Over the last several weeks the proverbial shit has hit the fan with the OTEP situation(s); there have been supporting local band, supporting touring band, and general band interwebz battles with frontwoman Otep Shamaya. It is almost too much to keep track of at this point. Early in the OTEP vs. local band debacle, a local Michigan musician, Viviano Cuevas (Diesect) created a Facebook page called Boycott OTEP, I was invited to join, which I did but really just to observe what others were saying about the situation, not because I necessarily support a boycott of OTEP.
While the actual Boycott OTEP Facebook page hasn’t really garnered much support (it has around 260 likes as of today), there are several videos (I’ve seen at least 20 today alone) of people speaking out and asking their fellow musicians, friends, and family to boycott OTEP. These videos have thousands and thousands of views and shares. Otep Shamaya responded via live video post a week or so ago, joking about the initiative by saying things such as “if you don’t like that Kendrick Lamar’s album is my current favorite, boycott me”. But does she mean that? Personally, I don’t think she does.
I know, where the hell did I come up with the idea that Otep Shamaya doesn’t really want people to boycott her? Well, she went live to respond to fans questions in real time. That is really out of character for her and abnormal behavior for someone who is doing everything in their power to put up a front that she doesn’t care if people stop buying her albums or supporting her. I, personally, think she does care. I may be wrong, but this is just my opinion. She is human, just like the rest of us. Sure she may have abs of fucking steel and punch a heavy bag like professionally trained boxer but she is still a human being. And while she puts up a facade that she is uncaring, she can’t be…….or she wouldn’t be an advocate for animals, women, or the LGBTQ community. She cares, maybe not publicly but she obviously cares if she loses fans. Not only because it is her livelihood but she is an artist, with the need to have her message heard…if no one is listening, then she has failed….just like the rest of us.
My original piece was not suggesting a boycott of OTEP, nor was it disrespectful to her as an artist. I was a fan and wrote it from the perspective of one human to another, asking her to consider those that are supporting her success from musicians to fans. That just because they aren’t driving around in a fancy tour bus or signed, isn’t an indication that they are any lesser of artists, talent, or important than she is….we can all learn from one another. Yes, even that local musician that isn’t signed can teach a signed, touring artist something (in response to Shamaya’s earlier Facebook video)….even if it is simply to be humble. There is always someone better, smarter, prettier, funnier, and/or more talented than you are, you can be confident and still be aware of this. Every single person that we come into contact with serves a purpose, they are meant to teach us something, that something can be good or bad. Just think of all the people you’ve crossed paths with in your lifetime; maybe they taught you to trust or distrust, to plan or be spontaneous, or maybe what not to be as a person. Every person has taught us something because we as humans are flawed and must constantly learn from one another….you read a book? Cool, someone wrote that, you learned from them. We are not in this alone, we are all in it together…for better or worse.
To me, personally, boycotting OTEP is not the answer. Teaching Otep Shamaya a better way is the real answer but she has to be willing to learn. If she refuses to acknowledge her wrongdoings, then boycotting is still not the answer, ignoring is. Ignoring is not the same as boycotting, by the way. Boycotting is continuing to write articles about her, telling others not to buy her music, so basically still talking about her. Whereas ignoring is not mentioning her at all…no more articles, no more posts, no more memes, etc. Huge difference.
Every time there is a disagreement with another band or a fan, she gets attention, negative or positive it doesn’t matter…her name is in a headline somewhere (this article and our last included), so she wins. Do you know how many posts I saw where someone said “who the hell is OTEP?” or “I had never heard of OTEP before, so I listened, but I will not be a fan”? Hundreds……so hundreds of people that did not know who OTEP was, now know who she and her band are because of our article and others. So for every fan those boycotting think she lost, she earned a new follow on social media, a new view of her videos, or a listen to a song….she didn’t lose anything. She won.
And to be clear I’m not saying ignore her now, I’m saying if she continues to abuse those that have been supporting her, then that is the only thing that can be done to truly teach her a better way. Or anyone in this situation. Boycotting her just continues the discussion about her, but ignoring her gives her absolutely nothing. Hell, the interwebz disagreement with Amerikan Overdose’s frontman Cody Perez and Otep Shamaya is 100% from the local band stories we (the various media publications) published and Shamaya’s response via video. This is not to say we should bury our heads in the sand; my point is attention, even negative attention, is attention.
I also want to mention you guys aren’t innocent in this situation, I’ve seen some terrible name calling including wishes of death of Otep Shamaya….that is disturbing and really fucking sick. If you want someone to change their behavior, you don’t act even more disgusting than you say they are, you conduct yourself with dignity. Be a fucking role model, even if someone thinks they are at some higher level than you are….be a fucking role model. Kids are watching, we are teaching them how to adult….if we act like this, then imagine the world when they are running things….terrifying!
These are my thoughts and you are free to disagree, discussion is always welcome.
Written by April Baggins for Bloodrock Media on July 5, 2017
#otep #boycottotep #bloodrockmedia #otepshamaya #localbandsvsotep