Social media is a gift and a curse. The free networking opportunities give artists the ability to connect with people from all over the world, and also lets them promote their music and develop a fanbase without the help of major labels.
However, social media is also a curse because old, problematic tweets can come back to haunt artists when they least expect it.
One of my current favorite artists is Sabrina Claudio. Her music has a very atmospheric, relaxing vibe, and her voice always matches the lushness of the production she chooses. With “Confidently Lost” and “About Time,” she quickly became one of my favorite artists of this generation.
However, a few days ago, Claudio’s racist past came back to bite her in the butt when Twitter users discovered old racist tweets from she posted at age 15. Under an old username, she made a lot of derogatory comments toward black women with tweets saying, “F--- it, I’ll be a black girl for Halloween” and “it must suck to be a black girl with no booty.” She was also caught using the n-word as well.
Being both a black woman and a fan of hers, I was disappointed and disgusted. On the other hand, I was not shocked whatsoever. Just because I discovered her old tweets does not mean I automatically hate her music or think she is talentless. I can’t just turn that on and off. But I do think she was and sadly, probably still is very ignorant. It does not matter that these tweets were from when she was 15 because at that age, you should know better than to say things like that are racist and flat-out wrong — let alone say them to begin with.
Now, of course, Claudio has released statements apologizing for her tweets, and I can only take them with a grain of salt since she had to say something, because ignoring it would’ve been worse. However, I do not like that people who are not the target of her tweets saying things like “we forgive you” or “everybody makes mistakes.” The people affected by her tweets were black women, and only black women should be the ones saying if they forgive her or not. White people have to stop telling others how to feel when they are not the ones being attacked.
Although I enjoy Claudio’s music and I still think she is very talented, it puts me in an awkward place because I feel guilty even thinking about listening to her music now. I don’t know if she still feels like this. I don’t have time to deal with artists with nasty attitudes and prejudices toward black women when those individuals are the ones who are listening to her music. I don’t know how Claudio can fix this situation because the damage is already done, but I think these vague apology statements are not doing her any good. She needs to be more open and honest about why she felt this way. Only time can tell from where her career goes from here and how she continues to address this situation, but as of now, for me, I am just a disappointed fan.