It seems that in the last part of 2020, all of our role models seem to be letting us down in one way or another. From domestic abuse, paedophilia, cheating on their (delete? respective) partners, etc, etc. their transgressions may vary, but it's almost as if we are running out of artists to listen to without making our skin crawl. however, I offer alternative explanation to the sense of disappointment you feel, that's actually your own fault. Let me explain.
To start off, before you jump to conclusions, no I am not arguing that it is your fault that your favourite rappers are behaving badly, it is more the sense anger of you may have feel towards them. The problem may not be that your role models are constantly letting you down, you're just foolishly expecting celebrities to act as role models, when they themselves never attempt claimed to do so.
The idea that fame should automatically make you a moral person is absurd. Just because you are famous, doesn't mean that you are any less capable of wrongdoing. Fame doesn't automatically improve your moral compass, if anything, it's likely to only make it worse. Despite this, many hold the premise? that an artist is going to suddenly become a Samaritan just because they've blown, and justify being fans of said artist on this basis. We seem to assume that all celebrities and artists have duties to be role models, and this is where we go wrong.
Almost every successful drill rapper has a rags to riches story, that's nothing new. But they are being thrust into the responsibility of being role models to the rest of the black community, specifically young black men. However, in the environments that they live and rap about, none of them have effective role models to look up to. so why would you expect them to be able to emulate something that they have never seen in their own lives? What qualifications or experience do rappers have that would make them effective role models? If you're listening to certain lyrical content and thinking "Yeah, this is someone I should look up to", you should be questioning your own IQ rather than their morality. As much as we use the excuse of "young impressionable kids", to an extent you're almost insulting their intelligence to absolve them of responsibility. We worship celebrities as gods then act surprised when they turn out to be human after all.
It would pretty irrational to expect someone like Trizzac or RV to hold the same moral compass as you, so why even waste energy being mad when they prove you right? You're probably going to be streaming their music again within a month, so what's the point? Me? I can happily listen to how v9 will run a man down for fun, and go on to my 9-5 job as a university graduate, knowing I would never do anything of the sort in my life.
The worst part about it is that celebrities will be idolised and then dragged for the most menial reasons. Remember when it was rumoured that Dave had a white girlfriend? Black twitter stripped his exemplar for black excellence status for a day or two. It blew over after he cleared up the rumour, but my point still stands.
The obsession with celebrity couples is something I can't relate to, but it makes sense. You idolise those relationships and set them as a benchmark for what you may want some day, seeing it as perfection. As a result when Burna Boy cheats on his girlfriend, Stefflon Don, it sends you into an outrage because that image of love you admired is shattered.
We've seen it time, and time again - black celebrity couples are painted as the pinnacle of black love, only for the relationship to break down like a Peugeot 206. Soon enough, everyone is flooding to the TL to give their 2 cents. That anger, that sense of disappointment and betrayal that drives you to tweet, "How can you do this to us?" or "We had so much faith in you!" (always accompanied by that Tyra Banks gif, no less).
Social media makes us feel like we are entitled to people's lives. We see snippets on their lives on stories etc. We feel like we know them when we really don't. They are held accountable to a perception that is in your head, and the problem is that perception is almost impossible to live up to.
But what about the more serious sins celebrities/artists commit? Well, it seems we're in an era where if you commit a crime, the world finds out, and getting your twitter apology/explanation ready is more important than preparing a legal defence. The blind lady justice has a younger sister, her name is cancel culture. But she's fickle, and usually forgets why she's mad at you after a while. Whilst none of this excuses their behaviour, doesn't it show how cancel culture isn't concerned with justice, just personal gratification.
Dutchavelli's tour will still sell out, his tape will hit however many million streams, brands will still pick him up for adverts. People will be extremely confused when this happens as ask why, and its simply because it the emotional distress that people crave which makes them feel like better people. Upholding any sort of moral principle isn't actually important to you. Everyone is running round screaming that we should cancel each other, when all we're really doing is throwing stones out of glass houses. The satisfaction of being involved in their public social media crucifixion is more important than justice.
Cancel culture doesn't really have true consequences, you might have a small hit in sales for a few weeks/months but you'll bounce back and everyone will have forgotten.
Where I do feel it is appropriate, is when an artists positions themselves as role model in a clear and intentional manner, and then messes up. If that is responsibility you actively took on, be prepared because your mistakes have harsher consequences. However, yet again due to how fickle the general populous is, give a month and it will blow over anyway.
To summarise, if you decided to uphold your favourite rapper as a role model for whatever reason, and when they disappoint you, lash out in anger on twitter, that emotional distress you feel is your own fault. Most of the time, these artists never position themselves a role models in the first place. Even when they do position themselves as role models, cancel culture has proven to be simply made up people who are desperate to feel important, when in reality, they have very little influence over the lives of the people they are obsessed with. Cancel culture isn't activism, but that's a whole different article for a different day.
Now, do I actually have solutions to any of the issues I've raised? Of course not, I am a true millennial. What can be taken from this, maybe, is that we need to have a bigger conversation about picking our role models better.