Actor and rapper Milan Christopher is accustomed to challenging stereotypes head on.
He made waves in the world of hip-hop when he appeared on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, becoming the first openly gay male on the channel’s reality TV shows, and later broke the internet with a full-frontal shoot for Paper magazine.
The 34-year-old has also driven the LGBT+ agenda forward in his music, with the video for his single 'When I Go' highlighting the high rates of domestic abuse and suicide rates in our community.
Despite all the inroads he's made, however, Milan sparked concern in September after tweeting that negativity surrounding his sexuality had pushed him to the verge of a mental breakdown, and that sometimes he wished he wasn’t gay.
As the Chicago-born star poses for an exclusive shoot in the December issue of Attitude - availavble to download to order globally now - he explains how he's continuing to fight after being pushed to the limit by the homophobia which continues to run rampant in the hip-hop world.
Milan Christopher, shot by Raul Romo exclusively for the December issue of Attitude
"Being a rapper and a gay rapper is an oxymoron, also being African American is hard for a person in the United States," Milan says.
"I’m not sure how it is in the UK, but it’s hard here. The hip-hop culture is run by hyper-masculinity and being as manly as possible, and being gay is the most derogatory thing you can be.
"I’ve accumulated my own fan base because of the things I have done, but the music industry won’t accept me.
"And in that moment when I sent that tweet saying: 'I wish I was straight'. it was because I know I am talented, and I know I wouldn’t have to go through this pushback if I was straight. A lot of these places are run by people who are extremely homophobic."
Milan, who released debut album BeastMode eaerlier this year, continues: "Every time we have a meeting for stuff, every time we’re trying to do stuff, it’s a fucking headache. It grinds you down; you’re thinking: “What am I fighting for?'
Milan Christopher, shot by Paul Romo exclusively for the December issue of Attitude
He adds: "But I am proud of who I am, and making it this far I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
"I know the road to major success and stardom is not easy. But I just wish I had a person to follow or look up to.
"I have no direction other than, 'let me try to do this and move forward'.
Read the full interview with Milan in the December issue of Attitude, out now.