NEW YORK, NY – Crossover hip-hop artist Yitz “Y-Love” Jordan is speaking out for the first time about his life as a gay man of color, while straddling the worlds of hip-hop and Hasidic Judaism – two communities not known for supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. On May 15th his latest release, “Focus on the Flair,” will bring a new, authentic voice to the hip-hop world and the LGBT community.
Said Jordan, explaining his decision to publicly identify as a gay man for the first time: “I want mine to be the last generation of LGBT Americans that remembers what a closet is. I want kids in 20 years to sit annoyed through LGBT history class to learn about that long ago time ‘when gay people used to have to lie,’ much like segregation is a far-off time to many of today’s middle-class black youth.”
Continued Jordan: “Why come out now? I’ve wanted to for a long time. I feel like I have wasted years of my life worrying that my ‘public reputation’ will be negatively impacted by my identity. Now that I’m over 30, I simply can’t care as much about what people think, despite the prospect of alienating the community I dedicated my life to as an artist and a man. My hope is it will open their eyes – and hearts. I’m ready to live authentically. I’m ready to find a husband. I’m ready to live without fear of being outed or the stress of keeping my whole self from people. And I’ve waited too long to do that.”
Born to a Puerto Rican mother and an Ethiopian father, Jordan converted to Hasidic Judaism in 2000, subsequently studying at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach yeshiva. Now, he is prepared to risk losing much of his former audience by being true to himself. Said Jordan: “So many conservative-minded hip-hop fans have listened to me to be their ‘voice of Jewish values’ for so long that I’m sure some will huff off in disgust at seeing the real me. What will not change is my art. My rhymes will still be 20% Hebrew and full of Jewish quotes as always. I also fully expect that these people who no longer find me “appropriate” will be replaced by fans who can truly appreciate the real me — with a particular emphasis on LGBT hip-hop fans, who I think will be able to identify with my struggle and triumph and have few out artists and role models.”
When Y-Love released his first mix tape in 2005, the world took note of the first African-American Orthodox hip-hop artist. Now, Y-Love is leading a new era of “global hip-hop” — where global social consciousness combines with pounding rhythms. Y-Love’s club-friendly tracks are influenced as much by rap vet Chuck D as by new artists like Major Lazer and Nicki Minaj. Y-Love explored a variety of new styles on his 2011 album “See Me”, from dance to hip-hop to pop, channeling each one to express his underlying anti-prejudice message: “Unity builds the world, all divisions destroy the world.”
Y-Love gained worldwide praise with his first album This is Babylon, which propelled him to appearances from BBC World TV to Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The world’s first black “Jewish MC”, Y-Love has featured his compelling perspective in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, XXL Magazine, The Australian and Italy’s La Repubblica.
Now, Y-Love is speaking frankly about the influence of his sexuality on his work, and how his coming out will be felt by listeners of his upcoming album “Focus on the Flair.” Said Jordan: “If anything, I’d say that being closeted about my sexuality gave an edge of anger to my tracks, which, while couched in revolutionary terms, stemmed from a place of inner anguish and frustration.” Continued Jordan: “‘Focus on the Flair’ is my first album where I feel like my music reflects an inner happiness and joy instead of primarily an inner conflict. And that is a reflection of what it means to come out and be true to oneself – the joy, the relief and the hope. I hope that is what people will see and focus on.”
For more information visit: http://thisisylove.com/