Red an white warning sign on a fence stating in “Warning – Cancel culture widespread in this area” with a blank space underneath.

This is a rerun. We have seen how this show has played out a million times before. Someone says or does something controversial. Said person gets dragged on social media. Then they become “canceled” never to be relevant again in the memories of the culture.

In the latest saga, actor Terry Crews initially came under fire regarding a tweet stating that “Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black Supremacy. Equality is the truth.” So many things to unpack here but rightfully so there was outrage amongst the congregation. Such as the obvious, how can there be Black supremacy if African Americans make up only a minute portion of the population? Blacks as of now do not have the majority in any field of government to ever have full control even if we wanted to reign supreme.

In the fallout Crews later tweeted “The best thing about being canceled is not having to drink the Kool aid” Which really got me wondering. There are multiple reasons why I believe that the term drinking the Kool-Aid is wrong, stereotypical and needs to be abolished from being a common phrase. Such as its inception is from a horrific event and is historically inaccurate.

First the term “Drinking the Kool-Aid” was coined from the tragedy on November 18, 1978 where over 900 members of the San Francisco based Peoples Temple church died by my suicide in Jonestown by taking a poisoned drink mixed with potassium cyanide. The catastrophe was orchestrated by the fellowships social cult leader Jim Jones. Kool-Aid was not even the drink served to execute this massacre as survivors claimed that it was Flavor Aid. However Kool Aid took the blame and has been ridiculed ever since.

For those that don’t know being cancelled is the African American equivalent of exiling a person from our existence so we no longer acknowledge their work or achievements based on ignorant comments or actions that they may have made against the culture.

Cancel culture is a gift and a curse. Sure sometimes it may seem as just drinking the haterade or going along with something because it is the “it” thing to do at the time. But I do think that people have the right to support who they want. If someone needs to be canceled whether it be for something they did now or in their past they need to own up to the repercussions and do everything in their power to come face to face with their demons. If said person has done the work to be forgiven for their behavior then I feel the culture should welcome them back with open arms and do what they feel necessary to ensure that they are supported to not follow down the wrong path again.

There is a lot of prior behavior that one may display that leaves a bad taste in our mouth. Whenever that one song or show comes on from someone that has been rightfully canceled, we may watch and dance along as that is not the first thing that comes to our minds. We want to remember all of the good times that are associated with a certain act and how happy their work made us feel. But we cannot continue to pick our poison. It is hypocritical to overly condemn one for their actions then support another’s artistry just because it is infectious and makes us feel some type of way.

Next is the Kool-Aid stereotype factor in all of this. Kool-Aid has long been a mainstay in many African American households. It’s costly, goes with everything and easily can be modified to anyone’s liking. Everyone has their own special concoction. But the metaphor of the drink has to be taken into deeper context.

The drink has been associated to a body of peoples willingness to just consume or believe in something to a fault even if it is at their own detriment. By Crews stating that he enjoys being canceled is insinuating that he is some how better than his community because he does not follow down certain trends that lead to some of our demise.

Drinks have always been a mechanism for getting a body people to follow them.

Such as followers of Christianity. Believers take part every first Sunday in communion to commemorate the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. The drink is symbolic of the blood he shed for all of our sins as a constant reminder of his sacrifice and the love that he had for humanity.

IMAGE VIA UNIVERSAL PICTURES

In pop culture drinks such as tea was popularized in the 2017 Oscar nominated film Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele. In the movie a young African American male spends the weekend at his Caucasians girlfriends parents house for the weekend. The young man gets drawn into whatever the white family asks him to do such as quit smoking because he has been hypnotized with the stir of the drink. Now when ever an African American is being whitewashed the term “sipping that tea” is used as a term of being a sell out.

The difference between drinking the tea and drinking the Kool-Aid lies in the root of reality. Where tea is a fictional metaphor utilized to describe a personality trait while drinking the Kool-Aid is a non fiction account of the actual annihilation of human lives.

Cancel culture definitely is important. I do believe that a person needs to held accountable for their words and actions. Letting as many people know possible about someone’s behavior will definitely impact consumers on whether or not they want to support a specific representative.

I do believe we should also not cancel culture forever depending on the heinousness of the crime. It is important for one to learn their lesson but it takes a village to raise a child and we cannot afford to let one go astray. Council culture is the key to better help educate our community to take a step back, look left, find out where they messed up at so that way they have the opportunity to learn and become a better person for themselves and for future generations. It is important for them to realize what they have done wrong but we have to be more willing to not just cancel someone outright all together. Instead give them maybe a verbal warning, write up or suspension so they have time to really think about what they have done and develop the steps they are willing to to take to rectify their error. The more people we can save to influence to do the correct thing the better as we truly can not afford to keep leaving behind.

As we continue to grow we must evolve. People do have the ability to change over time. If someone has put in the time, work and dedication to change and has not exhibited the same negative behavior for a time period it is on us as the culture to extend the olive branch to accept that person back so we as a community can continue to grow stronger and have the best opportunity at success. So instead of canceling all together we must do our best to console said individual and hopefully they will find a way to steer them selves from the dark side, until then we need to have the patience to put them on pause and sit still until the next episode.

-C.H.

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