Everybody hates Cher Lloyd. Well, that’s what most people would have you believe, anyway.
But why, exactly? Despite her rather precocious debut appearance on the X Factor, Cher has proved to be a submissive and inoffensive pint-sized pop star in her own right. She is often described as ‘divisive’ or even ‘controversial’, but Cher is hardly a seventeen year old activist using her songs to spout opinionated political statements a la M.I.A. Nope, her debut single is curiously titled, yes, but it is not hard-hitting stuff by any means:
Aside from the “what does it mean” factor, hideous title and its blatant identity crisis, Cher isn’t being particularly bold or evil in this song. It’s a mess, admittedly, but that could be down to her record company, the wonderfully named SyCo headed by Simon Cowell. This is not even Cher’s style: in a rather vain attempt to try and incorporate the rap that Lloyd loves so much, this song uses a rather awkward tune change and bubblegum intro to make the whole affair sound a bit more “street”. It’s not Lil Wayne though. It’s not even a poppy Nicki Minaj tune.
This is besides the point though. The more I read about Lloyd, the more concerned I become. It is not the song that has got people angry, it is Lloyd herself.
A range of sites from the NME to the comments on Youtube reveal a wealth of prejudice against Lloyd: she is abused, called a chav and derided for her gypsy roots. Some of the comments even go so far as to suggest that the UK needs to be rid of people like her, though this seems very strange: Lloyd is a young woman who for better or worse has made something of herself and worked hard to perfect her rapping technique and learn about the music industry, which is more than most people can say. As a recent Guardian interview reports, former News of the World showbiz editor Dan Wootton attacked Lloyd so badly over Twitter that Lily Allen decided to step in and defend her.
Lloyd’s attitude, the interview points out, can be quite bratty and arrogant, but also points out that she is both very young and possibly suffers from nerves, not knowing what best to say in one-to-one interviews. These seem like reasonable explanations, but it is also an attitude that a young woman facing such vile comments would have to adopt to survive emotionally. She acknowledges that her gypsy roots mean that she is already subject to a massive amount of prejudice, heightened by the fact that her parents are rumoured to be on state benefits.
However, none of this justifies the way in which total strangers vent their hatred against the young starlet. Lloyd says that when her career fully kicks off that she wants to get involved in anti-bullying campaigns, an admirable goal for someone so young. Swagger Jagger might be manufactured pop that treads no new ground, but someone with good ambitions from a deprived background shouldn’t be subject to such abuse.