Singer Danny Boy was once in rap and R&B’s inner circle — a rising star at only fifteen years old at Dr. Dre’s and Suge Knight’s label, Death Row Records. His first single, “Slip N Slide,” was released in 1994, with Ginuwine singing the chorus, and 2Pac and Snoop Dogg appearing in the video. Later, he sang vocals on 2Pac songs like “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find.”
Now the 38-year-old performer is opening up about a career spent mostly in the closet and his complicated frustration with the gay community and how he’s perceived.
In a YouTube interview with VLADTV, the father of three describes the turning point that kicked off his own personal acceptance:
“After I was divorced, I left our house and I slept in my car for about three weeks and washed up in L.A. Fitness…A guy that was pursuing me was really the only person to open the door that I felt comfortable with.
Once I met someone, I kept trying to go back and forth. I felt that that wasn’t cool, to be making a girl think I was into them or being into them and trying to be with guys at the same time.”
Addressing the rumors that fellow Death Row artists knew he was gay during Danny Boy’s time at the label, he said:
“I dibbled and dabbled. But for that person to know — did you look at them funny? You should have, because you should have asked them, ‘How do you know?’ Cause I didn’t tell nobody. The only people that knew were the people I did stuff with, and anybody else that knew were people that did stuff too.”
He added that he was having relations with other artists at the time, but, “not on Death Row though, yuck. All of them was ugch.”
Danny Boy describes how the death of a lover pushed him out of the closet in 2013:
“We were talking — nobody knew we were talking, and while I was out on the road one weekend, he stopped communicating…That next morning I was snowed in and his phone rang while I was at the airport…and I asked with attitude, ‘What’s up?’ And it was a guy on the end, he said ‘Is this Danny Boy?…My brother killed himself…Anthony committed suicide last night.”
He posted a message about suicide on Facebook, referring to Anthony as “Toni” to maintain the illusion that he was with a girl.
Messages poured in to the effect of “Praying for you and her family.”
“About three or four days went by, and once I got back and saw him at the funeral home, is when I decided to go on Facebook, and I put his picture up.”
People were surprised that Danny knew two people who had committed suicide, and he corrected the story.
“I said ‘No, we were dating’…And man, what did I do that for? What did I do that for?…The messages that church people sent me probably killed me more than anything.”
The interview moves on to Danny’s relationship with his kids, in particular his two sons:
“My son doesn’t know. He’s eleven years old — that’s who I’m particularly worried about.”
Probed how he’d react if one of his sons approached him to tell him they were gay, he said:
“Wow. First off, if they’re mature enough to come to me to tell me who they are, I applaud that…If they were, I pray that they are able to experience the life that I experienced when it comes to being with a woman, or being married to a woman and having kids. I want them to experience that. Because it didn’t work for me, but I pray it would work for them. But if that’s who they are — they my boys.”
So does that mean he hopes his sons are straight? Well, yeah. But like most things, it’s not that simple.
“Just because of what comes with it. It’s not easy, it’s not accepted, especially in the black community. You can’t imagine the inboxes and threats I get over who I like…I fear for my kids, I don’t want to see my kids go through certain things.”