Cancel Culture and Its Effects

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Elana Sparks, Staff Writer

Cancel culture has been around for what seems like forever; however, it has become increasingly popular in the year 2020. What exactly is cancel culture? According to Dictionary.com, it “refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” In simpler terms, it is online shaming. Those wishing for an influencer’s downfall can simply dive deep into their old tweets where they can find something incriminating to turn their fanbase against them.

PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 26: Kali Uchis of ‘Blast Beat’ attends the IMDb Studio at Acura Festival Village on location at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival – Day 3 on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb) (Getty Images for IMDb)

One  celebrity recently affected by cancel culture is Karly-Marina Loaiza, also known by her stage name Kali Uchis. The Colombian-American singer and songwriter was accused of being a colorist. People claimed that her Por Vida album cover portrayed Kali as a white Latina, while her Tyrant cover portrayed her as a brown Latina. What forced the change? People believe it is because she began to embrace her Colombian roots by the time of Tyrant’s release, however, nothing backs up those claims. In an Instagram story post, Kali finally cleared up the accusations by stating, “I am aware how photos of me pale, bleach blonde compared to me embracing my natural hair might startle people, but I have been pale and tan through all my hair colors, and have always embraced my heritage no matter the hair color.” She goes on to say how she “strives to use her privilege as a white-passing Latina to advocate for black and brown issues.” It is up to the reader to choose if they believe Kali Uchis, although it is clear that those trying to cancel her were grasping at straws.

Another celebrity affected by cancel culture is the well known multi-genre artist, Tyler, the Creator. Past lyrics full of blatant homophobia sparked controversy all over Twitter, and many called him out on his use of gay slurs in his music. Tyler responded to the ongoing controversy by coming out as gay in 2017 with the release of his fourth studio album, Flower Boy. In the song, “Garden Shed,” he sings “You don’t have to hide, garden shed for the garçons, them feelings I was guarding.” He also references Frank Ocean, a member of Odd Future, who has been out of the closet as well: “Thought it would be like Frank poof, gone. But it’s still going on.” People soon realized that Tyler’s use of provocative language in his early music was purely for shock value.

 

So is cancel culture a positive thing? The evidence shows otherwise. There are a few positive effects of online shaming (singling out racism and homophobia), but the negative outweighs the good. Careers can be destroyed over something petty, such as a remark made years ago taken out of context. On the other hand, people may not pay any mind to celebrities who are canceled, therefore giving it no purpose. Problematic influencers can go on with their lives knowing that their loyal fanbase will always be there.

No matter what one believes about cancel culture, it will always exist. Whether it be canceling a popular musical artist or a politician, the appeal of canceling someone will make the fellow Twitter user overlook facts.