Rapper Young Thug is once again pushing beyond traditional notions of gender and gender-based expectations. This time, the artist is doing so an interview for his cover on V Magazine.
Born Jeffery Lamar Williams, the Atlanta rapper challenged gendered attitudes and assumptions when he wore a long, ruffled dress on the cover of his “JEFFERY” mixtape in Aug. 2016. The decision inevitably sparked a larger conversation about the importance of the photo with regard to gender and black masculinity.
In this most recent interview with V, Young Thug opens up about his inspiration for the image, saying that he wants people to “stop believing in genders.”
While he doesn’t elaborate beyond that in the interview, the rapper has previously gone on record to say that he doesn’t believe in gender himself.
“In my world of course, it don’t matter,” he previously stated when discussing his own perceptions of gender. “You could be a gangster with a dress, you could be a gangster with baggy pants. I feel like there’s no such thing as gender.”
Williams’ sentiments are part of a larger cultural understanding of gender outside of binary terms, and a recognition that there are a multitude of ways of being in the world when it comes to gender and identity.
Just look at Facebook, which earlier this year introduced a huge list of options when it comes to describing one’s gender on their personal social networking page, or the emergence of mainstream transgender stars like Laverne Cox, who recently became the first openly transgender person nominated for a primetime Emmy.
We are excited to see more artists like Young Thug contribute to an ongoing ― and evolving ― conversation about the gender spectrum.