On February 2nd, famously out/agender rapper Raeen Roes, better known by their stage name Angel Haze, dropped a new song. Not just any song, but “Candlxs,” a gushy, yet gorgeous tribute to their girlfriend, Ireland Baldwin. The cover art is hand-painted by Roes themself, and features the couple sitting close, backs to the proverbial camera. The whole package is quite cute and lends a weary listener some faith in true love.
On February 3rd, Haze and Baldwin broke up, subsequently breaking the hearts of queers the world over. The world was over, right?
On February 5th, Haze tweeted a picture of Baldwin (looking damn fine), captioned with hearts and whatnot. And all was well in the world again.
To clarify, I don’t have many shits to give about celebrity breakups/makeups. I’m not sure Haze, 23, and Baldwin, 19, even qualify as “celebrities,” with the former a talented artist and the latter criminally gorgeous progeny (her dad is Alec Baldwin). And I sure as hell am not socially aware enough to lend my burgeoning, partially-formed opinions to this article – gayness aside. I will say that coming out of a “cult,” as Haze did, makes growing up brown and lesbian in Mississippi sound like nirvana. But I digress.
Angel Haze and Ireland Baldwin are so very important. Here’s why (and why not), brought to you by a handful of your friendly neighborhood queers:
“Being queer is constantly having your body and affection policed – who’s allowed to show affection with which bodies, where. So here comes this this teenage, biracial queer couple who don’t give a fuck about identity politics or being a “good” lesbian couple, fucking up the game. Who get tattoos after two months and U-Haul after four, and then get dogs. It’s the queer dream. Also, Angel goes by “they” pronouns now and constantly corrects people’s ideas that they’re gay, identifying as pansexual. (Finger snaps into the depths of hell.)” – Sophie, Gallatin ‘16
“I have very little investment in their relationship. I pretty much live vicariously through Sophie on that one, because she’s pretty obsessed. My girlfriend Claire says, ‘I could not care less about their relationship. And I don’t think anyone else should.’” – Em and Claire, Gallatin and CAS ‘16
“I like the positive (from what I’ve seen) media coverage of an interracial queer couple, that’s great. And that Haze recently came out as agender on Twitter, that’s huge for representation.” – Hayley, Nursing ‘15
“I agree with the comments Haze has made about interracial dating, particularly between two women. I feel that queer lady relationships (especially with younger adults) are kind of trivialized/fetishized by media as just two girl who are friends. That kind of attitude, I think, permits the rest of society to have the same sort of view when they see queer lady couples. For all queer relationships, the media’s commentary and attention creates an example for others – that they can comment on queer relationships they see in public. I’m constantly berated by guys’ stares and comments when I show any sort of affection to a partner of mine. I understand that a lot of why those interactions happen is due to patriarchy and other issues, but I think there is one component of that interaction that is caused by this influence from media’s report of couples that two ladies engaged in intimate contact are just friends.” – Carrie, Steinhardt ‘15
“I’m really into Angel Haze, I think she’s fun and queer, so we’re on the same team. But I think this [their relationship] won’t pick up any traction, honestly. People care about male gayness because it disgusts some people. Honestly two cis white, skinny, hot girls [Angel Haze is Native American and African] in entertainment together just invokes horniness in the general population. Angel said some funny stuff about ‘people confusing them for friends’ but it’s like WOW, I’m so sorry your life isn’t in danger like butch queer women. Most of my queer lady friends are genderqueer and their personal style pisses people off sometimes because of their androgyny. Like, right by NYU, a group of ‘dykey’ lesbians were attacked in front of the IFC, a very white space. And these women were charged with heinous crimes – most of them went to jail. When Angel Haze whines about not being seen as a lesbian, it’s an extremely white-girl shallow thing to say.” – Skye, Steinhardt ‘16
“I feel good about there being an interracial queer couple gaining popular attention. I also love Angel Haze. And I think she forces people to confront their assumptions about hip-hop, black women, queer women and black queer women. Her cover of ‘Same Love’ demonstrates everything that is wrong with Macklemore’s original version and his commercial success as a result of queer people’s narratives. I think the way people talk about Ireland Baldwin and Angel Haze also exposes continued discomfort about bother queer relationships and interracial relationships.” – Simone, CAS ‘15
“The first time I heard Angel Haze’s music, I was really blown away. Her lyrics have both a tragic and powerful poetic force. ‘Battle Cry’ is a beautiful and bone-chilling song. As an artist, I respect her willingness to be unapologetically vulnerable in front of everyone like this. And then to find out that she identified as pansexual felt like Christmas. We need more outspoken performers keeping it real like that, talking directly about sexually traumatic experiences while also being proud of their sexuality and identity – and not having the two be in conflict, nor be causal to ‘queerness’. As a person of color with Native American roots, Angel Haze’s art and voice act also as a breath of much-needed fresh air for today’s predominately white-washed pop culture. I think people don’t really know how to react to lesbian relationships or any relationships between women (cis or trans), for that matter. Think of the media’s portrayal of the relationship between Kristen Stewart and her ‘gal pal’ Alicia Cargile. Even if there is nothing sexual actually going on between them, there still seems to be an ongoing effort to de-sexualize any relationship between women, especially when they are both have a certain amount of social or cultural power. Love and sex between women, agender, or trans folk is still made invisible and seen as threatening or perhaps just inconceivable to the mainstream.” – Sophie, CAS ‘14
“When they broke up, I literally got three different text messages from three different lesbians. There were Facebook statuses going ‘Oh my god, what the fuck?!?’ And I think it’s because she’s a normal girl [Ireland Baldwin], a normal pretty person who is openly – hardcore openly – dating a girl. They’ve been on the red carpet, there’s no sketchy coverage or ‘I’m actually bisexual’ stuff going on – they’re really dating each other. That’s what so appealing, what’s such a big deal. It’s like ‘holy shit, you can do that!’ She’s a hyper-reality of a person – tall, gorgeous, famous parents and everything. And she’s one of us! One of the top people is part of our crew now! The LGBTQ community is so small anyway, having this – we bond over it. You know how if there’s one lesbian character on a TV show – even if she’s just in one episode – you freak out and watch the entire series just to support the one appearance of queerness? This is like that. It’s on a national stage and repetitious and true. Your head fucking explodes.” – Lindsay, CAS ‘15
And there you have it, folks.
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