A few weeks ago I noticed that my local radio station had added in Doja Cat’s latest single Say So into their rotation. But I didn’t know that it was her performing it. I only discovered that earlier today; on the heels of yesterday’s trending Twitter hashtag of ‘#DojaCatIsOverParty’ – prompted by the re-emergence of a racially insensitive song that she did back in 2015.
But wait, let’s back up a bit before we get to the current nitty-gritty.
A Star is Born – Via Soundcloud
Doja was born to a Jewish mother and a (Black) South African father. There are two different stories out there, but her relationship with her father is not particularly close. She also dropped out of high school and got swept up in the marijuana subculture…hence her stage name (doja is a strain of marijuana).
She started making music on GarageBand and would upload it to Soundcloud. Then she started going viral on Tik-Tok. And her popularity kept booming from there. Now, she’s far from the first entertainer to get their start on social media (Justin Bieber got his start on YouTube). But there will always be bad apples in the bunch. And unlike in the 20th century, record labels have to play catch-up to these artists and meet them where they are. It’s not like it was back in the day, when you could fully vet an act before signing them.
The Unforgiving Nature of Fame
Just because you can make likable music does not mean that you have a high level of emotional maturity and/or that you can handle the fame that comes along with millions of people buying (or maybe I should say streaming) your work.
Doja Cat is 24 years old. I shudder at the thought have having all that I did between the ages of 19-25 on display for the entire world to see. How would people judge me based on the fact that I used to hang out with skinheads? Or on the lingerie photos of myself that I posted on my website? (thankfully, my websites were never all that popular).
This is also an era of having no filter; if you have access to the internet, then nothing at all is stopping you from making declarations and broadcasting them out instantaneously out to millions of people. Trump has shown us this. It is messy and for most people, it isn’t a good look. But it is reality — our psychological shortcomings are basically on the world stage to see.
Finding Yourself – In Front of Millions
Like me, Doja Cat is Black and Jewish. Unlike me, she was born Jewish, is/was estranged from her Dad and Black family and has a deep well from which to offer up her sexuality. And you know what? I don’t envy that. In spite of feminism, our popular culture has put young female sexuality on a pedestal. You can buy your beats from top-notch producers; you can fix your voice with auto-tune, but if you really want to explode, have a banging body and a cute face and don’t be afraid to flaunt it.
And what is the pinnacle of this sexuality? Doja stated that she wish she wasn’t Black; but at least she’s thick. This is offensive to Black women especially when we stand 100 years after the objectification of African women like Sarah Baartman who was reduced to just living and breathing ass and titties. But that is what happens when you are ignorant of both history and where you come from. Too bad that her father didn’t recognize that he had a responsibility (in which he failed) to impress upon her about these things.
Do You Know – Where you’re going to? – Do you like the things? – That life is showing you -Where are you going to? – Do you know?“Lyrics from the theme from ‘Mahogany’ “
Sex is a Vice to Insecure Women
So I don’t want to read too much into Doja’s ‘in your face’ brand of R-rated sex kitten appeal. I mean, she could just be applying the same formula that Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim and Cardi B used before her. Who knows if that was her choice, or if it was something that was pushed on her. Either way, I heard her music before seeing the videos. It saddened me a bit. Doja’s radio singles were not overtly raunchy to the ears – but the visuals of the videos for them brought more of that out. She could have (or even ‘can be’) the Black Katy Perry or P!nk.
It is almost as if she feels that her music alone is not strong enough to stand up without the sex gimmicks. Or maybe she’s just not strong enough. I mean you’re talking about someone who dropped out of high school. Who has high-achieving parents of two different cultural backgrounds. Who got caught up in cannabis sub-culture. Who flits around with racists online — probably because she hates her African father (but is too immature to recognize that hate for him is not to be channeled into hate for an entire race of people).
Seeing all this flesh itself out publicly, my knee-jerk reaction is not to cancel Doja Cat, but that this chick really needs counseling. I can tell you from first hand experience that it hurts not to be accepted anywhere. To be a weirdo. To try to mold yourself into what other people’s expectations of you are.
If it seems that I am being too forgiving of Doja Cat, well you could very well be right. She’s a part of my extended Jewish family, and she’s struggling. For sure she’s making some serious social missteps; and she’s probably about to learn a really hard life lesson here. I hope that one day, she gets the strength to confront these issues head on. I hope that she finds her ‘real’ self – and embraces her. Ultimately no amount of fame or money is worth selling your soul over.