Australian rapper 360, real name Matt Colwell, has penned a lengthy open letter for News Corp, in which the artist, who’s previously spoken out on issues such as endemic racism in Australia, speaks out against homophobia and offensive language, with a view to eliminating it from Australian culture.
“I was so ignorant to just how offensive the word `faggot’ is,” begins Colwell in the letter posted to News.com.au. “Or how offensive it is to say something is ‘gay’ if you don’t like it. I grew up in Ringwood. There is ignorant racism and homophobia everywhere, and I was surrounded by it there.”
“People say those terms all the time and probably think they’re not homophobic or racist, but they are. If you use the term ‘faggot’ you’re holding everything back. Saying ‘That’s gay’ is offensive. You might not mean it to be offensive, but it is,” he continues.
Armed with this newfound realisation, Colwell declares his commitment to changing the present situation, writing, “I’m in a position to actually change peoples’ minds. I never thought I’d be someone who could influence young kids and the culture. I have to do it. I want to.”
Colwell stresses that he is not out to ride fellow rapper Macklemore‘s coattails, writing, “I don’t want people to think I listened to Macklemore’s song…and copied the trend. It’s not like that at all. I genuinely want people to realise how f—ed up it is. It’s modern day segregation and it’s still there.”
The rapper credits working with former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns as helping inspire his new outlook, writing, “Daniel used to cop it so hard, people abusing him because he wore make-up in Silverchair and has gay friends. He thought it was awesome I’m doing this.”
Colwell ends by outlining his commitment to his new attitude and changing others, writing, “I didn’t know what I was doing. But I want to stop it. I will never say that word again. If my friends say it, I stop them. If a friend puts it in their rap it can’t be on my song. It’s not just a word. It hurts people.”