Janelle Monáe sent out an apology on Monday after joining others in criticizing the recent craze over fast-food chicken sandwiches.
The Grammy winner stepped in hot water on Sunday when she tweeted, "Perhaps we put voting booths at every Popeyes location? While we wait on that sammich you can register and vote @popeyes holla.”
I think the tweets that I posted about registering and voting were insensitive and wrong—specifically they ignored the very real issues of voter suppression that have impacted my community for years and me directly.— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) August 26, 2019
Thanks to all of you for calling me out (or in) and helping me remember and refocus on the bigger issues. I love y’all. Keep teaching one another. ♥️♥️♥️ Never be afraid to be wrong. Never be afraid to listen and learn. ♥️♥️♥️— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) August 26, 2019
People that know me, know that I am very passionate about voting and making sure that people around me and in my community have safe and EASY ACCESS to voting. If you care about the same things sign up here to help: https://t.co/fhsSewmnV1— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) August 26, 2019
Despite some strange support from actress Cynthia Erivo, Monáe's message was thoroughly dragged by thousands online who called it elitist, out of touch and plainly unnecessary.
One of the things that's engrained, even in political stories: when white people don't vote, the question is why the system/party didn't make it easier for them or inspire them. When it's POC (or young ppl), the blame shifts, and the question is what's wrong w/ them individually— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) August 26, 2019
I don’t have to take off from work to get a chicken sandwich— Nik @ Knight (@Nik_knight96) August 25, 2019
I can get a chicken sandwich with a felony
I’m not forced to go to a specific location based on where I live.
consider accessibility before making vote shaming posts like this https://t.co/5dxlfBg4oS
Black people: Enjoy something for 72 hours— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) August 26, 2019
The But Did U Vote brigade: pic.twitter.com/wPa6dgGCF7
Thread. Popeye's would kill for lines like the ones outside of black polling stations. 1. Black people vote 2. We would vote even more if people like the GA Gov didn't intentionally limit poll access in ways that create these ridiculous lines. https://t.co/gdgjEn3sRw— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 26, 2019
I just think it's funny how rich Black people want the privilege of frivolity, but will literally shame poor Black people for so much as daring to eat before fixing any and all oppressions of the world. Y'all become more like these white folks you beg for acceptance daily.— hopeful pessimist (formerly @sjw_movies) (@plsleaveamsg) August 26, 2019
To her credit, Monáe admitted that her tweets were insensitive and deleted them. Unfortunately, she gave voice to a long-running stereotype that others online continued to imply throughout the week. This sentiment, that Black people do not vote or don't prioritize voting over certain things, is patently false.
It’s astounding that these chicken sandwiches turned into think pieces and Twitter rants about black peoples voting.— Boogie Bousins (@bansky) August 26, 2019
I have now seen the sandwich used to bludgeon Black people about voting, education, marriage & reparations. A $4 fast food sandwich & some jokes has people ready to create a narrative of pathological flaws in Blackness. And they think they're enlightened. It's amazing.— ❄Mikki Kendall❄ (@Karnythia) August 26, 2019
People are so busy using the popeyes sandwich to shame black people about voting that no one has even brought up the fact it's easier to buy a popeyes chicken sandwich than it is for a lot of black folks to vote.— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) August 25, 2019
The “y’all will stand in line for a chicken sandwhich but won’t stand in line to vote” shit is exceedingly dumb. Black women turn out at higher rates than almost everyone, and once you account for felony disenfranchisement black men turnout at similar rates.— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) August 26, 2019