Should artists keep their political views out of the public eye? Kendra Desrosiers writes about the latest developments in Chicago emcee, Lupe Fiasco’s timeline.
Hell hath no fury like a follower scorned. After a flurry of anti-Bush tweets from Chicago bred emcee, Lupe Fiasco, fan Robert Nalette (@detroitrobbie) unfollowed him.
In response, Lupe Fiasco retweeted the announcement and soon after, the post was nowhere to be found. Nalette deleted it.
Fiasco didn’t have to respond to Nalette’s attack, he knew several of his 250k+ followers would. And they did. Nalette was the recipient of over 100 opposing mentions that ranged from polite disagreements to racial insults. The twitter bullying presumably became too much for Nalette and he activated the private setting on his account.
Nalette’s tweet was only up for minutes, just long enough for 38 twitter users to spread the word and contribute to over 9k impressions and reach over 8.5k people according to TweetReach.
And for four hours, Nalette was a twitter celebrity. He engaged the onslaught of Lupe Fiasco fans, made his timeline public once again and found camaraderie in a handful of supporters—he even gained a few followers.
But did Nalette have a point? Should artists make public statements about their political views? In a recent Facebook study, a researcher found that one of the leading reasons a user would unfriend another user are posts on polarizing topics such as religion and politics. For artists, a web following can make the difference in album sales and reach—especially in the case of Lupe Fiasco and his web petition—so in the interest of maintaining a strong fan base, it may be advisable for a musician to remain neutral.
Preston Mann (@Preston_Schmann), a college student and self-proclaimed conservative political activist also found issue with Fiasco bringing a political agenda onto twitter. He didn’t unfollow Lupe Fiasco, but he did engage.
Lupe Fiasco sent over a dozen mentions Mann’s way, each a RT with his response included. Like Nalette, Mann was flooded with even more mentions from Fiasco followers, but this time they were civil— for the most part.
As much of Nalette and Mann’s opposition pointed out, Lupe Fiasco has always been one for controversy and has long rapped about what many consider liberal extremist views. But if you can listen to “American Terrorist” you can handle the three-dozen political tweets Fiasco posted Friday, right? Not quite.
Opposition by conservative fans to Fiasco’s liberal views are to be expected to some extent, but some followers weren’t simply opposed, but offended.
Even followers with no clear opposition to Lupe Fiasco’s views had had enough.
Without access to Lupe Fiasco’s account, it isn’t possible to quantify fluctuations in his following, butTweet Effect does offer some food for thought.
According to Tweet Effect, a website that measures the impact of twitter updates:
The Tweet Effect statistics are inconclusive but do note a drop in a handful of followers with half of Fiasco’s responses to Mann, the other half however, were marked with significant gains. Also, according to Tweet Analyzer, Lupe Fiasco’s follower gains are inconsistent and frequently fluctuates between gains of 800-900 followers to 1400-1500 daily.
Typically, artists tend to see a consistent average in follower growth when external events like mixtape releases don’t come into play. Interestingly enough, before J. Cole (213,631) released his mixtape Friday Night Lights on Nov. 12, he and Fiasco (267,585) had comparable follower growth despite the fact that J. Cole has never released an album, is a considerably less popular artist and hardly tweets—something to think about.
Some think Lupe Fiasco hinders himself, especially on twitter and in the digital space. Sabotaging his own career by battling media outlets that help keep him afloat, reneging on project release promises, andcriticizing his record label, Atlantic. Others consider Fiasco the underdog. Despite setbacks, Fiasco’s fan base remains intact, political agenda and all.
The issue of whether artists should maintain neutrality is heavily debated and the impact of taking a stance on polarizing issues has only been measured anecdotally. Until we can quantify, there’s no telling.
At the end of Lupe Fiasco’s tweet rant this much was clear; if the left had an extreme, Tea Party equivalent, it’d be called Lasers with Wasulu at the helm and fans on deck.
This post was republished from social media and hip-hop blog, BornIn88.com, courtesy of the author.
This entry was posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 10:41 am and is filed under Features, Politics & Social Issues and tagged with black panther party, Bush, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, politics, social media, tea party, Today Show, twitter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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