Accused homophobe Eminem will have a special guest for his Grammy performance of “Stan” – the openly bisexual Elton John.
John, who has been championed by the same gay activists who have frequently attacked Eminem, will sing the song’s chorus, which on record features a sample of pop singer Dido. The song appears on Eminem’s 2000 album, The Marshall Mathers LP, whose nomination for the Album of the Year Grammy has generated a continuing controversy.
The Em and El duet, which will easily be the most-anticipated event at the February 21 Grammy ceremony, was confirmed on Saturday (February 10) by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
“We view this moment not only as musically significant, but also as an opportunity to help tear down some of the unfortunate walls of division that Eminem’s lyrics have built,” NARAS president and CEO Michael Greene said in a statement.
Eminem’s four Grammy nominations have drawn the ire of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has called the rapper’s lyrics hateful and homophobic.
Shortly before the announcement that John would be joining Eminem onstage, GLAAD blasted NARAS for allowing the rapper to perform at all.
“Eminem should not have another platform for his hateful lyrics,” GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry in a statement issued late Friday.
John’s involvement could complicate GLAAD’s criticism of the rapper. Last April 2, the group presented John with its Vito Russo Entertainer Award, in recognition of having “furthered the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
In a reconciliatory move, NARAS and GLAAD will co-host a public forum the day before the Grammy Awards to “discuss the nominations of controversial artists whose lyrics have been called extreme, homophobic and misogynistic.”
Greene, Garry, and an as-yet-unnamed musician will carry on a dialogue at “Intolerance in Music: A Town Hall Meeting,” slated for the Los Angeles Public Library on February 20.