz Tunes podcast to promote his new album, Flower Boy, Tyler confessed his favorite musician is 2Chainz and described Pharrell as a “weird black man.” He then dropped a bomb no one saw coming: He had a boyfriend when he was 15 years old. To quote: “Open-minded now? I had a boyfriend when I was 15 in fucking Hawthorne, nigga. If that’s not open-minded, then I don’t know what the fuck that is.”

Tyler’s admission of his “open-mindedness” now appears to have been a mistake. Shortly after his quote gained tons of traction online, the rapper walked back his comments on Twitter, insisting he was “just trying to get Koopz ‘open-minded’ point across.” Tyler now says he was single at the time.

Using sexuality as a marketing tool is obviously nothing new—hello, we’re Playboy, after all—but it does seem to be becoming less genuine. Earlier this year, Disney hinted at LeFou’s possible homosexuality in the live action Beauty and the Beast prior to its release, which caused a huge stir, and the people behind Power Rangers announced their reboot featured the first lesbian Ranger. After seeing both films, audiences realized these characters’ sexualities contributed nothing to the plots. That begs one question: Are the characters’ gayness a product of normalization, a means of diverse representation or a strategy to increase publicity? In 2017, it’s a fine line.

The distinction is important. If Tyler’s past music is any indicator, the 26-year-old may be far from open-minded. According to Queerty, the Odd Future alum’s debut album used the word faggot more than 200 times. Two tracks on Tyler’s Flower Boy–"I Ain’t Got Time" and “Garden Shed"–however, are now attracting attention for what they may or may not reveal about Tyler’s true sexuality. And the fact that we now need to write the statement true sexuality is part of the problem.

"I’m not homophobic,” Tyler has previously said. “I just think faggot hits and hurts people. It hits. And gay just means you’re stupid. I don’t know, we don’t think about it, we’re just kids,” he said. “We don’t think about that shit. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic.”

Of course, hip hop is a testosterone-fuelled genre that doesn’t play well with the LGBT community. Back in 2012, Frank Ocean broke ground when he declared his first love was a man in an open letter he published on Tumblr. Since then, hip hop fans have become more supportive of LGBT rappers, but LGBT rappers haven’t necessarily become more successful. That begs another question: Who, exactly, was Tyler’s original comment supposed to impress? Those within the hip hop community, or us outside of it?

In June, hip hop artist Taylor Bennett, who came out as bisexual at 21, wrote about his discordant experiences with hip hop and homophobia in an essay for Playboy’s Pride series. “I’ve understood my sexuality most of my life, but growing up in the hip-hop community and being black is hard,” he wrote. “People say words like fag, homo and all other kinds of crazy slang. Those words are hurtful, but it is accepted as a normal way to talk. When that’s constantly happening around you, it can be hard to feel comfortable with yourself, especially in a way where you can speak up against it. As I’ve gotten older, it’s something that’s been easier to do. But it’s not something you can easily do when you’re a kid.”

Using one’s sexuality to market one’s own art isn’t wrong—but it needs to be genuine less it be in vain. Too many marginalized people rely on social influencers, public figures and artists to be the voice they don’t yet have and to pave the way for a more accepting society. Flippant uses of the homosexual identity only increases the gaps of otherness. The gay experience should not be used as a talking point by anyone who firstly doesn’t understand the history of the word faggot.

As the hip hop community continues to progress on how it handles homophobia, we recommend supporting LGBT rappers by listening to their stories through their music and purchasing their albums. Angel Haze, Frank Ocean, Taylor Bennett, Young M.A, Kevin Abstract and iLoveMakonnen are good places to start.