Vietnam: Vietnam’s top rap artists have recently come out and thrown their support behind the LGBT community by covertly campaigning to legalize gay marriage and promoting gay equality in this communist country.
Ha Noi based Kimmese SpaceSpeakers, 23, shot to fame at 14 as Vietnam’s first mainstream rap act who discovered the genre through a single Bone Thugs-n-Harmony song on a karaoke VCD and has recently come out, and thrown her support behind the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Vietnam, said tuoitrenews.vn citing an AFP report.
She now has redefine her music as a powerful R&B vocalist straddling Vietnam’s musical underground and mainstream.
Hip-hop is a relatively new import to the country of some 90 million ruled by a coterie of hard line communists trying desperately to stay relevant in this fast changing world.
Seeing Kimmese perform was what inspired Ho Chi Minh City-based Suboi to start rapping.
As one of the few female rappers she is always trying to prove herself singing about sisterhood. “We cannot say something super straight. You have to read between the lines,” she said.
Both Kimmese and Suboi have a massive social media presence with hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook. They regularly perform overseas but say it is hard to get concerts in Vietnam.
Most major concerts in Vietnam feature state-sanctioned stars — not rap divas talking swag and sisterhood and campaigning for gay marriage.
Although both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal and is believed to never have been criminalized in Vietnamese history, society is still heavily prejudiced against the LGBT as neither the people nor the government support same-sex marriage seeing it as a threat to the traditional marriage system.
Vietnamese lawmakers say the country is being progressive with gay marriage as it has scrapped fines against same-sex marriage under a decree taking effect last November.
However, the proposed Family and Marriage Law has not officially recognized same sex marriage even as as local LGBT communities and activists are pushing forwards to legalizing the issue.
Vietnam has been governed by a Communist government partly since independence from the colonial French in 1954 and fully since 1975 and has since remained impoverished and politically isolated.
In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms which began Vietnam’s path towards integration into the world economy. However, the country still experiences high levels of income inequality, disparities in access to healthcare, and a lack of gender equality.