Art takes multiple forms. While paintings and sculptures are the first mediums to come to mind, films, television shows, stand-up comedy and music are also prominent forms of art. Whether you’re listening to Miley Cyrus’s new album “SHE IS COMING,” laughing at the latest comedy special released on Netflix or watching Pokémon Detective Pikachu in theaters while having no prior knowledge of Pokémon, you interact with artists and their artwork.
When we think of a certain song, film or tv show, we tend to also think about the person connected to the art piece. When we can’t remember the name of a movie, the first thing we ask usually goes something like this: “What’s that movie called, the one where Amanda Bynes sticks a tampon up her nose?” The answer is easier to remember when you think about the artists behind the work.
Artists, while recognized for their artwork, are also attached to what they say and the actions they take, but some actions are more memorable than others. Kanye West’s infamous “slavery is a choice” line during his appearance on TMZ Live last year is an example of this. And you might not recall Chris Brown being the face of Wrigley’s Doublemint gum back in their 2008 commercial, but you’ll never forget seeing Rihanna’s two black eyes all over the internet after being assaulted by him. Some time has passed since both of these controversial events, but does that mean it’s time to forgive and forget?
Everyone has opinions, and everyone is entitled to them. You might not agree with all of Kanye West’s views, but did you ever really think you would? Different people are bound to have different points of views on certain topics. That’s the beauty of diversity.
Being a fan of someone’s music/movie/comedy act doesn’t mean you have to be a fan of the artist themselves. Even if your favorite actor believes in something you’re totally against, you shouldn’t hold back from enjoying the films they star in. To say only a good person can produce good art is just untrue. Plenty of terrible people have created beautiful art. Why deprive yourself of something you enjoy based on the words of someone else? Enjoying someone’s art says you enjoy his or her art, period.
Words may go quiet over time, but actions speak louder. If an artist is found guilty of assault, molestation and rape that changes things. Once the news broke that Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct with five different women, he was no longer seen as a funny guy but more so as a sexual predator. In Harvey Weinstein’s case, he sexually abused over 100 women throughout his career in the film industry making viewers see actresses in his films as victims rather than stars. When past actions overshadow the way we view artists’ work, then we can no longer enjoy it, even if we wanted. These types of people are not artists, they’re just evil people with creative minds.
While it’s easier to think an artist and their art should be separated, it’s not so easily practiced. With great social platform comes great responsibility. We will always associate art with it’s creator, but whether we choose to care for the artist is upon ourselves.
If the worst part about an artist is their opinion, then our judgement of their music doesn’t have to change. If a song sounds good, it sounds good. If a joke is funny, its funny. But when the person behind the microphone is a complete monster, the good thoughts you once had surrounding the words they said tend to disappear.
Earth without art may be bland, but the world will be just fine without R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”
Amanda Martinez is a senior telecommunications major. Her columns appear on Tuesdays.