Commentary: PG One in black and white
By Yaoran Yu
People's Daily app


After drawing criticism from authorities and fans, PG One, a well-known Chinese rapper, and former “Rap of China” champion, is no longer the star he used to be as his fan base continues to dwindle. 

The young rapper fell under public scrutiny for his offensive rap lyrics filled with sexist comments and depictions of drug abuse.

And as if that wasn’t enough, rumors emerged he was having an affair with his best friend’s wife, actress Li Xiaolu.

Chinese netizens took to social media, pouring their wrath upon the rising entertainer. Li Xiaolu also came under fire for allegedly betraying her husband.

A campaign of morals against the rapper and the actress are justified as people defend public morality and familial loyalty. But some have forgotten that criticizing public figures does have boundaries.

Just like anybody else, the private lives of public figures should be respected and safeguarded from unnecessary scrutiny.

First, we have to admit that PG One should be able to handle the criticism directed at the abusive lyrics in his songs.

It was reported earlier that he claimed his sexist lyrics and narcissistic behavior were a result of the African American music he listened to as a teenager. But such superficial claims cannot be taken seriously as they are bereft of evidence and practical thought.

Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency said PG ONE’s "vulgarity cannot be branded as individual character, and infamy cannot get you money.”

Rap is an art form borne out of African-American culture. It is used to voice anger and frustration, and often features lyrics laced with profanity.

But in China, a country with different cultural and social backgrounds, rappers here should keep a clear mind that if they want to thrive, they need to take Chinese culture and public interests into account.

PG One will not clear himself of his behavior by explaining what rap is in the US. Instead, he should be thinking about where rap in China is headed.

Jay Chou is a famous Chinese musician, who happens to be a good rapper. Combining rap rhythms and Chinese Kung-fu elements in the song “Nunchakus,” which depicts a passionate Kung-fu story featuring strong and clear lyrics. It was a hit with the public and set a good example for Chinese rappers to follow.

On the other hand, public opinion of PG One and Li Xiaolu has gone too far, running over into their private lives.

Ever since a photo of them walking arm-in-arm surfaced online, social media users have been inspired to come up with theories about their alleged relationship.

Rumors went viral amid speculations of supposed real-life incidents, but all of it was nothing more than attempts to quench public curiosity.

On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, entertainment writers were desperately searching for clues which would prove the rumors of their alleged affair.

As a result, more people were sucked into the scandal whether they liked it or not.

Being a public figure means having less privacy, but overexposing the lives of the famous will never live up to the public interest.

Instead, disregard for privacy will inspire paparazzi to find news that isn’t noteworthy and in bad taste, an in ways deemed unethical by journalistic standards, just to appease reader demand.

Clear and convincing evidence of an affair between the rapper and the actress has yet to emerge. And let’s just say that even if it is true, it’s still personal, and should not be thrown over the hot coals of public criticism.

More importantly, slashing hard on an alleged sex affair does not make you a hero.

Sex scandals involving famous people have never failed to draw public attention. In today’s Internet era, public recognition comes in the form of “likes” and “clicks” on social media, which can be cashed out on the business end.

Public figures should uphold a healthy image for their fans. Meanwhile, they are still entitled to their rights of privacy, which should always be protected.