Claim:   The viral quote “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die” was written by Canadian rapper Drake.


FALSE


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, January 2015]





 

Origins:   In January 2015, Canadian musician Aubrey Drake Graham, better known in his persona as the rapper Drake,
incorrectly attributed a viral Tumblr quote about a writer’s falling in love to Mustafa the Poet when he posted the meme to his Instagram page:

@mustafathepoet

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


Hundreds of thousands of viewers liked the photo, and many who saw the above-displayed Instagram post believed it was written by Drake, while others noticed the musician’s attempt to credit the original author and praised Mustafa the Poet for penning the viral phrase.

But the phrase “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die” was written neither by Drake nor by Mustafa the Poet. The true author is Mik Everett, who first published the quote back in 2011 on her blog:



Lots of things might happen. That’s the thing about writers. They’re unpredictable. They might bring you eggs in bed for breakfast, or they might all but ignore you for days. They might bring you eggs in bed at three in the morning. Or they might wake you up for sex at three in the morning. Or make love at four in the afternoon. They might not sleep at all. Or they might sleep right through the alarm and forget to get you up for work. Or call you home from work to kill a spider. Or refuse to speak to you after finding out you’ve never seen To Kill a Mockingbird. Or spend the last of the rent money on five kinds of soap. Or sell your textbooks for cash halfway through the semester. Or leave you love notes in your pockets. Or wash you pants with Post-It notes in the pockets so your laundry comes out covered in bits of wet paper. They might cry if the Post-It notes are unread all over your pants. Its an unpredictable life.

But what happens if a writer falls in love with you?

This is a little more predictable. You will find your hemp necklace with the glass mushroom pendant around the neck of someone at a bus stop in a short story. Your favorite shoes will mysteriously disappear, and show up in a poem. The watch you always wear, the watch you own but never wear, the fact that you’ve never worn a watch: they suddenly belong to characters you’ve never known. And yet they’re you. They’re not you; they’re someone else entirely, but they toss their hair like you. They use the same colloquialisms as you. They scratch their nose when they lie like you. Sometimes they will be narrators; sometimes protagonists, sometimes villains. Sometimes they will be nobodies, an unimportant, static prop. This might amuse you at first. Or confuse you. You might be bewildered when books turn into mirrors. You might try to see yourself how your beloved writer sees you when you read a poem about someone who has your middle name or prose about someone who has never seen To Kill a Mockingbird. These poems and novels and short stories, they will scatter into the wind. You will wonder if you’re wandering through the pages of some story you’ve never even read. There’s no way to know. And no way to erase it. Even if you leave, a part of you will always be left behind.

If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.



Everett’s words are frequently reposted on Tumblr, but she is rarely attributed as the original author. The quote was previously commonly credited to “unknown,” but recently credit for her work has become attached to Drake or Mustafa the Poet (even in publications such as Vibe and NY Mag).

On 23 January 2015, Mik Everett took to her website to express her frustrations with being a virally famous, yet unknown, author. A portion of Everett’s article is republished below:



Last Monday, I woke up to something weirder than I could possibly imagine. I woke up to find that Drake had posted a quote by me on Instagram. And that he’d credited the quote to another author.

There is no Thought Catalogue article entitled What to Do If a Famous Rapper Steals Your Quote. There is no Buzzfeed article on how to cope with the rabid fans of a rockstar insisting that you’ve stolen from him. To the best of my knowledge, this isn’t a very common problem to have. Sure, I’ve heard of academic and artistic plagiarism before, usually involving two high-profile, Entertainment News celebrities. But I’m not a celebrity. I’ve sold, like, two hundred copies of each of my books. I live well below the poverty line. I’m a regular person who said something kinda catchy once on the internet, and lots of people liked it. And Drake liked it. I am so disconnected from that quote and the people who use it; I am simultaneously on the outside looking in on the very idea of fame, and in the very middle of it.

To be clear here, nobody broke any laws. Drake did not take credit for the quote. He attempted to cite the quote, like we all learned how to do in middle school. He just cited the wrong poet. That poet (he goes by Mustafa) did give me appropriate credit for the quote, eventually. After Drake had re-posted the quote and attributed it to Mustafa, I think it kinda blew up in his face and people started hounding him to give me credit. And he did add my name in. But on the internet, that doesn’t matter. Everyone else is still attributing the quote to Mustafa. And there’s no way to fix it. Just try messaging Drake on Instagram.

On one hand, it’s not that big of a deal. The quote has been used several million times on the internet, and is rarely credited to me. On the other hand, I would really, really, really like to make a living as an author. And in our day and age, there are no more camera-shy Thomas Pynchons. To be a financially successful author is inextricable from being a famous author.


We hope this helps Mik Everett garner some of the recognition she deserves.

Last updated:   10 February 2015