You Don't Need To Feel Guilty For Enjoying Music Of Problematic People Like R. Kelly
Start writing a post
Entertainment

You Don't Need To Feel Guilty For Enjoying Music Of Problematic People Like R. Kelly

However, that doesn't mean you should still give them money or attention.

514
You Don't Need To Feel Guilty For Enjoying Music Of Problematic People Like R. Kelly
Wikimedia Commons

This article is specifically aimed at musicians, but my thoughts apply to any creator: directors, actors, models—anyone who gets fame or fortune from their talents and anyone with the capability to let down their fans.

It’s easy for me to write a scathing article about abusive artists like R. Kelly and XXXTentacion because I don’t listen to their music and never liked them. A situation that is harder to navigate is when artists I previously liked or looked up to are outed as sexual abusers (or otherwise scummy people). Brand New was a beacon for so many depressed, lonely and/or suicidal fans, and then lead singer Jesse Lacey turned out to be an abuser. Front Porch Step’s “Drown” twisted my gut when I first heard it, and so did the news that Jake McElfresh is an abuser. PWR BTTM was a beacon for queer kids everywhere, until Ben Hopkins turned out to be a blame-shifting abuser. And these are just a few artists outed in the wake of Weinstein. There are probably more artists in my Spotify collection who aren’t as great in real life as they are in my head.

So, what is a music lover to do? First, remember that everyone is a complicated mixture of good and bad traits, thoughts and actions. This isn’t to say the actions of abusers can be excused, but rather to say that a musician’s lyrics and musical ideas aren’t void if they turn out to be an abuser. Fans of Brand New can still find comfort in Jesse Lacey’s lyrics without accepting his actions. I firmly believe two things—that people who do bad things can also do good things, and that audience interpretation is just as important as author intent. Basically, you can still like someone’s music without liking them. However, this requires an intentional effort to separate the artist from their music. No longer can you idolize the artist; you must only idolize the good things they did, stood for and created.

In a time when we are beginning to hold celebrities accountable for their actions, there’s another aspect to consider: profits. After all, whether you buy someone’s album because of the artist or purely for the music, they’re still going to get your money. In my opinion, outright spending money on the artist, whether for music or merch, is probably a bad move. People who continue to support an artist despite their actions are why scumbags like Chris Brown still have careers.

As for streaming music . . . that’s more of a gray area, and it depends on the severity of the artist’s transgressions and how strict your own moral code is. Each time you stream a song on Spotify, the artist earns less than $0.008. So, even if you spend all of your time listening to a single artist, they still make far less than if you bought a CD or t-shirt. This is where you have to balance morality and personal enjoyment. Is it okay to allow an abusive person to make a dollar from your streaming so that you can enjoy a year’s worth of fantastic music? I believe the answer can be yes. Chances are, the happiness you’ll gain from listening to the music is greater than the financial blow the artist would take if you boycotted them.

As more and more scummy celebrities are finally facing consequences, it's important to know where you stand when it comes to someone you previously supported or looked up to. It’s easy to stop buying merch—it's hard to stop loving music. And that’s okay! You don’t have to. There’s no need to feel guilty for enjoying something that was made by a problematic person. There is a need to separate that person from what you enjoy, and to keep that person from getting too much money off you. If we all do that, maybe problematic people will stop getting famous, and we won’t have to worry about any of this anymore.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

An open letter to my father

What you did sounds dumb to me

79
An open letter to my father
The Truth About My Parents' Divorce

Considering im 18 now & you're one of the best men i've ever met since you have a child; me. I want you to know that I love you, more than anyone, I love you. I don't forgive you for the way you hurt my mother. I'm hurt because you broke our family. Thing went down hill the day you found Laquita. You we're distant & shortly after my mother turned into the coldest, saddest women to walk past me. She's my best friend & so are you. Not one day goes by where I don't wonder what she did wrong. How on earth could you trade your family & the women who loved you unconditionally for a home wrecker? Sounds dumb to me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Is God Reckless?

Exploring the controversy behind the popular worship song "Reckless Love"

483
Is God Reckless?


First things first I do not agree with people getting so caught up in the specific theology of a song that they forget who they are singing the song to. I normally don't pay attention to negative things that people say about worship music, but the things that people were saying caught my attention. For example, that the song was not biblical and should not be sung in churches. Worship was created to glorify God, and not to argue over what kind of theology the artist used to write the song. I was not made aware of the controversy surrounding the popular song "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury until about a week ago, but now that I am aware this is what I have concluded.The controversy surrounding the song is how the term reckless is used to describe God's love. This is the statement that Cory Asbury released after many people questioned his theology regarding his lyrics. I think that by trying to clarify what the song was saying he added to the confusion behind the controversy.This is what he had to say,
"Many have asked me for clarity on the phrase, "reckless love". Many have wondered why I'd use a "negative" word to describe God. I've taken some time to write out my thoughts here. I hope it brings answers to your questions. But more than that, I hope it brings you into an encounter with the wildness of His love.When I use the phrase, "the reckless love of God", I'm not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn't crafty or slick. It's not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it's quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn't consider Himself first. His love isn't selfish or self-serving. He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time."
Some people are arguing that song is biblical because it makes reference to the scripture from Matthew 28:12-14 and Luke 15. Both of these scriptures talk about the parable of the lost sheep and the shepherd. The shepherd symbolizes God and the lost sheep are people that do not have a relationship with God. On the other hand some people are arguing that using the term reckless, referring to God's character is heretical and not biblical. I found two articles that discuss the controversy about the song.The first article is called, "Reckless Love" By Cory Asbury - "Song Meaning, Review, and Worship Leading Tips." The writer of the article, Jake Gosselin argues that people are "Making a mountain out of a molehill" and that the argument is foolish. The second article, "God's Love is not Reckless, Contrary to What You Might Sing" by author Andrew Gabriel argues that using the term reckless is irresponsible and that you cannot separate Gods character traits from God himself. For example, saying that God's love is reckless could also be argued that God himself is reckless. Reckless is typically not a word that someone would use to describe God and his love for us. The term reckless is defined as (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action. However, Cory Asbury is not talking about a person, he is talking about God's passionate and relentless pursuit of the lost. While I would not have chosen the word reckless, I understand what he was trying to communicate through the song. Down below I have linked two articles that might be helpful if you are interested in reading more about the controversy.


Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Signs You Grew Up In A Small Town

Whether you admit it or not, that tiny town will always have your heart.

964
The Odyssey

1. You still talk to people that you went to elementary school with.

These are the people you grew up with and the people you graduated high school with. The faces you see in kindergarten are the same faces you’ll see for the rest of your life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

150 Words For Anyone Who Loves Football Games

Why I love high school football games, even though I don't like football.

2136
Dallas News

When most think of high school they think of friend drama, parties, getting your drivers license, and best of all foot ball games.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics

10 Greatest Speeches In Modern American History

The United States is a relatively infantile nation, but its legacy of spoken rhetoric is one of the richest in the world.

4772
flickr

Rhetoric, in all its forms, arrives under the scrutiny of historians both for its historical impact and literary value. Dozens of speeches have either rallied the nation together or driven it drastically apart –– the impact of speeches in politics, social movements, and wars is undeniable.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments