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Opinion: Doja Cat and the fatality of an artist’s past

Doja Cat remained quite unremarkable in terms of commercial success for the majority of 2018 until she recently dropped the Verified Meme music video for “Mooo!” 

Since its release in August, the video has garnered over 20 million views and the support of major artists (Khalid and Chance the Rapper); however, her path to the mainstream has been stifled due to one inevitable event: her past, riddled with homophobic tweets.

Despite her emerging status, Doja Cat is suffering the fate of more well-established artists like Camila Cabello and Sabrina Claudio, who were both dragged through the dirt for racist comments. Her handling of the situation has been labeled as “tone-deaf” though after tweeting an apology (two words that don’t really belong together in a sentence) about her use of the word “faggot” in high school and acceptance of the gay community now.

She’s basically facilitating her own funeral, but what most articles fail to mention is how temporary these conditions are and how common these situations are today. People will forget about this news cycle as soon as more scandal brews from another artist, and Doja Cat won’t be “cancelled” once people step off their moral pedestal.

Everyone becomes pompous as they talk about rescinding their support from controversial artists, but modern culture has been and still is about separating the art from the artist. Chris Brown’s domestic abuse allegations has not stopped his 21 million fans on Spotify from streaming his music monthly, and Kanye West’s surprising — to say the least — support for Trump didn’t prevent his most recent solo album “ye” from becoming a success.

And that’s not even mentioning the twisted double standard behind all this criticism. XXXTentacion was lauded when he changed, becoming a person of generosity after a violent past, and everyone praises Cardi B for evolving into a globally-successful artist after surmounting her stripper days. Does Doja Cat not afford the same luxury of leniency? After all, these tweets are an artifact of the past that do not necessarily define the artist of today, and who’s to say that Doja Cat isn’t worthy of some of her own applause for shedding a bigoted adolescence for a more compassionate path as an artist?

It’s her own transformation, but we discount it because we don’t take time to acknowledge the profound and deeply-ingrained stigma of the LGBTQ community that is difficult to cure and remains prevalent in America (the mere coining of the term “gayborhoods” should indicate the need for the “normal” to distinguish themselves from the “abnormal”).

Doja Cat isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last to fall victim to an ignorant past; dirt is dug wherever fame starts to tread. But hopefully, listeners will start to understand that artists are people too who can be forgiven for their previous mistakes. The scrutiny of the past is defined by pettiness and shouldn’t equate to a career in ruins.

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