Singer, rapper, songwriter, and aesthetic chameleon, Doja Cat is now estimated at a net worth of $4 million; Though, this time last year, it wasn’t clear whether the artist had the staying power to overcome numerous controversies and cement her place in the spotlight.
Doja Cat, born Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, has become as ubiquitous and controversial as any Kardashian or Jenner. First gaining notoriety for the 2015 hit “So High” and the bizarrely enchanting internet sensation “Moo,” Doja Cat, like Lady Gaga and Nikki Minaj before her, loves being strange. Her visuals unravel like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, performing the minute-to-minute theatrics short attention spanned audiences crave.
The Racism Controversies
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Unfortunately, these theatrics have included accusations that she spent time in alt-right chat rooms and used homophobic slurs. She also received backlash for the since-deleted Soundcloud song “Dindu Nuffin,” which many felt mocked “black people who died as a result of police brutality,” according to Insider.
All these events incited the #DojaCatisOverParty last May, where Twitter users called for her immediate cancelation. In a since-deleted Instagram post, Doja Cat responded, “I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child. I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone that I offended”. She also spoke to identifying as a black woman and taking pride in her South African family and heritage. In response to “Dindu Nuffin,” Doja Cat said the song was “in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience,” and said she had intended to “flip its meaning.” According to Insider “the singer added that despite the apparent misunderstanding of her song, she recognized that it was a ‘bad decision to use the term.'”
By the end of the month, however, #DojaCatisNOToverparty and #WeAreSorryDoja were trending, bringing on one of the most distinct cancel culture reversals yet. Doja Cat’s ability to morph and evolve seamlessly also lent to her recovery. She issued a formal apology later, saying, “I used horrible derogatory and hateful words towards people out of ignorance. I just want you guys to know that you’re incredibly special, and I hold you dearly to my heart.” She continued, “I’m sorry for anyone I’ve offended or hurt deeply. You all are worth love and support. No one deserves to be discriminated against for their race, religion, or sexual orientation in any angle or sense.” She later adds, “I don’t want you to look at me as a [role] model. I just want you to hear my music, and the joy that you take from that is the most important part.”
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Nicki Minaj swooped in with the “Say So” remix, yielding a friendly competition with Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” for the #1 Billboard spot. The move by Minaj seemed to be the pivotal anchor that kept Doja Cat’s career afloat. While “Say So” dominated the number one Billboard sport for six weeks and hits like “Juicy” and Doja Cat’s entire album also dominating the summer charts. However, she caught additional heat in August when rapper Nas called Doja Cat “the opposite” of “unapologetically black” in his single “Ultra Black.” While many commended his right to criticize Doja Cat, several abuse allegations also diminished his credibility.
The De-Cancelation Campaigns
Tik Tok and Doja Cat’s natural knack for breaking the internet must also be credited for her rising from the ashes. From dances to the original cow-focused “Moo” to the recent blow-up of “Streets” from “Hot Pink” via the silhouette challenge, Doja Cat was quick to jump onto viral marketing angles. She released a second video for “Streets” with her own performance of the challenge. As 2020 dragged on, late night and award shows alike invited countless performances of “Say So,” prompting a much-needed heavy metal remix for the MTV and the Grammys. As Ira Madison noted on the Keep It Podcast, Doja Cat was asked to perform “Say So” so many times she herself must be tired of it, indicating the intense if exhaustive fanfare surrounding the moment. Doja Cat confirmed Madison’s suspicions in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. She said she expected the Grammy performance would bring a close to the “Say So” era along with this Tweet.
While “Say So” may have become overplayed even for her, it appears to have just been the beginning. At this juncture, all seems full steam ahead for Doja Cat. On the music front, there are the three Grammy nominations, her verses on Ariana Grande’s “Motive and the “34+35” remix with Meghan Thee Stallion, and the Bebe Rexha collaboration “Baby I’m Jealous” with a time-traveling and thirst-quenching music video and 53 million views. Just last Friday, Doja Cat and SZA gifted ravenous audiences “Kiss Me More,” a fresh pop single with a stunning video complete with nods to Afrofuturism, coral space sunsets, and Grey’s Anatomy’s Alex Landi as its leading astronaut and test subject. Not to mention her second Pretty Little Thing collection launching today, and she just bought a cozy $2.2 Million home in Beverly Hills.
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Suppose the inter-sectional female collaborations, confident brand endorsements, and decision to cast an East-Asian male lead, a problematic rarity in Hollywood, represent Doja Cat’s commitment to her apologies. If so, on the surface, Doja Cat appears focused on making music for all people and channeling her provocative nature towards the music video visuals.
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Sources | The Standard, Variety, Headline Planet, Tuko, Lofficielusa, Insider, Celebrity Net Worth, Hip Hop DX
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