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Christopher Milan says that when the producers of the VH1 reality TV series Love and Hip-Hop first caught wind of his 2014 music video for “Is You Mad or Nah,” they invited him on the show’s second season to play the best friend of another cast member. But when they realized that Milan was gay, they decided to do a more personal storyline because, as Milan recently admitted in a nude photoshoot with Paper magazine (NSFW), “Everybody knows it goes on in the hip hop community but no one has ever talked about it.”
Since his appearance in the reality show, he has released his album The Alpha, has also appeared in videos for Kanye West and the Game and pursued LGBTQ musical activism, addressing bullying and queer youth suicide in his song “When I Go.”
These days, Milan wanted to participate in a nude photo shoot with Paper magazine to challenge the cultural taboo of men showing off their bodies. “I think I have a nice body,” he said, “and I think it’s art and I just think that it should be celebrated like they celebrate women’s bodies.”
He added: “I want that ‘break the internet’ moment. I want people to look at this and be like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s ok. This guy is a musician, he’s on TV. He’s doing this, he’s doing that but it’s ok.’”
Paper magazine helped popularize the phrase “break the internet” when they presented a magazine cover of reality celebrity Kim Kardashian’s butt. The phrase, according to Urban Dictionary, means “causing a large commotion on the world wide web with many social networking sites and news outlets discussing the same thing.”
Milan feels he has to be a good role model for the millions of gay black men who may neither be out nor comfortable with their sexuality. He called the hip-hop community “super homophobic,” (including music and TV producers and directors). Despite being on the cover of The New York Times, The L.A. Times (twice) and appearing on both Ellen DeGeneres and Wendy Williams’ talk shows, Milan says that the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards has never invited him to do perform.
“It’s like, this is the first time this has ever happened in the history of hip hop music and you didn’t make a place for me because I’m gay?” he said, presumably referring to his fame as an out hip-hop artist. “I felt very disrespected by that.”
Frank Ocean is also a openly gay black hip-hop artist, but it’s unclear whether he has ever performed at the BET Awards after coming out as sexually fluid (he does not refer to himself as bisexual).
Milan is spending Pride month hosting a few parties in different cities. He also said that his upcoming album, Culture Vultures will be about how people co-opt gay language and fashion while continuing to demonize gay people.