Like many of us, I keep my refunded 80 dollars safe in my CD wallet in case the government finally decides that Tyler, the Creator is actually allowed to tour Australia. Unfortunately, this does not seem like a likely option, especially after Tyler takes shots at our ‘fine’ (cough, cough) government, in his new track called “new song; couldn’t come up with a title” in his recent tweet, then released as Fuck It.
The Californian rapper takes aim at our obsession with border control: “Tell Australia I’m sneaking in with a mic in my hand / Instead of the vegetables that I packed in my backpack.”
Activist group Collective Shout who were partially responsible for the campaign to ban Tyler were very vocal prior to Tyler’s recent decision to cancel his Australian tour, and have copped a lot of backlash following the ban. Caitlin Roper, Campaigns Manager for Collective Shout, dismissed the rapper’s response song as juvenile, telling AAP that Tyler could have written lyrics that don’t “rely on the exploitation of women to generate profits. Instead he’s essentially had a tantrum to music.”
There is some truth to her words, except that the tantrum is kind of the nature of why we love Tyler in the first place.
“While he may have been a young man when he wrote music describing raping women, mutilating their bodies, locking them in his basement and raping their corpses,” Roper said, “he’s not a child anymore, and he is yet to grow up and take responsibility for what he has put out into the world.”
Tyler has addressed this issue in Fuck It, saying: “Freedom of speech? My freedom was breached / Border patrol put me on streets immediately / For shit I said when I was a virgin.”
His response song also suggests that there are racist undertones to why he was barred from entering Australia over violent and homophobic lyrics, while a white artist like Eminem, who has similar lyrics, was allowed in: “When Marshall had this problem what the fuck was they telling him? / Is it ‘cause of status or his melanin lacks black.”
At least Tyler and Roper did, however, agree that based on Tyler’s ban, Eminem shouldn’t have been granted a visa. Collective Shout had actually partnered with a coalition of domestic violence organisations in 2014 calling on the government to deny Eminem a visa.
Violent and homophobic lyrics as well as domestic violence is an ongoing issue for musicians applying for working visas to Australia, with Chris Brown recently being banned for his assault on Rihanna. Australia needs to decide on a law and then just stick it to because if we allow in a load of white musicians with a history of actual domestic violence and violent lyrics (the list includes Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, and Slash) then Tyler and Chris Brown are right and we are just a bunch of racist bogans.
From the tone of Tyler’s response, he doesn’t seem in the least repentant. Seemingly surprised, he asks: “How can I be misogynistic love titties and ass… how can I be homophobic when my boyfriend’s a fag?”