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The word-of-mouth, oral tradition of the African-American community often makes it difficult to locate the etymology of a word of phrase. In the life, a phrase used to describe “street life” (the lifestyle of pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, and drug dealers) is also the phrase used to describe the “gay life” (the lives of Black homosexual men and women). Street life and gay life, at times, embrace and entwine, yet at other times, are precise opposites. In this context, in the life refers to Black gay men.




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