The untold truth of Doja Cat
For modern celebrities, it’s almost commonplace to find out you’ve been “canceled” on social media for one reason or another. As such, Twitter’s #DojaCatIsOverParty trend should’ve come as no surprise to singer-songwriter Doja Cat. After all, the rapper has been put on blast before for past offensive remarks.
While Doja Cat was in the spotlight celebrating her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single “Say So” with Nicki Minaj in May 2020, she came under fire for alleged ties to an alt-right community, per Hollywood Unlocked, as well as an old song that appears to mock police brutality. As Twitter user @FeministaJones explained, Doja Cat’s track “Dindu Nuffin” refers to the racist slur for “didn’t do nothing,” a term that “white racists use to describe Black criminals. It derived from their assertion that when caught, Black people always say ‘I didn’t do nothing.'”
Doja Cat’s “cancellation” came mere days after singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey called out various artists, including Doja Cat, Minaj, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande for having “number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f**king, cheating, etc.” (per Paper). Fans and critics immediately interpreted Del Rey’s comments as reductive and revisionist, yet Doja Cat seemingly came to the “Born to Die” singer’s defense in a since-deleted tweet. And when faced with her own accusations of racism, Doja Cat quickly defended herself, too.
Doja Cat's "Dindu Nuffin" was 'an attempt to flip' the hurtful phrase's meaning
After Twitter users took to the social network to try exposing Doja Cat’s alleged racist ties, the “Mooo!” singer issued an official apology for her song “Dindu Nuffin” and denied accusations about any connection to the alt-right community. “I want to address what’s been happening on Twitter,” she said via Instagram in May 2020. “I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child. I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone I offended.”
She further explained her background. “I’m a black woman. Half of my family is black from South Africa and I’m very proud of where I come from,” Doja added. “As for the old song that’s resurfaced, it was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience. It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me. I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.”
Doja also owned up to any hurt caused. “I understand my influence and impact and I’m taking this all very seriously,” she wrote. “I love you all and I’m sorry for upsetting or hurting any of you. That’s not my character, and I’m determined to show that to everyone moving forward. Thank you.”
Doja Cat's past homophobic language also sparked controversy
After Doja Cat first skyrocketed to fame, the rapper soon came under fire for calling Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt “f****ts” in a since-deleted tweet. Doja Cat’s use of the homophobic slur landed her in hot water and her initial apology definitely didn’t help the emerging star’s case. The tweet in question was posted years before Doja Cat became famous, but much like her current situation, this past indiscretion resurfaced in the wake of her continued success.
“I called a couple people f****ts when I was in high school in 2015,” Doja Cat tweeted in response to critics in 2018 (per Billboard), “does this mean I don’t deserve support? I’ve said f****t roughly like 15 thousand times in my life. Does saying f****t mean you hate gay people? I don’t think I hate gay people. Gay is ok.”
As her offensive tweet gained traction, Doja Cat issued a more formal apology. “I truly apologize to anyone that I’ve offended or deeply hurt with my words,” she said (per The Fader). “I used hateful and derogatory words out of ignorance and didn’t intend to discriminate against anyone for their race, religion, or sexual orientation. I understand how serious this is and know that I have let a lot of my fans and supporters down. I promise to do better for myself and each and every one of you.”
Ultimately, the experience changed Doja Cat’s current relationship with social media.
Doja Cat chose to 'step away' from social media and 'focus on what's important'
As Doja Cat continues to battle critics over the “Dindu Nuffin” controversy, let’s look at how her previous scandal altered her relationship with social media. “I said some insensitive stuff a long time ago when I was young and at the time didn’t understand how it would hurt people,” Doja Cat told The Fader in 2019. “It’s something [I] learned a lot from and I understand that it was not well written or thought through and I apologized (and still apologize) if it offended anyone. Truth is, I love everyone that is a good person regardless of what they look like, walk like, or who they love.”
She also doesn’t check social media as much, since “honestly, sometimes social media is draining and brings out all of the negative things going on.” She added, “It’s a place where there are bullies and people analyzing everything you post looking for something wrong, so, for me, the healthiest thing has been to step away and focus on what’s important.”
However, in an interview with Paper later that year, Doja Cat explained, while other artists “want to do something so elaborate and so smart,” she prefers to “be the other end of that, which is being ignorant and stupid and saying whatever I want.” Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t seem to have worked in her favor. Hopefully this latest controversy will afford the talented singer room for growth.
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