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No Homo is a slang term meaning “not in a homosexual way.” The expression is typically used with a statement that could potentially be interpreted as either seductive or homoerotic, in order to avoid any confusion or skepticism of others regarding one’s sexuality.
No Homo was popularized in the early 1990s among youths in East Harlem, most notably rapper Cam’ron who later incorporated the phrase into his album lyrics in 2006. In the following years, hip hop artists like Lil Wayne and Jay-Z appropriated the phrase for their own lyrics as a way to excuse any reference that could be potentially misinterpreted, as well as other straight men who want to make a clear distinction that they do not take part in a secret gay lifestyle.
“No Homo” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on October 21st, 2003, which was featured as Urban Word of the Day on November 8th, 2010. The phrase appeared on a few message board comments in December 2004. Over the next year, the phrase continued to appear on message boards and also started appearing in comments on rap blogs. On Tumblr, the “no homo” tag includes criticism of other Tumblr bloggers who use the phrase.
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Gay rights advocates and allies have been openly opposing the use of the phrase since as early as 2005 on the Rap Music message board. Two years later, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, who was a contributor to Fox News at the time, spoke out on his personal website against use of the phrase by his peers, stating that “in order to punctuate even the most sexually non-suggestive sentences with a homophobic disclaimer, one has to constantly be thinking about homosexuality.” In 2009, Vulture called the phrase “a more clever” insult to someone or thing that is considered gay. Black women’s site Clutch Magazine looked at the phrase again in 2010, questioning whether use of “no homo” is more out of homophobia or trying to cover up their lifestyle choices.
In 2010, the cartoon The Boondocks aired an episode dedicated to looking at the phrase’s usage. Entitled “Pause,” a reference to another term used by heterosexual speakers to distinguish language that might sound homosexual, the episode first aired on June 20th. The episode depicted a man who was supposed to be a caricature of Tyler Perry as a closeted homosexual who used “no homo” as a way to distract people from his sexuality. Perry was furious with the parody and the episode was never aired again.
The next year, The Lonely Island released a song entitled “No Homo” parodying the use of the phrase on their sophomore LP “Turtleneck and Chains.” In April 2011, Funny or Die also wrote a parody song about a rapper who does seemingly gay activities but uses “no homo” as a way to say he is not gay.
Search for “no homo” began registering in March 2005.
The Hip Forums – Slang names face off between vagina & penis (no homo)