American Idol season 14 finalist Rayvon Owen has used the music video for his debut single ‘Can’t Fight It’ to publicly come out as gay.
While the initial treatment for the video called for Owen to kiss a beautiful girl in a nightclub and then leave with her, the 24-year-old decided to use the video as an opportunity to publicly acknowledge his sexuality, writes Billboard.
“When I read that treatment, I knew I couldn’t be dishonest. Not that I ever lied to people in the past, but the truth had been omitted,” said Owen.
“I felt like I was doing a disservice because I’ve always been an honest, loving person.”
Owen adds it was a strong sense of fear that kept his sexuality private as he competed in American Idol, where he placed fourth in the competition. “I was afraid,” he said.
“Here’s a show that reaches so many people, including a lot of small town, conservative people, who grew up in the same environment I grew up in. I was afraid that if I shared this part of my life, would people vote for me?
“It’s sad that I had to think that. I never said I dated a girl or I’m straight, but I never said I was gay, either. I just let people think what they think. Not just publicly but with the contestants, with the producers, with everybody.
“I decided to keep that to myself. Do I regret that decision? You can’t go back and change it. You just learn from it.”
Owen said another reason stopping him from coming out while on American Idol was the fact he had avoided telling his mother the news.
“I grew up in a Christian home in the South. In those communities it’s still, to this day, very taboo,” he said.
“People are still getting kicked out of their homes and parents are still disowning their kids. My mother still loves me but it wasn’t easy at first. And she said some things that she apologised for. She only knows what she knows from the community she grew up in, which is very similar to how I grew up.”
You can watch the film clip below: