People Are Furious At The Level Of Disrespect JoJo Siwa Displayed In A Recent Interview, And Here's Why It's Such An Important Discussion

"Part of being young and queer and coming out and joining this community — entering into this space — is learning your history. ... Knowing just how much work it has taken to get us where we are today."
If you haven't heard, JoJo Siwa recently had a complete "rebrand." Most people are referring to it as her "bad girl" era:
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Well, she released a song called "Karma," and she's been heavily promoting it:
In an interview with Billboard, she said, "I have shit a brick every single day for the last three weeks since we started teasing it. The internet has gotten very mad at me but, at the end of the day, I made the art that I wanted to..."

“I am so excited to bring this version of pop music back.” 💥 To celebrate the release of “Karma,” @JoJo Siwa joins #BillboardNews to discuss her new era and drastic rebrand, creating the new “gay pop” genre, her love of #MileyCyrus & #BillieEilish and more. Watch the full sit-down interview at #karma #jojosiwa #interview #popmusic

♬ original sound - billboard
However, the part of Siwa's interview that caught people off guard was when she explained how she presented her new music to the record label: "I said, 'I want to start a new genre of music.' And they said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Well, it's called 'Gay Pop.'"
Siwa went on to explain how her music will be similar to Lady Gaga's "Applause" and Miley Cyrus's "On My Own" and "Can't Be Tamed" before adding,"It's no secret that my transition is heavily inspired by Miley Cyrus. Miley's flip. Miley's switch. Miley's turn was the greatest thing I've witnessed with my own two eyes."
People quickly started stitching the interview with their reactions, including alt-pop duo Tegan and Sara Quin. The two are identical twin sisters who rose to fame in the early '00s and identify as queer.
One TikToker, @lemongayde, caught the attention of over 2 million people with their take.
In the TikTok, they say, "Part of being young and queer and coming out and joining this community — entering into this space — is learning your history. Learning your roots and knowing where we've come from, knowing just how much work it has taken to get us where we are today. And to say something as outlandish at the age of efffing 20 as you invented the genre of 'gay pop' is achingly disrespectful. You could not have invented something that has been going on long before you were born."
BuzzFeed spoke to @lemongayde who said they were immediately caught between frustration and exasperation after watching the interview. "I’m absolutely not an expert in this area, but I feel confident in saying music has always been queer. The foundations of modern pop and rock were laid by people like Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Little Richard, Lesley Gore, and countless others. Many of these artists were Black and brown — and they paved the way generations before the artists we are fortunate to have today. When a young, white gay artist makes a statement like JoJo’s, it feels insulting. When someone has as large of a platform as she does, making statements like that — intentionally or not — heavily contributes to erasure," they explained.
@lemongayde also acknowledges that this was just a sound bite meant to get a reaction. "But, even in context, I was still bothered by her choice of wording. The entire point of my video is that I found what she said disrespectful. Whether she misspoke or not, her statement was asinine and disrespectful. She has a career because of the BIPOC LGBTQIA+ artists who built the roads she gets to travel. The wording she chose made it appear she believes she's starting something entirely new, which she is not. I didn't have a critique on her music or career; I take issue with what she said."
Choosing your words with care is important, stressed @lemongayde. "Listen, JoJo is young and has so much time to learn and grow as a person, like every young person on the planet, and I hope she chooses to do that. People make mistakes. They say the wrong things, and they learn. I am also young, white, and gay which is in large part why I said something. It would be my place to call in (or in this case call out) JoJo to possibly recognize the mistake and learn."
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic
"As many of my comments have said, this is not the biggest issue in the world. There are much more pressing issues the LGBTQIA+ community deal with. But I think erasure is a big problem, and pretending that it’s unimportant does no good. Again, it boils down to platform and audience, and JoJo has a very large one. She has made being gay a focal point of her career. Which, whether she wants to be or not, makes her in part responsible for learning and putting out correct information when talking about queerness in her field."
Christopher Polk via Getty Images
"JoJo being young isn’t the excuse that people want it to be. Being young does not exempt her from valid criticism or being held accountable when she fucks up. I’m not saying she (or anyone for that matter) needs to go out tomorrow and become the world’s most knowledgeable queer scholar and never make a mistake again. But knowing at least some of our history in areas relevant to and wholly responsible for what she can do today is not an outlandish thing to want," @lemongayde concluded.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot