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OPINION: R. Kelly and the mute button

OPINION BY STEPHAN YOUNATAN

Listening to “Ignition” and jamming out is completely okay. Liking a certain song because it’s catchy or has a nice beat is fine, but what if the artist is in hot water or has legal troubles? What if what they did was so crazy that the artist stopped making music? Does that change your opinion of the artist? Should it?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. If R. Kelly was convicted tomorrow, I still wouldn’t have second thoughts about listening to his music. The argument can be made that true nature shows in the music and while that may be true to some extent, there is such thing as separating the art from the artist. When R. Kelly was facing sexual assault and child pornography charges, people were still listening to his music as if nothing happened. Now that he is back in the spotlight, this question is brought up once again. Is it okay to listen to music from a person or group that does extremely immoral things?

Yes, it’s okay and you’re not a terrible person for enjoying “Thriller”.

After an HBO documentary was released about the King of Pop’s alleged crimes of pedophilia, the public image of Michael Jackson has taken a sharp turn. This was a major problem during Michael Jackson’s career and continues to haunt him to this day. Does that mean you shouldn’t listen to his music? No, but it does mean that there are many people out there of differing opinions on the matter.

Mixing music with morals isn’t always the best pairing. There are a lot of immoralities that go on in the music industry. This is nothing new to anybody. For example, Spotify is giving users the ability to avoid auto-play from certain artists the user chooses. This coming after a strong push from fans and the hashtag #MuteRKelly.

This isn’t the first time Spotify has done something like this following backlash on an artist.

When rapper XXXTentacion (Jahseh Onfroy) was charged with multiple felonies Spotify removed the artist from all of their playlists because he allegedly assaulted his then-pregnant girlfriend.

Fast-forward to today and unfortunately X has passed on, but his music still lives. After the rapper was shot and killed in his car on June 18, his popularity grew exponentially. His mother (who now controls all of his current operations), is still putting out her sons’ unreleased music, and X is setting Spotify records in doing so.

There is no difference when it comes to people listening to music other than a differing opinion. There will always be people who have a different set of morals and what they believe to be right or wrong. Music is entertainment, if you aren’t being entertained then it makes sense that you wouldn’t enjoy it regardless of any moral issues. Those who still do enjoy the music of Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and X should still be able to listen to it and enjoy it.

If they are entertained, let them be entertained.  

Written by
Stephen Younatan
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Written by Stephen Younatan

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