This is an issue we all know too well, or maybe we’re just unaware of the problem. Should we stop listening to our favorite songs because of artists’ wrongdoings? Or should we stop watching TV shows for the same reasons? In the era when shameful behaviors of artists are thankfully no longer a secret, this becomes an ethical issue without a clear answer.
Poles have known this problem for a long time with Jacek Kaczmarski, an author of one of the most important resistant songs in the 1980s Mury being a woman abuser as well. But this, if ever, is hardly spoken of. So, the problem is whether music’s power is stronger than an image of an artist behind it. Or maybe some tunes are not associated with a specific musician in the first place, and we don’t consider a composition an effect of a personal creative output, but an art on its own.
As Jayson Green writes, the only thing we can be sure of, this will happen again. It’s just a matter of time. And what then? Do we stop listening to our favorite songs, or do they remain separated from their authors, or do will they be spoiled and destroyed by such behavior? The problem of R. Kelly seems to be especially interesting since his I Believe I Can Fly is so close to people brought up in the mid-90s like me. I associate the song not only with one of my all-time favorites Space Jam but with mine childhood as a whole. So, the question is if R. Kelly’s shameful doings along with his continous horrendous interviews will make me not want to listen to the song, which is connected not to its author, but to my personal remembrance of childhood? I think not.
But the problem is not that simple due to its ethical nature – should we listen to and, consequently, support such artists by streaming or buying their music? I sincerely do not know, because each listener is different and has a different relation to a particular artist. So, it is not a matter of how we should act, but how I feel about it.