Notes on Joe Rogan and India Arie

I like India Arie. Her Acoustic Soul album was the second album that I gave to my daughter. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was the first. India came into my consciousness as a black woman singing about going against the grain of the images that were being disseminated in the Jay-Z and Dr. Dre videos of that time. She wore her hair naturally, she did not show her booty, and she rode a bicycle. Everything that she did was rebellious even if she wasn’t necessarily trying to be. Now she’s gone viral for calling out Joe Rogan and Spotify on her Instagram and I’m kind of upset.

Just to be clear, I’m not mad at Miss Arie. She stated her position very well. She doesn’t like Joe, or any other white person for that matter, using the N word at all, and Joe has used it several times. She thinks Spotify is exploitative because they do not pay their artists very well. I get it. I’m cool with that. What I am mad at is the way she’s being covered by CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC as if they care about her brand. It’s almost as if she’s a regular news consultant. Since when do they care about early 2000’s R&B singers? Did they touch bases with Sunshine Anderson and Tank on this particular issue? I mean come on now. 

Joe Rogan has used his platform to stand up against legacy news media lying to people in excess for going on three years now. Has anyone ever asked how every major news outlet has taken the exact same stance on Covid and the vaccine, even though it’s been the most divisive issue in modern history? None of it is genuine. It isn’t open ended and it’s extremely far from being objective. In essence corporate media is trash. The whole country has been looking for something else. And Joe Rogan, whether you like him or not, is that something else. It’s like when Puff Daddy and Mase ran hip-hop in the Shiny suit era then DMX came into the game like “Let’s take it back to the streets mutha f***a!” That’s what Joe Rogan is, but in a much more white way. He wanted to take it back to the Dick Cavett days when people actually had dialogue and debates about controversial topics and he did just that, bless his heart. The only issue is that he became too successful at it. His narrative began to bump heads with the corporate narrative, especially that of CNN and so they sought to get rid of him. CNN has lost almost half of its viewership in the same time that Rogan’s has doubled. Do the math. They want him out of there–period. And who do liberal pundits always lean on when they want someone canceled? Black people. 

Once a person is accused of being racist in the way that Rogan is now being accused they become radioactive. People no longer question the issues. Critical thinking is suspended. Everyone becomes reactionary and moves based on emotion. No one comes to publicly defend a racist unless they too want to be labeled racists, so the individual is left to fight alone and more often than not after several painful apologies, they lose. But alas, this fight is not about whether Joe Rogan is racist, it’s about free speech versus corporate domination. It’s about the loss of sheep in the fold of corporate media outlets which equates to the loss of money. It’s about Joe Rogan being the embodiment of a different kind of information not to be confused with MISinformation. And this is about the old guard putting him back in his place. This isn’t about blackness, this isn’t about racism, this isn’t about Neil Young, this isn’t about India Arie. We need to look through all of the distractions to focus on what’s really at stake and finally start having real conversations again. 

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