Responding to the controversy regarding the erasure of Arivu from the representation of the hit songs 'Neeye Oli' and 'Enjoy Enjaami', Shan Vincent de Paul, the co-artist of 'Neeye Oli', released a statement on his Instagram and Twitter handles. The Jaffna-born rapper-songwriter addressed the first section of his statement to Arivu where he said he understands his “quest for representation” and “how difficult it is to come up in this industry”. He further added that both he and Arivu “are defying odds for representation for both our communities”. In his statement, he has promised to support Arivu and said that he hopes they could continue their discussion regarding this issue.
The recent public outcry over the Rolling Stone India front cover and cover story, follows earlier instances when Arivu appeared to be side-lined from both his songs, despite their massive popularity. On August 20, Rolling Stone India tweeted an image of the cover for their upcoming issue saying: “.@talktodhee and @shanvdp appear on our August 2021 cover. The triumphant South Asian artists have been at the front of erasing border lines with songs like "Enjoy Enjaami" and "Neeye Oli" respectively, released via platform and label @joinmaajjav Cover story by @anuragtagat.”
.@talktodhee and @shanvdp appear on our August 2021 cover. The triumphant South Asian artists have been at the front of erasing border lines with songs like "Enjoy Enjaami" and "Neeye Oli" respectively, released via platform and label @joinmaajja— Rolling Stone India (@RollingStoneIN) August 20, 2021
Cover story by @anuragtagat pic.twitter.com/OJgstNLWRA
Addressing the cover and article in Rolling Stone India, Shan justified the representation in both saying it was about his and Dhee’s upcoming debut albums with Maajja, the platform newly launched by AR Rahman and Canadian-Tamil entrepreneurs Noel Kirthiraj, Sen Sachi, Prasana Balachandra to promote South Asian independent musicians. According to his statement, he will soon be releasing an album on the Eelam Tamil community and Dhee has an album in English coming out soon. He went on to say that contrary to the Rolling Stone India tweet that mentioned 'Neeye Oli' and 'Enjoy Enjaami', the first for which Arivu wrote the Tamil lyrics and the second which he entirely wrote, the cover story in the magazine was not about these songs. He added that he believes the other artists involved in these projects such as Nav-47, who also performed in 'Neeye Oli', will get their albums in the future and that he’s sure Maajja will promote them as well. He also said that he has no control over how the press “choose their messaging or what narratives they push.”
In the same statement, Shan blamed director Pa Ranjith for the social media trolling he has been receiving. “In his righteous demand for representation for his community he irresponsibly fuelled the fire of divide amongst the Tamil community," he wrote. Accusing Ranjith of “creating his own narrative” at the time of the Rolling Stone India cover release, Shan also said that Ranjith had omitted his own contribution to 'Neeye Oli'. He said that the director should have called for “Arivu to have his OWN cover” and that he’d “chosen to politicize this cover instead”. He added that the news media furthered the narrative by “chasing click bait headlines”.
It must be noted that the tweet by Pa Ranjith made on August 22 had no reference to Dhee or Shan Vincent de Paul. The tweet read “@TherukuralArivu, the lyricist of #Neeyaoli and singer as well as lyricist of #enjoyenjami has once again been invisiblised. @RollingStoneIN and @joinmaajja is it so difficult to understand that the lyrics of both songs challenges this erasure of public acknowledgement?”. There have also been no other public statements from Pa Ranjith, Dhee or Arivu regarding this issue. Santhosh Narayanan, Dhee's stepfather, and the composer of these songs, has also not spoken about the controversy. He, too, has been quoted in the Rolling Stone India story.
@TherukuralArivu, the lyricist of #Neeyaoli and singer as well as lyricist of #enjoyenjami has once again been invisiblised. @RollingStoneIN and @joinmaajja is it so difficult to understand that the lyrics of both songs challenges this erasure of public acknowledgement? https://t.co/jqLjfS9nwY— pa.ranjith (@beemji) August 22, 2021
On Wednesday night, Shan posted several screenshots of condemnable personal attacks by Twitter users, and others who were calling for due credit to be given to Arivu for his work, as well as news articles. He alleged that he was at the receiving end due to Pa Ranjith's tweet.
“this is the just very small fraction of misinformation, lies and hate ive been receiving since @ranjithpa decided to tweet about some shit he knows absolutely nothing about. I just want to make it perfectly clear, I didn’t start this … the road to Jaffna continues. Ps. Go read the article @anuragtagat did an awesome job.” The musician also shared some of these screenshots to his Instagram Stories, saying “@ranjithpa knew what he was doing when he tweeted.”
However, Shan later deleted this post and replaced it with a long statement on Thursday morning. The full statement released by Shan Vincent de Paul can be read here: