To cancel or to not cancel Daniel Caesar, that is the question.
Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar put himself in the middle of a racial controversy by defending the problematic online personality YesJulz. A white woman, YesJulz has found herself in the middle of many racial controversies. Her behaviour is best summarized by the time she tweeted a picture of a shirt that said “n****s lie a lot,” asking if she could wear it to a festival. YesJulz has received a lot of backlash from the Black community due to her stunts.
During a drunken Instagram live, Caesar questioned his black followers on why they were “being so mean” to YesJulz and white people in general. His basic point was that black people are oversensitive. He instructed black followers to chase the bag and allow racism to roll off their backs.
Throughout his long tirade, Caesar said several troubling things such as “white people were mean to us in the past.” He obviously has zero understanding of current racial dynamics, which is absolutely baffling. As a black person, I can confirm that racism is not something of the past. Rather, it is a current systemic issue that plagues people of colour. Caesar’s deep internalization of racism may make him feel like he is exempt from it. But that doesn’t give him the right to invalidate the experiences of other people of colour.
He also said black people need to “bridge the gap,” referring to the divide racism causes between black and white people. Black people are in no way responsible for racism; we are amongst its victims. Given this, putting the onus entirely on black people is completely unfair. Both black and white people need to work alongside each other to combat this oppressive system.
Caesar also stated that Black people getting mad at racism won’t do anything but stop us from getting to the top of society. When I point out racism, I don’t do it with the expectation of reaching the top of society. I do it in hopes of driving change and gaining social equality. Resistance drives change. Caesar’s call to apathy would not positively impact black communities.
Even after Caesar had a conversation with black activist DeRay McKesson, during which he allegedly started his education on systemic racism, his opinions on the matter did not change. In his sad excuse for an apology, Caesar said he did not regret his statements, but instead he apologized for his delivery. This is unacceptable. It does not matter how he said it. He is mistaken, and his statements are insulting.
Since he invited black people to not support his music if they don’t agree with his opinion, that is exactly what I plan to do. I have no intention of supporting Daniel Caesar’s music until his opinions change, because art shouldn’t be separated from the artist. He should be held accountable for what he said, and if accountability comes in the form of getting cancelled, so be it.
What Caesar needs to do is take a seat and reflect on why he is following Kanye West’s playbook. Then, he needs to burn that book and educate himself on the realities of racial dynamics, so I can re-download his album. He has so much talent, and it would be a shame to see it all go to waste on account of his ignorance.