Living in Cancelled Culture

Recently, social media users have been calling out celebrities to take responsibility for their actions. Whether they have done something offensive, or been accused of doing so, fans have had enough of celebs getting off easy, and simply issuing an apology is no longer enough. It seems as if the cancelation of your favorite celebrity is almost imminent. Previously, when celebrities or other well known figures have made headlines for the wrong reasons, releasing a statement of apology, or completely ignoring the situation entirely was enough to earn forgiveness. Now, when an act of offense has been committed, even if this incident occurred several years ago, their actions are almost unforgivable.

Take Sabrina Claudio for example, a 21 year old latinx rising R&B artist known for songs such as “Belong to You” and “Confidently Lost”. Claudio was accused of previously owning a Twitter account (@ODamnYourUgly) where she made racist comments aimed at black women. On this account, she often used the n-word as well as other racial comments, and even more recently on her instagram page she referred to a black women as a “sweaty chonga”. Following the resurfacing of this account and her statements, fans were rightfully outraged and demanded that the singer take responsibility for her actions. As most celebrities do once they are called out, Sabrina Claudio rushed to release an apology (of course). However this apology was not even considered by many who already deemed Claudio “cancelled”or “problematic."

When a celebrity is considered cancelled, they are to be ignored across all platforms, almost as if they never existed. For Claudio, this meant that not only was she unfollowed by thousands on Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media that she may have, however several fans recorded themselves removing her music from their phones as well. But simply cancelling someone does nothing to get to the root of the problem nor does it help reform them. Although this may not be the public’s responsibility, pretending someone does not exist is not productive. This raises the question should these wrongdoers be given a second chance?

Many would say no, that in cases where someone was in fact given several chances after their first offense they continued to disappoint. This is shown especially in the case of Roseanne Barr who has an extensive history of insulting behavior and was literally given a reboot as a second chance. As we know Roseanne 2.0 was sho lived as a result of Barr’s own comments Yet, soon after the show was ordered without Roseanne, now named The Connors, and Roseanne still has could be possibly profiting from the series. When someone is considered cancelled this eliminates their possibility for growth. In no way should the actions of those who have done wrong in the past should be ignored or forgotten. On the other hand, when someone acknowledges not only what they have done is wrong, but they want to change they should be given an opportunity to do so. We have to realize that perfect people do not exist. Individually people are made up of both good and bad qualities and experience life’s up and downs differently. No one person is inherently all good or all bad, or unchanging.

There is also the case of the late rapper  XXXtentacion. The rapper died on June 18, 2018 at 20 years old after being shot in Florida. Before his death, X was no stranger to the spotlight, among other things he was accused of physically abusing his then girlfriend while she was pregnant, as well as assaulting a fellow inmate while he was in jail. Apparently changed by his past XXXtentacion turned over a new leaf, on the day of his death he even posted on his Instagram story that he planned to host a charity event in Florida that weekend. But X did not have the opportunity to host this event, or turn over a new leaf.

After word of XXXtentacion’s death spread many were criticized for refusing to mourn for an abuser. Noting that despite his violent death X lived a violent life, one that should not be forgotten. These users were accused of being cold hearted, too quick to judge, and not being able to “let things go”, but it’s hard to let a history of abuse go especially when the abuser only appeared to be apologetic when beneficial. Despite this others believe that the 20-year old should be remembered for his music and for the possibility that if he were to live longer his story may have ended differently.

Have we become obsessed with seeing people so largely criticized to the point that their lives are essentially over? As consumers of media have we now even began to search for reasons to cancel them? In October, Kelvin Pena otherwise known as Brother Nature a social media star known for creating videos of feeding animals with the slogan “Everybody Eats” was accused of being racist and sexist when old tweets resurfaced. These tweets in particular were made when Pena was 12 years old. In the case of Brother Nature many came to his defense and even criticized cancel culture overall.

This cancelled culture in which we have currently found ourselves in can be hard to navigate. Whatever side you believe in It is important that you do not allow the views of others on social media to sway you, however you must always look at the story in full, considering all sides.