How did Doja Cat survive being ’cancelled’?
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Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, better known as Doja Cat, has cemented herself as a genuine superstar.
Having recently released her highly anticipated third album, “Planet Her”, the “Kiss Me More” hitmaker’s album has been received with overwhelming praise, with it getting a 7.8 rating on Pitch Fork, ⅘ stars on NME and 77% on MetaCritic.
“Planet Her” is one of the best albums so far in 2021.
From the afrobeats-inspired opening track “Woman” to paying homage to female hip hop icon Nicki Minaj on “Get Into It (Yuh)”, Doja seamlessly weaves together trap, pop and various other genres for an eclectic mix of songs that show her versatility both as a rapper and singer.
However, there was a period in her rise to stardom that she was close to being cancelled.
Last year, the hitmaker was caught in a cancellation storm when videos of her in a TinyChat forum, where she is seen making sexually suggestive comments and “stripping” to what some were saying at alt-right/white supremacist users, surfaced.
She initially addressed what happened in an Instagram post and said: “I've used public chat rooms to socialise since I was a child.
“I shouldn't have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I'm sorry to everyone I offended.”
She later deleted the post and tackled the accusation she was facing after #DojaCatIsOverParty was trending online.
Taking to Instagram Live, she explained that she wasn’t aware of any alt-right/white supremacists in the TinyChat rooms with her.
Furthermore, she debunked the accusations that she was “stripping for white supremacists” and had a moderator on the website who was banning users and deleting comments and users that said anything racist.
“The narrative that it's a white supremacist chat room, is absolutely 100% incorrect,” she said.
Now, this all happened during the time Say So climbed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chat and this was the type of bad publicity she didn’t need since her star was on the rise.
When it comes to cancel culture, the main thing to remember is that it doesn’t exist. Many celebrities who have been “cancelled” – Ellen Degeneres, Kevin Hart, Chris Brown, Chris Pratt, etc – continue to have successful careers, it’s clear that cancelling someone is not a group effort but a personal thing.
And as long as you have fans that will excuse problematic behaviour, you can still have a career.
How did Doja Cat make it through the storm? We all are aware how black women are rarely given wiggle room for making mistakes and then coming back like she has, well, it’s simple.
She attacked the storm before it got out of control and took accountability for her actions.
YouTuber Smokey Glow says it perfectly that instead of calling it “cancel culture”, we should call it accountability culture.
Since being cancelled has become a badge of honour from those that fear the woke police, instead, we need people to hold themselves accountable for their problematic behaviour not only in words but in actions.
Doja moved quickly and instead of some PR statement, she spoke directly to her fans in a normal setting.
Not in the YouTuber apology hoodie with fake tears, she earnestly had a rundown of what happened and quickly put the flame out before it became a forest fire.
Many celebrities make the mistake of just giving us an Notes App press release and then never address it again.
And if you are a cisgender white man, black man or white woman, the chances are that you can get away with this bare minimum behaviour.
However, when you're a black woman, this same kind of grace isn’t extended – just look at Azealia Banks's career.
Doja Cat’s core fanbase is filled with queer millennials and Gen Z kids who have very little tolerance for any problematic behaviour and will cut you off with the quickness, again ask Azealia Banks.
And it isn’t that hard. Just by doing some introspection and the work to unlearn things and be truly apologetic and sincere with her words, the musician hasn’t made a wrong move since then.
Instead, she has become of the biggest pop stars, one whose performances are always eagerly anticipated at awards ceremonies.
Yes, she’s a bit of a weirdo online in general but she’s also surrounded herself with a great team and has given some of the best live performances of 2020. And so we have no choice but to stan.