Every time I watch the music video to the song “Same Love” by Macklemore I am always overwhelmed with intense emotion. The song, powerful in its message regarding gay rights and societal implications, has so many layers of interpretation by itself. However, it is the video that makes this song so powerful in my opinion.
For a long time I could not understand why the video itself took such an emotional toll on me. Sure it deals with difficult human rights issues and blatantly shines attention back to the atrocities of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. After long thought it struck me that this is the first time in my twenty-two years that I have seen a gay couple depicted in such a loving, raw, and emotional way. For once the various stereotypes on how gay men act, dress, and talk were off the table. The result was liberating in many ways.
Something else that struck me about this video was the decision to tell the story of an interracial couple. Previously when thinking about homosexuality, issues of race rarely came into play. Reading Gay New York really highlighted that significant gap in my knowledge. Granted the book examine gay culture predominantly before World War II, however it is hard to imagine such a significant factor such as race, which is ingrained in everyday culture, not also playing a significant role in gay culture today.
In the mid twentieth century race was a prevailing factor for gay men in terms of access. For instance, African American men living in New York City had extremely limited access to bathhouses, as most refused service until the 1960s.  Additionally many gay social events like drag balls also highlighted the difference in opinion between those with dark skin and those with light. Speaking to his exasperation of the results at a drag ball an African American participant noted, “they are always arranged for the white girls to win. They never had no Negro judges.” 
Race clearly played a role in regards to gay culture in the mid twentieth century, but does it still today? A recent article entitled “Why is it so hard to be black and gay?” highlighted some of the questions I myself had after reading Gay New York. The article quotes CNN anchor Don Lemon who publicly announced his homosexuality in 2011 saying, “[Gay is] about the worst thing you can be in Black culture.” 
Given the racial issues still prevalent in society today I find it intriguing that the song “Same Love” chose to tackle the emotionally charged issues of homosexuality and race in their video. Currently I am thinking critically about many of the themes raised by this video. Was the decision to portray the gay couple as interracial a conscious decision? Why tackle so many issues at once? And perhaps most thought provokingly, how does the issue of race fit into the culture of homosexuality today?
 Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQngzapK5dM
 Chauncey, George, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994).
 DiversityInc, “Why is it so hard to be Black and Gay?”
 Image: “Artistic, Bright, Color, Colored, Colorful Colors”