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Drake Responds To Critics Of His Nail Polish Calling Them Homophobic

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Ubiquitous Canadian rap megastar Drake was caught in 4K sporting pink nails, as reported by BET,  after being playfully ribbed by Lil Yachty on Instagram, he told the Chicago rapper: “GET OUT MY COMMENTS YOU TOLD ME TO PAINT MY NAILS SO I STOP BITING THEM AND NOW THE WORLD IS BEING HOMOPHOBIC FOR THE 1st TIME SINCE ‘RICH FLEX.” There has been a trend of men wearing colored nails in recent years, including but not limited to Dwyane Wade, Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator, and Lil Yachty. Historically speaking, the practice of men painting their nails dates back to 3500 BC when ancient Babylonians painted their nails to signify class status and also to intimidate opponents on the battlefield. It is also unclear exactly when nail polish became associated with women and femininity but by the time the 1800s rolled around, Victorian-era women painted their nails to signify purity and cleanliness.

There has been a growing trend of Black men showing themselves being joyful and happy by doing any number of things like wearing flowers in their hair to painting their nails. Black Boy Joy, they call it, a phrase coined by Danielle Young in 2016 in an article originally intended to celebrate Chance the Rapper. Young writes: “Throughout history, our boys have been denied their childhood. When we learn about the stolen youth of Emmett Till, we’re reminded that young black boys are seen as men by society or, worse, as a threat. #BlackBoyJoy presents a teachable moment to social media that allows us to reclaim the innocence of black boyhood.” Here, the concept of the boy is extended to mean carefree as opposed to an actual age range because as Young states Black boys are erased from existence while doing normal childhood activities by a society and state determined to eliminate them. Young also notes the fraught relationship with the term boy in a historical context, but as an in-group reference, it does not carry the same offense as if spoken by a white person.

Therefore, Drake is correct in calling out homophobia from men like Andrew Tate who attacked the rapper after the post went viral, as many of Drake’s posts often do because of his global reach. Nail polish, like many aspects of our society, is genderless. We have needlessly ascribed gender to colors, activities, and even the positioning of our wrists or certain phrases. As a result, a harmless activity like Drake wearing colored nails becomes a societal battleground of sorts where men question the masculinity of other men. Masculinity too, is yet another social construct that we have decided only looks one way when there are many ways to be a man. Essentially from birth, we are told that men should never cry, never show softness and never ask for help, that those are signs of weakness from men. The reality is that those things do not make us weak or failures as men, those things make us human. This is the background that Drake is working against when he wears nail polish in public or posts it on his Instagram account. Anything that can be perceived as feminine is read as softness and the way our societal values are set up, the worst thing a “real man” can be is soft.

 





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