Kanye West: Can you separate art from the artist?

Kanye’s recent controversy leads to a loss of support within the O’Dowd community


Raven Robinson, Contributor

Music is a therapeutic outlet for everyone. When walking around a high school campus, one looks left to see a student typing away at a computer with an airpod in their ear. Look right, and another student is strutting down the hallway to the beat of their personal theme song. The impact of music is evident – it changes lives and even saves them, leading to the idolization of musical artists. The idea seems harmless: why does it matter if I support my favorite artist? However, the situation becomes tricky as artists like Kanye West emerge, proudly stating White Lives Matter in the media or praising Hitler. The question arises: is it possible to separate an artist from their music? Does a beautiful body of work become tarnished by the sting of an artist’s words in the media? There is a slippery slope of impactful words that have made the world fall silent. Somewhere far along the road Kanye lost his soul, and became so heartless. 

Kanye West has a large following at Bishop O’Dowd among students and staff. However, amidst the recent controversy, one may wonder if the Bishop O’Dowd community can separate an artist’s actions from their music. Is it moral to unfollow him on Instagram, while still streaming him on Spotify?

Sarah Firestone, math teacher, comments, “No! Part of being a long-term Kanye fan is knowing where he came from and knowing the community that he has so many years been an advocate for.” But Kanye is no longer advocating for groups in need. He speaks recklessly without thinking about what the consequences of his words could be. This is the rationale for no longer listening to his music – Kanye is no longer supporting a good cause or speaking from personal experience, but rather, he is hurting others with the influence he once used for good. Ms. Firestone believes, “It feels like he is going in the wrong direction and it’s almost as if Kanye has been radicalized.” This radicalized version of Kanye is no longer worth supporting. It is important to see as time progresses, people change, and that change is not always for the better. We live in a society with habitual hypocrisy, and hazardous headlines are constantly used to satisfy selfish incentives. In order to discourage harmful actions, it must be shown that everyone has the ability to be “canceled”.