In a move that he admits could cost him some fans, New York rapper Yitz “Y-Love” Jordan, considered "the first black Jewish MC," has come out publicly as a gay man of color.
"I feel like I have wasted years of my life worrying that my ‘public reputation’ will be negatively impacted by my identity," Jordan said in a statement. "Now that I'm over 30, I simply can't care as much about what people think, despite the prospect of alienating the community I dedicated my life to as an artist and a man. My hope is it will open their eyes – and hearts."
Although he's now publicly talking about it, Jordan tells Out magazine in an interview that he's "never been conflicted about my sexuality ... Any conflicts that have come up in my life have come up because of other people's homophobia. I've always known when to be in the closet and when not to."
Jordan is of Puerto Rican and Ethiopian descent, and converted to Hasidic Judaism in 2000 before going on to study at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach yeshiva.
The artist has melded hip-hop style with what he calls "Jewish values," leading to a fan base of "conservative-minded hip-hop fans," he said.
Those same fans "have listened to me to be their ‘voice of Jewish values’ for so long that I'm sure some will huff off in disgust at seeing the real me," Jordan admitted. "What will not change is my art. My rhymes will still be 20 percent Hebrew and full of Jewish quotes as always. I also fully expect that these people who no longer find me 'appropriate' will be replaced by fans who can truly appreciate the real me - with a particular emphasis on LGBT hip-hop fans, who I think will be able to identify with my struggle and triumph and have few out artists and role models.”
He hopes his new album, "Focus on the Flair," will offer those LGBT fans of hip-hop a new voice, as Jordan's "ready to live authentically."
"I'm ready to find a husband," Jordan continued. "I'm ready to live without fear of being outed or the stress of keeping my whole self from people. And I've waited too long to do that.”
He's also released a video for his first new single from his new album, "Focus on the Flair." The video is wild. It shows Y-Love rapping in his usual attire, but then he also appears smooth-faced and in female drag as well as a dancing Hasidic man in fur hat (a shtreimel, which is usually only worn after a man is married) and traditional garb.