Doja Cat’s war with her own “Kittenz” fans, explained.

todayJuly 28, 2023 2

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If you have been on the internet and read the string of words that is “Doja Cat’s top fan pages are deactivating their accounts after she criticized supporters for calling themselves ‘Kittenz’ ” sometime over the past few days, you may be left with questions. To provide a little more context: This past weekend, the notoriously rocky relationship between popular rapper Doja Cat and her fans seemed to sink to new levels of bad when she got into a tiff with her devotees over seemingly innocuous behavior. If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because this is not the first time this has happened: The “Say So” rapper’s history of trolling her fans is a long and storied one. While no one has the time to recount the entirety of Doja’s questionable behavior on the interwebs, read on for a download of her latest drama, why it may be different this time, and what any of it could possibly mean.

So, how did all of this start? 

It all started when Doja responded to her apparently recent discovery that her fans had decided to name themselves “Kittenz.” The act of self-naming is not uncommon for fandoms (think: Beyoncé’s BeyHive, Justin Bieber’s Beliebers, Rihanna’s Navy, etc.), and the name “Kittenz” makes a lot of sense when you think about Doja Cat’s stage name, her disturbingly feline appearance at this year’s Met Gala, her cat makeup in her “Rules” music video, and just generally everything about her public persona.

But Doja didn’t like it?

Apparently not! It’s unclear why she didn’t like it, but it’s very clear that it rubbed her the wrong way. On Meta’s new Twitter knockoff, Threads, Doja reportedly posted that she was against the practice of fans naming themselves anything in the first place, writing, “If you call yourself a ‘kitten’ or fucking ‘kittenz’ that means you need to get off your phone and get a job and help your parents with the house.” When a fan account named @TheKittenzWeb asked what they should change their name to, Doja apparently responded, “Just delete the entire account and rethink everything it’s never too late.” She also reportedly wrote that fan accounts whose social media handles incorporated her real name, Amala Dlamini, are “creepy as fuck.”

That sounds … a little harsh?

Maybe a tad, but Doja is infamously a social media troll. From claiming that she’s going to quit music to referring to her previous albums as “cash-grabs” and teasing albums with fake titles, she has long been known to bait and goad the Kittenz. This kind of bluntness is par for the course with her.

OK, at least there’s nothing more to this drama.

Welllll, even though Doja might’ve just been trolling here, a few days earlier she was involved in some actual drama when her fans attempted to bring to her attention the allegations against her (rumored) boyfriend, content creator J. Cyrus, that have been floating out there for a few years.

Wait, who the hell is that?!

J. Cyrus is a former Vine comedian and current Twitch streamer and TikTokker who has been accused of manipulating and emotionally abusing his female Twitch moderators and pursuing fans of his who are significantly younger, albeit still allegedly of legal age. In a now-deleted post from 2020, he apologized for the events detailed in these allegations, but some maintain that he is a “groomer” and “manipulator.” Cyrus also, as plenty of white creators on Vine did back in the day, reportedly dabbled in tweeting Vines and posts with racist undertones.

As for their rumored relationship, Doja and Cyrus were spotted indulging in some PDA back in early June. This news sparked a resurfacing of the allegations against him, with many Twitter users accusing Doja of blocking Cyrus’ accusers and fans who have been vocal about their stance against the relationship. When one fan on Instagram called the rapper out, she reportedly responded, “I NEVER HAVE AND NEVER WILL GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ME OR MY PERSONAL LIFE GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE.”

… hmm. 

Exactly. This drama had already stirred up the bad blood between Doja and her fans prior to the “Kittenz” Controversy, at which point things got even worse.

I’m sorry, but how is that possible? 

After saying that she hated her fandom’s chosen name, Doja began to chide her fans for begging for her attention and affection. In another Threads post, Doja reportedly said: “My life my rules my style my attitude.” When a fan account responded with a request for her to say that she loves her fans, Doja reportedly replied, “I don’t though cuz I don’t even know yall.” A different fan responded to that, saying that they have supported the rapper “through thick and thin” and that without them she’d be nothing, to which Doja reportedly replied, “Nobody forced you idk why you’re talking to me like you’re my mother bitch you sound like a crazy person.”

Just how “thick and thin” has it been? 

Uh … pretty damn thick! Since the days of her viral hit “Mooo!”—which catapulted her to the beginnings of stardom in 2018—Doja has been embroiled in many scandals. There was the time she was called out for allegedly hanging out in racist chatrooms in the past (she claimed that she may have been in chatrooms, but she didn’t participate in racist conversations). There was also the time she beefed with her Paraguayan fans, who complained that Doja allegedly didn’t acknowledge fans waiting outside her hotel after her Paraguay show was canceled (among other increasingly confusing allegations)—a fight that led to Doja promising to quit music. (Obviously, she didn’t.) There was also the time she mocked Amber Heard’s assault testimony against Johnny Depp. Doja has also worked several times with Dr. Luke, the producer that singer Ke$ha sued for sexual and mental abuse, although Doja has since said she would stop working with him, and also suggested that maybe the producer was given too much credit for her work. Anyway, suffice it to say that the “thick and thin” claims are accurate.

This can’t be good for business.

No. In fact, Doja has since reportedly lost hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and deactivated her Threads account. Furthermore, several of her fan accounts have since deactivated, too. All of this is happening ahead of her recently announced fall tour and the upcoming release of a new album. She’s being compared to another rapper, Azealia Banks, an incredibly polarizing figure in pop culture who is infamous for broadcasting her unfiltered thoughts and tearing down any fan and/or fellow celebrity for reasons both good and petty.

So is Doja wrong for this? Or is she right?

Both? It is somewhat rude to criticize your fans so harshly for something as innocuous as naming themselves in support of you—what they choose to call themselves doesn’t really affect her personal life, and besides, “Kittenz” makes sense for a cat-adjacent artist! But it’s also clear that Doja has, on many accounts, attempted to distance herself from the relentless and at times unhealthy demands of fame. Doja has previously acknowledged that she wouldn’t have her house or “food on [her] table” if it weren’t for her fans, but that she doesn’t want to give them all of the credit because she works hard for her art. She has also advocated for some detachment between fandom and artistic creation and expression, stating that she herself listens to the music of people she doesn’t necessarily like on a personal level.

The question of what an artist owes their fans is a tricky one. I think the writer Jason Okundaye said it best when he tweeted that Doja Cat may not be the most angelic public figure, but that maybe it’s good for a famous person to “destroy their own celebrity” and remind others that “you don’t know someone because you enjoy and consume what they create.”

Well, now I’m invested. Please tell me, I’m begging you: Is Doja Cat going to make it out of this controversy, or will this be her downfall?

I’m betting Doja will be fine. People have already bought tickets to her tour, she has successfully bounced back from all of the aforementioned scandals, and the effects of “cancel culture” are still up in the air. Not to mention, as some have pointed out, should her new single “Attention” be a signifier of what’s to come, Doja is currently making some of the best music of her career thus far. (Ironically, the song is about her blasé relationship with fame.) I believe as long as her upcoming releases are good and receiving a mainstream rollout, people will still listen and show up. However, you do have to wonder if Doja is wasting all of her get-out-of-jail-free cards. It might do her some good to remember that fans may forgive, but they never forget.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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