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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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So So Deaf: Jermaine Dupri Critiques the State of Female Rap

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During an interview, Jermaine Dupri was asked by two hosts to name his favorite female rapper. Believing he’d list Megan Thee Stallion or Cardi B, Dupri’s response caught both the hosts and music aficionados off guard. Comparing the current roster of popular femcees to “strippers”, Dupri’s glaring act of misogyny has gotten him checked by the artists themselves.

For decades, airwaves have been flooded with male artists rapping about their sexual prowess, bevy of hos, material expenditures, and sale of drugs. But Jermaine Dupri doesn’t find fault with the repetitive, and occasionally elementary, lyrics of his peers. His ire was directed toward women whose bars are about celebrating their bodies, turning up in the club, and dominating men. Failing to note the similarities in what content is released by both men and women in the rap game, Dupri posed a weak argument that female rap lacks lyrical diversity.

As pointed out in Cardi’s response video, there are plenty of female rappers that don’t write about their bodies at all, they simply don’t receive equal support. And as the acting CEO of So So Def, you’d think Jermaine Dupri would take the initiative to seek out talent that raises what he believes is the bar. But no, the “Grammy award winning songwriter and producer” has no female rapper signed to his label aside from Da Brat and Tyeler Reign. Tyeler is the winner of the fifth season of The Rap Game who unsurprisingly still raps about money and designer labels, the very things Dupri would find unimpressive.

Female rappers have been vocal in their disagreement of Dupri’s piss-poor analysis. Both Doja Cat and Cardi B made statements disagreeing with his comments. Ari Lennox even dropped a diss track as a response to his ignorance. But the best rebuttals have been references of Dupri’s track record. Twitter users have been quick to remind us that JD has a history of dismissing the career trajectories of women with potential to be powerhouses in the industry. Perhaps after this wake up call, Jermaine Dupri will take a bit of Doja Cat’s advice and look for the artists he wants to uplift.

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Kim Kardashian West Wins $2.7 Million In Lawsuit Against Fast-Fashion Company

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FashionNova Kim Kardashian West Missguided

After bashing a fast-fashion company’s appropriation of a design commissioned by Kanye, Kim Kardashian West has come out ahead. The aspiring attorney has won $2.7 million in a suit against Missguided, a UK-based retailer.

In February 2019, Kim Kardashian waged war against fast-fashion companies like FashionNova over their lack of integrity. Targeting online retailers that quickly duplicate the designs of luxury fashion houses, Kim expressed her disappointment. She was furious her image was being used to promote the knock-off goods, an act she believed would weaken her business relationships with more esteemed brands. The sultry, black number designed by Thierry Mugler and gold ensemble commissioned by her husband led to a lawsuit which claimed to violate KKW’s trademark.

The Instagram post in question featured Kim Kardashian in the custom gold creation and an unnamed model in the replica. Captioned “The devil works hard but Missguided works harder”, the brand taunted KKW, stating the look would be available in just a few days. But by tagging Mrs. West attorneys alleged Missguided used her “persona and trademarks” to sell duplicates despite the absence of a business relationship.

The lawsuit stated Missguided’s use of Kim’s marks were likely to cause consumers to mistakenly believe that she was associated, sponsored, or endorsed the company and its websites. The lawsuit continued that consumers already voiced such concerns, citing social media posts and articles that mistakenly referred to the content as collaborations. However, Missguided refused to respond to the lawsuit which resulted in a default judgment.

Demanding the company cease and desist, a California judge ruled in Kim’s favor, ordering Missguided to pay $2.7 million in damages and attorney fees. But Kim’s history of being accused of co-opting the designs of indie creatives has complicated the public’s reception of her win. Twitter users are noting that Kim has repeatedly appropriated the culture of others under the guise of “paying homage.” Though the basis of the win is important, fighting larger entities or public figures over original content may prove harder for indie brands. Having only been established in 2015, the language of fashion design copyrights leaves them easily exploitable and smaller designers may be unable to afford the exorbitant fees to protect their content.

Do you think Kim deserved to win the lawsuit? Should smaller designers seek restitution for creations that have been pilfered by public figures?

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ASAP Rocky Arrested in Sweden After Street Fight

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ASAP Rocky has been arrested in Sweden after an altercation that took place on Sunday. While the rapper has been detained on suspicion of aggravated assault, ASAP claims the men who followed him were aggressive “drug addicts” who stalked his entourage.

ASAP Rocky shared his side of the events that led up to the scuffle on the streets of Stockholm, Sweden. The video showed two men who the rapper claims followed them for four blocks before things turned ugly. As the men approached them at the restaurant, ASAP’s security detail attempted to de-escalate the situation. However, the men insisted that a member of the crew damaged a pair of headphones and threatened to call the cops. A female pedestrian came forward to accuse one of the two men in question, which led to the brawl.

ASAP Rocky was scheduled to perform with the Migos at Smash x Stadion. It is unclear if he will still make an appearance.

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