Recently, celebrities like R. Kelly and Michael Jackson (RIP) have come into the spotlight because of allegations of child molestation. These conversations have prompted people to stop playing their music. Some companies and media outlets have taken themselves out of the conversation by removing their content altogether. With all the recent conversations about not supporting problematic figures, we want to see what people think. Our question is:
Is it ok appreciate the art or contributions of allegedly or convicted ‘problematic’ artists?
The list of pop-culture icons who have been accused is becoming endless. These people were basically considered gods in their respective fields:
Bill Cosby (Convicted of rape)
Woody Allen (Alleged pedophelia and staurtory rape of his daughter)
Michael Jackson (Alleged molestation of children)
Harvey Weinstein (On trial for sexual assault)
For the sake of argument, considering those that have been accused and are alleged troublemakers, if we assume all of the allegations are true, (we have our doubts about MJ specifically) do we stop consuming the contributions these people have made to art and popular culture? Considering the issues with mass-shootings and white nationalism, the timing of these topics and coverage by the media seems odd at best.
Your President denies collusion with a foreign power and also denies the rise of white nationalism despite all evidence to the contrary. Black people are shot down like animals in the streets on what seems like a regular basis. The media barely shines a light on the subject and then the next week it’s on to the new Kardashian love triangle. It all seems like a distraction, but we digress.
So, if we are cancelling the contribution for one artist in a medium, why aren’t we doing this for every problematic contributor across the spectrum? These are the questions that we want people to discuss.
Also, as black men, we want to let you know that we see things differently. Listen, we aren’t defending the acts of any criminals but one of the main questions that we have about people ‘cancelling’ these men is, why is the media taking the microscope to black artists and not anyone who has ever committed an alleged atrocity?
Where are the crusades against the catalog’s of Elvis Presley, Woody Allen, and David Bowie for their supposed actions? It’s seems to us that acts by white artists or counterparts are not held to the same standards or scrutiny. If you do that for one you have to do that for everybody, right? Our point is if you want to get self-righteous and indigent for one artists issues, keep that same energy when they come for your Elvis collection.
Additionally, is this how we want to live? The sad thing is, if you look closely enough at anyone they probably have some dark secrets. That goes double for artists and politicians now in today’s digital age.
Again, our point is this, let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s dive in a little bit more to give you a few examples of problematic shit that has gone untouched by the media for years:
Our “Founding Fathers” — On our legal U.S. Tender we celebrate the pictures of U.S. heroes who were also oppressors. Think about that. We have Slave owners on our currency.
Catholic Church — These sickos are caught in controversy after controversy, year after year involving abuse against underaged boys. But sure, your scheduled vacation to Rome to see the Vatican ain’t sus. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.
National Anthem — The anthem that we are told to stand for and support was written for Americans before slavery ended and even had a verse at the time that referenced slavery directly.
Don’t let us get started on tech companies like Apple and Facebook selling your data. And apparel companies like Nike that employ problematic labor practices.
To get you thinking about how life is affected when we start removing art from our lives, we’ve created a playlist of artists who people say you shouldn’t listen to because of the alleged crimes they have committed.
Join us in a couple weeks when we dive into this a bit more and tackle a related topic… Cancel Culture.