Can We Talk about Tevin Campbell for a minute? He’s an icon in the R&B world, from the voice to the music. And for the newer generation, his music has still lived on, as proven when his timeless hit single “Can We Talk” became one of social media’s challenges. Campbell has been out of the spotlight for many years, but he’s back, and he’s ready to sing a different tune about his preference over all. After many years of fan and media speculation, Tevin Campbell has confirmed that he is, indeed, a gay man. Now that he’s out living his best, free life the singer has a message for black folks.
Rumors of Tevin Campbell began swarming in the 90s. Then when he was 22 years old, the Soul Train Music Award-winning R&B artist suffered major public embarrassment when news of his arrest went national. Tevin Campbell was accused of attempting to solicit who he didn’t know was an undercover officer for a “lewd act,” as reported by AP News. What was once an atmospheric career seemed to plummet to the ground quickly.
Then Tevin Campbell participated in an interview with Sister 2 Sister Magazine in 2003 to discuss the rumors surrounding his sexuality. The Grammy Award-nominated artist denied the accusations at the time. However, he admitted that he was in the space of figuring things out in the intimate physical sense, also admitting he was a freak. “And I think a lot of people know what a freak is,” said Tevin Campbell. Additionally, he admitted that he was “open-minded” and fooled around with some dancers while on tour.
Then, Tevin Campbell coined a term that would live on for years. When asked if he was bi, the singer denied it but stated that he’s “Try-sexual.” Although Tevin Campbell spent much of the following years out of the spotlight, his preference remained a topic of discussion. In the social media age, many began to tweet more of their speculations about the singer.
Tevin Campbell took to Twitter to address what the rhetoric. In a since-deleted post that’s been captured by Blavity, he said that he has heard and viewed all the comments directed to his preference, and he appeared tired. However, there was one thing that Campbell felt that nobody could debate. “The thing you will NEVER EVER be able to say about me is “that boy CANT saing,'” said Tevin Campbell.
But this March, Campbell piqued social media’s curiosity when he responded to a tweet that once again alleged he was gay. A Twitter user wrote her beliefs that he, along with Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, were gay men after her mother convinced her. The singer then responded with a rainbow flag and a sunglasses emoji, allowing some fans to believe he’d publicly come out. But Tevin Campbell put all the rumors and speculation to rest on August 17 when he held a candid conversation with the PEOPLE Every Day Podcast. He finally revealed his truth, addressing the aforementioned tweet. “It was just a casual thing to me,” he said.
Tevin Campbell expressed his love for his fans but stated that he “does not care what they think” of his sexuality as it “holds no importance” to him. He also spoke on his wishes for the African American community to fully accept the LGBT community. “Every person in the world isn’t straight; get over it,” said Tevin Campbell. In addition, he spoke about not wanting to be a representative or spokesperson for the LGBT community when he was an active star. He said he “wouldn’t have been prepared” to be that at the time. However, Tevin Campbell expressed his joy that there is an active representation of artists today who are out, proud, and thriving.