Let Tyler the Creator in the UK!
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In 2015, Rapper Tyler the Creator was banned from the UK by then home secretary Theresa May due to offensive lyrics in the mixtape "Bastard", released in 2009 during the artist's adolescence. Although I don't condone the lyrics in these songs, it is fundamentally wrong that Tyler be banned from entering this country based on content written at the age of 17.
Additionally Tyler has said (as acknowledged by UK security) that the lines in these songs are spoken from the point of view of an alter ago rather than that of the artist's, suggesting that he is not at all like the character presented in his music.
How then, are offensive words spoken by this character different from a director presenting an overly explicit rape scene in a film? Following this rationale, should not director Gaspar Noé therefore be banned from the UK for directing "Irreversible", a film that explicitly depicts rape? Should not rapper Eminem therefore be banned from the UK for equally offensive homophobic lyrics as Tyler? Should not the directors of Game of Thrones be banned from the UK for incessant depiction of sexual violence in its first few seasons? The minute the government sets a standard for what is acceptable, its inconsistency in scrutininising such behaviour becomes problematic, which is another reason why it shouldn't place bans on things such as music lyrics. Tyler should be let in the UK so as to prevent this problem.
I do recognise that there is a difference between visual mediums and music, namely because in music the artist is saying said offensive thing directly to the audience's ear, making it often hard to distinguish when he/she is being serious or not. However it remains, especially in this case and all the above cases that the situation depicted is not reflective of the artist's real life personality, therefore in neither case should the artist be punished for it.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom prides itself on freedom of speech, one of the key ideas born from the rule of law, so how can it contradict one of its core principles to such an extent simply to ban a musician based on silly lyrics written in his teenage years? Isn't this a clear infringement on freedom of speech? Even if he were to continue to write equally as offensive lyrics now, his banishment would remain an infringement on freedom of expression because he would be limited in what he could write. If the UK truly champions such freedoms, then its government should remove the ban on Tyler the Creator.
Additionally, the songs for which Tyler's ban has been put in place are not only never performed live but are also not representative of Tyler's real life public personality, as specified by the artist himself "You could watch any interview and see my personality.......I wouldn't hurt a fly" (The Guardian). They are clearly simply just songs.
Is it not therefore contradictory that his "offensive" music be easily accessable in the United Kingdom despite him being banned from it? What is the point of him being banned if his music is accessible? Is it not clear that he is evidently less harmful than the lyrics he has written?
This glaring flaw in the ban shows the Home secretary's reasoning for banning Tyler to be logically false as well as morally incorrect. If the government was truly consistent with its reasoning Tyler's music would also be banned, which would be the wrong direction for freedom of expression.
I am therefore not suggesting that this happen, but rather that Tyler be let into the United Kingdom so as to prevent the stifling of freedom of speech as well as preventing inconsistency in governmental decision making on this issue.
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