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Daniel Caesar dons cape for whiteness—and gets canceled

Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock (Licensed)

The Grammy-winner defends YesJulz, and picks a puzzling hill to die on.

Grammy-winning soul singer Daniel Caesar has been mortally wounded on the worst hill possible. He’s being roasted for his drunken suggestion that Black people are “too sensitive,” which he made during a long-winded rant on Instagram Live late Tuesday. He also offered support to the controversial YesJulz, a white Instagram-famous woman who was vocal in her recent criticism of two Black women.

Viewers should’ve known, through his recent Kanye-like bleached blondeness, that something culturally insensitive would be vomited up for public consumption. He said he was very drunk during the live stream, but with the Twitter mentions now in the tens of thousands, the Canadian singer born Ashton Simmonds is effectively being deleted from viability for his comments.

YesJulz, the 28-year-old so-called influencer from born Julieanna Goddard, unsuccessfully tried coming for hip-hop staples Scottie Beam and Karen Civil on the Easily Offended podcast earlier this month, suggesting they were jealous of her achievements.

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Julz has previously been called out for her casual appropriation of Black fashion, and blatant disregard of Black women. For example, in 2017, she tweeted a photo of a T-shirt that read “n****s lie a lot.” She sent out a lot of other racist tweets as well, such as “Black girls don’t like me cuz black men do!”

She attempted to explain the shirt indiscretion away on the podcast, in an ironic episode concerning culture appropriation in hip-hop. Of course, the Black co-hosts, including noted battle rapper Murda Mook, let her stump without challenging her blind spots. For what it’s worth, Mook also defends R. Kelly and Michael Jackson in the course of the show.

Neither Beam, Civil, nor Black Twitter was having any of her foolishness. But then came Mr. Caesar.

It should be duly noted that the “Get You” troubadour previously expressed support for Kanye West’s right-wing buddy, Candace Owens, the Trump-supporting pundit who trumpets nationalism.

Culture vultures like YesJulz need enablers to exist. And for white women who ravenously feed on Blackness to continue thriving, they need approval-seeking Black men to get in the booth and don that glorious cape on their behalf. That’s something Caesar was all too happy to do.

“Why are we being so mean to Julz?” Caesar curiously asked. “Why are we being so mean to white people right now? That’s a serious question. Why is it that we’re allowed to be disrespectful and rude to everybody else and when anybody returns any type of energy to us… That’s not equality. I don’t want to be treated like I can’t take a joke.”

Caesar attempted to bolster his wet paper bag argument by referencing comedian Dave Chappelle’s misfired joke that his music seemed “very gay” in a recent episode of singer John Mayer’s Instagram show. Caesar says he was “fucking sensitive” when he initially heard Chappelle’s joking remark. He then said he recognized he should “to be able to take a joke just like everybody else.”

How Caesar was able to make any parallel between Chappelle making homophobic jokes on the orientation of his creative output, and YesJulz’s gross disrespect of Black women and Black culture, we will never know.

(Let’s also note that he evidently has awful friends. Who would allow him to commit social harakiri via white-assimilative racial commentary that no one had ever asked for?)

He goes on: “White people have been mean to us in the past. What are you gonna do about that? Tell me what you’re gonna do about that. There’s no answer other than creating understanding and keeping it moving. That’s some biblical shit. You have to bridge the gap.”

So, basically, what Caesar is saying is that Black people should take the lead—bootstrap their way into overcoming violent, systemic oppression applied by destructive whiteness on their own—because that’s what Jesus would do.

His argument gets more bizarre and off-putting.

“To not allow people to say what they want doesn’t help you,” he claims. “Are we winning right now as a culture, like are we on top of society? You can’t win the game by choosing to not accept the winning team’s strategy. You have to acknowledge their strategy and then build a strategy on top of that.”

Caesar, unannounced professor of letters, specifically the ones in All Lives Matter, says the grand plan has to be to build on top of white supremacy, and that the rest of us need to smarten up. Murder, rape, chattel slavery, colonization, and ignoring the existence and feelings of Black women are institutional roadblocks that Caesar ignores.

What’s important in these events: Caesar is a young man with much to learn and should be held accountable for his comments; this isn’t simply about a Black man nonsensically defending person-of-color-cannibalizing whiteness; fame and fortune combined are a powerful amnesia-causing narcotic.

Caesar defended the worst type of white person: One whose work is primarily borne from Black culture, and a fraud regularly trading in the demonization of Black women through the crusted lens of her internalized Black male misogyny.

Because Caesar didn’t come to the defense of the Black women, one can assume by his actions that his allegiance to YesJulz represents like-mindedness. YesJulz doesn’t love Black women and therefore doesn’t love Black people. Neither does the blonde-haired Black man in the cape.

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Kahron Spearman

Kahron Spearman

Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.