My Message for the Homophobes and Racists of YouTube

It's time for more love cause in da end dats da difference between someone saving your life and your ass being left out to dry. Why all dis drama and unneccessary bullshit? In da end we ALL have to see da same Jesus!!!

Editor's Note: The above quotation comes from Shunda K of Yo! Majesty, responding to the YouTube controversey surrounding "It's Time to Get Paid," her recently released song and video featuring Snax. Snax has more to say on the matter, and his commentary offers insight into where we apparently stand these days on issues of sexuality, race and ethicity (at least in terms of a perspective informed by 600,000 YouTube viewers -- or, more specifically, some of those chose to comment). As of today, the "It's Time to Get Paid" video has been seen over half a million times in about a week. Here, Snax responds to the haters.

* * * * *

"Fucking faggots"
--proudstr8

"i hate niggggers"
--3rbjeh

"omg fucking queers"
--MagicTurdd

"FUCK YOU FAGS!!!"
--douggie7772010

What might sound like jeers and epithets bellowed out by an ignorant heckler at a gay or civil rights rally, or perhaps even from members of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, are actually reactions to nothing more than a 3:41 party jam recently unleashed on YouTube.

To quote one of the Internet's many acronyms, "WTF?!"

The video in question is for "It's Time to Get Paid," a collaboration between me, a gay, white, American musician and performer, and Shunda K, an out lesbian African-American MC. Little did I know when I was coming up with the basic track in my East Berlin studio, and then later when sending it to Shunda to add vocals, that the song and accompanying video would produce such a litany of hateful comments.

It's an exaggeration to say I'm shocked. We've all seen endless verbal brawls on blogs, chat rooms, Facebook, etc. on almost every conceivable subject. The disappointing truth about all this, though, is that the promise of the Internet being an open and lively forum for healthy debate is too often betrayed by screaming matches between impetuous and arrogant cowards hiding behind anonymous screen names, never having the balls to mouth off in the real world.

Of course, this is not directed at those who expressed valid opinions on the music and video itself. Everyone is entitled to that. There's lots of love there, too, and some comments were even humorous ("this is the most useless public service announcement i've ever come across," from CocoaLuv22). I wish I could say that the truly mean-spirited reactions come from the proverbial one or two "bad apples" that are "ruining it for everyone else" like so many bad kids in the back of a preschool reading class. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

How can comments like these, never mind the fact that they barely mention the work itself, be considered anything but hateful and wildly inappropriate?

"I hate queers. I can't figure out why you do what you do? I think you are mentally ill. Please don't give me an std. Keep your distance, for your own safety. No one wants to even think about what you do. It's disgusting."
--jonmasonmason

"You sick fags, and you dumb assholes wonder what's wrong with this country. Get your own island and call it in my booty land"
--stumpyalso1

"a nigger and a faggot making shitty music, go figure"
--zodiusracemosis

And on and on.

Most unpleasant of all was this, referring to my apparent Jewish heritage:

"how long would it take to get Dachau up and running?"
--MrJsnzbrsky

And I'm not even Jewish!

Perhaps I'm naïve. I should be used to this by now. After all, I was once a member of a queer rock group called Fagbash, and believe me, that name alone produced colorful reactions from a number of people of all persuasions. I must admit, however, that the quantity of volatile reactions to my latest work with Shunda, plus the speed at which they appeared, took me out of what I like to think of as my creative, intelligent and well-rounded comfort zone populated with thoughtful and articulate people. Hatred is alive and well out there, and it's remarkable to me that it only takes a disco track (which, by the way, uses the word "gay" once in the entire song) and a lo-fi video thrown together in a day to bring out the worst in people. Have they nothing better to do?

My guess is that we were in trouble from the start, being featured on YouTube's front page in honor of National Coming Out Day. As another outraged viewer wrote:

"I LUV IT WHEN THEY COME OUT. Easier to get them in the crosshairs"
--4armSmash

It's not just limited to hetero homophobes and racists, either. One gay viewer, apparently believing that Shunda and I were somehow trying to speak for all gays and lesbians of all races everywhere, wrote:

"ITS PPL LIKE YOU SICK FUCKERS THAT ARE MAKING PPL HATE GAYS NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR UGLY WHITE ASS FUCKING ON YOU TUBE
AND Y DO YOU HAVE ALL THAT CASH IN A FUCKING WALL MART
STOP MAKING US GAYS LOOK BAD AND JUST DIE"
--1990LIGHT

How eloquent. And, oh, you really bring the point home with no punctuation and ALL CAPS! Can't this person think of any other more effective and meaningful way to say that he simply doesn't appreciate the humor in a video? Has the Internet allowed us to flush all traces of etiquette and decorum down the toilet with a mere mouse click?

Now, it certainly has not gone unnoticed to me that plenty of people are contradicting the haters, and God love 'em. Kudos to wellthenif, who wrote, "There's tons of straight affirming vid everywhere you look, including YouTube. That hasn't occurred to you? You only see it when others come from YOUR perspective, but can't see it when they don't? Shallow. Very shallow."

Amen.

Nonetheless, I have to ask myself, how do I personally respond to this... or do I at all? If it was a few isolated comments, I wouldn't be bothered. After seeing this avalanche of negativity, though, I'm compelled to beg all those who think hatefully or comment hatefully or who are simply hateful to stay as far away from me and my art as possible. I can't stop you from doing anything. Know this, though; your tossed off, poorly written and childishly expressed ranting is nothing more than hurtful and destructive, and it sets back the supposed advances in technology we've come to take for granted about a million years.

But if that's the way you want it, I suppose all I can do is "speak" in the only language you understand: acronyms.

F. O. A. D.

Get it?

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Snax, a.k.a. Paul Bonomo, has been on a musical journey since the '90s that's taken him from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco to New York and now his current home in Berlin, Germany. Along the way, he founded gay art rock band Fagbash and was one half of lo-fi hip-hop act Bedroom Productions and disco duo Captain Comatose. As a solo act, Snax has toured everywhere, including joining the Scissor Sisters through Europe in 2007. Challenging his audience to interact with him completely, Snax's shows are a mixture of provocation, sleaze and fun, sometimes described as "Fist-Funk." His latest album, Special Guest Star, is available at all digital outlets and at snaxonline.org.

Shunda K is the leader of Yo! Majesty, the world's most famous Christian lesbian hop-hop duo. Signed to Domino Records in 2007, Shunda K released her first solo album The Most Wanted on Fanatic Records via EMI/Caroline in 2011 on the heels of two mixtapes downloaded thousands of times each, U.S. and Australian dates opening for electro superstar Peaches and a collaboration on the track and video for the Peaches song "Billionaire." The NME named Shunda K to its "Cool List" and earmarked The Most Wanted's first single "Here I Am to Save the World" as one of "10 Tracks You Need to Hear." Shunda K continues to tour as a solo artist while working with musical partner Shon B. on Yo! Majesty's second album. For more info, visit shundak.com.