A year ago, Music Midtown nearly ruined Piedmont Park and Atlanta Pride that followed it. The massive music fest is trying again this year, offering up a homophobic headliner with a rich history of anti-gay lyrics.
Ah, Eminem. He hasn't performed here since 2002 and gay Atlanta hasn't missed him. Yet Live Nation is dusting him off and propping him up as one of its four headliners for the festival, set for Sept. 19-20. Atlanta media outlets can't stop stroking their Music Midtown boners long enough to be bothered with the substance of Eminem's lyrics. Or the irony that he'll rap them from the very same spot that three weeks later, on Oct. 11-12, leather daddies will mix with twinks in Daisy Dukes, dykes with their bikes and drag queens sweating through their pancake makeup.
Eminem is likely to do his very best to kill your Pride buzz. How? Rapping about bashing “faggots”:
In “Rap God,” he raps about his ability to “break a motherfucker’s table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half.” And there’s the rant in the same song that uses “gay” as a shaming insult: “Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / 'Oy vey, that boy's gay,' that's all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.”
Or rapping about stabbing gay people, as he does on “The Marshall Mathers LP”:
His insistent, tiring gay bashing almost begs you to hate him: “I'll stab you in the head, whether you're fag or les/Or a homosex, a hermaph or a trans-a-ves. . . ./Hate fags? The answer's yes.”
Eminem insists he doesn't hate the gays. Yet he keeps on rapping about “faggots” and making good money from it.
But in case that's not enough to worry about, Music Midtown and its 50,000 fans also tend to soil Piedmont Park. OK, they trash it. They did it last year and the year before that and the year prior to that, too. Atlanta Pride comes three weeks later in the very same space, followed a week after that by AIDS Walk Atlanta.
Last year, the damage posed enough of a threat to Pride that gay Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan said he was “devastated” over the trashed park. Live Nation President Peter Conlon tells Access Atlanta that Music Midtown will again do its part to fix the park in time for the big gay party.
As for the landscape issues that emerged last year after a day of rain turned the meadow into a mudslide stuffed with nearly 60,000 people, Conlon said Live Nation spent “in the six figures” within a two-week period after the festival to remediate the park.
“We had crews on it (that) Monday morning,” he said, adding that about $80,000 in sod and mulch was placed on the grounds and about $300,000 spent on flooring, which will also be increased this year.
Eminem, though, can't be remediated. Maybe Music Midtown can convince part-time Atlanta gay Elton John to rescue Eminem again. If not, at least Iggy Azalea is in the lineup. The drag queens already mimic her and the gays love her.