Can you separate the artists from their art?

Written By: Kasia Grant

The number of stories in the media involving different forms of sexual harassment and abuse by several musicians and entertainers has continued to rise. Many new organizations and movements were created, such as the #metoo movement, as a way to put an end to this unacceptable behavior.

Recently, Lifetime has premiered a docu-series entitled Surviving R. Kelly, which shed light on the numerous allegations involving sexual and domestic abuse made against R. Kelly by providing testimonies from people who have had various encounters with the R&B singer. From a range of avid admirers to survivors, all shared their stories and revealed the truth about R. Kelly and his contentious lifestyle.

Now, due to R. Kelly’s damaged reputation, as well as the similar reputation of music artists such as XXXTentacion and Chris Brown, their fans are now forced to decide whether or not they are willing to continue to be a fan of the artist and their work or if they are capable of separating the art from the artist.

By separating the art from the artist, listeners attempt to enjoy the artist’s content while ignoring their controversial reputation.

However, this is a rather difficult action for listeners due to the fact that many artists put a piece of themselves, such as artistic flair or a creative quality, into their work to make it theirs. Some artists also choose to utilize the inspiration that they receive from a significant event or occasion that they have encountered throughout their lifetime by incorporating it into their work.

While attempting to remove the artist from the mind of the listener, the beauty of the art would be changed, making it harder for fans to truly appreciate their art.

Also, even if fans do not support the acts of the artist, they are still unconsciously showing their support. Musicians rely on the number of purchases or streams of their music in order to make a living. By doing something as simple as purchasing or streaming their music, it supports the artist mainly because this is what they rely on and how they receive their paycheck. So, in some way, the artist is always going to be involved with their art, making it almost impossible to fully separate the two.

If fans were capable of separating the art from the artist, this will give the artist the impression that there is nothing wrong with their crimes that they are committing because their actions are being ignored, prompting them to continue to live their unhealthy lifestyle. But, by getting fans to understand that this separation is not a practical solution, it will force them to face the facts and bring their attention to the wrongdoings of the artist. This is exactly what is needed in order to prevent the artist from performing these dangerous acts towards others.

When serious allegations are made against artists, it is hard to accept the fact that our favorite artist has the possibility of being guilty.

We try to convince ourselves that they could not have done whatever they are being accused of. But, as fans, we fail to realize that the art in art-ist is something that cannot be removed or separated.

No matter how hard we try to ignore or brush aside the negative news that we see or hear on the media, it will never work in our favor.

By disconnecting ourselves from the acts of the artist, we are condoning their actions and silencing our voices that could be used to make a change in our society and in the lives of many who are suffering in silence.


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