When Newsweek reported that an anti-Target novelty song had topped the iTunes charts on May 30, besting pop star Taylor Swift’s latest single in the process, both political journalists and music fans were left scratching their heads — surely no one was actually enjoying this sonic garbage? Meanwhile, right-wing pundits crowed about what they perceived to be a victory over the “woke agenda” they’ve decided has crept into every facet of American life, including its big box stores. With Pride Month upon us, the rainbow capitalism that has saturated the season for years has been taking fire from the far right, whose current violently obsessive crusade against LGBTQIA people has led to capitulation from the same corporations that had been planning to profit off the queer community this June.
The bigots’ latest rallying cry, “Boycott Target,” is a crude, gleefully transphobic and embarrassingly low-quality rap song that’s littered with both slurs and lackluster features from other Z-list right-wing rappers. Its creator, Forgiato Blow (Kurt Jantz), is a 38-year-old white rapper from South Florida who has risen to the top of the grievance-soaked microgenre of “MAGA rap” by releasing a steady clip of ham-fisted odes to right-wing culture war obsessions.
He is also an extremely mediocre artist, who sank a rumored $5 million inheritance into a struggling rap career that foundered until he transitioned into his current pro-Trump grift in 2016. Jantz is an heir to the Autotrader fortune (his late grandfather, Stuart Arnold, founded the immensely successful car magazine in 1973) and his early material revolved around wealth, women, and — true to the family business — luxury cars. But in 2016, he released his first Trump-themed song, “Silver Spoon,” introducing the MAGA-branded formula he’s clung to ever since. The self-proclaimed “Mayor of MAGAville” has responded to his song’s relative success by going on major television network Fox News to complain about being silenced (truly, you cannot make this sh-t up).
The music video for “Boycott Target” features Jantz and his buddies romping through a Target, gesticulating at Pride-branded merchandise, carrying cases of Bud Light, and inexplicably filling his arms with boxes of tampons. The cause for their alarm is the current far right-fueled panic over Target’s line of Pride merchandise, which includes queer and trans-inclusive clothing offerings. (Never mind that the multibillion-dollar corporation has been rolling out its annual Pride collection for more than a decade). The song’s iTunes chart position might have meant something 10 years ago, too, but it has become a dated metric for determining musical popularity and success. The rise of streaming has meant that most modern music consumers now use services like Spotify or Apple Music, while older generations prefer to buy individual songs (and as Newsweek notes, it only takes a relatively small number of those purchases to impact the charts).
Jantz himself seems to be aware that his audience skews older, and accordingly markets his songs towards extremely online right-wing Boomers. “My fans aren’t teenage boys,” he told reporter Tess Owes in a 2022 profile. “My fans are 50-to-60-year-old people that probably never listened to rap music in their life. And I make them love rap music. Now they love rap music.”
Jantz’s crappy song is only one small part of the ongoing anti-LGBTQIA campaign that the far right is pushing, and in some cases, it’s already led to threats of physical violence against Target workers. Last month, the company announced that it would be removing some of its Pride collection from stores following the manufactured backlash, including merchandise from British designer Abprallen, whose (extremely cute) Satanic-themed artwork drew particular attention from joyless conservatives. Workers at some Southern locations have also reported being told to move Pride-themed swimsuits to the back of the store, including a gender inclusive “tuck-friendly” design. It’s truly pathetic to see a corporation as massive as Target caving to the demands of a handful of frenzied bigots, but it’s imperative to protect the workers who have been forced to deal with them and their ginned-up outrage.
The entire episode is shameful, and the ongoing harassment, dehumanization, criminalization and violence against queer and trans people that has been allowed — and encouraged in some quarters, like the one Jantz occupies and enables — is nothing less than an increasingly fast-moving genocide. One iTunes chart doesn’t change that, nor does it provide any real cover to the wretched human beings acting like it actually means they’re in the right. Conservatives’ desperate attempts to latch onto pop culture and use it to push their disgusting agenda always fails, and “Boycott Target” is no exception.
Unfortunately for the bigoted right-wingers insisting that the flash-in-the-pan success of “Boycott Target” means that their hateful viewpoints are justifiable, the facts don’t care about their feelings — and despite all of their sweaty, poorly tattooed posturing, Forgiato Blow and his nasty MAGA cronies will never be cool.
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