Don’t separate the art and the artist


Musicians who make discriminatory comments should not continue to be supported by listeners. As consumers, we must hold artists accountable for their actions by not buying their merchandise or not listening to their music. Graphic by Maribelle Lee

For years, rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has reportedly made insensitive and false statements with minimal backlash from the public. These discriminatory remarks towards oppressed minorities are absolutely disgusting and horrific to hear and see.

While some fans of Ye have acknowledged he has said and done unacceptable things, many still insist on separating the art from the artist. They often urge people to remember that the artist has made great art. These fans say people should still be able to partake in these artists’ art without feeling guilty, and that their art is good because of its value, not the character of these artists. 

Art is often a personal expression of artists themselves. The bond between the two is unbreakable, and therefore, it is truly impossible to separate the two. 

By supporting influential artists and celebrities who make hateful comments, fans send the message that behaving in such a manner is appropriate. Passively accepting artists because their art is well-liked allows them to spew hate, hurt who they please and enables racism, antisemitism and sexism. By supporting the art, these fans are inadvertently supporting these artists as well. Defending these artists and their art gives them a platform in which they are rewarded with concerts, brand deals, public appearances and  money from merchandise.

These artists receive attention from their actions and words, which emboldens them to continue their hate speech. Celebrities are influential figures who set a precedent of behavior for others. If celebrities are held accountable, they will no longer be in a position of power to influence their fans’ behavior. 

Artists like Ye cannot continue to attract fans and sell products while making discriminatory remarks. The only way to fight against this hatred and despicable behavior is to immediately denounce these artists, not separate them from their art.