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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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Entertainment

R. Kelly Charged AGAIN

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Thursday prosecutors in New York charged embattled singer-songwriter R. Kelly with bribery, alleging the artist and his crew bribed a government official over 20 years ago. 

On August 30, 1994, the day before Kelly married the late Aaliyah, he bribed a public servant to doctor an ID in an effort to obtain a marriage license to the underage girl. That’s one day before the two got married. 

via GIPHY

Reminder: Kelly has always maintained he did not know Aaliyah’s true age at the time, but this new allegation could make him rethink his statement. So far, his attorneys have brushed off the charge calling it “still the same nonsense.”

The charge is being added to an ongoing racketeering case against Kelly which includes child pornography, sexual exploitation of a minor, and kidnapping indictments. 

Expect to see this all play out in federal court in 2020. Grab your popcorn.

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R. Kelly Girlfriend Denies Creating Patreon Account, Parents Respond

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In a video statement given to TMZ on Wednesday, Joycelyn Savage, 23, fiercely denied setting up a Patreon account in her name or posting a cryptic message to an Instagram account previously linked to her. 

“It has been said that I have left him and he has abused me and all kinds of nonsense. I have said before none of it is true… I also want to say please do not believe what you see and hear on social media. That is not my Instagram. Someone is impersonating me.”

Last week, Patreon, a website that helps creators earn money, shut down an account claiming to be Savage citing an inability to “verify the identity of the account holder.” Many donated to the campaign with the expectation of getting more details of the abuses alleged in the anonymous posts. According to the unauthenticated posts, R. Kelly tormented Savage with everything from physical abuse to frequent golden showers.

In response to their daughter’s scripted video, the parents spoke through their attorney. We’re saddened and disappointed to learn that Joycelyn Savage has said that she was not the person operating the Patreon account… we deeply desired to hear her story and in her own voice…”

Read the full statement below:

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A Complete Timeline of the Gabrielle Union-America’s Got Talent Saga

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In late November it was revealed that actress Gabrielle Union had been fired from her spot as a judge on the NBC show America’s Got Talent, but troubling reports of her exit have caused everyone from Janelle Monae to Howard Stern to weigh in on the controversy. Here’s a complete timeline of everything we know.

November 22, 2019 – Variety Magazine announces NBC will not renew Union’s contract

In addition to Union’s exit, it is revealed fellow judge Julianne Hough will also not be returning to the popular television show. Male judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and Terry Crews all expected to remain on the roster.

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Quarter Finals 1” Episode 1412 — Pictured: (l-r) Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

November 24, 2019 – News of ‘toxic culture’ at AGT hits the internet

Sources with direct knowledge of the culture at AGT describe the now-infamous joke that put Union at odds with show producers. During a guest appearance, comedian Jay Leno joked that a picture of Simon Cowell with his dogs reminded him of something “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.” The actress learned of the joke and explained to producers this joke would not be well-received particularly by Asian crewmembers and viewers. She reportedly urged producers and an unnamed NBC executive to scrap the offensive joke and report it to the network’s human resources department. The line was ultimately thrown out, but a formal report or complaint was never filed with HR.

SANTA MONICA, CA – JULY 11: Gabrielle Union attends Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports 2019 at Barker Hangar on July 11, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Further reports emerged describing Union and Hough receiving “excessive notes” on their appearance, with Union in particular getting regularly coached on her hairstyles being “too black.”

November 26, 2019 – Julianne Hough and NBC deny allegations

Julianne Hough released a statement claiming she “loved working with the cast, crew, and producers and the claims are not “accurate to her experience.” She goes on to say “I am happy continuing my working relationship with NBC.”

The network echoed her statement with a vehement denial of all allegations. 

November 28, 2019 – Celebrities show support for Union

As the news of NBC’s culture made its waves, celebrities voiced their support for Union. Stars like Janelle Monae, Ellen Pompeo, and democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro, among many, voiced their opinions on the matter in favor of the ousted actress.

December 1, 2019 – Jay Leno speaks out, NBC releases new statement 

The comedian at the center of the alleged racist joke spoke of nothing but his fondness of Union. “I love Gabrielle Union, she’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her.” When asked whether he uttered the joke on the NBC show, he refused to answer. 

For its part, NBC released a new statement vowing commitment to “ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees.” The network also stated it is working with the actress’ representatives to hear her concerns and address them as necessary.

Credit: Courtesy of NBC

December 2, 2019 – Howard Stern gives his two cents

To add fuel to Union’s fire, Stern made very choice comments on his show seemingly backing up Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough and trashing Simon Cowell. “He sets it up so that the men stay. No matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are… He constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks.”

Phew! That was a lot to keep up with and somehow we have a feeling this drama isn’t over yet. Only time will tell how steep the fallout will be. What do you think about all this? Give us your thoughts below.

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