Students erroneously idealize favorite artists

Matthew Stranzl, Reporter

Human beings are innately curious, drawn to what we know is forbidden.  Children make routine trips to the candy store; skateboarders session staircases marked “No Trespassing” good girls like the bad boys, people everywhere cave into the latest trend and make a frivolous purchase.

We’re also drawn to art, whether it is in the form of visual artwork, cinema, television programs or music, often by the controversy that surrounds these works.

In the cacophonous world we live in, the work of our favorite artists can be our only source of solace, an oasis in a limitless desert. However, this leads us to idealize these artists, overlooking their flaws. They’re humans with emotions and flaws just like you and I

They’re not robots creating just for the fans, they’re susceptible to the same demons and just as capable of love and evil as the rest of us.

I grew up immersed in all mediums of art, memories formed spending hours with my bottom parked in front of a 32 inch Vizio screen, in Brookside Lower’s art room scoring ceramics I had made and of my steady diet of adolescent fiction novels.

However, the medium I always appreciated the most was music, soaking in the sounds of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Earth, Wind & Fire, Curtis Mayfield or whatever it was that my parents were playing.

I discovered Eminem’s Recovery album in 2010 and have been infatuated with hip-hop ever since, listening to at least an album every day all the while consuming countless books and documentaries on the subject.

Hearing to my favorite MCs spill their troubles is cathartic for me, allowing me to grapple with bullying and deal with the self-esteem issues that have been plaguing me as long as I can remember.

As unconditional as my love for the genre is, I understand it’s rampant lack of morals. While they are just commenting on what occurs in their communities, rappers have always included misogyny and senseless violence in their songs.

The genre’s latest wave has traded soulful samples and thoughtful lyrics for hard-hitting trap beats and melodious vocal inflections, innovations I can appreciate and use in my own songs.

However, these artists also have an unprecedented proclivity for getting in legal trouble, nothing new to any fan. However, in the past year teen favorites Kodak Black, Famous Dex, XXXTentcation and Playboi Carti, as well as veteran spitter Z-Ro all made headlines for domestic abuse and sexual assault.

What these men did is wrong, but more despicable are the hordes of fans who embraced their mistakes and championed for their release from police custody. No matter how much solace their music provided, there’s no excusing what these men did.

There’s nothing wrong with continuing to listen to their music, Michael Jackson and R. Kelly are still beloved worldwide, but propagating support of them as individuals is plain wrong. The same goes for athletes like Floyd Mayweather, Ray Rice and Ben Roethlisberger as well as Hollywood icons like Woody Allen and esteemed authors like Ernest Hemingway.

Supporting a musician you like is natural, their body of work is an extension of your personality and soundtracks your days.

However, we shouldn’t idealize these people; talent doesn’t exempt someone from condemnation.

The creation should be separated from the creator, as much as I cherish 17, The Life of Joseph W. McVey and Lil Big Pac I don’t respect X, Z-Ro and Kodak as people. I’m not asking anyone to change their listening habits, but I think everyone should think twice about who they’re supporting before dropping money on merchandise and concert tickets.