I had a chance to talk today with Will Sheridan, the former Villanova basketball player who came out publicly this week in an ESPN.com article. We spoke for more than an hour and he was engaging, articulate, funny and passionate. I have written a Q&A where he touches on a variety of topics relating to his coming out, including how he hopes to use his music to reach people.
For example, I asked him why he decided to come out publicly now and he talked about it relating to his career as a New Age hip-hop artist:
I’m an artist and if you listen to any of my songs, it’s all in my music and I’d rather just come out than be brought out. I’d rather do it [myself] rather than somebody say “he said he was a queen in a song.”
OS: So you talk about being gay in your music?
WS: Yeah, of course. “You Know I Got It” is a song on iTunes from my first album “Ngoma,” and the chorus is [he starts semi-singing]:
You know I got it. I know you need it. …
Life, I’m living to the brim
The looks they’re giving him, they should be thanking him. Why? Coz he’s a pioneer … he’s a fire queers clear, no lies.
“Set Fire to the Streets” has more of a message.
Set fire to the streets, light up the night, fair is fair and right is right. … I'm going to fight for my rights. ... Fuck being a second-class citizen, I’m here to be a changin' the world that we're livin’ in … are you givin’ in or contributin’.
His "Welcome to the Jungle" video has gotten a great reception:
I'm a bit more partial to "Set Fire to the Streets" for its strong pro-gay message. It also has this great line: "Martin Luther, Billie Jean, both Kings. ... helped define the meaning of dreaming."