Todrick Hall is criticized for tweet saying ‘slavery worked’

Todrick Hall performing
Todrick Hall Paul Morigi/Getty Images
  • YouTuber Todrick Hall is a musician who gained popularity after appearing on “American Idol.”
  • On Saturday, he faced backlash after posting a tweet that said, “Slavery worked.”
  • Hall has had other controversies in the past.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

YouTuber and musician Todrick Hall is facing backlash for a tweet on Saturday that said “slavery worked.”

“They hoped we’d still be here today fighting and trying to take down our own. We can prove them wrong. UPLIFT YOUR OWN,” the tweet elaborated.

Over 5,000 users quote-tweeted the message, with many responses criticizing Hall’s choice of words.

-Todrick Hall (@todrick) June 12, 2021

“I don’t think that’s why they enslaved the ancestors,” said one reply to the tweet.

-man-ish ????లลϯ????లກ ⚧???? (@NuNayme) June 12, 2021

Other tweets criticized Hall for a message that they said placed the burden on Black Americans to “prove” that the country’s systemic racism and history of slavery was wrong. Then, people began to criticize him for rumors of unpaid labor.

This is only Hall’s latest controversy.

The 36-year-old entertainer gained popularity on YouTube with parody videos and music videos of original songs before appearing on season nine of “American Idol” in 2009. He’s also gained notoriety for his association with pop star Taylor Swift.

In 2019, he was embroiled in controversy when several former employees and dancers said online and in at least one lawsuit that Hall underpaid them, among other employment allegations, as Insider’s Kat Tenbarge reported at the time.

One former assistant accused Hall of failure to pay overtime, wrongful termination, failure to pay minimum wage, breach of contract, and sexual harassment, in a 2018 lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Central District of California that was reviewed by Insider. The case was settled in 2019, Insider previously reported.

As the accusations of nonpayment came out against him, more former employees came forward online with similar allegations, including a dancer who worked on multiple projects with him, two drag queens, and a DJ.

Hall responded to the dancer publicly on Twitter and wrote that he adores the dancer. “This is surprising to me, he hasn’t been paid yet, he will be…not because he’s trying to ‘expose’ me but because he deserves it. I only got two texts, no calls, I was overseas opening my tour & that video has only been out for 2 weeks,” Hall wrote.

Around the same time, Insider previously reported that Hall responded to an Instagram comment saying, “I DO PAY MY DANCERS unless I tell them there’s no pay in which case they chose to come and volunteer their gift and talent which I have done several times.”

Many quote tweets and replies to the “slavery” tweet over the weekend called Hall hypocritical based on those allegations.

“Why you ain’t pay them people? You ain’t wanna uplift them? Or what?” one person said. Others questioned the phrasing of the tweet, with one response saying, “‘slavery worked’ is a wild way to start a sentence.”

Culture writers have criticized Hall, saying he portrays harmful stereotypes about Black people. Myles E. Johnson wrote for Grindr’s blog that the 2018 music video for Hall’s song “Thug” was “just plain tone-deaf.” The song described how Hall was not attracted to feminine men.

“Hall sings lyrics about how he used to have desire and affection for men who had more feminine performances, but now he [is] interested in a more hyper-masculine lover who is both black and a ‘thug,'” Johnson wrote of the song.

Twitter users criticizing the recent tweet appeared to reference Hall’s controversial work.

“Todrick Hall has really spent his ENTIRE career pandering to the white gays and racists while simultaneously underpaying Black artists and creatives in order to build his brand which is nothing but watered down ballroom culture,” another Twitter user wrote about his recent tweet. “But now he wants to talk about ‘uplift your own.'”

-Marquet | He/Him/His (@helpwithanm) June 12, 2021

Franchesca Ramsey, a TV writer and producer, responded to Hall’s tweet saying that she has been bothered by Hall’s unwillingness to accept criticism of his work. She said that because she respects him, she tried to reach out to him with feedback in the past.

Ramsey wrote in another tweet, “You need folks in your corner who will tell you that you fu—- up vs. what you want to hear. This is one of those times. That’s how we uplift our own.”

-Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) June 13, 2021

Hall did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.