What is an Ally? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love”

I’m kinda sick this week, and I’m a bit overwhelmed with work, but I didn’t want to leave my readers without a post, so I want to take a minute to highlight a powerful piece of art from some LGBTQ allies.

I wear a bracelet from the Matrix Center that says, “What would an ally do?”  I get a lot of questions about it, most often on airplanes when strangers are grasping for something to discuss.  I often try to explain, but those strangers don’t often really want to know.  It’s “uncomfortable” to discuss identity politics on an airplane.

But the concept is one of the most important ones in my life.  An ally is a person of identity privilege who works against the system that affords them privilege at the expense of others.  In doing so, an ally must knowingly give up as many of the benefits their identity affords them as possible in order to act in solidarity with those who do not have access to those privileges.

As an example, I recently attended the wedding of a Straight couple who wanted to use their wedding as an expression of their allyship (like friendship, but as an ally instead of a friend).  They announced in the ceremony that they would not be getting legally married until everyone of their loved ones, Gay, Straight, or somewhere else on the spectrum, could get married.  In doing so, they are knowingly giving up all of the benefits of a legally-recognized marriage, benefits that are nothing to scoff at.

Their act was one display in being an ally.

Similarly, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, both Straight-identified men, have released a powerful video in support of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people, love, and relationships.  In doing so, they are risking certain aspects of their reputation as Hip Hop musicians.  As said in the song, “If I were gay, I’d think Hip Hop hates me.”

But they choose to stand on the side of love and justice.

I might not be the same
But that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal
Damn right I support it

Give it a look, and please watch all the way until the end…


One thought on “What is an Ally? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love”

  1. Jacquie (Sniveling in my Cubicle)

    You should place a caution on that video that it will make you tear up!

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