No homo

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The phrases no homo and pause are slang terms. They parenthetically assert that the speaker of such does not have homosexual intent and are usually used after an utterance or action that may have given that impression.[1]


The term no homo originated in East Harlem slang of the early 1990s.[2] It was used by many to distance themselves from the stereotype of closeted gay and bisexual men.[3]


Several social commentators have criticized the use of both no homo and pause in hip hop and in the mainstream. It has been said that the phrases "uphold an unhealthy relationship with homosexuality, a relationship based in fear."[4] Fox News commentator Marc Lamont Hill encouraged the hip-hop community to stop using no homo in its music.[5]

At the same time, Slate columnist Jonah Weiner suggested the use of the phrase is somewhat more complex. Weiner notes several hip hop artists – such as Cam'ron and Lil Wayne – cultivate an extravagant and camp public persona while embracing homophobia, thus saying no homo can help expand established concepts of masculinity, and challenge the status quo.[2]

Nick Catucci, writing for New York magazine, disagrees with this assessment. In his view, no homo is merely another form of "gay bashing", and to a large extent is used simply because it "just sounds good", and is easily applicable in rhymes. A rapper like Cam'ron, Catucci argues, will use the phrase and dress in pink simply to show that he is man enough to get away with it, without being suspected of being gay.[3]

Notable uses[edit]

  • In 2004, Jadakiss rapped "A real man shouldn't have to say No Homo” in his "It Ain't Hard To Tell Freestyle."
  • In 2008, rapper Lil Wayne used the term in his hit song Lolipop.
  • In 2011, The Lonely Island made a parody of the expression with their song "No Homo" published in their album Turtleneck & Chain. The song begins with standard usage of the term and expands to be said after more and more blatantly homosexual statements such as "I've been thinking about fucking a dude (no homo)"[6]
  • In 2013, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers stirred up controversy after he used the term in a postgame interview following a playoff game against the Miami Heat. Hibbert was fined US$75,000 by the NBA for his comments.[7] Hibbert said, “The momentum could have shifted right there if [James] got an easy dunk,” Hibbert said. “There was what ‑‑ was it Game 3 here? I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because he stretched me out so much. No homo.”[8] Hibbert later apologized for the remark and another supposed obscenity he used during the press conference in a statement released by the Pacers: "I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night," Hibbert said in the statement released by the Pacers. "They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views. I used a slang term that is not appropriate in any setting, private or public, and the language I used definitely has no place in a public forum, especially over live television. I apologize to those who I have offended, to our fans and to the Pacers' organization."[9]
  • It was used in the Adult Swim series The Boondocks episode "Pause" for comedic effect. The phrase was spoken by Riley Freeman to taunt at his Granddad every time he said something, much to his annoyance.
  • It was also used in the 2003 underground classic Happy Fuck You song by the extended f@mm in the skit called pause.[10]

See also[edit]


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