So I listened to the new Tory Lanez album, eponymously titled, DAYSTAR. Well, I listened to just enough to understand his headspace that would not have been afforded by reading lyrics from the album. And I was immediately and unreliably informed that I am a trash nigga and a performative hypocrite for doing so. For me, whatever Daystar Peterson decided to populate his self-serving album with would not have swayed my perception of him or of what ensued on the fateful night where ex-girlfriend Megan Thee Stallion emerged with gunshot wounds.

But woke culture has become a caricature of itself, submerged in a melange of performance and obsession over showing off wokeness. This defeats the purpose of the culture itself, which I loosely understand to create a better, more equitable society for us all. It has, instead, become a means to shame and label all who think differently, because, well, only the very specific brand of wokeness to which you adhere is acceptable.

Woke culture exists to hold men like Peterson to account, but even more so, to ensure that there are less and less men like him around. In that sense, boycotting him is treating a symptom, which is perfectly fine. But it is better to specialize in finding cures than to place bandages on bullet wounds. To understand how to tackle the ecosystem that is the men who not only support Lanez, but feel validated in their own behaviour by his wanton display of narcissism, misogyny, and selfishness encapsulated by capitalist ideals, I thought it best to gather as much information about the enemy that I could muster.

To therefore believe that you can go into war without studying the enemy is naive at best and, quite frankly, foolhardy. This is not to say you should listen his album. You shouldn’t. But there are those who, in listening, benefit the society and the objectives of the war for equality, opportunity, respect, and love than to abstain and remain a bastion of virtue and principle. I’ve read a few post-mortems on the album, and hopefully, of Tory Lanez’s career. I will reliably inform that all of them have pressed play on DAYSTAR. But by the barometer of woke culture, they are trash niggas and niggettes, even while proffering scathing and dismissive criticism. Such is the embarrassment that woke culture threatens to become.

Protect Black Women

It doesn’t take any particularly great skills of perception to see, as Malcolm X said in 1962, that black women are the most disrespected and disadvantaged subset of human in the western world.

“The most neglected person in America is the black woman” — Malcolm X, 1962

It is also quite clear that Louis CK, himself the subject of an internet cancellation, or timeout if we’re aiming for accuracy, was correct to identify men as the biggest threat to women. That makes it quite the marvel that women still go out on dates with and love men, and love us (not me though) and shit.

Louis CK on Dating

But it is also true that black men are the biggest danger to black men through the self- and group-destructive norms that are perpetuated. The duality, or any duality whatsoever, is rarely recognized in woke culture. DAYSTAR is sonically very good, for Tory was a really good artiste. That too, qualifies me as trash, because I did not lie about the quality of an album I was trash to listen to in preparation for this nine-night in the first place. It is his abilities as an artiste that are most threatening, because while those who listened already had made up their minds, the quality is an added layer of protection for the men who wanted to “hear the other side”.

Truthfully, Tory could have said “I ain’t do it” and proceeded to fart for the remainder of the 17 tracks and those listeners would have still rushed to social media to profess his innocence. For them, it is a war against much of what they hold dear. Much as Black Lives Matter represents a threat to the racist, a confident and exceptional young woman of the ilk of a Megan Thee Stallion is a threat to fragile, aggressive, and manipulative masculinity.

The album reeks of ownership and entitlement, in all its patriarchal glory. Tory opts to come out swinging for the fences over some banging hip hop beats to trash the woman he loves and misses, whilst taking shots at all who dare remove him from deluxe albums or hold him accountable for his actions. It is this bravado and unapologetic putridness that renders his explanation null. We should not care, because in the aftermath, his reputation was more important than Megan Thee Stallion’s safety.

“If it is one thing men have, it’s the audacity”

No better expression of this than when Tory aims to gaslight and maim in his quest to deny his alleged involvement in the melee. His explanation was nonsensical and I much prefer Skillibeng’s bone, muscle, and tendon wordplay. But it was enough for those who had their minds made up, much like the most hypocritical practitioners of woke culture in their assessment and necessary labelling of those who dare be woke in a different way than them. These are opposite ends of the spectrum and there promises to be no relent or compromise, and therefore minimal growth, as each side fights the war from their position of ultimate rightness.

To err is human. To overestimate our abilities and virtue is even more so.

I wholeheartedly believe that most people can be redeemed, because most take decisions on what they have seen, heard, and been told to believe. Men have been conditioned to see women as prey, and unfortunately, I have never seen a hunter respect the meal he gnashes his teeth into after a long pursuit. This destructive thought process is rife in the music we consume, including those who profess wokeness. After all, women are casually bitches and hoes until a man actually does something consistent with what is contained in the dancehall and hip hop space. Then it becomes a race to “awoke” in the hopes that other humans are impressed by how informed and sensitive we are. Black men have been conditioned to hate or shun entire groups of people for their sexuality, beliefs, and lifestyle but take a principled stance on DAYSTAR. “No streams nigga”, to a nigga who hit number one with a violently tone deaf and offensive album. Sadistic cancel culture obviously is not working. But how do I break it to those who view any appeals to reason and strategize as an opportunity to maim and attack?

Tory Lanez is what happens when the behaviour we observe, and are complicit in, that is mildly humourous and benign on social media is perpetrated by one with a massive platform and the talent to credibly influence. The album is a war on women who would dare make a WAP or dare to have a WAP and not immediately accede to their advances. And, in that, DAYSTAR succeeded.

This is a humble appeal, despite the unapologetic, impassioned, and broad critique of both sides of the divide, to rejig and come again. Shaming is fun, I imagine, but it isn’t working. The opposition to treating women, “females” really, as our equals is as fierce as ever. We’ve opted to not consider that there is a great portion who simply don’t understand, and perhaps a greater portion who are human and will become defensive and counterattack like peak Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea when years of social conditioning by those who know nothing but the patriarchy is attacked. I assume the backlash will be just as great when the attack on capitalism is launched and how it represents an overarching evil in its current form that drives albums like DAYSTAR or just about any exploitation than stands to bring profit.

Instead, there is a chance to being everyone to the table, and engage with respect, tact, and the understanding that not everyone is as far along as you are, and as flesh and blood, we make mistakes. Regarding Tory, he is not the enemy. His ideals, and by extension, the coupling of fame and platform with worth and credibility are. DAYSTAR is a really good album. Do not listen to it.