Interviews

Ton3x: Compelled (Part 3 of 3)

More than anything Ton3x says ‘Unspoken’ is his most accessible album to date but it also follows a controversial stance on the LGBT community. In Part III, Ton3x discusses his ministry and hope that we as a people can move forward and be respectful of one another.

Singersroom: ‘Unspoken’ is charting new territory in some respects, do you believe it will inspire and reach further than your previous efforts?

Ton3x: I think this is the most accessible record; maybe for someone to find out what I believe in that it just happens to come up. Not that they know what it is because I didn’t record it as a Gospel record. I didn’t record it as anything. I made an album. Do I think it’s my best work?…absolutely not.

It is my most consistent and most accessible batch of songs. Just really an overall hodge podge of all the things I can do. Eventually I do know I’ll be doing a sequel to “Out The Box.” I enjoy that as well, but that’s just not where I am right now as a person.

Knowing that people won’t have to go searching in the mysterious section of some kind of warehouse or scavenger hunt to find the Gospel section and knowing that the placement of it (Unspoken) will be visible – that makes me happy.

I’m really proud of myself for growing in that area. Usually it’s like my way or no way. This time I played racquetball with many people…bouncing ideas off them and asking “how can I approach this?”

Singersroom: Now in an interview you did maybe a year or so back there was discussion about your choice to perform on a Gay/Lesbian cruise. Because that was very controversial, I understand you said in Essence (and I’m paraphrasing), “gay/lesbian people have money too”…Because there is sort of a fine line there, can you tell me what you meant?

Ton3x: It wasn’t quite printed the correct way. What I was saying was that the Gay and Lesbian community…we treat them like they’re some off the wall and left field group of folks that don’t enjoy good music; don’t enjoy inspirational music and don’t spend money. We just act like “we can market to them” and that’s just something else like “go and get the crumbs off the table” especially in Gospel. I would say that these are citizens just like anyone else. These are consumers just like anyone else and these are souls just like anybody else. If they enjoy what I do then why would I not. That’s what I meant.

It’s not like they’re a separate breed. I just don’t like the way that, a lot of times the Gospel community treats the LGBT community, when in fact they have been the backbone of that industry as artists and consumers. That’s really what I meant. It wasn’t quite printed the right way. I meant “don’t tell me I can’t go here because they don’t deserve it.”

Singersroom: Gay and Lesbian people are after all people and human beings…I have to say there is this sort of “you’re damned to hell” and “we can’t speak or minister to you” attitude from some artists and/or missionaries…

Ton3x: I’m the only one so far, that openly ministers, at least in the gospel/urban/inspirational community, that is not afraid or ashamed. Some of my biggest fans and strongest supporters come from the LGBT community.

It’s a shame that someone or a group of people that’s so condemned to hell can show me more love…so you do the math. To me God is love. If we say we represent God then how can we have hatred towards any creed or background? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Whoever calls that wants to blessed, wants support, needs me to hear the life, affect the life …I’m going.

They filter it down for economic reasons or because they’re not secure in their own sexuality but as for me the bible tells me to go to everybody.

Singersroom: Do you think that attitude and “wall,” so to speak, will come down. Especially with so many issues ranging from the economy to healthcare, as we saw during the Presidential election, being more important in the eyes of people worldwide?

Ton3x: Do I feel that kind of attitude towards the LGBT community will change?

Singersroom: Yes.

Ton3x: I don’t think this generation really cares. It’s really older values and older thought patterns of ignorance and homophobia and just a lack of understanding and communication that keeps that type of bigotry alive.

In 2009 it’s really sad to think in America that you have to even ask that question.

I pray that with artists like myself, there’ll be more that will be a little more inclusive in understanding and respectful – let’s start with that!

I hope they’ll start with the respect factor. There has just been a certain level of respect that has been lost in all forms of life and living. Music many times is that one place that is everyone’s ubiquitous choice of communication. If I can use that platform to raise the consciousness of people and present love, peace and creativity to inspire, then I am a willing Martyr because I believe in the power of God, the cross and love.

Singersroom: I respect that.

Ton3x: I feel so compelled. I just had a conversation that I had to type to somebody because many of them were trying to get me to justify myself before I come back out to certain markets, radio stations and to explain myself. I’m like: “there is nothing to explain … I am a human being. I told my story and I’m still telling stories for others who don’t have a voice.” Hopefully by me being that voice, that type of ignorance, particularly towards the LGBT community, will one brick at a time be removed. —— By: Interview By: Njai Joszor

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