Elizabeth Eden Harris, better known by her stage name Cupcakke, made clear in a Tuesday interview with the News that she “does not give a f—” about critics at Yale who say her lyrics are too raunchy.
Since the Yale College Council Spring Fling Committee announced that Cupcakke would perform at this year’s Spring Fling, students have debated the artist’s sexually charged lyrics on social media and in op-eds in the News. Some of Cupcakke’s most famous songs are titled “Vagina” and “Deepthroat” and include lines such as “Murder my p—- without the gunshot / Just shoot me up my a– crack with a cum shot.”
Cupcakke told the News she has not seen any of the criticism, including an op-ed in the News that described her music as gratuitously sexual (Schick: “Sins, not songs,” Feb. 21, 2018). But even if she had, she said, she would not have cared.
“I’m just now hearing it from you first, so I don’t have a response,” Cupcakke said. “The response would be, ‘Oh well, like, who gives a f— what [the music] is.’ … I’m coming to Yale, this is what it is, and I’m about to perform and make everyone scream ‘suck dick.’”
Asked to respond to excerpts from criticism of her work written by Yale undergraduates, Cupcakke reiterated that “I don’t give a f—, and I’m still going to perform at Yale. … The people of Yale know exactly what they booked me for.”
YCC Events Director Tyler Bleuel said that “a lot of thought goes into the Spring Fling Committee’s choices” to book artists, and that the “YCC considers performers’ values, contributions to society and trajectory within the music industry.” Cupcakke has only become more popular since the YCC booked her, Bleuel noted.
Cupcakke recently concluded a successful tour across the United States and Europe after releasing her latest album, Ephorize, in January. For over a month, the online music magazine Pitchfork gave Ephorize its “Best New Music” award. Cupcakke has also performed at Lollapalooza, and she is scheduled to appear at the University of Pennsylvania’s Spring Fling this year.
Cupcakke told the News that she “absolutely” believes her music empowers women, adding that her confidence inspires her fans regardless of gender. She also said it is unfair that male artists produce music and videos featuring sexual scenes and face little criticism, while her own music videos, which frequently feature scantily clad women and sexually charged choreography, are decried as a form of sexual objectification.
“If someone is offended by [my music videos], what do I think of it? I don’t think of it. It is not a thought that comes to my head. I don’t give a f—,” Cupcakke said. “Women are going to be women just like men are going to be men, OK. The way men talk about sex is how I’m doing it. I’m a female talking about sex. There’s no difference. Don’t be a double standard.”
Students interviewed offered a range of responses to Cupcakke’s defense of her music. Andrew Spinelli ’18 said he appreciates that Cupcakke views her confidence as empowering, but he wishes she had offered a more nuanced, progressive response to the criticism.
Kendall Easley ’20 said that the other performers scheduled for Spring Fling have not fueled as many questions about their derogatory lyrics, leading her to believe that most of the criticism of Cupcakke is “relatively gendered.”
“Black women’s usage of ‘excess flesh’ to disrupt the historical hypervisibility of our bodies is a form of empowerment and subversion,” Erika Hairston ’18 said. “I don’t need to declare my agreement with Cupcakke to recognize her form of art as essential and powerful.”
This year’s Spring Fling is scheduled for April 28. It will feature concert headliner A$AP Ferg, Norwegian pop singer Dagny and the electronic dance music DJ Madeon, in addition to Cupcakke.
Britton O’Daly | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, April 5: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that all three other Spring Fling performers are male. In fact, Dagny is a female singer.