Cannon album misfires

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Michelle Wong

Since the dawn of time, celebrities have pulled off some wild stunts for the sake of publicity just before dropping an album. The latest celebrity to follow suit is none other than the Nickelodeon regular, and husband to Mariah Carey: Nick Cannon.

Cannon, whose newest album was released this Wednesday, April 1, made two mistakes. First, he decided to call his album White People Party Music. Second, he promoted this album by dressing up, having his makeup done to caricature a white person, and posted exaggerated videos of himself acting like a white stereotype.

While some call this strategic marketing, and others call it racist, I plainly call it disappointing. Ideally, celebrities should rely on their talents rather than offending people to get attention.

First of all, though the title of Cannon’s album, White People Party Music is amusing on some level, it was still a poor decision. If one takes it literally, it gives off the impression that only white people can listen to the album. Considering how many ethnicities there are in the world, that excludes a big portion of his potential audience.

On the other hand, if one takes the album’s name sarcastically, as most people would, it gives off the impression that all white party-goers listen to the same kind of music. This is such a blanket statement that it cannot be true— humans are unique creatures with their own special musical preferences. Therefore, while not being hugely offensive, it’s still promoting the casual acceptance of blanket generalizations.

The saddest part about this is that nobody will care whether the songs on the CD are good or not. Like Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” when the first single off “White People Party Music” drops, it’s going to get millions of internet views just because of its novelty title.

While Nick Cannon’s choice of album title hasn’t phased most, his donning of white face has gained a lot of controversy in pop culture for obvious reasons. Along with his white face and a new outfit, Nick has posted videos on his twitter referring to himself as Connor Smallnut, talking in what he expects is the typical voice of a white, male partier.

Meanwhile, news sites and blogs all over the US, UK and elsewhere have gone crazy covering this story—all with different views. Some have been offended and have called Cannon’s actions racist. Others defend Cannon, saying he is pointing out the horrible problems that blacks had to face because of their skin color, dating as far back as the 1840’s.

Personally, considering how much attention he has got from the whole controversy, I believe it was all done with profit in mind. It’s just unfortunate that he didn’t have enough confidence in his own musical talents to achieve his financial goals.

So while Nick Cannon does not personally offend me, his strategy of marketing definitely doesn’t make the world a better place due to its promotions of mass generalizations and racial stereotypes. There are much more ethical ways to rebuild your musical career.