45-year-old Tevin Campbell’s fans have long speculated about the “Can We Talk” hitmaker’s sexuality and during his August 17th appearance on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, he, at last, confirmed that he identifies as a gay man.
“What makes me happiest right now is how far I’ve come in life,” the Texas-born artist shared. “You know, there are a lot of child stars that don’t make it… And the fact that I’ve embraced me,” he added.
Tevin Campbell performs in 2019 — Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Campbell first rose to fame in the late ’80s, at which time he didn’t necessarily feel safe coming out due to a lack of acceptance in the music industry and beyond. “I didn’t hide anything about me,” he explained.
“I didn’t try to act a certain way or anything. You just couldn’t be [gay] back then.”
Aside from creating R&B hits, Campbell is also known for starring as Seaweed J. Stubbs in the 2005 Broadway production of Hairspray. This period of his life is when the singer feels that he really found himself.
“Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that,” the I’m Ready creator recalled. “That was a great time in my life.”
As HipHopDX notes, Campbell also praised artists like Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X for embracing their queer identities while making their dreams come true. “It wasn’t like that in the ’90s, but I’m glad I get to see it. I’m glad that’s changing,” he said.
“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.”
Check out Tevin Campbell’s full appearance on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast below, and tap back in with HNHH later for more pop culture news updates.