Should artists be judged by their art or their actions? Pro

Hope Black, staff writer

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There have been many celebrities, artists, and actors in the spotlight for doing serious misdeeds. With so many coming to light, society’s moral folly seems to have been left in the dark. Holding the powerful accountable is something that our world must start doing, and in the past few years, it seems that the United States, at least, has begun to hold their celebrities to higher standards. If someone makes good artwork, movies, or music, their character should come before their artwork.

Sexual misconduct, abuse, scandals, rape, sexual assault, and racism have been issues in the arts. Many allegations have been put against celebrities like Harvey Weinstein, R.Kelly, XXXTentacion, and Bill Cosby that have ended up to be true.

In a day and age where screens are everywhere, it is nearly impossible to avoid news involving actors, musicians, and movie stars. In fact, Newport Academy, a series of evidence-based healing centers for adolescents and families struggling with addictions, disorders, and abuse, says that celebrities can have both a severely positive or negative effect on teenagers.

Young people are always looking to find their identity, and sometimes, they look to celebrities for how to act, dress, and what to do. For example, Gwen Stefani began the punk-skater look in the early 2000s, Amy Winehouse began the trend of cat-eye liner, and Rihanna began hairstyle trends like shaving one part of a woman’s hair and having choppy bangs.

These are all positive or neutral influences, but a study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine states that if young people see a musician, celebrity, or movie star doing and talking about things like drugs or violence, they may view these actions as acceptable.

Rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Pusha-T reference drug use and distribution in the majority of their songs. This is not a good thing, but if kids see popular R&B singers and rappers like R.Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music still being streamed and promoted, after they have been proven guilty for acts of domestic abuse and major sexual misconduct charges, the youth may begin to think that their actions are acceptable.

Not only is there misconduct in the music industry, multiple actors, actresses, and directors have been accused of doing horrible things. For example, Roseanne Barr, a well-known actress had her tv show “Roseanne” canceled by ABC after Barr tweeted a racist comment about Valerie Jarett, a former adviser for Obama.

The law tends to give more privilege to people with power in court. For example, in 2013 Chris Brown and his bodyguard were charged with felony assault for beating someone up. When they showed up to court, their sentence was reduced to a single assault misdeameanor. The law not holding celebrities accountable sets a dangerous example to people, they will think that with power, fame, and money, comes no accountability.

If society can punish the powerful accordingly the first time they do something out of poor judgement, or even worse, commit criminal acts, then younger generations will begin to learn what is wrong and what is right faster than they would in the past.

 

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