The word “boycott” became the embodiment for economic ostracism when an Irish landowner, Charles Boycott, evicted tenants due to non-payment. Because of this action his employees stopped working for him, businesses wouldn’t take his money and even the postman stopped delivering his mail. Today we still use the word boycott in reference to nonviolent protest and consumer activism.
The music industry has been riddled with artists, who, for various reasons, have been boycotted over the years. In no certain order, there was Elvis Presley who was boycotted by venues, radio and television because of his “Negro” influenced music and gyrating hips. John Lennon from the beloved group, The Beatles, commented in a London magazine that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The comment took a few months to make its way to the U.S., but when it did Bible Belt disk jockeys vowed to ban ALL Beatles music. And there was also the Dixie Chicks. Back in 2003, Natalie Maines-Pasdar, the lead singer for the group, made a statement to a London audience that she was ashamed of then President George W. Bush (in reference to the Iraq invasion). She later apologized for her remark but the damage was already done. Radio station listeners were quick to react and the radio stations heard them loud and clear and they also reacted. One Kansas City radio station website displayed over 800 emails from listeners supporting a boycott from the station of Dixie Chick music. Another station in Alabama received over 250 calls in one day complaining about Maines’ comments before they decided to remove the Dixie Chicks from their rotation. The president of Jacobs Broadcast Group said, “the emotion of the callers telling us about their fathers and sons and brothers who are overseas now and who fought in previous wars was very specific.”
This leads me to the heart of this rant – I mean blog. Psy, a South Korean singer/rapper, has gained international fame over his single, Gangnam Style. While the song’s campy video may seem harmless and fun, not too long ago, his lyrics concerned civil groups causing him to pay fines and restrict sales. In 2004 a portion of his song lyrics included:
“Kill those f—king
Yanks who have been
torturing Iraqi captives.
Kill those f–king
Yankees who ordered
them to torture.
Kill their daughters,
Kill them all slowly
And, why are we not boycotting Psy knowing he sang these words? I don’t know about you but a person who sings these kinds of lyrics is not someone I want to support. Psy has made more than $8 million already – probably with most of it being US dollars. I also don’t want to support any station playing Psys music or any business using his likeness knowing he sang these lyrics. I understand the song calling for the death of our military and their families came out a few years ago and I’m also aware he has since apologized; however, that just isn’t enough in my eyes. If an American music artist was boycotted for saying she was ashamed of President Bush, then why shouldn’t we boycott Psy for his disrespectful lyrics against our troops, their families and the people they work for (which includes our government)? Did you know the Dixie Chicks received death threats for what they said yet we are embracing Psy? He is on all the radio/TV stations, all kinds of well known people are doing parodies of his video and the same manager of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen just signed him as a client and plans to “make history together.” In my research I found one site taking names for a petition to boycott Psys trip to The White House. One Website…just one out of the millions out there. I’m disappointed.
As Americans should we not be proud and stand up to those that speak such hateful things against our citizens? Why aren’t radio stations removing his song from their playlists? Why aren’tg listeners overwhelming stations with emails and phone calls demanding his song be removed? Why is it ok for Psy not to be boycotted? Why do we feel the need to embrace him just because he said he was sorry? Why didn’t his apology come way before Gangnam Stlye was a hit?
I know freedom of speech is a God given right, but it doesn’t mean I have to like or agree with everything, everyone says. I know a few people are with me on this issue. Within an email directed to employee yesterday, our CEO, Ken Knorr, said “If his (Psy) opinion is that Yankees should die, I have an opinion that I shouldn’t buy his records or support companies (i.e. radio stations) that play his songs. Is my opinion somehow less worthy than his opinion? – I think not.
Besides, the method of showing an opinion by promoting a boycott is a whole lot less violent, than say calling for his death… and the death of his daughters, mother, mother in law, and father.”
I know there are other things going on in this world needing more attention than boycotting Psy and his music; unfortunately I can’t control those things. Our troops work hard around this world to protect the rights of many people who don’t have the same freedoms Americans have. I understand frustration but when a platform like music is taken to deliver your message it is a message from your heart and I highly doubt saying sorry undoes the feelings you had when you wrote and produced that song.
The apology was to pacify people because Psy is now making lots of money and wants to continue to make lots of money. That doesn’t sit well with me and it shouldn’t with you either.
These are my thoughts, my words. I know some will stand with me, will you?
I’ve already signed the petition to boycott Psy from going to The White House (and would sign every other petition to have him and his music banned).