Popular music artist Rex Orange County has been charged with six counts of sexual assault in London.This utterly shocked his fanbase, as his image is very loving and kind, as displayed in his music.
By the same token, rapper Kanye West has been seen wearing and promoting “White Lives Matter” merchandise, ultimately going against the “Black Lives Matter” movement. According to an article from ADL.org, he is blaming “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” for numerous alleged misdeeds, stating that, “Jewish people have owned the Black voice,” and that, “the Jewish community, especially in the music industry…they’ll take us and milk us till we die.”
As a society, we have been separating the art from the artist for decades, whether it’s in regards to a movie or a piece of art, such as a sculpture.
I have been on the fence about separating the art from the artist for some time now. Over the past few years, many of my favorite artists have been accused and/or charged for their malicious acts. When I would find out about this information, I completely cut off the artist from my life. I deleted all their songs off my playlist, blocked them on all social media platforms, and threw out all merchandise I may have had. It’s truly upsetting that someone you are fond of and admire turns out to be a cruel human being.
Unfortunately, finding out that your favorite artist has done something inhumane seems to be more common. Depending on how fond of their art I am, I will separate the art from the artist, but there are also some people I will shut out completely. I think that it is okay to separate the art from the artist as long as you aren’t idolizing and supporting the artist or displaying them in a public setting, as we don’t want to hurt or trigger the victims involved.
I completely appreciate the music that Rex Orange County and Kanye West have put out because they have incredible musical ability, but I hate who they are as people.
These music artists don’t have anything offensive in their songs, which makes me think it isn’t too bad to still listen to them. Although, an artist like R. Kelly has song lyrics that include sex, in addition to age differences between partners. Since he has been accused of sexually assaulting young women and girls, I cannot support this. He is incorporating his wrongdoings and awful mindset into his music. This would be a manner in which I would not separate the art from the artist.
It’s hard to disconnect yourself from something like music when an artist does something dishonorable. Every time you listen to an artist or add them to your playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming services, you are supporting them financially. Each stream gives them a certain amount of money. A way that allows someone to listen to the artist without supporting them financially is by listening to their music on a music uploading platform. I typically use Soundcloud where people can upload music by certain artists or upload music of their own.
I feel as if it’s more of a personal choice to separate the art from the artist, but it’s important to realize how you’re helping the artist by listening to their music.
Reilly Sanborn can be contacted