Venus X (Almost) Quits “Ghetto Goth” Over Rihanna Misappropriating Her Brand

May 12, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Yesterday, Venus X — the DJ and founder of the underground dance parties GHE20GOTHIK — announced via an angry Twitter screed that she would be quitting music and ending GHE20GOTHIK. Her reasons are all to do with her perception that the pop star Rihanna has been jacking her style intentionally and misrepresenting Venus’ subculture to the public.

The conflict has not come out of nowhere. In an interview with Fader last year, Venus went in depth on how she felt Rihanna was appropriating her aesthetic by using the hashtag #ghettogoth on her Instagram, leading mainstream publications to associate the term with Rihanna’s style. Venus was adamant that Rihanna’s actions were warping and misrepresenting the brand she had built through her parties over the last few years. “It is not a fashion hashtag for Rihanna to use, who doesn’t come to the parties and has no political reference point, that’s for sure. GHE20 GOTH1K is extremely political. It’s not about expensive clothes,” Venus told Fader.

Yesterday on Twitter, her comments were considerably angrier, as she called Rihanna a “dumb industry sex slave bitch” (for which she later apologized.) On her Instagram she wrote:

If they will not accurately tell our story and let the brand grow into a worldwide alternative space for the weirdos of this generation, particularly minority youth, I (can) no longer pour all my money and time into this movement… No more #ghettogoth parties. No more DJ-ing for me. I do this all alone and don’t have the means to fight for the brand.

It seems that our culture of unlimited sharing of information is taking its toll on people who feel they have created something unique. Rihanna has been accused of “stealing” a subcultural style before, when she sang “Diamonds” on Saturday Night Live while #seapunk-inspired visuals played in the background. The concepts of authorship and authenticity are very much up for debate in the age of internet culture, and as long as people hold different ideas about what it means to own an idea, these conflicts will likely continue. In the meantime, we hope that Venus X really does take it to the next level and we’re no longer sure what she’s quitting.

(Image: DAZED)