Music in the Age of the MeToo Movement
Arts Entertainment

Music in the Age of the #MeToo Movement

With allegations against several prominent musicians, fans are left wondering whether or not it is truly possible to "separate the art from the artist".

Music in the Age of the #MeToo Movement

R. Kelly, Jesse Lacey, Michael Jackson. These men were all once powerful and adored voices in the entertainment industry. Their music was the soundtrack to many people's lives and their lyrics reached audiences worldwide. In light of recent allegations against several influential individuals in cases of sexual misconduct and abuse of men, women, and children, it is clear an unsettling pattern of psychological damage plagues these cases.

Not only do the perpetrators often possess unsettling patterns of past behaviors, but the negative impacts on the mental health of survivors is also evident. It is easy to condemn the individual for their wrong-doing and to stand in support of the victim, but what do we do with their music? Michael Jackson was arguably one of the most famous musicians of all time, with millions of fans around the world and several tributes to his legacy. His work played a significant role in shaping the landscape of the music industry, and he inspired many young artists to pursue their dreams. R. Kelly's music has been around for decades, and he has played concerts all around the world. Jesse Lacey was a personal hero of mine, and I had gone to my first and last Brand New concert just a couple weeks before the news broke of his sexual misconduct.

Fans are left wondering if they should "separate the artist from the art" or if they should condemn the individual and their work altogether. The loud voices on either side of the argument are evidence of the confusion that fans are left with after a significant part of their identity has been called into question. Some completely disown the band, acknowledge the effect their music had on them in the past, but otherwise bid them farewell. Some blame victims, poke holes in their claims and disrespecting their stories. Some people got tattoos removed. Others got new ones.

Although there is no clear answer, it can be difficult to listen to a song the same way after realizing the context that might have been underlying the lyrics. By paying for their albums, merchandise, and streaming their music, we are giving abusers a platform and rewarding them for their behavior. However, music is a collaborative effort, and the artist's work is the product of many other band members, producers, and musicians. The songs hold significant memories for many fans, and the lyrics may have helped them get through difficult times or come to terms with their own realities.

Whether or not someone is able to successfully separate the artists from their art is a personal decision. It has to do with how much the music means to them as well as their personal opinions on forgiveness and redemption. Problematic people have created literature, films, artwork, and music that are still revered today, but with the advent of the #MeToo movement and the widespread reach of technology, these cases have become more transparent. What we choose to do with that information will not change past events, but it will influence the way society handles and punishes these individuals in the future. If people do decide to stop listening to those artists, it could usher in an era of newer artists who we can hold to a higher moral standard.

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

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments