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Cancel Culture: does it really work?

Azealia Banks. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Azealia Banks. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Published Sep 11, 2018


Cancel culture has become a hotly debated topic on social media with music artists, actors and YouTube beauty gurus being dragged from left to right for voicing problematic opinions.

Among the public figures who have come under threat of being cancelled are Azealia Banks, Kanye West, Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, Tekashi69, Cardi B, Offset, Eminem, Travis Scott, R Kelly, Laura Lee, Jeffree Star, Chris Brown, Youngsta CPT, Boity and Okmalumkoolkat.

While the outrage was deserved, seeing as the main reasons for people being at risk of cancellation were racism, homophobia, transphobia and assault, there is a difference between the way women and men are treated.

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Of those mentioned, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B came out more or less unscathed while the men continued with their careers as if nothing happened.

R Kelly was caught on videotape engaging in questionable behaviour with an underaged girl. Others have come forward with claims that the R&B crooner has been grooming them. Despite this, his career kept on going. Only recently has he faced a backlash for his deplorable actions.

On the other side of the coin, Banks’s career has been in a downward spiral after her homophobic remarks, racial outbursts and fighting with other female artists. Her Twitter account has been deleted multiple times and she has lost bookings. She has mostly been relegated to small venues.

By no means does this excuse bad behaviour. But it’s noticeable that male public figures are allowed to slide on by while their female counterparts are axed.

It’s all good and well saying someone is cancelled and having a big social media group agreeing. If they support the artists and allow them to make coin with no repercussions, what’s the point?

Does cancel culture work? The answer is yes and no.

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The two main factors seem to be gender and where the artists are in their career. Rappers seem to be excused because of their talent and discography. Look at Eminem and Travis Scott. Both have recently thrown homophobic slurs, with Eminem again saying “f*ggot” on the song Fall from his album Kamikaze, on August 31. He’s been called out about this multiple times.

Minaj is in a strange space. Her fanbase largely consists of gay men and she co-signed Eminem’s f-word usage in her song Roman Reloaded. Yet, when the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida happened, she was quiet. She seemed to be the only female rapper worth mentioning at the time, so she slid by. But, with her star seemingly on the wane, the calls to cancel are growing louder.

Okmalumkoolkat, who was found guilty of indecent assault, enjoys a flourishing music career, while Boity’s rapping career is in danger before it started following Twitter users uncovering homophobic tweets. Nadia Nakai has also come under fire for the same issue.

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For cancel culture to be effective, it’s up the consumers to treat all artists the same. This means not supporting them so that they feel the loss in their pocket.

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