Is it wrong to listen to R. Kelly's music? | The Tylt
R. Kelly has a long history of abusing women and acting in predatory ways. A recent BuzzFeed investigation alleges Kelly has an "abusive cult" of women whose lives he entirely controls. Some people are turning off R. Kelly forever—they can't financially support an abusive artist who subsidizes his predatory behavior with music sales. Others think it doesn't make sense to boycott Kelly. They see his music as separate from who he is as a person. What do you think? 🤔
Is it wrong to listen to R. Kelly's music?
Many former fans say they'll no longer listen to Kelly's music because of the most recent allegations. Kelly has already lost many fans with his long history of abuse and predatory behavior against young women. His music is tainted by his actions. Many people can't stand the idea that their money is going to someone who, at best, preys on young women and, at worst, coerces women into an abusive sex cult.
Issa Rae said she won't be listening to R. Kelly anymore. Here's what she told Complex:
"I mean, I was a fan," Issa began, "but when I heard the first reports and starting reading a bunch of the articles, I was off it, I was kind of disgusted. I just don't have a tolerance for that kind of behavior, and I can't separate from the music, especially when the music is about the behavior."
Others are able to separate the art from the artist. The problem with consuming only ethical art is that you're not going to be able to consume anything. People are not perfect, and celebrities are even worse. The content artists create should be judged on its own merits, not because of the who the artist is.
Human beings are flawed and artists are no exception. Here's an example Jay Perini gave in the New York Times when he defended separating art from the artist:
Nobody looks at a Picasso painting in a museum and says, “I should not take this work seriously because Picasso cheated on his many wives and was abusive to his son.”Being an artist has absolutely nothing — nothing — to do with one’s personal behavior. Wonderful human beings can be dreadful poets, painters, filmmakers, musicians. They usually are. The reverse is equally true: hideous people can make great art. Wagner is a case in point. He was a magnificent composer, but his personal failings — including a huge streak of anti-Semitism — were reprehensible. His vileness as a man has no bearing on his greatness as a composer. It’s just another subject.