top of page

R Kelly, Dan Schneider and Harvey Weinstein: Can We Separate the Art from the Artist?

Can we separate the art from the artist? In our current post "Me-too" climate I feel like this is a really important conversation that needs to be had in our culture. All my favourite entertainers are either in jail, have a scandal, just came out of jail or are going to trial because of some rape issue or some murder issue, or some shit like that. And that’s just the climate that we’re in. The president of the most powerful military in the world is an actual rapist. A lot of my favourite rappers are in jail, a lot of them are dead. but all of them have a police record. It feels like all the entertainment we consume is created by people who are deemed as “problematic” in this new social media climate. But if you look back through history you can see that every single one of the most creative people has been problematic. Are we going to erase all the art that we’ve seen? Do you know how problematic that would be for the progression of society?

There are pieces of art that have inspired people to create some of the most amazing inventions of all time.If Da Vinci didn’t paint the Wright brothers might not have built the first airplane. That’s just how how art affects different people at different points in time. Maybe if R Kelly didn’t sing I believe I can fly we don’t get the kid that’s grows up to cure cancer. And maybe if Dan Schneider doesn’t create iCarly, we don’t get the theme for iCarly, and if we don’t get the theme then how are people going to know to live life, breathe air and just know that somehow we’re going to get there and be so wonderful? And maybe if people don’t know that then we don’t get the cure for AIDS, and then people are walking around with aids forever. And do you really want an aids infested world forever? It might sound silly but you never know whats gonna affect people. The team for the iPhone credits an absurd 20 second Simpsons scene as being the inspiration and foundation behind autocorrect.

You should be able to enjoy all types of art because art is transcendent, it doesn’t come from or remain in our physical realm. It’s a metaphysical extraction, so it’s in the ether but we can’t hold it yet. And sometimes somebody grabs it but the person that grabs it isn’t the ideal messenger, but the message can still be pure without the Messenger having to be. So we shouldn’t be able to cancel entire realms of art because it would be detrimental to our progression as a species.

I should be able to listen to the remix to ignition because maybe that’s what I need to listen to, to inspire me to get to where I need to be. Which might be the thing that helps all of humanity you know? When I was in the 4th grade, we would be in class and I remember they kept replaying the song Wavin’ Flag. And I realized that’s something that they do for all kids. For other generations they might have played We Are The World, Heal The World, I believe I can fly. They played all these inspirational, motivational songs that spoke of a tomorrow better than today. Where we’re all working together and helping each other and there’s no war and everyone is trying their best, taking chances and succeeding. We are the world came out in 19 something and then Michael Jackson was accused of being a child molester. I can guarantee that thousands of world leaders, professors, doctors and nurses were inspired by We Are The World in their youth in some shape or form and might not have gotten where they are without it. Obama probably grew up listening to we are the world and he grew up, ran for office, became the first black president and tried to make changes for the world, and that was partially because of a song like that. So if we are the world is cancelled then we don’t have all these people and inventions that make our lives better.

Every culture in the world has music, dance, poetry and different art forms they use to inspire themselves and tell their stories as well as unite them in getting to the root of what we are as humanity. If we cancel Kodak Black’s discography then some kids aren’t going to get the message not to smoke flakka, which is a dangerous designer drug popular in South Florida, also known as “gravel,” that can cause intense hallucinations. Kodak's first hit No Flockin’ contained a powerful message and he hid it in a song and helped kids around the world avoid od’ing on this substance.

Everyone always assumes it has to be clearly conscious messages that affect you or enlightened thinking but it's everything. Every little thing has a butterfly effect. Everything we’re exposed to moves and changes the direction of our life even if its by a small percentage. You could be reading this and because of the extra second you took to read this, you avoided getting hit by a car when you ran out of your house a second later than you would have had you not read this. Everything affects the direction of your life and some art is so transcendent that it can change how you view the world. It can make you optimistic, pessimistic, curious etc. I watched George Carlin's stand up at 12 years old and I can honestly say that it has impacted the person I have become today. To some, George might have been doing stand up but to my 12 year old mind he was a philosophical guru asking me to question everything in my surroundings. I didn’t know much about his personal life and I still don’t. For all I know he could have been the worst person but his material formed who I am at my core. I didn’t choose for it to resonate with me on that level, my inner being just chose it. And that's how art works. You don’t pick what you like or are interested in. It picks you.

I can see why people say the messenger matters as well. I can see why R Kelly being a child molester and still having sex dungeons and being able to profit off of anything is a bad thing. But the way the music industry and the entertainment industry as a whole is built is the problem. The only reason why R Kelly hasn’t been to jail and why he was allowed to marry 14 year old Aaliyah in the public eye and get away with all of these things is not because they were less wrong and creepy back then. Its because he was a cash cow for the music industry. If R Kelly, which is a billion dollar cash cow, is accused of something there’s billionaires that are invested in him and his brand that have a pull in certain situations. So if R Kelly’s been raping since the 90s nobody gives a shit because he’s making a lot of money so everyone stays quiet. People pay a little hush money, everyone moves aside, you take a little hit while your ultimate cash cow makes you more money in the long run.

Come 2019 and R Kelly’s no longer as big a cash cow anymore, now you owe them for all those years that they knew you were pulling 13-year-olds and 11-year-olds, and everyone just shut the fuck up about it at the time, but now in 2019 you hold him accountable for everything. Because he’s not making that popstar money anymore, the cartel is now after you. So you better be able to pay that debt of silence nigga, or you better be able to make more money right now. And that’s not something Robert, as talented as he is, can do as well right now, even though he does have all of them big black aunties that go to all his shows still on his side. He’s still not the R. Kelly from Remix to ignition thats on the hook on every single playing on the radio. R Kelly can’t release trapped in the closet parts 1 to 50 anymore and know that he’s going to get 1 million views. It's not R Kelly season anymore. Niggas don’t really care for him anymore so the cartels gonna cease the opportunity to cash in those favours, and if you cant pay em back guess what? Documentaries and scandal reports nigga. It's over for you now, and now you’re going to pay for all that shit from Aaliyah to peeing on the little girl. But shouldn’t all those people that helped out with the sex rings also be held accountable? Everyone that worked with him while knowing about the allegations? Everyone that did a song with him? All of us that listened to him while knowing the allegations before the documentary? How are we choosing who is held accountable and when? Why is he canceled now but not 2 years ago?

That’s just how it works and my point is the entire game is sick. There’s no such thing as ethical consumption in capitalism, in any sense. Everything that we buy is at the cost of somebody else so why is it that we draw the line on works of art that could actually help people? You’re still buying those sneakers from the blistered fingered seven-year-old in Thailand. You’re still buying that phone at the cost of the lives of miners in the Congo. There are things where you’re willing to sacrifice human lives for the betterment of your personal life. Your shoes are not going to change anyone’s life. Your shoes are just gonna be something that you like for a little bit, you feel good and then you dispose of them. But this work of art can be something that you carry with you forever and could change the literal makeup of your being and humanity. Things you’ve seen as a kid make you see the world completely differently. Is art really where we draw the line? When it’s music or a show or a movie or something that could actually help us move forward, as it has for thousands of years?

We’ve all been creating the same portrait through our art, whether we know it or not. And that doesn’t change based on what we’ve done in our personal lives. Our art is separate from who we are. It’s an explanation of the human condition, a medium for this consciousness thing that has been leading us to speak through and encapsulate a moment in time. Its ultimately a way of being seen and remembered. Like the hieroglyphics and ancient cave paintings. And that doesn’t change whether R. Kelly peed on a 15 year old or whether Socrates touched little boys or whether Egyptians sacrificed thousands to the sun God Raa. Their art stands alone untainted by their mortal flaws, because who they are isn’t connected to what they made. The message was in the collective unconscious they just happen to be the ones that were able to extract the message. Martin Luther King's dream isn’t tainted by the fact that he cheated on his wife.

I don’t think art should be where we draw the line. If you’re really about that action go and cancel billion dollar corporations. Boycott all these wealthy business interests that profit from the pain of other people, and stop purchasing the pain of other people. Don’t live in your house because that was created on native bodies and black bodies and Asian bodies and all these people that were enslaved and oppressed to create everything that you see around you. If you’re really going to draw the line, start at your basic necessities in life before you do the fucking remix to ignition.

All I’m trying to say is, I really like the remix ignition and everyone should just stop trying to make me feel bad for listening to it. And they should still be able to play I believe I can fly in schools, but maybe keep it down with the history lessons on any of our favourite artists from year zero to now. Because 9 times out of 10 they are very deeply troubled and you shouldn’t follow their life choices to be the ideal law abiding citizen the system wants you to be. "Do as I say don't do as I do" Follow your dreams and try to fly but don't be a creepy pervert like R Kelly. The remix to ignition is still from the soul man. “it’s the remix to ignition, hot and fresh out the kitchen, momma rolling that body got every man in here wishing, sipping on coke and rum, I’m like so what I’m drunk, it’s the freakin weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun”

Now you’re telling me I can’t listen to that after years of listening to it because a couple of 20-year-olds want to live with R Kelly? I’m 20 nigga. A couple of 20-year-olds decided to live with R. Kelly. I agree that a 50 something year old getting with 20 years olds is super creepy but if we are legally adults at 18 then what's stopping anyone from being able to make that type of decision? I can get a couple hundred thousand dollar loans, mortgages and cars at 18 but I can’t decide who I want to live with? Tay K was just sentenced for 55 years at 19, is he not a child? Why doesn’t he get the benefit of the doubt to say he was brainwashed to commit his crimes? Where is the selective care coming from and where was it when he married Aaliyah or peed on a 15 years old? Was this really the straw to break the camel's back?

He shouldn’t have pissed on the 15-year-old girl right? We all agree about that now. So why wasn’t he in jail? The charges he was finally taken down for was him having seemingly consenting adults in his home. It's not illegal to have adults in your home. I’m just saying do you see the hypocrisy? 10,15, 20 years ago he was doing things and everyone knew but he’s at the top of the charts. Now that he’s not as big of a popstar all of a sudden everyone’s on his case.

Why is Dan Schneider only now getting found out when he’s been molesting kids since Drake and Josh? Now in 2019 after he made some of the biggest kids shows of our generation from Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, Victorious and Sam and cat, and he can’t produce on that level anymore, the scandal is out. Even though the allegations stem back decades. He was still allowed to keep working because he was making the big bucks.

If anyone has done the things they are accused of they are despicable and should 100% be held accountable and sent to jail immediately. But why is it now that they’re getting cancelled? Are we really just more righteous as a society or is Hollywood’s moral absolutism turning on the older members of the beast as spring cleaning, just to empty it out so they can bring in a new crop of artists, so that 10-20 years from now Tom Holland, Lil Nas X and all these niggas we adore so much right now are going to be accused of some shit they're letting them get away with as we speak. We’ll find out that Tom Holland was actually abusing penguins the whole time and Lil Nas X had a thing with horses all these years. Zendaya is going to be like Amandy Bynes. Amanda Bynes went from She's the Man to internet crackhead and it didn’t take that long. Five years from now you’ll see Zendaya on crack on a train somewhere trying to break windows with an umbrella and shit.

Our social media cancel culture and Hollywood's moral absolutism are not the solution. We’re not making a difference by tweeting and retweeting. The only reason these stories came to light now is because a lot of these people can’t make the studios and labels any more money than they already have. If we’re gonna hold people accountable do it right away and don't wait till the well runs dry. Don't do selective canceling. And if you’re gonna do that don’t sell me the story as if you had amnesia for the past 30 years when everyone knew exactly what R Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, Dan Schneider and all these perverted powerful men were doing.

And if you ask me you can definitely separate the art from the artist because most artists are deeply troubled but so is the world we live in. And I don't mean any disrespect towards the victims. All I’m saying is, enjoy your art and stop falling for the hypocrisy. And if you’re really about that cancel action and think I’m an insensitive asshole then be about that action in all aspects. Ignore all of your basic necessities, pack your bags and become a hermit because the system you live in profits off pain and by participating in it, you support it. If you’re going to be living on this planet, just watch your TV shows, use your fluoride toothpaste and work your little 9 to 5. Everything is problematic and we all die so just chill out, eat your food, buy some Nikes, listen to the remix to ignition and have fun.

167 views0 comments


bottom of page