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The Music vs. The Man

November 11, 2014

http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/rethinking-r-kelly-a-fans-second-thoughts/ In this article, a fan explores his feeling of unease due to being a strong R. Kelly fan, despite the fact that R. Kelly has been accused of multiple counts of rape and child pornography. In 2002, Kelly was charged with child pornography for filming himself engaging in sexual acts with a minor and was acquitted of charges in 2008. Other lawsuits, of similar natures, were settled out of court. The question posed in the article is whether or not it is morally acceptable to still appreciate R. Kelly's music despite his molestation of young girls. The author notes it's easier to make light of the accusations, and point out that Kelly was acquitted. However, it's difficult for any sane person doing research into these cases to doubt that something seriously bad went down between Kelly and a number of very young girls, no matter what happened in court. The author's breaking point when considering R. Kelly is when Kelly regards Chris Brown as his peer, given Brown's history with domestic violence. As a huge "Trapped in the Closet" fan myself, I really related to this article. It's incredibly difficult for me to reconcile the monstrous things R. Kelly has been repeatedly accused of with the absolute genius hilarity that is his music. Instead of giving up my guilty habit, I prefer to not think about R. Kelly's pedophilia. Mostly, I do this because I love his music. I have no problem shunning Chris Brown for domestic violence and Michael Jackson for pedophilia. It's easier for me to five Kelly a free pass because I couldn't imagine not enjoying "Trapped in the Closet," even if I do feel guilty watching it. As fans, do we have a responsibility to hold artists accountable for their illegal or morally reprehensible actions by not consuming their art, or is it morally acceptable to separate the artist from the music? Furthermore, is supporting their career condoning, or even encouraging, their behavior? Why are some artists given a free pass when it comes to unthinkable crimes such as pedophilia?

 

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