Cancel Culture in Hip-Hop
By Victoria Jonas
The rise of social media has brought forth the good, the bad and the ugly in hip-hop. Fans can see all aspects of their favorite artists, including the sexist, abusive, racist or offensive behaviors.
As a result, cancel culture was born. To 'cancel' an artist means to take away their platform, job or likeliness publicly.
Recently, Kanye West has been the center of cancel culture. His controversial support for Donald Trump, statements about slavery being a choice and other actions have led him to be 'canceled' by the hip-hop community. Despite his mainstream popularity and producer talents, some fans have vowed not to listen to his music again.
According to West, he was always 'canceled.'
"I've been canceled. I've been canceled before they had cancel culture. I was canceled before they had the term," West said on BigBoyTV.
Last month, West publicly questioned if he was really 'canceled' as he performed on Howard University's campus during homecoming weekend.
"I was canceled, but as I stand on the lawn of Howard University, do I look canceled to you?" West said to the audience.
His appearance on Howard's campus caused mixed feelings on Twitter.
The disapproval of Kanye West stems mostly from his support for Trump. Being that Trump's comments and actions have negatively impacted people of color. In comparison, West criticized former President George W. Bush for his response to Hurricane Katrina.
"George Bush doesn't care about black people," West said during an NBC Hurricane Relief broadcast in 2005.
What makes Trump so different?
West isn't the only rapper to be 'canceled' in hip-hop. Other artists like Kodak Black, XXXTentacion, 6ix9ine and many others have faced disapproval from the hip-hop community.
Yet, J.Cole, who hasn't been 'canceled' has chosen to embrace and support the rappers that have been 'canceled.'
"I understand the outrage. So I don't know. If anything, it kind of makes me want to be even more empathetic to people that the world considers to be undesirable," Cole said in an interview with XXL magazine.
Cole feels that cancel culture is counterproductive. He even compared the tactic to the criminal justice system.
"Because we live in a world where everybody wants to be so quick to cancel somebody. But at the same time, people condemn the criminal justice system, which is entirely the cancellation system. To me, both of those ideas are fucked up, like, 'We're throwing you away.' [...] You're looking to punish me—and don't get it twisted, what I did was a punishable offense—but where are you talking about healing me? Where are you going to show me some compassion and some fucking love?" Cole continued.
Instead, he feels we should assist in healing and guiding rappers who have displayed offensive behavior. However, Cole believes that these rappers should still be held accountable.
"I'm down for accountability culture. I'm cool with that. Even for myself," Cole said. "Everyone needs to be accountable. I don't mind if someone got something to say about me or what I said or did. That's all good. But cancel culture? I don't cancel nobody."
So, should we separate the artist from their art? Or should the artist be ‘canceled’?
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