I’ve understood my sexuality most of my life, but growing up in the hip-hop community and being black is hard. 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.
It feels like a burden lifting, like you're stepping out of your own shadow.
My fans have also given me a great encouraging reaction. I support them no matter what, and in return they support me. I got a lot of Twitter DMs and emails from them about their own coming out stories. I’ve even had a couple conversations with fans where they ask me how they should go about it—not just with their friends, but also with their parents. It’s not an easy thing—I won’t lie and say that it is—but it’s something that feels like a burden lifting, like you're stepping out of your own shadow. I will always give credit to my fans, because my fans aren’t the average rap fans. They’re open-minded. People from the LBGTQ community have always showed up to my shows. There are people who are Hispanic, black and white...I have such a diverse crowd. I don’t make music because it’s the toughest music that’s out. I make music to encourage understanding. I make music to bring people together.—As told to David Turner
Rapper Taylor Bennett released his third mixtape, Restoration of an American Idol, in February. He came out as bisexual on Twitter earlier this year.