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The Kanye Divide: Does Cancel Culture Work?

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Y’all stanned a man who told y’all he would get on and leave your ass for a white girl only to be surprised when he actually did the shit… and then he left the whole community! It’s always sad when you see a person of color struggle with the effects of internalized racism, but it’s worse knowing Kanye did not begin his career this way. Despite his reclusiveness, the signs were still there.

In preparation for Yeezy Season 4 in 2016, a casting call was issued. Many would be taken aback by what they would read.

Yeezy Casting Call

Just the Human Race

The man who once said George Bush doesn’t care about Black people would call for racially ambiguous women in a manner that translated to “Light skinned women only.” It was a verifiable PR disaster. Black Twitter had yet again rallied to snatch Kanye as bald as Amber Rose and as a community we were here for the mess. Despite a short-lived public shaming and claims to boycott Kanye’s brand, season 4 outsold previous collections by 35 percent in the first month.

That figure does not even include the brand’s shoe sales. On the heels of the release of his new album, following controversial comments regarding the “artist’s” opinions on slavery, politics, and thought, we need to ask ourselves a serious question – Is cancel culture working?

Over the past 4 years, we’ve seen an increase in outrage marketing – the ploy of purposefully upsetting a targeted demographic for the sake of increasing brand awareness. Pepsi, H&M, Doritos, BIC, Dove, and many others have exploited the power of social media outrage as a means to advertise freely off the backs of angry would-be consumers, only to issue malformed apologies to appease the general public. The song and dance is always the same:

  • an intentionally divisive, poorly conceived, poorly executed campaign is released
  • the public in their anger shares the campaign by dragging it up and down these social media streets
  • the company apologizes and people, in their ignorance, give the company a pass just to go back to consuming the same content

Where is the recompense?

While casually promoting his next season of Yeezy “fashions” via Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed, Ye returned to social media to share news of produced albums and hinted at the release of his own self-titled work. Like all celebs do, he embarked on a press tour, however uncommon his stops may have been. May 2018, Kanye made waves during a TMZ interview where he had an embarrassing exchange with Harvey Levin before being checked by Van Lathan. His now infamous take on slavery being a choice has begun to cost him dearly, or has it?

Adidas isn’t dropping “slavery’s a choice” Kanye but they won’t sign Colin Kaepernick unless he’s on a team. Keep it.

— Ira Madison III (@ira) May 3, 2018

As his 8th consecutive album to open at number 1, tying a record held by The Beatles and Eminem, Ye is all smiles in his second week atop the Billboard Hot 100 with over 100 million streams. Adidas, the company that manufactures Yeezy, has yet to suffer a major financial loss because of Kanye’s comments. Anyone with eyes can see something in the milk ain’t clean. If no one is supporting Kanye right now, why are his numbers doing so well? Well…for that, you’ve got to know his audience.

You don’t have all the answers, Kanye!

Now, I’ll keep it 100, and this is just my opinion, but Kanye’s fanbase has been white boys in dirty vans for a long time. While we were Broke Phi Broke and supporting a rapper who we thought had a different vision, a different take on the black millennial’s experience in America, hype beasts who vape were closing in on a seat at the cool kids table. And that’s fine. Appealing to a variety of people is awesome when the exposure does not come at the expense of the freedoms of others’. But don’t sit there in a MAGA hat talking about Dragon Energy like you’re going to spirit bomb the racism away.

Kanye's fanbase

Kanye’s recent appeals to Republicans have amassed him favor with the Tiki Torch Tammy’s and Tyler’s of Amerikkka and that is incredibly dangerous. Any person with a platform as prominent as his needs to understand the gravity of our current political climate and experience the fallout of being held accountable for trash views. It is not acceptable to support a man who views our current potato-in-chief as a brother. The same potato that believes nazis are fine people. As consumers, we have to hold our faves accountable. We cannot give them the luxury of separation from their art because that art is what affords them the safety of being removed from the effects of dangerous policies/tactics that are enacted. People with loud voices like to play respectability roulette until they’re gambling with their livelihood.

Kanye West Retraction

See what I mean? Will you be supporting Kanye and the artists he’s collaborated with? Should people he works with be subject to the same scrutiny? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Jason Mitchell Loses Representation and ALL Gigs Following Misconduct Allegations

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As the breakout star of Straight Outta Compton, Jason Mitchell made his mark with a spot on performance as Eazy E. His indisputable talent caught the eyes of top-notch talent agencies and management. His star was rising, only to descend with equal speed. The one-time star of Showtime’s drama, The Chi, has found himself out of all jobs and prospects, lacking management, or a talent agency after allegations of “inappropriate behavior”.

Jason Mitchell was in line to star as the lead of Desperados, a Netflix film, when the news of an off-set incident made its way to the ears of producers. While the details of what happened have not been made public, the fallout of Mitchell’s actions has been swift. Since Netflix conducted an investigation into the misconduct allegation, news of the incident spread to the ears of his other employers. This led to Mitchell being dropped by his agency, his management company, Netflix, and Showtime.

Representatives for United Talent Agency, Authentic Talent & Literary Management, and Netflix production company Good Universe have all confirmed Mitchell’s unemployment. In the past, an incident occurred on the set of The Chi. There were allegations of inappropriate behavior involving Tiffany Boone, who plays Mitchell’s girlfriend on the show. While resolved, the history of Mitchell’s repeated complaints of sexual harassment have influenced future decisions. The series was recently renewed but production company Fox 21 Television Studios opted not to pick up Mitchell’s option for the third season.

Jason Mitchell has not made any comments on the matter at this time.

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Snubs and Celebrations: 2019 BET Award Nominations Are in!

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While the major award season has long passed, summer entertainment and music awards season is upon us. BET just announced the nominees for the 2019 awards show.

Taking place on June 23rd at the Microsoft Theater in LA, actors and musicians will find out who stands among the winners and the losers. But the network that claims “We got you” is facing some heat for neglecting to include the queer community.

When it comes to who is looking to win big, all signs point to Cardi B. The “Money” rapper has been nominated 7 times with one award being Album of the Year. Her award nominations span 5 of the 20 available categories the ceremony highlights. While she’s sure to collect some trophies, her competition is rather steep. Cardi is up against The Carters album “Everything is Love.”

For actors, the categories are few and far between, but there’s love to go around…provided you aren’t a queer actor. The critically acclaimed FX drama series Pose is good enough to snatch trophies anywhere but home. BET has not recognized any talent from the series for either best actor or actress despite Billy Porter’s renowned performance. Fans of Pose have voiced their concerns on Twitter, calling out Black Entertainment Television for not rooting for everybody Black.

The full list of nominees is available here.

Are you excited to see who leaves a winner? Tune in June 23rd to find out who shines.

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And Now Our Watch Has Ended: Game of Thrones Conclusion Falls Flat

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Lovers of the fantasy series Game of Thrones tuned in for the nonsensical ending Sunday night. Much to their dismay, the conclusion to the once well-crafted tale left them with more continuity errors and questions than they bargained for.

Caution: This post contains spoilers for the entire series of Game of Thrones!

Howland Reed, The Grand Maester Conspiracy, The North Remembers, Lady Stoneheart. There were so many neglected arcs in the series that led to the rushed ending fans received last night. Although some still look fondly upon the franchise as one of the most enthralling, culturally captivating shows of all time, it’s memory is forever laced not just with what it included, but with what it altered or flat out ignored.

Originally foreseen by George R.R. Martin as having a Tolkien-esque ending where all loose ends are tied, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are being roasted for the botched ending they’ve presented to a longsuffering fanbase. Appearing to have conveniently forgotten the iconic author’s grand plan, D & D stood by as plot lines and character arcs suffered from their deviation. No longer able to contain their frustrations fans have been incredibly vocal with their displeasure. Screaming in a single voice and echoing the cast’s sentiments, the Game of Thrones fandom agrees that this ending is “bullshit”.

The beginning of the series finale focused on Tyrion’s journey to uncover the fate of his siblings and Jon’s journey to convince Daenerys not to be “more of the same.” The Red Keep, thought to be in complete ruin, was still accessible to Tyrion, even as he wandered toward the underbelly of the enormous castle. A torch in hand, he dug through bricks to reach the tunnels where Jamie and Cersei lay. In what would be the first of many “What the f*ck?!” moments of the evening, Tyrion actually discovers the corpses of the star-crossed twins. Viewers watched in disappointment as he managed to stand in an area that should have been clearly collapsed, implying that if the lovers stood a few feet to the right, they might have survived the implosion. A travesty! Yet more cringe would follow as the episode unfolded.

For anxious onlookers who couldn’t wait to see what Sunday would bring, they could feast their eyes upon an accurate leak that described the events. Telegraphing Grey Worm’s descent into heartlessness as he killed enemies of “The Queen”, Jon’s eventual betrayal of Daenerys, and even character endings, it all played out just as the unnamed source said things would. No matter how much we wanted it all to be untrue, there it was in all of it’s ugliness. After 10 long years of production, after 2 long years of wait, Game of Thrones ended with democracy, SIX kingdoms, and Bran The Broken, First of His Name ascending to rule.

The overall reception of the conclusion to the series is a solid “NOPE!”. Viewers and critics have given the episode, titled The Iron Throne, a 57% rating. As social media users continue to share the ways in which the end was unfulfilling for them, book readers are urging them to begin reading the texts. There are still two novels left in the series, giving show watchers access to a true ending and the satisfaction of complete arcs with stunning detail.

Were you disappointed with Season 8? Did you think the series finale was an epic conclusion or did it leave much to be desired?

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