R. Kelly Convicted: Should His Music Be Removed? [OPINION]
Now that R. Kelly has been found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking, should we cancel his music?
Earlier this week, R. Kelly was convicted of crimes he committed against girls and women over decades (we should have known there was an issue when he married Aaliyah when she was just 15).
Even as rumors floated about the way he treated women and girls, his records continued to sell well and his concerts continued to sell out. Fans - true fans - seemed to not be bothered by the allegations (I get it: innocent until proven guilty. I also believe that, usually, where's there's smoke, there's fire.)
When The Chicks (formerly the Dixie Chicks) said that they were ashamed that then-President George W. Bush was from Texas (during a concert in London), Country Radio scrubbed them from playlists.
When the HBO documentary about Michael Jackson aired, radio stations in several countries including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand scrubbed his music from their playlists (according to CNBC).
Country star Morgan Wallen used a racial slur and was banned from country radio for a few months, but during that time his sales went through the roof as if country music fans approved of his use of the word.
And now R. Kelly has been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking. What actions will radio stations and streaming platforms take, if any? Should they?
John Wayne made some fairly harsh statements against both Black and Native American people. Michael Richards (Seinfeld) used a racial slur. Mel Gibson. James Woods. Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen. Matt Damon. Several actors have used words or acted in ways that were racially insensitive (at the least), but does that mean we should cancel them totally? Remove their movies from all public platforms?
Woody Allen. Bill Cosby. Kevin Spacey - all award-winning actors who committed or were accused of committing sex crimes. Do we scrap their work and make it unavailable to the public?
To be honest, I am really torn on this.
On one hand, I do not want to support anyone who actively engages in crimes against others.
On the other hand, art is art. Good movies are good movies. Good music is good music.
If the movie or the song or the art itself came about because of the crime, then maybe it should be canceled.
Am I condoning what John Wayne said about Native Americans by watching his old movies? Am I condoning Bill Cosby's actions when I watch reruns of Fat Albert? Am I disrespecting our country or the former president when I listen to the Chicks?
On the other hand (I have a lot of hands), am I showing disrespect to or disregard for the victims of these artists and actors when I watch the movies or listen to the music?
Statues of Confederate soldiers are being taken down all around our country because of the racist views and actions of those soldiers; should the same be done with the art of actors and musicians?
There is a singer/songwriter by the name of Ryan Adams who was caught up in the whole #MeToo movement, being accused of inappropriate behavior by several women. The claims made against him included emotional abuse, and using the guise of helping advance a career to make sexual advances.
I love Ryan Adams' music. I like his lyrics. I like his compositions, his style. When I heard of the allegations against him, it made me sad and, to be honest, made me feel guilty when I heard one of his songs. Even if it was hearing it in passing, I still felt guilty.
I have to remind myself that misguided guilt can be the result of childhood trauma and that I shouldn't feel guilty about hearing his music.
Can you see my dilemma?
So, there you have it: I am split on this one. I've never owned or listened to R. Kelly and I never was a Michael Jackson fan, but John Wayne made some decent movies, as did Spacey and Allen.
What do you think? Do we just cancel the art that these people made? Do we continue to consume it with a 'disclaimer'?
I am truly torn. What are your thoughts?
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