Back in 2013, after a supporter alerted us to rapper Tyler, The Creator's lyrics glorifying rape and extreme violence against women, we called on Immigration to revoke his visa for his upcoming tour. While we were not successful at this time, Tyler, The Creator's abuse of one of our young activists at his Sydney concert led to New Zealand barring him from entry the following year. In 2015, prior to his Australian tour, we again called on Immigration to act, and Tyler, The Creator posted a tweet claiming he had been banned from Australia, tagging our Operations Manager Coralie Alison and citing her as being responsible. As a result, Coralie was inundated with abuse and violent threats from Tyler, The Creator's followers.
Last month, Tyler, The Creator returned to Australia to perform again. Collective Shout Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper provided comment in the Daily Telegraph.
Tyler The Creator finishes tour in Australia despite lyrics rapping about raping and murdering women
Despite being stopped from entering Australia in 2015, rapper Tyler, The Creator has just completed a successful three-show tour across the country.
US rapper Tyler Okonma, 28, was targeted by women’s rights group Collective Shout in 2015 ahead of a proposed Australian tour for his violent misogynistic lyrics, which include graphic descriptions of rape and murder.
Some of his most disturbing lyrics include: “I just wanna drag your lifeless body to the forest and fornicate with it,” “Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome,” “You call this shit rape but I think that rape’s fun,” and “Punches to the stomach where that bastard kid supposed to be.”
Tyler, The Creator just finished an Australian tour.
Collective Shout campaigns manager Caitlin Roper said the group was “disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised” Okonma was permitted to tour the country.
“It says that women and girls don’t matter very much.”
Many musicians regret their early music and even strike certain songs from their discography if they no longer align with their adult beliefs.
For example, Paramore removed their song Misery Business from their live shows despite it being the group’s most popular song.
However Okonma has never made any statement separating himself from his controversial lyrics.
“A lot of Tyler the Creator’s fans claim he has evolved as an artist, that he has changed, but we haven’t seen any evidence of this,” Ms Roper said.
“If there is genuine self-reflection and change, I think this is generally accompanied by some kind of acknowledgment or action.
“Tyler the Creator has built his career on the degradation of women, and made a lot of money in the process.”
For those that have been following our campaigns for a number of years you will remember that in 2015 we wrote a letter to Immigration regarding the visa application for rap artist Tyler, The Creator. A characteristic feature of his songs is retribution against women who he perceives have wronged him. For example, he sings about strangling and chopping up women who reject his sexual advances and raping their corpses. Before Immigration could make a decision Frontier Touring cancelled the Australian tour, not before Tyler incorrectly tweeted that he was banned.
This tweet directed at one of our staff, Coralie Alison, led to mass online abuse from all around the world. So much so that her name was trending in 6 continents and the global head of Twitter's internet safety personally phoned her to check on her wellbeing.
"I'd love to hear that he's changed and that he has something to say about it, because I haven't forgotten," says activist Coralie Alison from Collective Shout.
"Based on the continual threats I have coming through, even four years down the track, it's not something that just went away for me."
"I had to go to the police about it and there were people trying to track down where I lived, trying to threaten relatives and family members. I still haven't seen Tyler call out his fans to condemn that behaviour," says Alison.
"We got confirmation from Immigration at the time that they never got to make a decision," says Alison. "We were in correspondence with Immigration so we know for a fact that he was never officially banned.
"It's unfortunate because his tweet led to a lot of abuse, and it didn't have to be that way."
"A lot of people really look up to him and admire him, so he could use that to channel a positive message – in particular in Australia, where violence against women is still at epidemic rates," she says.
"I would love to see him speak out against those extremely violent and misogynistic songs that he created in his early days. And if he acknowledges the harm those songs can do, then I'd love to see him remove them from Spotify and Apple Music.
"Because if he's still profiting off that music and those lyrics, then he's still complicit in advocating the message those songs portray. And if he is still allowing those lyrics to influence young people, has true change really occurred?"
Read the full article in The Sydney Morning Herald here.
Content warning: This piece contains references to rape and violence against women that may be distressing.
This week, Noisey, Vice’s music channel, published a piece in defence of rap artist Tyler the Creator. The article, entitled ‘#FreeTylerTheCreator And Reject Theresa May’s Dumb Logic’ painted Tyler as a victim of racism and ignorance, and presented misinformation about campaigns against him.
The piece opens by describing a “moving” performance by TTC, summed up with the following statement:
"This – a peaceful lover of nature – is an artist who remains banned from entering the UK under any circumstances.”
It's hard to imagine such a “peaceful lover of nature” could be behind lyrics like “rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome”, or a wealth of others glorifying rape and extreme violence against women, murder, mutilating women’s genitals, stuffing them into car boots, trapping them in his basement, raping their corpses and burying their bodies.
The author suggests there is no basis for TTC to be refused access into any country, and that bans were motivated by racism:
"It was a very blatant case of making an example out of someone for no reason other than the fact that he’s black and angry and all the other countries under the Queen’s rule were doing it.”
The author's lack of research doesn’t end there, with the article incorrectly stating that after being banned from entering New Zealand in 2014, TTC became the focus of Collective Shout.
Collective Shout first campaigned against Tyler the Creator in June of 2013, not because he is “black and angry”, but due to his songs advocating rape and violence against women, often defended by his fans as ‘art’. In the course of our campaign, young activist Talitha Stone wrote a tweet accusing Tyler the Creator of promoting misogyny. TTC responded by sharing her tweet with his millions of followers, who predictably jumped at the opportunity to prove their loyalty by threatening to rape and murder Talitha, with police involvement required after one fan tweeted her home address.
Just days later, Tyler launched into an abusive tirade against Talitha who was in the crowd at his Sydney concert, calling her a bitch, whore and c*** as concertgoers cheered. He then proceeded to dedicate the song ‘Bitch Suck Dick’ to her, which contains the lyrics “You dead bitch, I'm hot as f*ck…Punch a bitch in her mouth just for talkin' shit”.
Is this still ‘art’?
Australian women and girls breathed a sigh of relief after Tyler, The Creator cancelled his tour following a Collective Shout letter to the immigration department.
The American rapper’s music is filled with sexually violent lyrics, including references to rape, strangling, mutilating and chopping up women, stuffing their bodies into car boots, trapping them in his basement, and raping their corpses.
We appealed to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to deny Tyler a visa on the basis that “the content of the product he sells propagates discriminatory ideas about women and other groups, and represents a danger to a segment of the Australian community on the potential basis of incitement to acts of hatred”.
Thank you for helping to speak up against Tyler, The Creator’s misogynistic lyrics and demeaning attitude towards women. Girls deserve more! You’re helping inspire them to reject toxic messages and see their true value!
Music reviews and news site 'I probably hate your band' published an article exploring freedom of speech and Tyler the Creator. Collective Shout's Caitlin Roper was interviewed along with journalist and author Brendan O'Neill who presented an opposing view.Read more
“Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values." - UK Home Office
As reported by The Guardian:Read more
Why 'don't like it, don't listen' isn't enough: Caitlin Roper writes about Tyler the Creator for SMH
Caitlin Roper writes about the campaign against Tyler the Creator for the Sydney Morning HeraldRead more
Over the course of our Tyler the Creator campaign, we've received hundreds of Facebook comments, emails and tweets from fans of Tyler the Creator. Many of them ask the same questions or reiterate the same defences for Tyler's behaviour. We address some of the more common arguments from Tyler's defenders here.Read more
Coralie Alison appeared on Channel 10's The Project to discuss Collective Shout's campaign against US rapper Tyler the CreatorRead more