SOULE wishes to honor the members of the LGBTQ+ community who also identify with the Muslim faith with our miniseries, Under the Crescent Moon.
Our next interview is with Maceo Price:
-Name: Maceo Price
-Place of birth: Baltimore, MD
-Sexual orientation: Gay
-Gender ID (if you choose to identify): Male
How would you describe your upbringing? In what ways was it influenced by your faith?
During my upbringing, I was very sheltered. I am my mother’s first born son and she had me very young so, for her, sheltering me was her way of protecting me. My upbringing was influenced by my faith in the sense that you went to church to bury your inner issues instead of facing them head on. My family wasn’t perfect; we never took the time to face our issues and instead hid behind the everyday African American tradition of going to church every Sunday and thinking it would take care of all of our problems.
When did you first realize you were queer and/or had a unique concept of your gender ideation? How did that impact you as you grew up?
I have a vivid memory back from grade school of me watching the Nutcracker in class. Watching the love story between Clara and the prince, I tried to imagine myself in the role of Clara, but not as a girl. I remember a distinct feeling of not quite understanding why I was so infatuated with the prince; it was a good feeling, but also a scary feeling, because I knew how different it was from the everyday normal. I was impacted greatly when I discovered I liked men. I went into myself, becoming very introverted, shy, and self-conscious of everything I did because I didn’t want to be seen as the “gay boy”. Eventually, I broke out of that shell when I was in high school and really started to cultivate my musical talents. Singing and songwriting both helped me accept myself more as a gay man by writing and singing out my experiences. My mother always supported that.
I remember a distinct feeling of not quite understanding why I was so infatuated with the prince; it was a good feeling, but also a scary feeling, because I knew how different it was from the everyday normal.
How do you reconcile your identity with your faith?
My faith and identity are one in the same. It all came from God. God is loving, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, wise and a teacher. I’ve seen these same qualities shown to me by mother, who was brought up within Christian faith, even when she converted to Islam after she got married to my step dad. My parents show the same love to me as a LGBTQ/Christian man as they do my other siblings who are being raised in the Muslim faith. To love God is to love yourself and show love is to love all. I preach that in the music I write because that is what was always preached to me.
What is your message to the world concerning the intersection of queer identity and the Muslim faith?
To love God is to love yourself and show love is to love all. We share the misery of being outcasted and condemned by the world and, though we may not share all the same struggles, we do share this thing called life together.