Kanye apologizes for the realness on Ellen.
Kanye apologizes for “the realness” on Ellen.

Cancel Culture or Culture Canceling?

What happens when artists misbehave?

It is 2009 and you’re lying on your couch with a bag of chips watching the MTV Music Award ceremony. The brightest artists worldwide are there; Jay-Z, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Kanye capture all the attention and beyond. A 19-year-old Taylor Swift glimmers on stage after winning the Music Video of the Year award; everything seems perfect until…
With his black shades on, Kanye West marches up the stage, snatches Taylor Swift’s microphone, and goes on a short rant about the credibility of her award. He trots off stage as if nothing happened and kisses his wife, Amber Rose. Canceled.
So canceled, in fact, that he had to move between Japan and Hawaii to continue pursuing his music career; his family and friend relations plummeted in the heat of the news. Is that justifiable for such a tiny mistake? How come Will Smith didn’t get the same punishment for assaulting a man on stage?

Is it because music is the most popular thing in the world? You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t listen to an artist throughout their day. Unsurprisingly, you probably have listened to an artist who has been “canceled” online. The act of “canceling” is when a group of people on social media tries to destroy/detach someone’s career for their past actions.
It seems like every significant artist has found themselves canceled at some point — The Weeknd, Drake, Travis Scott, Sza, etc… have all suffered the wrath of social media’s opinion. Pew Research Center found that 61% of adults know/heard about canceling, compared to 44% in 2020, which means this continues to grow annually by margins.
But the real question is: Is cancel culture ruining people’s culture? Could there be a way that cancel culture is diminishing people’s livelihoods and separating them from the culture they grew up in?

To clarify, ‘Culture’ is a concept that adds social behavior, institutions, and normalities found in social life. So, taking a rapper away like Kanye from what he grew up on in Chicago over a mistake could classify as, in my head, “Culture canceling.” But is that okay?
Is a mass brigade of hate and forceful apologies a wrongful punishment for someone who grew up in a world like Chicago with set-in-place beliefs/Identity? 45% of adults agreed that cancel culture is wrongful and punishes people for what they can’t control, while 51% think it’s deserved and helpful.

Manny Pacquiao lived in the Philippines with a super abusive father and a starving family. People were outraged when he asked about the LGBQT+, and he said he disliked it; they tried effortlessly to cancel him for something he had no control over. Do you think his family, surroundings, or culture preached positivity about same-sex marriage? Absolutely not. So why cancel him?
I may disagree with him, but why is it my responsibility to change his belief system when he is not hurting anyone with his beliefs? Cancel culture is culture canceling, may it be for good or not.

I agree that some people don’t have control over something and could get canceled for it. The rapper Doja Cat recently had a mass brigade of hate over the person she was dating and that person’s past actions. But how is it Doja Cat’s fault that her significant other has a rocky past? Why is she being critiqued instead of her boyfriend?
In what world do you get punished for someone else’s past? It is absurd.

What could we do to prevent the mass targeting of innocent people? For starters, do your research instead of just listening to some random person online who might have biased or baseless information. In addition, you could stay off social media altogether and further develop your views on other people’s situations and beliefs.

Altogether, I feel you should use your best judgment on whether you are willing to listen to an artist based on what they said & their actions. Recently, Kanye West said very hateful things about Jewish people, which does not make me comfortable listening to his music, and that may be different for you.
The fact is that cancel culture should not exist, and you shouldn’t follow other people’s opinions to steer your views on the world. Do not let other people control your world; you deserve better—and so does everyone else.

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