Off the beat and Path: A Call for Change

By Robert O’Donnell

Columnist

It’s not often that I admit what I write pales in comparison to somebody else’s writing. However, when it comes to Tyler, The Creator’s album, “Goblin,” I am speechless. Fortunately, Sara Quin from the band Tegan and Sara was not, and wrote an open letter on her online blog. Despite the fact that the twin sisters in Tegan and Sara are lesbians, they are not a political band.

“I’ve asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge … Maybe it’s because I’m a human being, both a girl and a lesbian. Maybe it’s because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault,” Sara said.

For me, a popular artist spewing hatred should not be ignored, so I felt compelled to write this article. And the worst part, the thing that sealed my decision, was that everyone else was indeed ignoring this spewing hatred. When my friends tell me I don’t understand, or at least need to respect Tyler, The Creator as a creative genius, it makes me furious.

Remember Mel Gibson’s awful anti-Semitic tirade? Remember Michael Richard’s disgusting racist tirade? Yet, when Tyler does the same thing about rape and homosexuals, and puts a beat behind it, everyone dances. The same media that vilified Richards and Gibson, are now giving glowing reviews to Tyler, who is saying the same kind of terrible, unforgivable things as the others.

“When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry?” Sara said.

He might hide behind the excuse that his lyrics are like a movie, but I don’t buy it. Every person should be held accountable for his or her words, no matter how artistically gifted he or she is. I do not care if he claims that he does not believe his lyrics; he is still singing them and turning rape and homophobia into a twisted sort of joke, when they are extremely serious issues in reality. People like Matthew Shepard have been brutally killed due to the homophobia rampant in our culture and even if Tyler is not homophobic himself, he is perpetuating the hatred. If he doesn’t believe it, then he shouldn’t say it.

I’ve been accused of being too uptight and too sensitive about his music, but the fact of the matter is I absolutely despise violence, homophobia and sexual assault. And those are the only things I hear when I listen to his album. How is the music? It is distinct and intriguing, and if the album was instrumental, then I would listen. But I do not and will not ever respect a single thing I hear in this album. I will not go along with a vile message because I am afraid that people will accuse me of not understanding or being too conservative. Sara says that she was reluctant to speak out about it.

“At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record,” Sara said.

And now, mine is too.

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