Daniel Caesar was one of the biggest stars in music a few years ago. However, as artists like Lucky Daye and Giveon continue to raise their profiles, Caesar hasn’t gotten the attention he did when he first dropped Freudian. All of this can be traced back to a social media rant in which Caesar told his fans that he could cancel him after he defended a woman against claims of appropriation and racially-insensitive remarks.
The YesJulz controversy
In 2019, Caesar faced major backlash for defending YesJulz, a controversial social media figure who consistently faces allegations of cultural appropriation. At the time YesJulz was facing criticism online for making racially-insensitive comments toward a Black woman.
“Why are we being so mean to Julz?” Caesar said on Instagram live. “Why are we being so mean to white people right now? That’s a serious question. Why is it that we’re allowed to be disrespectful and rude to everybody else and when anybody returns any type of energy to us… That’s not equality. I don’t wanna be treated like I can’t take a joke.”
When people began to call him out in the comments of the live video, he then began to double down. “White people have been mean to us in the past, yeah, but what are you going to do about it?” he said. “Tell me what you’re going to do about that? There’s no answer, other than creating and understanding and keeping it moving. You have to bridge that gap.”
He told people to “cancel him,” and Twitter essentially did just that, dragging him for hours. “I think you guys are wrong and I think I’m right.” he went on to say. “You can cancel me. I’m making music right now and you guys don’t have to listen to it.”
What has taken place after
After the situation, Caesar released a new album. The album garnered some positive reviews and he even received a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Brandy, “Love Again.” But still, the album itself, Case Study 01, was not a huge commercial success. And the Grammy nomination aside, Caesar’s public perception has taken a huge hit with fans and music listeners.
In an interview last year with CBC, Caesar didn’t seem to regret what he said but presumably would have done things differently.
“[M]aybe I was just confused because everybody has been through this,” he said. “People say things to hurt you personally throughout your whole life, and I’ve heard much worse things said about me…And I can’t be mad that other people are mad at me. That’s the way the world works. But if I didn’t have a million followers on Instagram, me getting online and saying that would not have mattered. That’s what I’m upset about.”
When asked about the responsibility he holds for being a person with a major platform, Caesar said, “And if I know that people are going to be upset about my opinions, is it more responsible to not say it? Or to say it and deal with the backlash? What is the right thing to do? Everyone is going to be upset about everything. And I felt like I was standing up for what was right. But is it worth it? I don’t know.”