The hip-hop blogosphere has a serious problem with fake news

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Photo illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

The Pandora’s box of hate, misinformation and conspiracy theories that Donald Trump helped open has become a problem in the black media space, where bloggers and ambitious hip-hop influencers have infected the culture.

What looked like passive red carpet gossip (looking at you, Wendy Williams) turned into massive misinformation campaigns fueled by social media trolling and obsessive stan cultures.

In recent weeks, there has been a disturbing trend of prominent hip-hop bloggers brazenly spreading misinformation without being held accountable.

In January, Cardi B won a seven-figure decision in her defamation lawsuit against YouTuber Tasha K (whose real name is LaTasha Kebe) for knowingly spreading lies about the rapper on her “UnWine With Tasha K” channel which counts. one million subscribers.

“Kebe published several false and defamatory statements about Plaintiff, including that Plaintiff was a prostitute, Plaintiff was a cocaine user, Plaintiff had and still has herpes,” the lawsuit reads. , calling these “harmful and disgusting lies”.

Cardi B: The artist thrives in a system that is not intended for him

Since losing the lawsuit, Tasha K, who says she will appeal the verdict, has doubled down on keeping the defamatory YouTube videos on her page (Cardi B asked a judge on Thursday to gag the blogger and force her to remove these videos) while speaking openly about how she has no intention of paying the $4 million judgment against her and bizarrely insinuating that a “machine” driven by “corporate interests”, including “prostitution, drug use, promiscuity” and the “glorification” of violence had “tried to squeeze us for everything.”

So we’re supposed to believe that a woman who falsely accuses someone she doesn’t know of illicit drug use, prostitution, and potentially spreading an STI is a victim of “corporate interests?” Bullshit.

She’s not the only bullshit to speak darkly about alleged conspiracies. Controversial blogger DJ Akademiks has made a career out of using his now massive online following to stir up real-life drama. After making a name for himself for over-sensitizing, mocking and sometimes glorifying gun violence in Chicago on his viral YouTube channel, “The War In Chiraq”, DJ Akademiks went on to achieve mainstream stardom through his massive following. social media. and collaborations with Complex Networks and Joe Budden.

In February, the blogger reported that the DNA of rapper Tory Lanez, who pleaded not guilty to allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot while shouting “dance, bitch” in 2020, had not been found on the weapon used in the shooting.

“It was revealed in court moments ago that Tory Lanez DNA WAS NOT found on the weapon in the Meg Thee Stallion case,” DJ Akademiks wrote in a now-deleted tweet to his most of 1.3 million followers.

The problem? Nothing had been “revealed”. In fact, DJ Akademiks posted his tweet even before the court session, where no such explosive information was delivered, had even started.

Megan Thee Stallion says Tory Lanez offered her silent money after shooting her

“I know some of your payroll blogs but please don’t get sued trying to create a hate campaign. Be a real journalist and post FACTS,” Megan Thee posted then. Stallion on social media.

“You all got the latest news 15 minutes before the trial started and no one’s been called yet?” she continued. “You’re trying to win a social media campaign, that’s my real life!” Y’all are trying to get retweets by spreading fake stories! @iamakademiks why are you lying? What did you win?”

DJ Akademiks then insisted that he had seen these documents, which have never been made public, with his “own eyes” and that they were “inconclusive in finding” the DNA of Tory Lanez .

What has made this situation particularly frustrating is that this is not the first time a blogger has spread misinformation about this case. In January 2021, the popular rapper had to denounce viral tweets posted by hip-hop blog FuciousTv claiming that “according to the #LosAngeles County Superior Court website, the charges against #ToryLanez in the incident of July 2020 have been or discontinued. The website says there are no upcoming trial dates after the hearing held yesterday. Story development.

This misinformation has led Lanez fans to swarm Megan Thee Stallion online and try to shed some light on her cohesive account of the shooting.

In both of these ‘breaking news’ moments, the men used their platforms to try to discredit a female victim – and when it turned out what they had reported was untrue, they redoubled their efforts.

It’s a problem throughout the hip-hop blogosphere. On February 22, two days after Queen Elizabeth tested positive for COVID-19, Hollywood Unlocked, a site known for its salacious celebrity gossip, launched to its 2.8 million Instagram followers a “HU exclusive : Queen Elizabeth dead”, adding that “sources close to the Royal Kingdom have exclusively informed us that Queen Elizabeth has died.

Which ‘sources’ would ever call Buckingham Palace a ‘royal kingdom’ and why the hell would they go to Jason Lee, whose fame took off after starring in the reality show Love and hip-hop: Hollywood?

But Hollywood Unlocked founder Lee didn’t back down when other outlets reported otherwise.

“We don’t post lies and I stand by my sources,” Lee tweeted about the story after a fake Twitter account issued an apology.

But as the days passed with no official word from Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Unlocked published an article titled “Fact Check: 10 Reasons We Believed Queen Elizabeth Was Dead” which acknowledged “the confusion caused by our original post” and then attempted painstakingly explaining it (“Bringing the news that Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has died is no small feat…) before admitting at the very end that they were simply wrong. It’s only in this last paragraph that the “fact-checker” recognizes that the queen is, in fact, alive:

“Although I’ve never made a mistake writing a story because it involves the queen, this is one time I would like to be,” Lee clarified Thursday afternoon. “And based on Wednesday’s report from the Palace, I can say that my sources were wrong and I sincerely apologize to the Queen and the Royal Family.”

Black communities deserve better access to accurate and reliable information that is untainted by biased media personalities who try to capitalize on trends rather than inform the public. These numbers have flourished because the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in mainstream media, a problem that urgently needs to be addressed and one of the reasons why ‘alternative’ sources have flourished. But this misinformation is a reminder of why it makes sense to trust journalists — not bloggers, gossips or influencers — to fact-check information before reporting it, and not release information until it’s confirmed.

The people who publish fake news and those who circulate it threaten to ruin culture as we know it.

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