The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

The Student News Site of Dr. Michael M. Krop

The Lightning Strike

Separating problematic artists from art: is it acceptable?

When finding out your favorite artist has done something corrupt, you may still want to enjoy their music while acknowledging their controversial actions. However, when we separate art from the artist, we’re still contributing to their fame by leaving them on our playlist or streaming their music. 

Cancel culture, which is the withdrawal of support from an artist’s fanbase, can often be undeserved and cause ugly backlash towards celebrities. It isn’t always an effective way to determine if we should or shouldn’t listen to someone due to the petty reasons people get canceled. However, when a celebrity commits a serious crime or says something derogatory about a group of people, it goes without saying that we should distance ourselves from their music. A line needs to be drawn once an artist has committed a serious offense. 

When an individual listens to a “problematic” artist they are directly contributing to their platform. A prime example is Chris Brown, a rapper who has had multiple cases of violence towards women. 

According to RollingStone, “Assault and battery charges have peppered the last several years of his public image, particularly accusations from women who have filed police reports against the singer and dancer.” 

However, during this time he was getting numerous streams, released multiple songs and even held concerts. In Brown’s single “Ain’t Thinkin’ About You,” he speaks about Rihanna, his former girlfriend whom he assaulted. It’s difficult to listen to a song created by an abuser, in which the song mentions the person abused. 

Artist Kanye West, who has made numerous racist and anti-semitic comments, is also still widely listened to. He is the highest certified digital singles artist in the United States with 84 of his singles going platinum. However, it seems like we haven’t acknowledged many of the things he has said. 

According to TheList, “An unnamed CNN executive who worked closely with West claimed ‘He would praise Hitler by saying how incredible it was that he was able to accumulate so much power and would talk about all the great things he and the Nazi party achieved for the German people.’” 

Recognizing that someone we look up to has done or said bad things can be difficult, but it’s important to make the right choice when it comes down to supporting them. 

“Kanye’s music is a representation of his personality,” junior Taashira Saintfleur said. “So I chose to distance myself because I didn’t want to support someone who has openly said they don’t care about me.”

Everything an artist creates is in some way a representation of themselves, so can we truly separate art from the artist? It’s time to acknowledge and accept that people do bad things and associating ourselves with them, whether we support them or not, isn’t a good look.

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