Cancel culture has evolved over the past few years, mostly due to social media and the fragile feelings of society. According to the Dorothy Musafir article “How cancel culture attempted to silence Jamelia and Kanye West,” cancel culture is defined as “a call to boycott someone – usually a celebrity – who has shared a questionable or unpopular opinion on social media.” Cancel culture is not only becoming increasingly dramatic, but it is also misused.
Cancel culture has been used appropriately with celebrities like Bill Cosby and R. Kelly when they were accused of multiple rape allegations, and Jeffree Star who called fellow makeup guru and
African-American YouTuber Jackie Aina a “gorilla.” In these instances, fans immediately withdrew from supporting these public figures. By boycotting Star’s reviews on YouTube and refusing to buy his makeup products, fans took back their power in the form of pinching at Star’s pocketbook.
I’ve noticed a pattern of digging up old celebrity tweets and using the former words against a rising celebrity. An example of this is Kevin Hart’s 2011 tweet where he wrote, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’” He also wrote two other homophobic tweets, one in 2009 and another in 2010.
Although the tweets were not in good humor, they were 8 years old. Hart somewhat apologized and withdrew from hosting the 91st Oscars ceremony. Although Hart apologized to the LGBTQ community, he referenced his tweets as a part of his past.
Recently, however, Kodak Black was “canceled” due to his comments on his Instagram Live about giving Nipsey Hussle’s widow Lauren London “a whole year to be crying and sh**” and that he would gladly step up to “be the best man [he] can be for her.” Since his comments about London, Black has received backlash from celebrities on the music scene like T.I. and R&B singer Tank. Some Kodak Black-inspired art was even pulled from T.I.’s Trap Music Museum in Atlanta.
It’s interesting that Kodak’s comments were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Neither his rape accusation nor even his cringe-worthy comments about seducing lesbian rapper Young MA nor his anti-black comments about darker-skinned women caused the backlash that his comments regarding London did. It’s obvious that male celebrities only see London as Hussle’s property, and therefore those comments were more disrespectful than the comments toward Young MA.
My problem with cancel culture is not that celebrities are losing money or credibility due to their comments, but the fact that celebrities are being falsely canceled. The timeline between Kevin Hart’s tweets and his Oscar hosting position were entirely too far apart for him to still be “canceled” to the point that the LGBTQ community harassed him. Kodak Black’s comments about Young MA were horrifically worse than what he said about Lauren London, yet he was canceled by other celebrities – and even threatened by T.I. – for a much smaller issue than what those men should have really been mad about.
Cardi B’s comments about her past encounters with men, when she drugged and stole money from them, didn’t cause nearly as much backlash as it should have. So, what is “canceling” a celebrity really based on?
My question is: What are we actually mad about? Yes, canceling celebrities is certainly necessary in certain situations, but were we mad about Kevin Hart tweeting homophobic comments or were we mad that he was offered an Oscar hosting position? Were we made about Kodak Black offering his friendship to a grieving widow or were we mad about his getting too close to another man’s property?