Culture

Tevin Campbell Publicly Comes Out as a Gay Man

R&B vocalist Tevin Campbell appeared on podcast PEOPLE Every Day to publicly come out for the first time as a gay man.

R&B phenom Tevin Campbell is living in his truth. The “Can We Talk” singer appeared on daily news podcast PEOPLE Every Day to open up about formerly being a musical child star and publicly came out as gay.

At 12-years-old, Campbell was signed to Warner Bros. Music, releasing his debut album T.E.V.I.N. in 1991 and I’m Ready in 1993, becoming a teenage heartthrob in the process. In 1990, Campbell appeared on sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as the love interest of Ashley Banks in episode “Just Infatuation.”

“I don’t think the sex symbol thing worked, but the love songs last,” Campbell said about his rise to stardom on the podcast.  “I didn’t hide anything about me. I didn’t try to act a certain way or anything,” he added, saying that in R&B music, “You just couldn’t be [gay] back then.”

After his third album, Back to the World, was released in 1996, Campbell began revealing his queer identity to those close to him.

“When I came out to my family and friends [at] about 19 or 20, that was it for me. And then I went on the road of discovering myself. I didn’t know who I was,” he said. “Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that,” he says. “That was a great time in my life.”

Earlier this year, the vocalist responded to a Twitter user’s question about singers who were speculated to be gay. Campbell seemingly confirmed the rumor in a since-deleted tweet, responding with a rainbow emoji. His Twitter bio also features the rainbow emoji.

“It was a casual thing for me,” Campbell said about his response to the Twitter user. “I love my fans, but what they think about my sexuality is of no importance to me.”

The singer was then asked about his thoughts on queer Black men in music including Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X.

 “It wasn’t like that in the ’90s,” he said. “But I’m glad I get to see it. I’m glad that’s changing. There are a lot of kids, especially young Black boys that need to see representation. They’re not being taught to love themselves because of who they are.”

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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