With a gorgeous gown, this rap star launched an important conversation about masculinity.

Young Thug does not give a shit about your feelings.

I'm sorry if that bothers you. You might share a planet, a community, or even a room with the 25-year-old rapper. But you are not in his orbit. Words thrown at him in anger, disgust, or awe seem to roll off his back like water. He just doesn't care.

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for PANDORA Media.


“I like everything that people say,” he told The Guardian. “No matter what they say. You gay, you a punk. You got a nice girlfriend, you’re ugly, you can’t rap, you’re the hardest.”

He sets opinions aside and goes about his business. And by the way, his business is booming.

His latest mixtape is a great listen, but most people are stuck on the cover.

It's called "JEFFERY." That's Thug's given name. And he's on the cover, wearing a stunning garment-turned-sculpture, by artist/designer Alessandro Trincone.

""JEFFERY"" available everywhere tonight at 12am est. Shot by: @whoisglp

A photo posted by ""JEFFERY"" (@thuggerthugger1) on

Part samurai, part Scarlett O'Hara, the piece is tailor-made for someone like Young Thug. Violet ruffles effortlessly fall down his body. His face is obscured by a jaunty parasol hat, a few stray dreads in the frame. Head to toe, it's beautiful.

"When I seen that dress,” he told Billboard magazine, “I felt like God gave it to me.”

Fans and followers fired back with the kind of comments you might expect from the bowels of Twitter. Many questioned his sexuality. Some told him they wouldn't buy his music. Some even questioned the sexuality of everyone who even listened to the album.

Luckily, his supporters were equally, if not more, outspoken.

Erykah Badu even tweeted that Thug's look reminded her of André 3000. And she would know.

This is not Young Thug's first time pushing back on outdated gender norms.

"She told me that she love the way I dress, like a prince but I'm a boy."

He's tall and sleight of frame. Like most rappers, he wears chains, rings, and fabulous jewelry. But that's where a lot of the comparisons end. He rocks wooly Ugg boots and occasionally dons children's dresses as T-shirts. You don't have to "get it" to see that it totally works for him.

YOUNG THUG; IN L.A.... PHOTO BY: @beelbe

A photo posted by ""JEFFERY"" (@thuggerthugger1) on

As a kid, he says, he started gambling and used his winnings to pay for his own clothes, mostly women's.

His feet were small enough to wear his sisters' glitter shoes. But not everyone celebrated Jeffery's groundbreaking choices.

"My dad would whoop me: ‘You’re not going to school now, you’ll embarrass us!’ But I never gave a f— what people think," he told Billboard.

So now, 90% of his clothes are women's. And, by any standard, he looks amazing.

“When it comes to swag, there’s no gender involved," he told Billboard.

Sin life....

A photo posted by ""JEFFERY"" (@thuggerthugger1) on

Of course, Jeffery-turned-Young Thug's music leaves some things (OK, many things) to be desired.

One critic described Thug's brand of hip-hop as post-verbal. It's brash. It glorifies guns. It's misogynistic. It's homophobic. And as much as I hate to admit, it's catchy af.

He's the first artist to have three Top Five rap albums on the Billboard charts in one year. He sells out shows. He's doing Calvin Klein ads. Teens chant his name. White teens, even.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for BET Networks.

So yeah, when the man who yells, "I'mma catch your mama, she gone f*$%  me and my team" hints he may wear a dress at his wedding, it's a bit jarring. It doesn't make sense. But maybe that's the point.

And as a black queer woman, I'll admit that Young Thug is more than a little maddening.

He exists in a really frustrating, hypocritical intersection. He can degrade women and wear dresses. He can rap adamantly about not being gay, throwing the word faggot around like confetti, and still have Elton John sing his praises.

Legendary ...@eltonjohn

A photo posted by ""JEFFERY"" (@thuggerthugger1) on

No, Young Thug is not the black, genderqueer, forward-thinking, rockstar-rapper that so many of us want him to be. But he is making us think about gender norms and masculinity, and that's important.

I believe we can continue to push and challenge him on the messages he's putting out into the world while fully believing he'll look beautiful on his wedding day in a gorgeous dress. We all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin, even people who's lyrics we don't always agree with.

Young Thug matters because masculinity, and especially black masculinity, isn't written in stone.

He's an artist. He's a father. He's the 10th of 11 children. He's a student of high fashion. He's here to be himself and enjoy himself, opinions be damned.

His style and creativity will undoubtedly inspire a generation of young men to take chances and reject the notion of monolithic black hypermasculinity. And if he can do all that in a dress, why the hell not?

Photo by Prince Williams/Getty Images for PUMA.

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It was a mere three weeks ago that President Biden announced that the U.S. would have enough vaccine supply to cover every adult American by the end of July. At the time, that was good news.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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