Reconsidering Eminem in a Post-Me Too World

Pop Culture

Reconsidering Eminem in a Post-Me Too World

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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éjà vu is the feeling of having lived through an experience before it happens to you, and 2018 was thick with it. Stories of harassment in Bollywood and the media industry eerily echoed events that have already transpired. A liberal director, known for sensitive portrayals of women in his films, was accused of disgusting behaviour; you decide whether I’m talking about Woody Allen or Vikas Bahl. A stand-up comedian was finally called out after indecently exposing himself to a shocking number of women: I could be talking about Louis CK or Utsav Chakraborty. Men who claimed to stand for liberal values, who anointed themselves champions of equality, were found to be predatory parasites putting up a performance for the sake of public perception.

Musically too, this year has felt like a throwback for me, thanks to the return to relevance of one Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, aka Slim Shady, aka the Rap God. 2018 began with Revival, a brand new Eminem album after a gap of five years. And then, last month, he surprised everyone with a surprise release called Kamikaze. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Eminem album release if it didn’t cause outrage, and like clockwork, accusations of homophobia and fading celebrity were flung at the rapper. Cue the déjà vu.

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