Mister Cee, a mainstay of hip-hop radio and a DJ on New York City's HOT 97, abruptly resigned on Wednesday after evidence surfaced online of the radio host soliciting a transgender prostitute. Cee had had previous run-ins with undercover police officers, but continually denied allegations that he is gay. The following day, after a change of heart and swelling of support, he was back on the mic.
The station's general manager Alexandra Cameron offered a brief statement on Cee's resignation Wednesday, which included:
While we do not endorse the alleged activities, he is clearly facing a personal dilemma that is for him and only him to comment on. We are saddened by his departure; his contributions here at HOT 97 were great and we know him as a friend, a caring individual and significant hip hop advocate.
Unlike most public sex scandals, Cee's resignation was general met with sadness by many in the media. Over at Vulture, Jody Rosen called Cee's supposedly final show on Wednesday a watershed moment for hip-hop:
It was also, in a small way, a landmark. The Mister Cee scandal is lurid tabloid fare, but the love and acceptance shown to Cee by [program director Ebro] Darden, who repeatedly asked Cee to withdraw his resignation, feels like a watershed moment for hip-hop culture, which has slowly been casting off its long-standing homophobia.
I announced my resignation today from the job I loved to do at Hot 97 , please understand i never intended to let NY/NJ/CT all my fans down— Mister Cee (@Real_MisterCee) September 11, 2013
But surprisingly, on Thursday following a change of heart, Mister Cee was back in the booth, speaking the most candidly he ever had about the subject of his sexuality. At one point, he stated:
I have been in denial with this for a very, very long time, a very long time. Do I consider myself gay? No, I don't consider myself gay. Even with me saying that, I know I'm still in denial. I know that I'm still in denial because I know that I love women, any women that I been with me know that I love women, but occasionally, I get the urge to have fellatio with a transsexual man that looks like a woman. But then I'm saying I'm not gay because I haven't penetrated a man.
Cee also put together a meticulous mix for his quick return—Notorious B.I.G.'s "My Downfall," Cam'ron's "Live My Life (Leave Me Alone)," Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again," etc.—that simultaneously allowed the DJ to indirectly address his current situation and demonstrate how large a void HOT 97 would possess if he actually left.
Thanks for all the support everyone i will ride out wit y'all today @ 12Noon Hot 97 wants me to get off Twitter so once again love u guys.— Mister Cee (@Real_MisterCee) September 12, 2013
On Wednesday following Cee's resignation, Hua Hsu, writing for Grantland, argued that the stigma against people struggling with issues like Mister Cee's is a collective social issue that needs to be addressed.
“When you're dealing with corporate America … I don’t want to put this station through more than what they’ve already been through,” he explained, professing his sincere love for Hot 97. This parting was for the best. “Don’t cry for me, New York. Don’t cry for me.”
This, then, was why I felt sad. The need to keep a brave face and say I'm good when shit is all bad. The self-deception and self-blame, and the pressures that produced those responses in the first place. The confessional feel of it all — his mistakes, his transgressions, the sacrifice for the good of the brand. Whether it was the demands of "corporate America" or his own sense of duty, this was Cee assuming total responsibility for a problem that's not his. It's ours. When you can't possibly imagine Cee finding peace with his private self while still working at Hot 97, then it's our problem. Not because it's Hot 97 but because we don't make make it easy for people of Cee's stature to truly change or work out their contradictions or be themselves.