Mister Cee’s Arrest Should Spark Talk of Sex Work, Not Hysteria

Dream Hampton argues that instead of sexuality, we should be talking about decriminalizing sex work. Who's listening?

By Jamilah King Apr 06, 2011

Speculation continues to swirl around the blogosphere in response to popular Hot 97 DJ personality Mister Cee’s arrest on public lewdness charges after allegedly being caught in a sex act with a transgender woman. The married 44-year-old DJ, who’s legal name is Calvin Lebrun, made his mark as producer of Notorious B.I.G’s debut album "Ready to Die" and has long been a staple of New York’s influential hip-hop scene. He was arrested last Wednesday after police reportedly caught him in the act with a 20-year-old transgender woman.

Predictably, news of the arrest has sparked some homophobic response, ranging from the scary-black-men-on-the-down-low meme to outright shock that someone so prominent could be infected with "The Gay." So far, Mister Cee has denied the claims. And fellow Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex has come to his defense.

But while most of the response has focused on sexuality, dream hampton argues that we should instead be talking about decriminalizing sex work and trying to dissect the fluidity of male sexual desire:

I believe that Mister Cee’s sexuality is a personal matter, one he must reckon with himself and his wife. But Charlamagne’s co-host Angela Yee took the position widely held by heterosexual women–that closeted bisexual men are a health hazard, exposing trusting women to AIDS and more. While I’m not dismissive of those concerns, particularly in a marriage, where condom use is expected to be abandoned, I do know that we heterosexual Black women don’t exactly offer safe spaces for bisexual men to express their desires.

I’m also far more concerned that the transgendered 20-year-old who allegedly serviced him be safe, particularly if he is a sex worker. I wished aloud on my own Twitter feed that the discussion about Mister Cee would be one about decriminalizing sex work and focusing on harm reduction rather than speculating if Mister Cee is closeted.

Read more of hampton’s take over at BET.com, and stay tuned as the story unfolds.

This post has been updated since publication.