Is it wrong to listen to R. Kelly's music?
via AP

Is it wrong to listen to R. Kelly's music?

#BoycottRKelly
#ItsJustMusic
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R. Kelly has a long history of allegedly abusing young women and acting in predatory ways. In summer 2017, a BuzzFeed investigation surfaced reports of an "abusive cult" of women under R. Kelly's control. He's recently been accused of grooming a 14-year-old girl to be his "sex pet." Spotify responded by removing R. Kelly's music from playlists—and more critics want people to stop financially supporting his predatory behavior with music sales. Others say we should separate the art from the artist. What do you think? 🤔

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#BoycottRKelly
#ItsJustMusic

The Guardian alleged that R. Kelly was grooming a 14-year-old girl to be his "sex pet."

The allegation – the latest in a string of allegations of the sexual abuse of young women by Kelly – was made, referring to another woman, by former girlfriend Kitti Jones, in a BBC3 documentary, R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes.
During two years of dating Kelly from 2011 onwards, Jones, 34, says she was groomed by him, and forced to have sex with him and others at least 10 times in a “sex dungeon”.
She said: “I was introduced to one of the girls, that he told me he ‘trained’ since she was 14, those were his words. I saw that she was dressed like me, that she was saying the things I’d say and her mannerisms were like mine. That’s when it clicked in my head that he had been grooming me to become one of his pets. He calls them his pets.”

In response to Spotify's new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy, the streaming service has removed R. Kelly's music from playlists. Pitchfork's Matthew Strauss wrote: 

Spotify is removing music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from its editorial and algorithmic playlists, Billboard and The New York Times report. The move arrives with the streaming giant’s new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy, which aims to promote “openness, diversity, tolerance and respect.”
In a statement to Billboard, Spotify said: “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions—what we choose to program—to reflect our values.”

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. Critics say his music is tainted by his actions.

Others 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.
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