One of our latest additions to the usual Christmas traditions and a welcome marker of time this year has been flagged up as a sore point among the self-righteous Gen Z — we invoke our right to be offended.


A case of property theft?

Spotify Wrapped is the latest victim of cancel culture as young artist Jewel Ham read us the wrongdoing from the mount of twitter:

‘I really invented the Spotify wrapped story concept as an intern project in 2019 and I haven’t looked back since LMAO’.

The proof in this Christmas pudding was an image of the project, ‘#Wrappedin’, that she designed. She described gen Z’s need ‘to touch and feel, scroll and post’ and why Spotify Wrapped needs to jump into the modern age. She lit the touch paper causing the change from the boomerified Wrapped email link (a great addition to the round robin) to a ‘hashtaggable, repostable and an altogether shareable experience’.

Now, obviously, this has gone no further. Spotify legally owns all the content that it’s interns produce and, no offence Jewel, one might say it seems like a fairly natural progression. After all, every social media platform has the story format nowadays. Note to self: check if I can post my top artists to LinkedIn story.

How far can you take the debate of intellectual property theft? Seemingly an obvious idea, some have criticised Ham for even raising her voice on the topic. But even the most innovative ideas seem obvious in retrospect. Does she not deserve the credit for getting there first? She has contributed her fair share to the company, but that’s just the issue, she has not got her fair share back. The wrapped story concept has converted countless users from other music streaming platforms to Spotify. With it, they stand head and shoulders above the competition. They told Forbes in 2018 that in the first week that ‘Wrapped’ was rolled out last year, over 60 million users engaged with the in-app experience. I wouldn’t deep it if I were you, Jewel.

Slumflower vents

Bear with me one moment as we turn to another story this week with a lot of parallels, including: intellectual property, cancel culture and multi-national companies taking advantage of young people, so it makes sense. Chidera Eggerue, better known as the Slumflower, has also stepped up to the mount this week to reveal another wrongdoing (think mean-girls-trust-fall-scene). This time about Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty — which you can pick up in any alternative clothing retailer near you. Now, I probably wouldn’t reference Given’s wisdom in any upcoming essays this term and it does read slightly like a horoscope, but I don’t think this type of writing should be written off completely. She is a young, influential girl who has the potential to pique the interest of many others, and more interest in feminism is never a bad thing.

Back to the issue in hand, The Slumflower has claimed that Given’s book is the result of plagiarising her own two books What A Time To Be Alone and How To Get Over A Boy. She has cited this as an example of ‘white supremacy’ at work and showed how black people’s activism is co-opted by ‘white people’. This is an incredibly important point which I am not attempting to demean. This has happened repeatedly throughout history and continues to happen, and we must give a voice and give a voice back to people of colour. I, of course, do not know the full extent of this story as I am neither Florence Given or Chidera Eggerue — this could very well be the case. However, I get the feeling that neither of them know the full story either …

Don’t cancel 21-year-olds

I hope, but think I will be disappointed, that this isn’t another case of big companies taking advantage of young creatives but it seems relevant to point out that both Chidera Eggerue and Florence Given have the same agent and management. I smell something fishy. Surely we can see through this. We should not pit these women against each other. Nor should we be encouraging this conflict but instead supporting them both as individuals, as young feminists adding to the diversity of our bookshelves.

That’s why all I want for Christmas this year is for us to be more supportive of our young talent. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, What A Time To Be Alive and How To Get Over A Boy will all be under my tree this year. Let’s support them, we never gained anything from cancelling 21-year-olds. Let’s cancel their management instead! Everything in our neo-liberal society depends on young, innovative creatives. Successful multi-national companies need to abandon their selfish gene and realise that new blood, not blue blood, is the one to encourage.