Snoop Dogg Calls Caitlyn Jenner A "Science Project," Continues His History of Transphobia

Photo: NRK P3/Flickr

Snoop Dogg and Napa Valley aren't terms that usually go together, but the pairing made sense this weekend when the rapper made an appearance at BottleRock. Gabe Meline, KQED Arts' music editor, was there and witnessed Snoop good-naturedly rolling sushi with chef Masaharu Morimoto (while making the requisite joint-rolling jokes) and "uniting 30,000 people in a singalong of love and positivity." This is how our culture thinks of Snoop, as a charming, funny and harmless hitmaker. But that reputation isn't entirely deserved.

The reception Caitlyn Jenner has received this week has been mostly positive, apart from some fringe people who just don't get it. Surely, Snoop, America's Rap Sweetheart, would offer his unconditional support and not say anything awful, right? Yeah, not so much.

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Shocked? Well, you shouldn't be. This isn't the first time Snoop has said transphobic or homophobic things on social media. At the beginning of the year, Snoop posted a photo of Cortez Booze on his Instagram along with the question, "Who's auntcle is this?" Booze, who works at a care home in Maryland, was then subjected to an onslaught of abuse from Snoop fans. One Instagram user commented: "That shemale ain't gone win. U get wat u get if u choose to dress how u dress. Consequences for your choices so use some common sense."

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A few months before that, Snoop posted a photo of two men in bed with the following caption: "U n ya boyfriend since u like Jumpin on my page disrespectn bitch boy go f*ck ya man n get off my line f.A.G." A fan commented: "Keep it Gangsta Snoop dez F*gs talk tooo much."

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People look up to Snoop. If he appears to be denigrating someone because of their gender expression or sexuality, his fans feel as though it's acceptable and take it further. Lots of celebrities use the "I didn't sign up for being a role model" excuse, but the reality is that, once you're a notable person, people are following your lead, whether you like it or not. After 23 years in the business, one would think Snoop would know better than this.

It's curious behavior from someone who claimed to the Huffington Post that he has "no issues with nobody. I live for me and I live my life doing what I do, so you should have the right to do whatever you want to do."

In 2013, The Guardian asked him about whether he thought Frank Ocean's coming out was a sign of progress in terms of acceptance in the rap world. Snoop had this to say: "Frank Ocean ain't no rapper. He's a singer. It's acceptable in the singing world, but in the rap world I don't know if it will ever be acceptable because rap is so masculine. It's like a football team. You can't be in a locker room full of motherf*cking tough-ass dudes, then all of a sudden say, 'Hey, man, I like you.' You know, that's going to be tough."

So gay men are incapable of being masculine, lust after straight men and cannot control their urges in locker rooms. Got it. Even when he's trying to come across as accepting, he ends up revealing how ignorant he is.

Of course, the Snoop Dogg we know is nothing but a caricature crafted by Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. And he's not alone: Many rap artists also play up heightened version of themselves. They redefine who they are; they change their names (Snoop Lion, P Diddy, *insert Prince symbol here*, etc.). The rap world deals heavily in the fluid nature of identity, yet, for some reason, some of its members can't find the empathy to understand gender or sexual fluidity.

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In a culture that's become obsessed with public shaming (hi, Justine Sacco!), it's odd that Snoop continues to exhibit homophobic and transphobic attitudes on social media with zero consequences and no change in his public image. Does our love of getting down to "Drop It Like It's Hot" trump the need to stand up against intolerance? If we ever want to live in a world where we truly see each other's humanity, no matter who we love or what gender we were assigned at birth or what color our skin is or what religion we practice, the answer to that question has to be no.

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