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‘Stole the Show’ singer Parson James on suffering racism and homophobia

By Ben Kelly

Singer-songwriter Parson James speaks about racism in the US and his desire not to be labelled a ‘gay artist’ in a new interview with Attitude.

Speaking in our new May Issue – in shops and available to download now – James discusses the racial divide in his home state of South Carolina.

“It’s not just between African Americans and whites,” he says. “Any different religion or cultural background – anything other than the typical [white] American Christian – and you’ll get stared at. Even in New York, I hear derogatory shit. Back in the South it’s just more direct and aggressive.”

Sadly, James explains he has even experienced homophobia within his own family.

parson james

“I remember being so excited to tell my grandma that I was moving to New York and she said, “It’s okay, just don’t become a faggot. There’s so many of them up there.” And I was like, well I’ll never be able to tell you.”

The musician, who had one of the biggest hits of 2015 with Stole The Show, also says he objects to being labelled a ‘gay artist’.

“I’d rather just let the music speak for itself, I’d rather be an artist. But I don’t know if we’ve got there yet with listeners who are more intrigued that I am a gay artist.”

You can read the full interview with Parson James in the new issue of Attitude, available to download now at, in shops, and to order from


Also in Attitude’s May Issue, alongside all your usual news, reviews, fitness & travel:

  • Cover star Michael Sam on being the first gay man drafted in the NFL, and on experiencing racism in the gay community.
  • In honour of our All-American theme, Attitude presents our Gay USA Special, taking you on a tour of the places, pin-ups and pioneers of gay life across the pond.
  • Lukas Graham, the chart-topping Danish band behind 2016 pop smash ‘7 Years’, talk to Attitude about their overnight success, the death of a father figure and whether gay men are “manly”…
  • We meet Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, the RuPaul’s Drag Race producers who’ve turned their cinematic hands to a new documentary about notirious photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
  • We exclusively unveil the first chapter of Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You, which critics are already heralding as the “great gay novel of our times”.
  • Comedian Sara Pascoe sees whether she can pass for a ‘mo in How Gay Are You?

The new issue of Attitude is now available as a digital download from It’s in shops next tomorrow (March 30), and print copies are available to order from

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