The Weeknd’s newly-released song, “Lost in the Fire,” recently came under fire among the Twitter community. It features lyrics dismissing homosexuality as a phase while promoting corrective rape, a practice in which a gay person is raped by someone of the opposite sex to force them to become straight. Immediately, the Weeknd’s song was met with criticism and condemnation, with one Twitter user saying the singer has managed to “deride, fetishize and dismiss lesbianism all in one verse” and another calling for the singer to “take a weekend off” in order to reflect on himself and his actions.
How can we ignore a part of our own identities as suggested by the Weeknd’s lyrics, “you’re going through a phrase”? We have been fighting for so long to help the LGBTQ+ community gain acceptance. To see an example of our glaring lack of progress in pop culture while being told not to do anything about it is equivalent to rejecting the community altogether.
However, the Twitter users offended by the song lyrics faced their own backlash after being labeled as “over-sensitive.” But is that really such a bad thing? By associating “sensitivity” with a negative connotation, we are told to stay complicit when our own community or the communities around us are being attacked. This culture of supposed “sensitivity” is largely a result of the emerging digital age, allowing for people to share their stories and perspectives more than ever before. As a result, voices that were never heard before have begun to clamor together in collective rebellion against preexisting, confining ideas. Yet, there is still so much to be done.
Alongside Lil Pump’s “Butterfly Doors” , these songs raise the question: Why do people think making fun of other communities is cool, even glamorous, in the lens of pop culture? It might rhyme, but these lyrics hold implications that paint minorities in a negative light. By doing so, they insinuate that these communities are only good for jokes, denying the identities of people who only want their identities to be acknowledged. In an age when music can drastically influence its listeners, let’s hope that more songs will be written that spread messages of positivity and love.