NEW YORK (JTA) – Orthodox Jewish rapper Y-Love has announced that he is gay.
The rapper, who records with the Jewish label Shemspeed, made the announcement in an Out magazine article published Tuesday.
“I feel like I’ve wasted years of my life worrying that it would alienate the community I dedicated my life to as an artist and as a man,” the 34-year-old rapper, whose name is Yitz Jordan, told Out. “But my hope is that it will open their eyes — and hearts.”
Y-Love, who was born to a Puerto Rican mother and Ethiopian father, converted to Judaism. He previously identified as Chasidic, though he no longer does. He is known for lyrics focused on Jewish religious concepts and has rapped in Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish.
According to the Out article, Y-Love had a brief failed marriage to a Jewish woman and had tried a form of so-called reparative therapy in an effort to change his sexual orientation.
“I’ve dealt with racism; I’ve dealt with discrimination,” he told the magazine. “I want to be there at that gay pride festival, for that kid who has a baseball cap over his yarmulke. I know what it feels like to have to hide.”
Y-Love’s new video “Focus on the Flair," released Tuesday, features shots of him in drag, as well as in men’s clothing dancing with a man in Chasidic garb.