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REM takes down Montreal rapper's English-language promo video


A rap video created by a Montreal musician promoting the REM was deleted because it did not meet the “digital publication criteria” of the company in charge of the transit system, CDPQ Infra.

Montreal musician Makendal St-Félix, known as Maky Lavender, created the short video, which was posted to the company’s TikTok account on Aug. 17.

Days later, CDPQ Infra deleted the video. St-Félix believes the fact that he was rapping in English played a role in the video being taken down.  

The video was filmed during the public unveiling of a replica REM car last year. In it, St-Félix is seen in a REM jersey walking through the empty passenger aisle, rapping about the train and other braggadocios subjects.

He says it was deleted eight days later after some viewers posted comments about the video not being in French.

“I think they knew I was going to rap in English but I don’t think they knew people would react this much,” said St-Félix, who is bilingual.

“I think it was a TikTok thing, because before it was on TikTok, nobody reacted.”

CTV News asked CDPQ Infra if it took the video down because of language.

“After validation, the clip was removed from our newly launched TikTok platform because its content did not meet our digital publication criteria,” wrote the company in a statement.

“Our platforms highlight the different milestones of the project and are mostly in French.”

After being asked to clarify, the company said its content is “at least bilingual and mostly in French.”

St-Félix says he was disappointed by the company’s move to delete the video. It was especially disheartening, he says, after the pandemic put the live music industry on hold.

"It was so easy for them to pull the plug. It was so easy for them to be like, 'yeah we’ll just take it off -- don’t talk to the press'," he said. "They really hoped for that to happen. I don’t understand how it was so easy for them.” Top Stories

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