Is it okay to support a very problematic or controversial artist? It’s a tough time to be a fan of some of the artists out there today. Whether it be Kanye West for his lunatic like rants about Trump and slavery, or XXXtentacion, who recently was murdered and had a very sketchy and controversial past filled with violence and domestic abuse. As a fan it can be hard to separate someone’s personal life from their professional career. At the end of the day its just music to me and I don’t have to think about someone’s past when I listen. So yes, in my opinion you can support an artist with a sketchy past. With that being said you obviously don’t have to support whatever they did outside of music. Just because I love Kanye and have for over ten years, that doesn’t mean you’re going to catch me walking down the street wearing a make America great again hat. Lets talk about some of these controversial artists.
Dr. Dre and John Lennon
Dr. Dre and John Lennon are two wildly successful artists with sketchy pasts that people seem to sweep under the rug. Both artists are known to have been abusive against women, hell even John Lennon admitted it in an interview he did with Playboy back in 1980. Here is a quote from that interview, “I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.” At that time, he was already an established artist, he rose to insane amounts of fame with The Beatles and with a solo career. There weren’t any calls for the cancelation of John Lennon, people went out and bought millions and millions of records and still do to this day. Now when it comes to Dr. Dre things aren’t very different. In 1991 he felt like he and his group N.W.A were being unfairly portrayed, so when he saw journalist Dee Barnes at a record release party he picked her up and started slamming her against the wall leaving her injured. They even failed to bring this to light in the 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton which is about the rise and fall of N.W.A. Dre was one of the movies producer, so he obviously didn’t want to be criticized for an ugly time in his life. He has since publicly apologized for this incident. After all of this Dr. Dre still went on to become one of Hip Hops biggest and riches stars. So why do we chastise only some controversial artists when we just say forget about it when it comes to others? You either have to be all in or not in it at all.
At the end of the day I believe it is okay to like an artist who has had a controversial past, you just need to know how to separate the music from their personal lives. If you know where you stand morally you will be fine. Just because you support an artist and genuinely enjoy their music doesn’t mean that you support what they do outside of music.