“Something that I want for not just children but all my listeners — no matter if you’re gay, straight, white, black, rich or poor — is understanding the power of being yourself.”
That call to self-assurance is precisely what 22-year-old rapper Taylor Bennett preaches on his uplifting new track “Be Yourself” ft. Bianca Shaw. As the younger brother of Chance the Rapper, Bennett’s journey of discovery as an artist has been punctuated by a pressure to discover his own identity, coming out as bisexual on his 21st birthday via Twitter.
I do recognize myself as a bisexual male & do & have always openly supported the gay community & will keep doing so in 2017. #ThankYou —-
— “BE YOURSELF” OUT NOW! (@_TaylorBennett) January 18, 2017
“Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I was not open about my sexuality for a long time,” Bennett said in an interview with Time magazine. “Being a rapper, being in the industry, going to classical schools, and really getting exposure to different opinions and lifestyles made me want to use my music platform as a vehicle to talk about something that is very often shaded in American history.”
Bennett raps about the incongruities he’s faced as both a bisexual man and a black man in a society that has difficulty accepting him as both at once. Such progressive dialogue in the rap game has been similarly adopted by artists such as Young Thug, who Bennett says personally assisted him in the creation of this spirited anthem.
“I was very inspired by Young Thug,” he said. “I stayed with him in the studio for two days while I was on tour. Man, I’ll tell you, there’s nobody that’s harder-working — and also nobody that’s more comfortable with being themselves.”
With “Be Yourself,” Bennett wants to instill this comfort of self-love in all his listeners so that, when living freely as themselves, they may inspire others to do the same.
“When I say be yourself, I don’t mean be gay, be bi, be lesbian, be queer, be any of that. I mean: know who you are, love your body, love what you do, like what you like — express yourself openly,” he said. “Because when someone sees that someone has stepped into the light so comfortably, they’ll do it too.”