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don't be so quick to applaud the organisation taking credit for tyler, the creator's cancelled tour

Collective Shout campaign against misogyny in music, but only when it comes from rappers.

by i-D Staff
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11 August 2015, 4:55am

It's official, Tyler the Creator won't be coming to our shores anymore. After the rapper tweeted he'd been banned from the country, speculation about the fate of his Australian tour abounded. In announcing the ban, he linked to the Twitter page of Coralie Alison. Coralie works for the organisation Collective Shout - they've been campaigning to keep Tyler out of Australia since 2013. The first campaign wasn't successful, and Tyler made it on to a stage in Sydney. That's where he called Talitha Stone, the campaign's organiser, a "cunt" and a "fucking whore." Talitha also received threats of rape from Tyler's fans. This is inexcusable behaviour by any standards and Tyler and his fans should be held accountable.

History repeated itself following Tyler's July tweet. Coraline was flooded with messages from his fans, ranging from mild disappoint to rape and death threats. Tyler didn't do anything to discourage this. Again, this isn't okay. Tyler's touring company, Frontier, initially denied that the tour was off, but have since confirmed the Australian leg has been cancelled. Yesterday, Tyler promised he'll be back soon. 

The thing is, nobody's looking too hard at Collective Shout beyond this incident with Tyler. And, putting this event aside, things don't look great. Their founder, Melinda Tankard, is an anti-abortion campaigner. She's also vehemently anti-porn. For a feminist organisation, they mightn't really have women's best interests at heart. Plus, when you look at the artists Collective Shout have campaigned against there's an uncomfortable theme. They asked MTV not to air Kanye West's 'Monster' music video, tried to ban Snoop Dogg and have targeted Tyler for years. 

In their own words, they're against artists who "glorify misogyny and degrade women for entertainment" but seem to exclusively find black men guilty of doing so. Other bands who've been allowed into the country without a peep from Collective Shout include Mötley Crüe, who frequently mention rape in their lyrics (their drummer served time in prison for spousal battery) and Matchbox 20 ("I wanna push you around, well I will, I will") plus Alt-J ("She may contain the urge to run away / But hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks") Of course, Tyler's lyrics are more explicit, but if the defence of 'artistic license' doesn't fly for him, Collective Shout can't then accept it from artists in other genres.

Yet they do. The fact is, they've yet to target a musician who doesn't work in hip-hop. Here's another example: when Tyler's fans insist he's playing a character, Collective Shout say that's not good enough. They're right, because rape and violence against women have no defence. But Nick Cave's sung, in character, about murdering women and he tours Australia without objection from Collective Shout. The organisation doesn't hold all musicians to the same standard. Misogyny isn't excusable, but neither is activism with clear caveats.