What took so long and when is someone gonna’ drop the best “Tekashi got caught up” meme?
Two of the most entertaining things in my life right now are the surprised Pikachu meme and Tekashi 6ix9ine, aka Daniel Hernandez. On November 23rd I found the perfect meme that combined both of these things. I had been waiting since November 18th, the day Tekashi was arrested, for just the right meme to drop. Initially, I didn’t feel sadness for him or his situation. In fact, the first two questions that came to mind were “What took so long?” and “When is someone gonna’ drop the best ‘Tekashi got caught up’ meme?'” Eventually, I arrived at the same question I almost always ask: What contributing factors gave rise to this outcome? Let’s unpack this #JAT.
His brand of self-promotion is rooted in exploiting the worst parts of what the people want — things that tend to lead to worse outcomes for us as a whole.
It was more challenging than usual because, if you couldn’t tell, I’m not fan of Tekashi 6ix9ine. Sure he’s done some notable things, but all of it is outweighed by other stuff. At the age of 18 he appeared in a series of videos one of which was a recording of a 13 year old giving another grown man head — problematic for so many reasons. He also frequently uses the word nigga’ even though he isn’t Black — also problematic, but that’s for another #JAT. Aside from all of that, his brand of self-promotion is rooted in exploiting the worst parts of what the people want. Things that tend to lead to worse outcomes for us as a whole. We know Tekashi is all about shocking for likes, and it’s all for show. He’s been in multiple run-ins with the law, and during at least a couple of the encounters he makes sure to mention that his rap persona is about the social media attention.
In his Akademiks interview, 6ix9ine repeatedly admitted to uploading a video. In his initial statement to police, referring to the video, 6ix9ine stated, “I was doing it for my image.” Earlier in his statement, he asserted, “The SCUMBAG persona is just for shock value. It started when I started making clothing with the words ‘HIV’ and ‘pussy’ on it. They got famous and went viral. Bam. Because ‘pussy’ and ‘HIV’ worked, the SCUMBAG69 hashtag would have the same shock value.”https://jezebel.com/details-in-child-sex-complaint-against-rapper-6ix9ine-c-1821245294
Some of this is a part of growing up for young men. It’s not THAT weird for people, especially adolescent men, to go against the grain of social norms for the sake of being subversive. It’s like kids who play The Penis Game in traditionally conservative places like school or church. But as with anything, moderation is key. And Tekashi regularly overindulged in shocking behavior as part of his act. Most recently, his defense attorney, Lance Lazzaro, described his client like this shortly following his November 18th arrest:
“An entertainer who portrays a ‘gangster image’ to promote his music does not make him a member of an enterprise,” Lazzaro said.https://www.apnews.com/cd24567290a74869847a785b4c26e1fb
It’s not like we haven’t seen this coming. Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning and the Power 105.1 FM’s Breakfast Club morning shows along with many other people had been attempting to warn and reason with Tekashi for some time, but Tekashi’s stance was pretty clear. In some cases, he started smoke with some of the people that offered him advice on how not to get caught up. In so many words, he viewed himself as untouchable. He’s said on multiple occasions “I do what I want” and “Who’s gon’ stop me?” He found out the hard way.
How much responsibility should we accept for supporting an industry that continues to profit off the struggle of people without improving the situations that birthed them?
The fact is that my first assumption probably should have been that in a day and age where we are all super interconnected, there are always any number of contributing factors to any outcome. What each of us does impacts the people with whom we share a connection. The real is that he wouldn’t be where he is today without many things happening to him and him choosing to respond according. If we were to find ourselves in similar situations, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of us made similar choices. Wanna’ know what else is real? He wouldn’t be where he is today without us. How much responsibility should we accept for supporting an industry that continues to profit off the struggle of people without improving the situations that birthed them? We like, we share, and we spotlight people who create content that either reflects or glorifies the struggles we’d otherwise ignore. Then we scapegoat or punchline people like Tekashi SixNine, Chief Keef, XXXtentacion, or Bobby Shmurda when they get caught up in the game we cheer for them and others to keep playing.
They call it the trap because few people ever escape and those that do often get dragged back in.
These and many other hip-hop artists built their short lived careers on things that generally create more risk and limit opportunities for most of us (e.g. guns, drugs, toxic forms of masculinity, disdain for women, escalating conflict, and physical violence). We often downplay this reality by saying “it’s JUST entertainment” or “it helps us get through our day”, but at what cost? While these people face real life charges, loss of freedom, and loss life we remain virtually unaffected as we wait for the next entertainer to enter the Colosseum. Yeah, they made choices but so do we, and the outcome of our collective choices seems to be that too often too many you Black, Brown, and/or poor people are losing their happiness, freedom, or life.
They call it the trap because few people ever escape and those that do often get dragged back in. Right now I’m wondering a few things… What role I play in creating these outcomes? How we can change this pattern and prevent another person from losing their happiness, freedom, or life? What do we give up in exchange for this kind of entertainment? Is the price worth paying for success in the entertainment industry? Can we have fun/enjoy ourselves without profiting on perpetual struggle and pain? Also wondering when someone is gonna’ drop the next Tekashi meme…
Just a Th🤔ught… #JAT #ThinkDIF #FeedbackWelcomed
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