Earlier today it was revealed that Tyler The Creator had to cancel his upcoming UK tour because he's been effectively banned from the UK for the next 3-5 years for writing lyrics that "foster hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts."
Essentially, Tyler has been barred from England for "hate speech" -- an incredibly problematic precedent if we're really going to be talking about the freedom of artistic expression, especially in regards to rap.
According to a statement issued from the U.K. Home Office, which deals with issues of immigration and security, "Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values. The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds." In Tyler's case, this means he was banned for alter-ego lyrics he wrote 6-7 years ago that encourage "violence and intolerance of homosexuality" and "fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts."
BASED ON LYRICS FROM 2009 I AM NOT ALLOWED IN THE UK FOR 3-5 YEARS ( although i was there 8 weeks ago) THAT IS WHY THE SHOWS WERE CANCELLED.-- Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) August 26, 2015
I'm not condoning 18 year-old Tyler's lyricism at all, but this has turned into a matter of artistic expression and the absolutely arbitrary censorship of certain rap-centric genres and artists. Tyler shouldn't have been singled out for his unsavory lyrics, no matter what. This sort of rationale from the Home Secretary has eerily similar undertones to the kind of pieces written by The Daily Mirror during the London riots blaming rap music. And, according to the logic used for banning Tyler, shouldn't the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Satanic Warmaster, Cemetery Rapist and a number of other lyrically "violent" artists from across the genre-spectrum be barred from touring/promoting in the United Kingdom?
Lest we forget, the UK government has a notorious history of shutting down events and institutions that can loosely be described as "urban-based" under the charge of "potential unrest and disturbance." Just look at their frequent grime pirate station raids, the blaming of knife violence on "rap music" and last year's cancellation of Just Jam's Omar Souleyman show at The Barbican, if you need further proof of the Home Office's maligned priorities when it comes to "preventative measures."
Also important to note is that severaloutlets have linked Tyler's ban to a general uptick in Britain's general air of anti-immigration paranoia -- though why Tyler and why right now has yet to be further clarified. Granted maybe it has something to do with re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron's recent statements about Britain being a "passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It's often meant we have stood neutral between different values...This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach." But then why is the English Defence League still allowed to continue burning mosques and threatening Muslim families like it's no big deal?
Until then, Tyler The Creator will just have to keep his pancake-making furor and Dr. Seuss readings stateside.