It seems like every few years, rap music is criticized for what some perceive as a precipitous decline in lyrical skill and quality. A decade ago, Nas declared that hip hop was dead. Now, artists such as Lil Yachty and Young Thug are often chided for veering too far from the roots of rap music. The debate will probably rage on for years to come, but if you take a moment to zoom out of the U.S. hip hop landscape, you’ll find that rap music still has the ability to give a voice to the voiceless.
Meet the Tihorappers Crew, a collective of Mayan rappers from Tihosuco, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
“My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she said while addressing recent complaints about her contributions to a toxic work environment on the show. “Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
Writing about what she has learned in recent weeks, DeGeneres vowed to push herself “to learn and grow.”
“We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention,” she went on to write. “I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.”
Check out the timeline of her downward spiral below:
December 2018 – The New York Times publishes the “Ellen DeGeneres Is Not as Nice as You Think” headline
In a New York Times profile, reporter Jason Zinoman examined the comedian’s happy television host persona against her 2018 Netflix stand-up special, titled “Relatable”. With a headline that read “Ellen DeGeneres Is Not as Nice as You Think,” Zinoman wrote, “In sharp contrast to her public image as everyone’s good friend, happy to listen, she presents herself — with tongue in cheek — as cartoonishly aloof and indifferent, stuck in a privileged bubble, cracking several jokes, for instance, about her fabulous wealth.”
January 2019 – Defense of Kevin Hart and dismissal of his disappointed fans as “haters”
Soon after comedian and actor, Kevin Hart was ousted from his position as an Academy Awards host due to a series of discovered homophobic tweets and jokes he’d made, DeGeneres, invited him to come on her show.
During her interview with him, DeGeneres urged Hart to ignore the backlash he’d received and dismissed his critics as “haters.” Soon after, she appealed to the academy to hire him for the Oscars once again much to her supporters’ chagrin.
October 2019 – DeGeneres takes a photo with George W. Bush
In the fall of 2019, DeGeneres was pictured with former president George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game. The photo sparked backlash and expressions of disappointment online. After all, during his presidency, Bush pushed for bans on same-sex marriage. DeGeneres belittled negative comments about the photo writing, “People were upset. They thought, ‘Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’ “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”
November 2019 – Dakota Johnson calls DeGeneres out for lying on her own show
Known as the incident that might have first brought down Ellen, Johnson’s 2019 appearance on the comedian’s daytime show undoubtedly opened the floodgates. During an interview with the Fifty Shades Of Grey actress, DeGeneres commented about not being invited to her 30th birthday party asking “How was the party? I wasn’t invited.” Johnson was quick to defend herself in an awkward but honest moment saying “Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen. You were invited.”
March 2020 – And of course, that viral Twitter post
Months after Johnson’s appearance, a Twitter thread posted by “Gilmore Guys” podcast co-host Kevin T. Porter went viral after he petitioned for negative stories about DeGeneres’s behavior in “exchange for food bank donations.”
The tweet reeled in over 16K comments and a whole lot of horrifying stories about the actress.
There are few queer characters the people can point to in the past as being someone that changed their lives. Santana Lopez, Naya Rivera’s character on “Glee,” is one of them. Even if you’ve never watched “Glee,” Rivera’s character touched you because of how that representation is so important and empowering.
Naya Rivera’s place in LGBTQ+ media representation will be her long-lasting legacy.
Rivera brought us Santana Lopez, a queer Latina navigating the world of high school in a small town. For many, this kind of representation was so rare and often poorly done that Rivera’s command of the role was impactful. You didn’t have to be an avid viewer of the show to understand and appreciate the magnitude of Santana Lopez.
Rivera brought our experience directly to the mainstream and forced our own classmates to think about the way they saw queer people.
Rivera’s ability to capture the awkwardness and terror of being a closeted queer student in high school still resonates. It is a piece of nostalgia that is so deeply ingrained in queer people that it’s hard not to be emotional about Rivera’s sudden and tragic death.
Who can forget the moment Santana used “Landslide” to tell Brittany that she loved her.
The emotion of a love that is not easy to confess and live authentically is real. Ask any queer person you know about coming to terms with her sexuality in high school and you will hear about the fear and excitement. You will hear about the strategic allyships that epitomize the constant battle between being open and staying safe.
Rivera was more than an actress, she was an ally and advocate during her time on “Glee.”
Season 2, when Rivera’s feelings for Brittany (played by Heather Morris) grew, aired from 2010 to 2011. It was a time when marriage equality was not nationwide. Some states still barred same-sex couples from adopting children. Yet, queer high school and college students had a chance to see their experience mirrored because of Rivera’s insistence.
Rivera’s death is a major loss for the queer community that got our strength and courage from her.
Knowing that all of the “Glee” fans were rooting for and falling in love with Santana Lopez gave us a chance to breathe and feel accepted. Adding her Latina heritage was so important. Queer people of color, who have faced increased scrutiny from their own families, had someone representing them completely and sincerely.
Demi Lovato paid tribute by remembering the time she played Santana Lopez’s girlfriend.
The queer Latina love was not lost on fellow queer Latinos. Lovato herself was not out about her sexuality at the time and she admits in her post that Rivera inspired her. Rivera’s efforts to give the character an accurate and respectful storyline will forever be praised and admired as a fully realized manifestation of our experience.
Thank you for being someone we didn’t know we needed, Naya.
Our hearts are broken and our eyes are wet. We send love and hope to your loved ones. Rest in power, mija. We love you and will never forget what you did for our community.