Doja Cat and South America argued on Twitter over a canceled concert. everyone lost
One of the reasons that gives me hope for culture in general, and pop music in particular, is that someone like Doja Cat has managed to become a hitmaker. You know, the person who launched his career with… this beauty.
Quick recap if you haven’t heard of her: Doja Cat is one of the biggest names in R&B/Pop/Hip Hop right now. She led the charge for all that musical “Vibes” sound that pretty much becomes the 2020s sound embodied by SZA and Kali Uchis and pioneered by FKA Twigs. It’s a very melodic, laid-back mix of R&B, trap-leaning hip-hop and California sounds that hit you like, well, something mixed with pot or food. Doja adds her own sense of humor and absurdity.
Rolling high on two consecutive albums and finally being able to to visit (both in support of The Weeknd’s 2022 stadium tour and as a headliner), she kicked off the year by performing at major late-summer festivals across South America.
I know I should be skeptical of candlelight things like corporate music festivals, but let’s face it, ever since international festivals like Lollapalooza or Primavera started rolling through the continent, it’s been pretty awesome . I mean, it’s a candle and prohibitively expensive for most people here, but we’ve always been an afterthought in scheduling tours for most major artists. Nowadays, most major world tours by Anglo-Saxon artists plan at least one date per South American country (other than Brazil and Argentina), but this was really not the case there. only 20 or 15 years old. When artists like the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson or U2 stopped with their 90s tours, it was a national event. Now you can actually catch up with up and coming artists in your own country, instead of waiting for the chance of a reunion tour. And yes, the dictatorships of the 70s and 80s were a major obstacle. For example, it is a well-known fact that Pinochet’s wife helped prevent Queen from playing a concert in Chile; I don’t need to explain why a fascist dictatorship wouldn’t be a fan of Freddy Mercury.
Against this backdrop, and after the two-year punch of the pandemic that effectively undid everything, I wouldn’t be surprised if South American popheads feel anxious. Our national economies are not doing well, and bringing music festivals to the region represents a considerable business risk. South American fans wouldn’t be exaggerating if they felt this little golden age of music concerts threatened by the post-pandemic world.
But so far the summer festivals have been successful. No one was in charge of the mask protocols, so there’s a new spike in COVID cases, but South Americans have this thing where most of us, you know, believe in vaccines. Unfortunately for Paraguay, probably the most isolated country on the continent, their premier festival (Asunciónico) had to be canceled after torrential rain fell on the second day, March 22/a>. This is something you would think the organizer would expect in a subtropical city with 80 rainy days a year and around 120mm of rainfall in March. I mean, I don’t expect them to predict a weather front, just have contingency plans.
The Doja Cat concert was among those cancelled. Accustomed to showers, several Paraguayan fans waited outside her hotel to meet her, but she never showed up. People have lost their damn mind. On a continental scale.
Paraguayan fans felt disrespected by the alleged snub, which, let’s face it, was probably not going to happen. For context, that same day, lightning from the same storm front struck Miley Cyrus’ plane upon his arrival in Asunción. Some sources claim that Doja decided to organize a concert in a small bar along with other rumors that she acted like a total diva, but these are just unconfirmed hearsay. Yet it all escalated to South American Twitter, unleashing their scorn on Doja with the much-needed #DojaCatIsOverParty in a way that surely won’t stereotype us with the fiery Latino trope.
But Doja, being a 20-something internet person, couldn’t help but make matters worse, using her personal account to applaud the Paraguayan supporters, getting defensive and complaining that no one was waiting for her as she left the hotel in Asunción. Famous people can’t give up engaging in social media shit storms. That, of course, led to more trolling on social media, pushing Doja into “fuck ’em kids” mode, announcing she would no longer be taking pictures with fans outside of hotels, and making the usual assertions of quit social media. It didn’t last long, as she shouted out to her Brazilian audience at a concert held two days later, apologizing for not giving a perfect performance., which yes, was a sharp act of pettiness against his Paraguayan fans for acting, well, a little crappy. However, that only threw gas on the wound of mixed metaphors: the only argument the Paraguayan fans had for them is that it would have been nice if Doja had made a video saying how sorry she was about the concert cancelled. like Miley Cyrus did. Expectations were also higher given that other major artists spent time with fans in Asunción, including the Foo Fighters and Machine Gun Kelly.
A silly scandal requires each party to do a series of stupid, reckless little things. The end result was a Twitter shouting match between American Doja fans and South American Twitter, two groups of people who don’t know what the word chill means. Latin America is one big dysfunctional family; we can talk shit all the time, but if a gringo disrespects one of our own, the powers of Latin American unity combine because family is family.
Most of the time it’s absolutely justified, but this time we may have overdone it. Doja’s American fans made several positive points: she didn’t owe them a meeting, she didn’t owe them her time and personal space. Additionally, they claimed that some on South American Twitter had made racist comments about him. I haven’t found any myself, but yes…it follows.
However, when parasocial communities clash on social media, it brings out the worst in each other. Predictably, gringo fans tweeted their own racist clapbacks.
después hacen berrinche porque les decís “gringo”, pero ellos pueden ir tweeteando esto libree ¿? pic.twitter.com/ZDgkPZiVvG
— 𝐦𝐚𝐣𝐨♥️ (@whitmansverse) March 25, 2022
The spiral of pricksmanship continued until baby boomers decided to step in. On the 25th, the official account of MERCOSUR, South America’s supranational trade organization and EU aspirant, decided it had to keep it real with the kidz, and posted this: MercosurDojaCat .webp
Translation: Doja Cat denounces a #Mercosur country (red flags). They deleted it after a while. To be fair, Mercosur is about as globally relevant as Doja Cat. It’s not a jab at it, because it’s not supposed to be an international economic partnership representing 600 million people.
In the end, everyone lost, and the heartbreaking death of Taylor Hawkins during that same season put it all in perspective. There’s no doubt that Doja Cat is mostly in the law here, but I also understand where the Paraguayans are coming from.
Paraguay is the underdog in a whole continent of underdogs. Their history has been tragic as hell, even by Latin American standards, and they have to deal with a landlocked (though connected by rivers) sparsely populated country, far from all major population centers in South America. South. A regional meme forgets that Paraguay exists, which is an enhanced version of how we feel in the Global South. The dynamics of exploitation are bad enough, but we also have a mountain to climb to gain cultural relevance. South American fans deeply resent the fact that big global stars recognize us, even now that many of the biggest names in music are South American themselves. We want to feel recognised, having The Weeknd telling us they loved the mountains in Santiago, Drake shouting at the food in Johannesburg, Ed Sheeran taking selfies in Bogotá and Miley apologizing to Asunción from a bathtub, even s there was nothing she could do. This is something you wouldn’t understand if you’re from any Alpha-City except Rio or Sao Paulo. You are already part of a larger cultural scene because you are a hub; we are used to being a final destination.
Then there is the culture of Latin hospitality, embodied in that Spanish expression that everyone knows. The mere perception of rejected hospitality is a major misstep here. We probably need to work on that, but in the meantime, just create a Tik-Tok that’s just for us at (INSERT CITY). Because unlike big city audiences, Latin fans are loyal to hell. Ask any band that was huge in the 80s that played a reunion tour here.
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Image sources (in order of publication): Getty Images, Twitter