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Posted under: Opinion Music

Damn Daniel, Please Do Better

Your defense of YesJulz was extremely troubling and problematic — here's why.

Dear Mr. Ashton Simmonds, a.k.a. Daniel Caesar,

By now, you've probably seen the online denunciation of your seemingly innocent comments against the Black community. In case you're still too "drunk as f**k" to remember, let me refresh your memory. You boldly went on Instagram Live Tuesday night to question why Black people are "being so mean to white people right now." Also, you decided to assert your alliance to known culture vulture and "Blaccent" enthusiast YesJulz, who has developed an arguably successful career profiting off the likability and accomplishments of Black folks. Not to mention, there is visible evidence of a streak of disparaging comments made against people who look like you. 

In case you still haven't discovered the powers of a search engine, let me present you the evidence right here:

Lest we forget Julz's "freestyle," where she had the cheek to read prewritten "bars" about being the Black community's Mother Theresa while the rest of us just kill each other.  Let me ask you this, Mr. Caesar, is YesJulz the hill you really want to die on in your short stint at celebrity? Is this problematic personality who keeps an entourage of "yes mans" by her side worth the lackluster ticket sales your forthcoming shows will ultimately face? While you conjure up a sober explanation for your inebriated assessment, here's why caping for YesJulz in the year of our Lord 2019 is so cringe for a Black person like yourself. 

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You're downplaying the oppressive power dynamics of racism.

By associating the YesJulz controversy as white people being "mean" to Black people, you're essentially erasing several decades of proven evidence where the white community had zero regard for dark-skinned individuals. Although you're Canadian-born, I'm sure you are well-versed in the trials and tribulations American minorities faced just to earn the right to vote, attend university and other the plights they endured or rights they were denied based on the color of their skin. That being said, just because a Miami-based host proudly proclaims she is responsible for several Black artists careers and delivered that assessment in a manner Black people didn't positively respond to, doesn't give you an avenue to call foul.

You make it easier for white women to assert their dominance over Black women in the future.

Let's be honest: YesJulz and other white women who masquerade as champions for minority rights are just playing into the "I have Black friends and therefore the entire community should accept me" narrative. However, the problem is that once you give them an inch, they undoubtedly reach for a mile. Despite your prior knowledge of Scottie Beam or Karen Civil — the two Black queens Julz called out by name in her March interview on the Easily Offended podcast — the immediate alliance with their melanin-deficient foe tells Julz that even when Black women could benefit from the support of Black men, they still won't receive it. Additionally, when a similar offense inevitably occurs in the future, Black women are automatically on the losing end. 

In the game of racism, there really is no "winning team."

Perhaps one of the most disturbing comments in your Instagram Live rant was your definition of the "winning team." Since you kept saying you were "drunk as f**K," let me remind you what exactly you uttered:

"Are we winning as a culture? Are we on top of society?" Then you continued: "We're not, and you can't win the game by choosing to not accept the winning team's strategy. You have to acknowledge their strategy and build as strategy on top of that."

First of all, is the white community really the winning team? The team that gladly phones the police when Black folk are celebrating birthdays, inspecting homes and swimming while minding their own business. By what evidence can you suggest they have "won"? That's the looming question, especially because you yourself have experienced success thanks in part to Black people buying your album and handing over their coins to watch you perform live. As Beam coyly responded following news of your antics, watch who you decide to chastise. 

In retrospect, there really is no winner in this argument. YesJulz will continue to be YesJulz, and Black women still won't receive the well-earned respect they deserve. Your carefully crafted apology (should you decide to make one) will resonate with some, perhaps. However, in the era of cancel culture, some have already opted to remove your beloved songs from their playlists. Overall, this wasn't the smartest move, Mr. Caesar, but hopefully your sober thoughts will allow you to consider the ramifications such a drunken statement had on your short-term career.


Now, check these out:

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