Chicago rap legend Da Brat discussed her decision to come out in a new profile out in Variety for the magazine’s Pride Issue.
The Dish Nation host revealed her sexual orientation this past March in an emotional Instagram post, where she confirmed her relationship with Kaleidoscope Hair Products CEO Jesseca Dupart by celebrating an early birthday gift: a white Bentley tied in a red bow.
“I’ve always felt like being private is the better way to go, because then you don’t have so many people in your business,” Brat told Variety. “I was fine staying quiet, but my partner is a social media mogul — that’s how she became who she is. And when you get with somebody, you have to meet in the middle. So to me, the middle was just letting everybody know: ‘Hey, she’s the one.’”
Da Brat denied putting an exact label on her orientation, but stated that she had dated both men and women, “so I guess for a long time I was bisexual.” She went onto say that the announcement wasn’t planned, and that she didn’t even give her long-time manager the heads up that she was making a coming-out post. “Jesseca was showing me some pictures and we were going back and forth, joking ‘I’ll post it,’ ‘No, I’ll post it.’ So when she did, I was like, ‘Oh sh–! I just came out after 20-something years!’ But it feels good to share with the world when you’re happy.”
Brat also clarified that it was entirely her decision, not her label’s, to stay in the closet, citing her religious upbringing and outside pressures from the industry. “I was always told you want to be fuckable to men and women to sell records — you don’t want anybody to discriminate. It was absolutely my decision. I mean, you saw what happened to people like Ellen: Remember when she lost her TV show, and all these horrible things were happening? People were totally against it.”
Along with her stint on Fox’s Dish Nation, Da Brat currently hosts the nationally syndicated Atlanta radio show The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, and was cast in the lesbian character Cleo in the stage production of Set It Off, adapted from the 1996 female heist movie starring Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Jada Pinkett Smith. The production is scheduled to tour the country starting in the fall, with an opening show on September 25th in New Orleans.
“I love being a badass, and I love being a part of an ensemble of women,” Brat said of her role.
When asked about younger LGBTQ artists in the music industry like Lil Nas X, she praised their visibility but warned against the executives running the show; she expressed concern that women rappers are being forced into a box in terms of their gender presentation. “You can’t go in there looking [tough] like I did [back in the day] and be like: ‘I’m a rapper.’ They’re going to say, ‘Let’s get you out of those tomboy clothes and dress you up in a teddy.’ But that changes who you are — and then your rhymes start changing because you look different. Then you’re not so relatable because you’re not being yourself anymore. Now you’re somebody else. Who are you?”