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Cancel Culture: What It Means When Someone Is “Canceled”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

“Did you hear that ______ is canceled?”

“Another one? What did they do this time?”  

If you haven’t heard the word “canceled” in this past year concerning someone, then you’ve been blissfully minding your own business. It’s become a trend for when someone does something that the population generally agrees is wrong, to ‘cancel’ them. The term, in its context on social media, finds its origin in the populous ‘black twitter’. It’s usually used when an individual does something that is racist, homophobic, misogynist, etc.  That sounds fair and decent. Being canceled is a product of this day and age of social media, notably twitter.

There’s different ways someone can find themselves being canceled. Donald Trump, for example, is president of the canceled club. From his tweets that boast a tone-deaf and insensitive rhetoric, that inflames the country rather than unites it, to his tirades on his political opponents that fail to reflect the leader of the free world, Donald Trump has worn the gold pin of excellence for the canceled club. His status doesn’t boast any question of validity or fairness. Same goes for Kanye West, Mr. VP of the club. Although, West’s cancellation isn’t as strong as Trump’s, due to his unwavering fans and people that agree with his quest for change, no matter how confusing the path is. Kanye West has been canceled for some time now, but fans still bump his music, have this separate-the-man-from-the-music mentality, due to his superstar status and the nostalgia that reflects “I miss the old Kanye, straight from the Go Kanye…. I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye.” I know it was a quip of awareness of how your fans view you, but we really do miss the old Kanye.


Where does the cancel culture start to sway in validity? Is it from choosing not to support someone to purposely trying to find a next victim, a prey in the waters of successful people that wouldn’t be successful without support of fans? It’s when the diagnosis doesn’t give room for treatment. Take the latest patient, Kelvin Pen֮a, or ‘Brother Nature’ fans so lovingly call him. Brother Nature found success on instagram, where he uploads videos of himself interacting with various animals, notably deer. His charmingly funny, genuine and loving persona with animals won the people over. And let’s not forget his co-star, Can֮ela, a doe whom Brother Nature always calls in a lilted voice, feeds her food, jokes with her and gets his chain snatched by the unfazed doe. In this case, a doe is a man’s best friend.



Yo Canela just ran off with my chain ? man these does ain’t loyal foreal @canelathesavage

A post shared by Kelvin Peña (@coldgamekelv) on


Last week on Sunday, his success came with a cost. In this form of cancellation, it is the canceled club’s job to spend a great deal of time combing through a successful online star’s tweets to find anything incriminating they might have tweeted once upon a time. In what turned out to be a gold mine, the club unearthed old tweets, in which Brother Nature made racist, antisemitic remarks.


You’re probably thinking, ‘duh I’d cancel him too’. The problem with this is that he was thirteen. A child. The cancellation looked at his past without looking at his present. It ignored the fact that people could grow and learn from their mistakes, that people say stupid stuff in the mind of ignorance when they are young. Yes, he should be held liable for his words. But the support of his fans was destroyed without a basic understanding of who he is today. It becomes a vindictive game of “If I can’t have success, then no one can.” It is also important to note the evolution of social media apps like twitter and what is deemed acceptable and what is not as time goes on. The social climate when we were younger is different than today’s, in the aspect that sensitivity levels have increased. This increase is due to the apparent injustice and hate rhetoric that has been cast as a main character in the tenuous society we live in today. Because let’s be real, Twitter was and still is a savage place. The only difference is, you can’t get away with just anything these days. 



Brother Nature since apologized, and many weren’t quick to cancel him, instead realizing that while you can hold a grown man accountable for his past, you shouldn’t always condemn him for it.



Other online stars and musicians have been canceled (momentarily), like Selena Gomez, Offset, Doja Cat, Sabrina Claudio, Youtube stars Shane Dawson and MUA’s Jeffree Star, for their problematic histories and tweets. And while many are undeserving of any support, the brief cancellation of Brother Nature indicates that while we’re canceling people for their past, how about we look at the people who are still racist, homophobic, sexist, and all around bad people today. How about we cancel them first?

third year journalism major with a minor in communications and certificate in new media. I make the best music playlists (@longlivelaura on apple music) and am usually the go-to person you hand the aux-cord to or allow on bluetooth in the car. YA and NA romance books are my kryptonite. I love to write fiction and aspire to have my own novel series published one day. I also rep Nigeria and Atlanta heavily, appreciative of the different aspects of culture both places endue upon me.