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Amala Ratna Zandile DIamini is known professionally as Doja Cat

Picture: Grizz Lee

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Doja Cat’s ‘devilish’ controversy. A marketing move or reason for concern?

14 year-old Sofia Vorobei explores the corrupt nature of fame

Doja Cat is a 28-year-old American singer and rapper who started her career in August 2014 and in 2023 released her fourth studio album, Scarlet. While her chart-topping hits like Paint The Town Red have fuelled her musical ascent, Doja’s recent behaviour prompted a crescendo of controversy.

From a drastic physical metamorphosis involving shaving her head on Instagram live and tattooing cryptic messages to publicly declaring indifference towards her fanbase on X, Doja’s actions have often left her fans bewildered.

Speculations about her state of mind have quickly escalated into accusations linking her behaviour with a potential affiliation with ‘the occult’.

The roots of such were ignited by her visit to the famed Bang Bang Tattoo studio in New York City, where she etched a bold anatomical bat on her back, triggering speculation about its purportedly demonic undertones.

A second tattoo depicting the mythological figure Licenti, from Fortunio Liceti’s book ‘De Monstris’, has also been perceived as ‘satanic’. In addition to this, Doja’s album’s initial title, HellMouth, which was later replaced by Scarlet, caused an initial uproar among fans.

Doja Cat is not the first celebrity facing such accusations – Lana del Rey was widely said to have been promoting and practising witchcraft; Eminem was rumoured to have sold his soul to the devil for success; even Rihanna faced similar speculations during her career. Even as social media is buzzing with Doja Cat’s alleged ‘links to secret societies’ and ‘dark pacts’, one must consider the reasons for her unusual behaviour.

‘The demonic’ can be used as a marketing strategy. The examples of Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson and others depict it as a fool-proof way to create sensationalism.

By embracing elements associated with ‘the occult’, Doja would be sparking conversation and generating publicity – a calculated approach to captivate audiences. Arguably, Doja Cat herself alludes to her behaviour being a marketing strategy.

The lyrics of the song Skull and Bones, featured on Scarlet, serve as an example. Doja raps:

‘Y’all been pushin’ ‘Satan this’ and ‘Satan that’
My fans is yellin’, “Least she rich,” you need that pact
Lookin’ like I got some things you hate I have
And trust me, baby, God don’t play with hate like that
So you gon’ be real upset when he pick Cat
To be the one up on them charts all over the map
And you could keep on tellin’ yourself it’s all in my tats’

Touchin on the ‘devilish’ rumours about her, Doja Cat states that they are fueled by envy – arguably, she recognises that if she does something scandalous, she remains a topic of conversation – an integral part of being a public figure in our modern day.

Mental health, however, has also been a known cause for abrupt changes to one’s behaviour.

It could be possible that Doja Cat is not able to handle the stress of being a public figure, especially if we take into consideration that shaving off her hair can be perceived as a direct quote from what Britney Spears did back in 2007.

In her 2023 book ‘The Woman In Me’, Spears described how she was “out of her mind with grief and pressure” that was caused by the death of her beloved aunt and constant unwanted attention from the paparazzi.

There were no tragic events in Doja Cat’s life around the period she completely switched her style that the public is aware of. However, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be experiencing some kind of emotional turmoil caused by all the fame and attention she is getting. The music industry to play on her vulnerability and create a controversial image that sells better.

As Doja Cat herself hints at the fabricated nature of these rumours in her lyrics, the conclusion leans towards a strategic manipulation of public perception, underscoring the corrupt nature of fame in our status quo.

However, navigating the labyrinth of Doja Cat’s recent controversies, we question the more calculated realities behind far-fetched rumours.

But there could lie a more sinister possibility: the music industry is exploiting her vulnerability, turning the spotlight into the battlefield where managers are ready to do whatever it takes to maintain an artist’s hype.

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​​Sofia Vorobei

Contributor

Kyiv, Ukraine | El Vergel, Spain

Born in 2009 in Kyiv, Sofia moved to a small village in Spain in 2020. Being able to learn languages quickly, it didn’t take her a long time to adjust to a new life.

Sofia is interested in the influence new technologies have on modern movies, TV shows, and music. She is considering building her career in the acting field and is interested in looking at how this particular path is often affected by one’s place of residence or financial situation.

In her free time, she enjoys writing the most – with a collection of poetry and she has even started working on a couple of book ideas.

Sofia speaks Ukrainian, Spanish, English and Russian.

Edited by:

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Megan Lee

Culture Section Editor

Hong Kong | United Kingdom

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