Creators Don’t Need to Keep Falling for Fake Feuds
Of all the feuds in recent months — TikTok content houses vs. their managers, Chrissy Teigen vs. Twitter, Amanda Ensing vs. Sephora — DaBaby vs. Jojo Siwa was not the one I had on my bingo card. I started my Monday catching up on headlines like “DaBaby Came For Jojo Siwa” and “DaBaby Disses Jojo Siwa” and had half a mind to go back to bed. After an onslaught of online vitriol from prominent, controversy-stirring creators like James Charles and Tana Mongeau, the 29-year-old rapper—one of the top hip-hop hitmakers of the moment—clarified that his recent “Beatbox” freestyle was definitely not, in fact, bashing a newly-out 17-year old.
The “Beatbox” lyric that DaBaby improvised goes like this: “Turn me up, n— gon' see why/N—, you a bitch, JoJo Siwa (Bitch).” The line is a play on words: “Siwa” is a homophone for “see why,” and “Jojo” a nickname for Jonathan, DaBaby’s real first name. It wasn’t a “diss” of Siwa in any way, but the initial misunderstanding blew up.
Charles got 171,000 likes when on Sunday he tweeted, “can someone please explain why DaBaby is dissing jojo siwa when she’s 12 years younger, 10 times richer, and 2 inches taller than him.”
“imagine honestly being DaBaby and DISSING jojo siwa get a LIFE,” Mongeau added early Monday morning, hours after DaBaby had already clarified his intentions on Twitter, saying it’s “all love” on his end.
@itsjojosiwa my 3 year old princess is your number 1 fan. I bought her every product you have out. She think she you.😂— DaBaby (@DaBabyDaBaby) February 21, 2021
Don’t let em trick you into thinking id ever have a problem with you. My word play just went over their heads.
All love on my end shawty, Keep shinning! 💝
While Siwa hasn’t commented on the scuffle, she hasn’t done anything to suggest she took it personally, either. Instead, creators are perpetuating a feud that doesn’t exist.
One reason this feels so exhausting is because something similar went down in December with rapper Lil Yachty. His “E-ER” lyrics about TikTokker Addison Rae, which were far more explicit, resulted in a days-long feud—even though, per a conversation with the rapper on Twitch, it turned out Rae’s boyfriend, Bryce Hall, “wasn’t offended” by the song. Notably, we never heard Rae’s feelings on it.
Real or manufactured, feuds are common among creators and drive a fair share of the mainstream press that comes their way. (Including our coverage, although we try to only focus on that ones that shed some light on meaningful debates about real issues playing out online.) For that reason, it makes sense that creators weigh in on them so often. But as the industry as a whole grows increasingly mainstream, the feuds can more easily be seen for what they often are: manufactured attention grabs that fall flat.