PODCAST: Should ‘cancel culture’ be a group project?
What is cancel culture and should it be a group project? Listen as the Citizen's lifestyle podcast 'Who Said That' unpacks the topic.
Chris Brown | Picture : AFP / VALERIE MACON
Apart from feminism, wokeness and the idea of a slay queen, cancel culture has become one of the most bastardized concepts thanks to social media.
And because everyone can now contribute to the meaning-making of general concepts thanks to the decentralisation of communication, the definition changes depending on who you ask about it.
The concept is villainized most by those who believe they have suffered the consequences of this social action, further complicating the concept for those who have yet to make sense of it.
LISTEN: Should ‘cancel culture’ be a group project?
What is cancel culture?
Wikipedia defines cancel culture as a phenomenon in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted or shunned.
Vox, on the other hand, views the concept primarily through the lens of pop culture describing it as the act of culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career.
“The rise of “cancel culture” and the idea of canceling someone coincides with a familiar pattern: A celebrity or other public figure does or says something offensive. A public backlash, often fueled by politically progressive social media, ensues.
“Then come the calls to cancel the person — that is, to effectively end their career or revoke their cultural cachet, whether through boycotts of their work or disciplinary action from an employer,” wrote Aja Romano for Vox in 2020.
Celebs most affected by cancel culture
There are some who believe that cancel culture has real consequences. I am not one of those people.
A lot of people often list celebrities like R. Kelly, Chris Brown and Kanye West as victims of the concept on “cancelling” someone, ignoring the real-world consequences of the heinous – and sometimes illegal things they have either said or done.
Locally, attempts to cancel celebrities like AKA (for his alleged abusive past with girlfriend Nellie Tembe), Kelly Khumalo (for her perceived involvement in the death of Senzo Meyiwa) and Jub Jub (for his litany of offences) have all proven to be an exercise in futility.
And that is primarily because large groups cannot see eye-to-eye on what stance to take against celebrities who have been involved in scandals or headline news stories that are socially impactful.
Stories about rape, murder, abuse and child molestation.
Should ‘cancel culture’ be a group project?
Ideally, for it to have the desired effect, I do believe cancel culture should be a group project. I just, however, do not see the masses showing enough unity to decide on a stance and stick by it.
Now (and most likely forever), cancel culture, will be something left up to the individual as that is the only thing any of us have any control over, ourselves and our principles.
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