Salacious clickbait has been a key ingredient in Blueface's rise to fame, but things are starting to get weird.
Jonathan Porter, otherwise known as the rapper Blueface, technically got famous off a d*ck pic.
It's not as lewd as it sounds. Blueface has always had an uncanny knack for marketing. Years before signing with Cash Money records, he was a star football player at Arleta High School in Los Angeles. He briefly played ball in college at Fayetteville State University before dropping out in 2016 and moving back to LA to pursue music.
Two years later Blueface released his first mixtape, Famous Cryp, to soundcloud. "Thotiana," the lead single from the mixtape nearly topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019 when the song was remixed with Cardi B and YG.
Blueface in the video for "Thotiana (Remix)" ft. YG
By that time, the West Coast emcee had started to evolve into a meme across Twitter with the record "Respect My Cryppin." The buoyant track was up to the task, thanks to Blueface's shrill, nasally, often conversational flow that landed on-beat only when he felt like it.
The debacle charmed the youth but made hip-hop purists squirm. Another West Coast phenom rapping about sexual appendages and gang violence for the sake of virality? The rapper became a polarizing figure from the jump.
But Blueface was always in on his own joke, hence why putting a picture of his schlong on the cover art for his next single didn't phase him all that much. "I sho' the f*ck did," he said in an interview with Refuse Media. "And that blew a n**** up."
When the antics were set aside, Blueface also remained a charismatic emcee. His debut album was titled Find the Beat, a playful ode to his critics who criticized his rap style, and he often dropped hilarious lines like "her a** look like two midgets in a sleeping bag." His choppy style garnered co-signs from Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and even Kendrick Lamar, among others. Overall, the rapper seemed at ease with potentially becoming a caricature of himself.
Blueface kicks mom and sister out of house www.youtube.com
As many of his bars imply, Blueface is also open about his love life. He publicly began a thruple relationship with both his baby mama and another woman, came out as polyamorous in 2019, and even claimed in an interview to have had sex with over 1,000 women in just six months.
His morals were then called into question after a video surfaced of the rapper physically kicking his sister and throwing her and his mother out of his house in order to house his two partners.
"We gon' wait for the cops since you hit girls today," said one of the women. "This is his mother being thrown out. This is what y'all paying for right here, Blue face," his mother yells. "Y'all paying for this. This who y'all support."
In response, the rapper defended his actions. His relationship with his family had soured since his fame, and he accused them of trying to profit and gain clout off his brand.
Blueface baby mama and ex fight www.youtube.com
Regardless, the incident briefly tainted Blueface's image. He soon after took to Instagram Live to record his baby mama fighting another woman whom he had also slept with. The fight was vicious, but he seemed unphased as he let the camera roll and did little to stop the altercation. The video kept him and his career in the public conversation, but his shock-and-awe marketing tactics weren't as playful anymore and seemed to be morphing into something a little more toxic.
Fast forward to 2020, and Blueface's flair for drama has all but overshadowed his music.
Back in April, at the height of the pandemic, he invited a dozen women over to his Los Angeles house to help him film a music video for his song "Viral."
A behind-the-scenes video soon surfaced of a gaggle of Bikini-clad women beating the crap out of each other, with Blueface once again behind the camera. "It's going up!" He can be heard narrating. "They going viral!" The altercation ended up making the final cut for the video.
Blueface later claimed that none of the women were fighting over him and that the fight was the result of "a lot of henny mixed wit alilatitude (sic)."
But recently it seems Blueface has decided to make more of a profit off these altercations. He recently started the Blue Girls Club, (a play on "bad girls club"), an OnlyFans account filmed in the style of a reality show. The premise: 16 women live in Blueface's house and often square off for...his love? Money? Clout? The pay off is unclear.
Blueface BGC Full Onlyfans Episode 1 www.youtube.com
On the show's debut episode, each woman expressed zero interest in pursuing a romantic relationship with the rapper. One of the women said she agreed to join the show merely as a "life experience." "Why not?" she said. "You only live once, so why not try something new?"
But the show is focused less on the women (who are mostly women of color) and more on the fights– and there are plenty of fights. "Damn, y'all late," Blueface says as he answers the door in the debut episode's opening moments.
"They already fighting!" Two of the girls are seen screaming at each other, with members of Blueface's entourage trying to keep the women from attacking each other.
Boxing matches, verbal assaults, and one girl gets various objects thrown at her just for dancing–the show, now three episodes in, remains solely focused on the fights, and the dynamic is starting to get a little weird.
"Blueface got all these fatherless women scrapping like MMA fighters," wrote DJ Akademiks on his Instagram yesterday. The comment was attached to a video of one of the women being rolled out of San Fernando Dental Care in a wheelchair. Her teeth had been knocked out during a squabble, and she had to get surgery.
On the car ride home, which Blueface filmed in its entirety, the woman is drugged-out, crying, and visibly distraught over both her physical condition and the bills she has to pay for her surgery. Blueface consoles her but keeps his focus on the camera, even grinning when she comes in for a hug. The saga ends with the woman struggling to drink a smoothie the rapper had bought for her, and she finally smacks the camera out of Blueface's hand.
"These women are tough," the rapper told his 6.4 million Instagram followers this morning. He had bags under his eyes and appeared slightly exasperated. "They got missing teeth, broken ankles, eyelashes pulled right off their eyes...and they still tryna go. At this point, this is a women's correctional facility."
He goes on to say that the women started squabbling at six in the morning and that he had to impose a "lockdown" and separate them.
"I don't even know if I should bring somebody new in this b*tch, 'cause if I do they gonna get the short end of the stick just for being new." He stops and adds playfully, "But she might be a tough b*tch." He then tells his fans to comment on his OnlyFans videos if they think he should bring in somebody new.
It's undeniable that salacious clickbait has been a key ingredient in Blueface's rise to fame. "Catfights" have historically drawn public attention, especially from misogynistic men, and it's clear that he enjoys seeing women fight over him.
But at a time when Megan Thee Stallion and other women are demanding Black women be championed and respected, Blueface's antics seem to directly profit off the tropes that women of color are currently fighting to change: that they're angry, violent, unintelligent, and unable to curb their emotions.
Additionally, OnlyFans has become an empowering way for women to take back their sexuality and make good money during an economic recession while we're all stuck at home. To use the platform to highlight such problematic stereotypes isn't just insensitive; it's also cheap.
This is by no means a black and white issue. These women have consented to this show–and undoubtedly to the fights–but in an age when women of all kinds are fighting tooth and nail to rewrite their place in history, any reiteration of these stereotypes doesn't help the fight for women, especially women of color, to be taken seriously.
But perhaps the more important question is: why are people still paying for content of this nature? Why is trashy reality TV like this still garnering such attention? As empowering as it may be for these women to take any sort of opportunity to reach a platform, they are also pigeonholing themselves into the toxic narrative that desperately needs to change.
As politically conscious consumers, shouldn't we do a better job of filtering what we watch and how we spend our money? Or is Blueface and his lowest-common-denominator antics the kind of public figure we want to give money to in 2020?
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