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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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Uncle Snoop Get Your Apology to Ari Lennox Ready

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Apparently, everyone’s favorite uncle likes apologizing. Fresh off of his apology tour for his controversial comments towards broadcast journalists Gayle King,  Snoop Dogg decided to comment on Ari Lennox’s Instagram live to instruct her to “grow your own hair.”

Yesterday, the Dreamville songbird took to Instagram Live in true Ari fashion to document her trying on a new lace front wig.  Not known for wearing wigs, she struggled with figuring out how much lace to cut and securing the hair as she entertained her followers with hilarious gestures and commentary.  

Eventually, a snippet of the video ended up on The Shade Room for everyone’s viewing pleasure.  

Moments later, Snoop was unnecessarily commenting under the video.

In no time, women were coming to Ari’s defense, reminding the legendary rapper that his wife and daughter are no strangers to wigs. 

You’d think men would know to leave their opinions to themselves when it comes to women’s hair, especially black women, but clearly, Uncle Snoop forgot to read that particular memo. 

Once Ari caught wind of Snoop’s comments, she delivered a lovely little shade tree, posting a photo of Snoop wearing a blonde wig with the caption, “Uncle I just…I just thought we had an understanding….”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-c0mCKh9-E/

Following the backlash that he’s currently receiving, I can already envision the apology that’s sure to follow.  Perhaps someone should remind Uncle Snoop that the best apology is changed behavior…

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DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands

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Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.

Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden. 

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I never would’ve imagined that the best party I would create and DJ would be from the comfort of my own home. Homeschool is a thing! Yesterday was absolutely insane. The amount of artists and friends that virtually partied with me far exceeded my expectations. I’m feeling nothing but gratitude. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Thanks to all of you that supported. This has been a great way to keep our spirits high. Blessings! Sending some love to my family. Shout out to all of my industry execs! Much love to all of the artists! JLo, Drake, Naomi Campbell, De La Soul, Black Thought, Diddy, Bun B., Keri Hilson, Will Packer, Gabrielle Union, H.E.R., America Ferrara, Donnie Wahlberg, Uncle Luke, Russell Simmons, Dapper Dan, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, T.I., Kelly Rowland, Common, Lance Gross, Queen Latifah, DJ Clark Kent, Rich Medina, DJ Tony Touch, Stretch Armstrong, Traci Ellis Ross, Ne-Yo, Usher, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, NO I.D., Yvette Noel Schure, Erykah Badu, Fat Joe, Jay Electronica, PNB Rock, Nile Rogers, Fonzworth Bentley, Marisa Tomei, Michelle Williams, Victor Cruz, Karruenche Tran, Ciara, Daymond John, Angie Martinez, Groove Theory’s Bryce, Tank, Cam’ron, Ludacris, Fabolous, Dorian Missick, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tasha Smith, Jadakiss, Kwamé, Chris Spencer, Royale Watkins, Estelle, Bresha Webb, Jermaine Dupri, Vanessa Williams, DJ Aktive, Lee Daniels, Affion Crockett, MC Lyte, Ro James, D-Dot Angelette, Kenny Burns, Tika Sumpter, Marlon Wayans, Lauren London, Loni Love, Dallas Austin, June Ambrose, April Walker, Just Blaze, Kangol Kid from UTFO, Omar Epps, Keisha Epps, Roland Martin, Big Tigger, DJ Trauma, Lil Jon, Dule Hill, Jazmyn Simon, DJ Cassidy, Marsai Martin, Lance Gross, Anthony Hamilton, Young Guru, Lalah Hathaway, Carl Payne, Damien Hall, Denyce Lawton, Lennox Lewis, Niecy Nash, Mashonda, Erick Sermon, Jairobi, DJ Envy, DJ Enuff, Miles Brown, Lamann Rucker, Mark Brown, DJ VLuv, and more. Wow! #DNiceHomeschool #DNicePhotography #SelfPortrait.

A post shared by D-Nice (@dnice) on

During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room. 

“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”

While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected. 

Artwork by @chuckstyless

We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that! 

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Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults

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It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden. 

Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”

In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.

Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”

Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:

The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.

Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.

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