Michelle Shocked, the folk singer who became famous in the late ’80s/early ’90s as the one who isn't Meshell Ndegeocello, went off on a homophobic tirade at a recent San Francisco concert, leaving thousands surprised that Michelle Shocked is still playing concerts. The incident occurred at a venue called Yoshi’s, which featured the unthinkable act of a Michelle Shocked headlining gig in the year 2013, interrupted by the somewhat more predictable anti-gay vitriol from a born-again Christian, which Shocked has claimed to be since the mid-’90s.
“I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry,” Shocked reportedly said, noting she’d just come from a prayer meeting of people convinced that the end times were nigh “because Prop. 8 is going to lead to ministers marrying gay people with a rifle to the head.” It's a scenario that probably sounds hilariously irrational, were the fact that Michelle Shocked is still packing them in not some indicator that we live in an uncertain age where anything can happen, even ministers being forced to let everyone get gay-married at gunpoint.
There were, in fact, enough people in attendance here that the concert endured numerous walkouts, yet still there were witnesses left behind to report that Shocked exhorted them all to get on Twitter and “say that ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags,’” which they did. There’s some debate over whether Shocked meant this bit sincerely, or whether she was just cynically acknowledging what her overall message would be reduced to, but her intentions definitely became clear as she then began to quote Old Testament verses condemning homosexuality (in both English and, for some reason, Spanish).
It’s also not the first time Shocked has expressed such sentiments: After decades of being deliberately coy about her own sexuality, which allowed the singer to court the same lesbian audience that gravitated to similar artists like Melissa Etheridge and Tracy Chapman, Shocked has rejected that following in recent years and rebelled against being branded a “gay icon,” even proclaiming herself “the world’s greatest homophobe.” However, this happened at a Christian music festival, therefore no one noticed.
This time the manager of Yoshi’s noticed and he emerged to put a stop to it, saying that, “as a gay man, he could not allow the show to continue and she would have to leave the stage.” In addition to causing an Internet firestorm, the incident has already set off a string of cancellations for Shocked’s upcoming tour dates, by venues that had not already done so after realizing that they hadn't booked Meshell Ndegeocello. On the upside, it also promises to make Michelle Shocked briefly famous again, as “the one who’s not Meshell Ndegeocello who hates gays.”
Here’s a video of Michelle Shocked performing a song while hating gays.