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