By Samuel Burke, CNN
When it comes to accepting the American gay-rights movement, courts and politicians have lagged behind pop culture.
But hip-hop has remained one corner of the entertainment world where homophobia has strongly persisted. Now, even that appears to be changing.
A turning point came last year when singer Frank Ocean professed his sexual attraction to men and stunned the music world.
The American rapper Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty and is the voice behind the hugely popular song "Thrift Shop," has created his own sensation, with the his gay-rights anthem "Same Love."
The accompany music video went viral online, in which he raps, “If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me; Have you read the YouTube comments lately?”
Haggerty told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he was inspired to write “Same Love” after he read an article about a 13-year-old boy who faced ridicule at school, and later committed suicide.
“Certain news stories just affect you on the personal level, and it was one of those stories that just resonated with me and I knew that I needed to write something about it.”
Haggerty is not gay, but he grew up with gay uncles and was raised in gay area of Seattle.
A new CNN poll reveals that 57% of Americans say they have a family member or close friend who is gay.
“It’s tough to really pinpoint why’s there’s been so much homophobia in the hip-hop world,” he told Amanpour. “I think our manhood is so at the forefront of what it means to be a rapper and to challenge other people’s manhood and there’s something tied up in that.”
His purpose in writing the song was about holding the hip-hop community accountable, he says, and opening up a dialogue so that people could “have a conversation around the issue of homophobia.”
In the year since he’s written the song, he senses that American attitudes toward gays have already changed. “I have seen tremendous progress on a civil rights level and I think that music has the power to change people – to change the way we think, to change the topic of conversations.”
Haggerty said he is not sure how he’ll use his platform next.
“If I see injustice then I want to speak about it – whether it’s this issue or another social issue – if it’s something that hits me on a personal level then it’s my job to speak up against it.”