Separating the art from the artist: an ongoing debate

Lauren Gardner, Contributing Writer

Art versus the artist. How do we differentiate the two? How is it possible to separate our favorite songs from the artist? It is not an easy task but it definitely begs the question: at what point do we stop supporting our favorite artists? 

Many of us look to these people as some type of outlet and inspiration where we can channel our feelings and emotions through them and their work. Many take inspiration from the artists themselves. We use their lyrics for captains on our Instagram posts to even dress like them. We become disappointed when our idols aren’t who we thought they were, as we perceive them to be “above” others and place them on a pedestal. 

The first major band that rose to international fame was, of course, The Beatles. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all saw themselves in the front of international stardom causing “Beatlemania” in the 1950s. Fans could not fathom them doing any wrong or even being capable to do so in that matter. 

Lennon strived for world peace and was at the forefront of peace, love and happiness in the late 60s to the 70s and was an important figure in the hippie community. With someone who appeared to be such a loving and caring person, it was impossible to imagine him doing any wrong, but that is not the case. 

Lennon married his first wife, Cynthia Powell, in 1962 and later welcomed a son, Julian, in 1963. Lennon later ended up abandoning his family and was barely in his first son’s life, leaving him and his mother to struggle financially as he did not support them.

In later years, Lennon married his second wife, Yoko Ono, and welcomed his son, Sean, who he adored. He later wrote the song “Beautiful Boy” about him with no thought for his first son Julian. 

Lennon was created into a myth of peace, love, and happiness but certainly was not behind closed doors.  

In the early 2010s, the group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA), more commonly known as Odd Future, was a group of young aspiring artists that were infamously labeled as “dangerous” by many including media figure Piers Morgan. The members of this group include Tyler The Creator,  Frank Ocean, Syd Tha Kid,  Jasper Dolphin and Earl Sweatshirt to name a few. These artists were not in a musical group with each other, however, they did feature each other in some of their work and made notable collaborations. 

This hip-hop collective was deemed rowdy and outlandish. Their merchandise included tee shirts with upside-down crosses and vulgar sayings. The group was deemed too violent, which left Tyler The Creator being banned from entering the United Kingdom by then Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Fast forward to the present time, the collective dissolved and Tyler The Creator essentially rebranded himself. He made the clothing company Golf Wang that does not have upside-down crosses and has toned down his style in music. 

With this being said, why can’t Kanye West take inspiration from him? West, now known simply as Ye, has had major success in his 20-plus years in the music industry. With legendary albums including “The College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” “Graduation” and “808s & Heartbreaks” to name a few. 

When it comes to music, Ye knows how to produce incredible pieces with Trevor Noah stating that “he has turned samples into symphonies.” Ye also created his fashion brand, Yeezy, which featured creative and avant-garde looks that were outside the fashion norm that inspired how many of us dress today. 

Ye was on top of the world. But that all came crashing down in recent years with him recently admitting that he liked Adolf Hilter and made more anti-semitic comments. Hitler was responsible for the mass genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust. How someone can even think of admiring Hilter is absolutely disgraceful and extremely disturbing. 

Ye has a mass following and with this, he has a very large impact. In recent years, we have seen a rise in anti-semitic hate crimes, and what Ye says is extremely dangerous and terroristic. In times like these, we need to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and offer support and compassion to the Jewish community. 

Ultimately, it is up to the person who enjoys their artist’s music, but some may say when it comes to Ye, he should have his jaw wired shut again.