Tyler, the Creator has been forced to cancel all upcoming performances in the UK following a ban put in place, keeping him out of the UK for three to five years. The decision was made after UK’s Secretary of State publicly said that his music “encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality” and “foster hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.” Tyler, the Creator took to his Twitter page today to announce the decision to his fans. The full statement from Tyler’s manager, Christian Clancy, can be read below:
Beyond the issues of free speech, Clancy is quick to note that the lyrics in question are six to seven years old, written when Tyler was 18 years old. “Can you imagine being beholden to things you said when you were 18?” later adding, “How do you punish someone for growing up?”
tyler has been banned from entering the UK for somewhere between 3 to 5 years per a letter from the secretary of state for the home department of the united kingdom. the letter specifically cites lyrics he wrote 6-7 years ago for his albums bastard and goblin – the type of lyrics he hasn’t written since… highlights from the letter include that his work “encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality” and “fosters hatred with views thats seek to provoke others to terrorist acts..” i grew up on NWA, eminem and rage against the machine, so its hard to me to fully wrap my head this thought process and its implications.
to say that i am confused would be an understatement. can you imagine being beholden to things you said when you were 18? tyler has been to the UK over 20x in the last 5 years without incident (shows, in stores, meet and greets). we rented out a movie theatre last month in London for a private showing of napoleon dynamite for his fans. literally last month.
more importantly, this is a broader issue of free speech, with new lines being drawn that include reaching back in time without acknowledging growth. in fact, punishing growth. what i do know is tyler is part of an argument that is counter to who he has become. how do you punish someone for growing up? since the letter acknowledged he was writing from an alter ego perspective does this then apply to book writers? the fact that he has evolved into someone who has acknowledged and grown out of that is simply lost in the narrative. is he not worthy of the pat on the back for becoming aware and making changes? what message does that send? is race a conscious or subconscious factor at all?
theres a lot to absorb and understand, but while he gets painted as some sort of anti christ i want to make sure people know the facts, which are that he hasn’t delved into those lyrics in years – he writes songs about cars and spreading your wings. he doesn’t drink or smoke, he owns his own businesses, he takes care of his family and friends, he’s honest, grateful, aware, fearless, intelligent, and inspiring. his shows serve as a release, not acts of aggression.
is he perfect? absolutely not. he’s a human evolving like the rest of us, and that process evolution is a process, not a light switch.
im not defending his OLD lyrics. to be honest they make me cringe, but i stand beside him because of who he actually IS. our 8 year old daughter, who is constantly inspired by him, said it best; “why would they ban tyler? that makes no sense.”