Sabrina Claudio, Maya Jama, Sam Smith. What do these three popular celebrities have in common? All at some stage have been ‘cancelled’ for problematic behaviour. To the uninitiated, ‘cancelling’ is when consumers refuse to support someone’s ventures as a direct response to their unpalatable actions. Cancelling is especially rife on Black Twitter, where standards for ‘woke-ness’ are dizzyingly high and repercussions for falling short are uncompromisingly harsh.
As a self-professed ‘woke’ intersectional feminist, I have always seen the value in cancelling. But more recently, I have a shameful confession to make: I am starting to question my decision to cancel problematic celebrities. Now before you stop reading and dismiss me as some wishy-washy, fake-deep traitor, please let me explain.