Art has, and always will be, a huge part of culture and our day to day lives, whether we realize its influence or not. For art to be made, there have to be artists, musicians and performers- and they are humans. Humans are flawed and many do terrible things. Can we separate the magnificence of what they make from the unsavory people they can be? Both sides of this argument have valid remarks, and the sad truth is there is no one right answer. It is uncomfortable and there is no easy solution for us consumers.
Many are familiar with Chris Evans and his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel Avengers films. He has used this platform from the role to preach to followers from his political soapbox. He uses social media, particularly Twitter, to call out the President and spread awareness for many of the causes he supports. Fans who love Captain America but disagree with Evans politically may be at a crossroads. Politics tend to be sensitive, and regardless of where on the spectrum you fall, there is an artist that you love that falls on the opposite end. Actors are people, and we often forget that, as they can do their jobs very well, the actor is not the character. Evans spoke of the backlash, and he is proud that he has been given the opportunity to speak out for what he believes in openly. He feels passionately about these issues, and it does not bother him that he may lose some fans over it. Of course, this is in no way equivalent to the heinous crimes committed by Michael Jackson or R. Kelly recently brought into light.
The debate, while not a new one, has to be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone has flaws, you should not go in with the mindset that you should not listen to “All the Way” because you found out that Frank Sinatra had a bad temper. We tell ourselves, how much credit can be given to the artist, really? But when it comes to crimes of violence, sexually or otherwise, we tend to brace when we make the connection. Woody Allen was the topic of 2018, as he had repeatedly been accused of sexually abusing his daughters as children. Personally, watching his films now feels wrong, and since I was not a huge fan to begin with, I have decided to stop watching them.
If the artist is alive, you know that however small the percentage, every dollar you pay to: buy their album, watch their movies or by using any means to spectate goes to them. It is uncomfortable, and a debate that many of us avoid on the regular. You clearly do not want to be giving money to an abuser, but this constant back and forth is draining. Cancel Culture takes its toll, and with the media constantly updating, if you take a step back, you miss important news as it is replaced by something more horrendous. In the cases of Michael Jackson and R. Kelly, the news covered it for a week or two, Saturday Night Live made a few skits, and we have all moved on. People forget and that is no excuse, but it is how the world goes. When you encounter a new song, should you research the singer to ensure they have not done anything wrong? How do you know if it is all public information?
It is up to each and every person who contributes to the entertainment industry to decide for themselves and to take into account all that they can. I am not endorsing the notion that you should only support artists with a completely clean history, as I doubt there is one, but it should be a factor when deciding which artists to support and put our metaphorical stamp of approval on. There is a fine line that dictates what is too far and that is within your own right and your own peace of mind to determine. How far is too far?
Categories: Arts & Entertainment