This is a list that includes musicians that have been accused of, admitted to, been charged with and/or convicted of some form of violence against women over the last few decades. This list is too long. This list is filled with names of a few artists who I still listened to up until today and some whose music I have paid for and enjoyed as a soundtrack to my life.
Besides those who no longer perform or have passed on, the men here still all have pretty successful careers in spite of their reputations. Let me touch on a few reports about their violations or claims thereof.
Of late, new details have emerged of R Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct with more underage girls. Long known as the Pied Piper of RnB, he’s being accused of brainwashing, abusing and holding young women against their will in what some have described as a cult according to a Buzzfeed article.
In 2015, New York Post shared explosive allegations about Marvin Gaye. Janis Gaye, Marvin’s former wife, revealed in a tell-all memoir how the singer abused and tortured her during their affair and marriage.
Here in South Africa, charges have been laid against Arthur Mafokate by his girlfriend and singer Cici who has accused him of assault. Huffpost SA talks about the incident here.
This month, Brickz was found guilty of raping an underage girl who was in his care as News24 reports.
The disturbing stories and allegations continue to outrage too few of us. But they have done little to dampen the enthusiasm for and support of these artists’ music and careers.
A lot of them continue to perform and tour and enjoy positive press as well as collaborations with and shoutouts from fellow musicians. Even when their disregard for women is celebrated.
Fast forward to 3:30 of this 2014 video with Okmalumkoolkat and Riky Rick to see how entertaining they find sexual harassment.
I’m finding it much easier to take a definitive stance on purging my playlists of certain men who are guilty or accused of gender-based violence. You won’t find any Chris Brown or Ozzy Osbourne tracks in my library but it’s much harder to delete faves like David Bowie, Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye. However, I can no longer listen to Sexual Healing without feeling uneasy.
As much as I love The Watcher by Dr Dre (he’s admitted to physically assaulting several women) and Woman by John Lennon, that the former Beatles legend has admitted to domestic violence is chilling when you listen to songs like Jealous Guy.
Chilling yes, but is it necessary for us to stop attending concerts and buying music from artists who abuse women? Do their transgressions nullify their artistry and freedom to make money?
Besides those who are now deceased, does withholding our well-earned coins send a strong enough message to perpetrators that their behaviour is intolerable? Do we stop watching problematic Hollywood stars like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby’s productions?
I say yes. We have such an epidemic when it comes to femicide and gender-based violence. How can we applaud and reward stars for behaviour that we say we’re outraged about?
I’m going to miss Miles joining us for a few hours while I entertain dinner guests or braaing to the soundtrack of Sweety My Baby. I know that deleting music I have already paid for will only have an impact on me but I will not be purchasing any more tracks from people I would not feel comfortable inviting into my home or trusting around my family and friends.
Gaye, Presley and Brown may no longer be around to be rehabilitated but our society is in dire need of reform and this is my way of putting my money where my mouth is.
Here's where you can get help - POWA
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