My number-one favorite pastime is making people mad on the internet. I like to think I’m something of a professional- one of my music videos has 1.2 million views on YouTube, which has been given thumbs-down more times than it’s been given thumbs-up. I have successfully infuriated Scott Storch’s son, Andrew Noz, Earl Sweatshirt, and countless highly revered hip-hop critics with my particularly irritating brand of white-girlness. Every so often I will (usually accidentally) say something obnoxious enough to warrant an explosion of incredulous posts on how incompetent/naive/obscene my and my “personal brand” are, and that is what fuels the maintenance of my persona. I don’t know why this is so fun for me- the way I see it, it’s easy and nice to make people happy. I like to do that, too. To actually incite RAGE in a person by typing a mundane comment, however…that is true power. That, to me, is genius. That is my craft.
However, there are boundaries. For example, I would absolutely never make a joke at the expense of another person’s ability/appearance/beliefs/sexuality/race/experience/lifestyle (with an exception of steampunks, whom I will hate forever and am absolutely CONCRETE in my hatred). That would be bullying, and bullying is not that tight. I deal with bullying on a scale which grows exponentially each day- the more people find out about my music or me as a “personality”, the more people are basically shitting on me via social media. I know how much it sucks to be bullied, and it is frankly quite lazy to use another person as the butt of a joke; that is why I tend to joke about myself. Sometimes I get a little mad at me, but I always forgive me eventually. Other people are not always so forgiving.
That being said, I am also a young, educated white girl from an upper-middle-class family who has never been personally confronted with discrimination. Sometimes I catch myself feeling discriminated against for my race and gender in my own chosen industry (the rap world hates me, waaah)- and then I remind myself that I am part of literally the most privileged possible group of people. Feeling like i’m an underdog within a genre of music traditionally dominated by black artists is 100% bullshit on my part…I started out indignant, but the more I learn about the history of rap music, the more I feel like everyone else is kinda right. Black people made rap music what it is. White people have enough things already. I mean, I love rap music and I love creating my own. But when black people get mad at me for trying to “appropriate” it, there’s really no argument. My music is understandably disgusting to a hip-hop purist. For a traditional rap fan, I am ruining rap music. I feel that.
That is why I TRY to make sure to keep myself in check before making jokes that involve anything to do with race. Both my middle and high schools were an almost exact 50% mix of black and white students, and I was raised to be careful, aware and sensitive of racial stereotypes and issues. The generally explosive nature of the internet (ahem, Tumblr) + the growth of my personal following have even further heightened that attempted awareness and sensitivity, and aside from the idea of me as a rapper there’s not much me that is (usually) criticized as racist at all. I take pride in that, because nowadays even the language one types with is picked apart in an attempt to unearth racist undertones, and simply being VERY southern in my VERY liberal home of NYC can get complicated when it comes to discussions of appropriation. Regardless, I try to uphold a standard of universal respect. Except, of course, for steampunks.
The backlash I’ve experienced since Noisey published my liveblog of Beyonce’s new album was a huge surprise for me, and probably one I kinda needed. What happened was, I joked about mistaking Jay-Z’s lyric “eat the cake, Annie Mae” for the words “eat the cake anime”, which enraged a LOT of people, and I couldn’t figure out why. Even after being (angrily) informed by many people that the lyric is in reference to a biographical film on Tina Turner, I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about. How the fuck is it RACIST to have never seen a film? At first I was tickled- I thought I’d inadvertently caused an uprising over a joke that was meant to perpetuate a caricature of myself (“haha, Kitty likes everything to be cute! of course she would rather Jay-Z be saying ‘anime’!”) and it’s usually just funny when that happens. I even continued to keep the joke going, even though people whose only familiarity with me was as the “eat the cake, anime” girl had begun to threaten me and write long-winded posts about why that joke makes me a shitty person. Stopping a joke is the biggest no-no of my troll game. A good troll means never saying sorry.
Eventually, though, it started getting to me. All jokes aside, it does legitimately suck to be considered ignorant or hateful, especially when I try so hard to be considerate of everybody. I asked my manager Emeka if he could explain it (he’s a very wise, grown-up black man. I don’t know how old he is because I consider him my dad but also know he’s not THAT old, but either way he’s old enough to know everything and that’s all I need) and he did so in a way that finally makes perfect sense to me. He said, “black people are used to having to know the first and last names of the cast of Friends just to keep their jobs. The fact that you will never have to know about their culture and can easily make a joke about something that holds importance to them is offensive.” And that is actually SO FUCKING TRUE. I feel like a damn fool. It IS ACTUALLY fucked up that I can make a joke like that without even knowing why it bothered anyone, because society has never demanded that I learn about black culture. To be honest, I’m not even sure how obscure the Annie Mae quote IS. And that’s SO STUPID. IT REALLY IS ALL A LITTLE RACIST. I’VE NEVER HAD TO THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE, BUT IT IS. I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THAT. NOT AT ALL.
Now, I still think a LOT of the things I said in that liveblog were recontextualized by a few different people to make me look really bad. That post was 75% jokes about the calculated nature of the music industry (for example, the Skrillex remix comment and when I said “she’s onto us, guys” about the trap drums. That shit had absolutely NOTHING to do with white-ifying Beyonce’s music. It was 100% in reference to the way that mainstream success is built with mainstream trends in mind. There’s no damn way I think trap music “belongs to white people”. I’ve written before about why the cute-whiteboy-DJ thing is corny. The fuck?) and 25% about how sexually frustrated I was that day Re: @TheColoredBoy article: there’s an entirely different conversation there that we can have, and though it was unnecessarily scathing and insulting it was also very poignant and eye-opening for me. However, I do want to offer the rare but necessary apology for not processing the cultural naivete that brought about my “eat the cake, anime” joke. It’s not tight to remain purposely ignorant and inconsiderate of another culture. Thank you for helping me learn, and I hope that you will all teach me more. Because I really, REALLY like making anime jokes.
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