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Chance The Rapper Forced MTV to Delete A Bad Review About His Concert

July 4, 20175 min read

When MTV News restructured itself at the beginning of 2016 it was branded not only an uprising but a movement as well. In fact at the time the new editorial director of music Jessica Hopper said “What we are about to do here is the most revolutionary and forward-thinking thing that we can try to do for music journalism.” Just a few months later Hopper was chosen to deliver a eulogy for Prince and throughout it emphasized how MTV would bring in a new era and a new perspective on music journalism. Less than a year later after pressure from network executives, Hopper would be forced to take down a critical review of Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book.

The review was written by then staff writer David Turner in which he rightfully criticized the album and named Chance a “false prophet.” Chance The Rapper found out through Snapchat and via his management contacted MTV and threatened the network saying he would “never work with MTV again.” At the time Chance’s team and MTV were having high-level negations for linear specials. So one could come to the conclusion the stakes were pretty high for MTV. Jessica Hopper Editorial Director of Music for MTV opted to delete the Chance The Rapper due to extreme pressure from the Music and Talent (M&T) division. Less than a year ago Hopper was seen as someone who was going to redefine what Music Journalism is but today she is the woman who deleted an article because it wasn’t financially convenient for MTV. When contacted for comment by Slack she said,

“Chance and his management became aware of David’s piece via the repost on Snapchat Discover and subsequently told MTV, amid high-level negotiations for linear specials, that he was never working with MTV again because of it,” wrote Hopper. “M&T asked us to unpublished and scrub it from social media as they attempt to repair this with him and his management. It is upsetting for obvious journalistic reasons—we stand behind everything we publish. Right now, we are unsure how it may impact Chance-related projects both in and outside of News if the relationship cannot be repaired. Everyone agrees it was a fair and reasoned piece of criticisim.”

When Chance’s Manager was contacted he gave a story that completely contradicted Hopper’s claims,

“Upon the publication of the article, Chance and I got together & both agreed that the article was offensive. When we brought our concerns to MTV, our rep agreed that the article was ‘a harsh shot’ & took ownership of the editorial misstep. From there, MTV chose to, on their own volition, to remove the piece. We have a long history with MTV, which we cherish.”

It’s quite common for artists and their management to complain about critical stories. What is not common is for an organization to remove a story solely because it offends the artist. Common reasons for entertainment articles or reviews to be deleted are because of proven factual errors. Very rarely does management for an artist requests slight alterations— it is completely unprecedented for an artist to not only demand a story to be removed but also to threaten to cut ties with that organization. It is unheard of for a network to bow to the demands of an artist.  MTV should re-publish the review. This situation lets artist with significant financial ties know that they have the leverage to force MTV to do whatever they want. Working at Affinity a teen run news site I rest assured knowing that my editors would never make me take down an article that hindered financial opportunities. So MTV if a teen run organization can figure that out why can’t you?


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Mahamed Abdulahi

Black. Muslim. Feminist. Passionate about social, economic, environmental justice. 14 years old. Member of Speech and Debate. From San Diego, California