Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why do many people still support abusive men in music?

Is it possible to separate the person’s actions from their music?
(Courtesy of Chris Brown’s Official Facebook Page)

In 2009, when I was only 10 years old, pictures of Rihanna’s battered face surfaced on the internet. Chris Brown beat her up and her beautiful face was cut, bruised and bleeding. At age 10, it was a lot to handle for me.

My favorite male artist had just beat up my favorite female artist. Chris Brown was everything; my friends and I used to religiously watch his concert DVDs. His dancing and singing had me in love. There’s no doubt he is talented. If you watch the video for “Take Me Down” or “Forever,” he can clearly dance. If you’ve ever listened to “With You,” it’s evident his vocal abilities are impeccable. However, he put his hands on a woman, his girlfriend.

Their relationship was like a fairy tale for me, but then I realized what was happening behind closed doors and I could no longer support him, even though I loved his music. I gave up Chris Brown. I denounced him. My love for Rihanna and overall support for women was stronger than my attraction to Chris Brown. Years later, it’s hard for me to think about him. Some of his songs are bangers and they carry childhood memories, but even years later, he hasn’t changed. His ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran filed a restraining order against him; he had allegedly pushed her down the stairs and threatened to kill her. I believe it, too, he’s a woman-beater and he won’t change. It’s like this: I hate Chris Brown, but “Gimme That” is a great song to work out to.

This happens all the time in the music industry. It’s certainly happened with famous rock and rollers. These men are known for preying on teenage groupies. I don’t really care about rock and roll, though, so it’s easy for me to just dismiss them all. Then there’s hip-hop, rap and R&B, music genres that I hold dear and close. Kodak Black had rape charges against him, and I am the type of person who is keen on believing the victim. The best way the individual can show they do not support an artist’s behavior is by not streaming their music, but “Tunnel Vision” was such a bump. “Conscience” is a great song and I find it hard to just ignore his music.

The music industry has had its challenges with the #MeToo movement. Men such as Trey Songz and R. Kelly have been accused of offenses such as sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Women have been the victims of their crimes, yet their careers haven’t been ruined. People still listen to their music. I know all of this and I still listen to their music.

These emotions came up because of the release of Tekashi 6ix9ine’s album, “Dummy Boy.” Earlier in 2018, Tekashi was put on trial for using a minor in a sexual performance. In 2015, he had posted a video of him and his friend sexually assaulting an underage girl. He said he didn’t know that she was underage, and I’m not sure if that changes how I feel about the situation. Either way, I think he’s absolutely disgusting, but I streamed his album. I listened to it and added to his chart ranking. Honestly, I really liked his features and his beats are sick.

As much as I don’t support the actions of these men, censoring myself from their music seems impossible. This dilemma is recurring in my life, and I always ask myself if it’s valid to separate the person and their actions from their music.

I draw the line with Chris Brown more than any other artist. My disgust for him runs so deep I actually can muster up the self-control to skip his songs. Whenever I see someone on my timeline talking about him positively, I actively frown. I don’t listen to his other music. His actions affected a lot of women beyond just Rihanna, especially young girls who idolized him. His aggression was not taken lightly. Nevertheless, there are other artists who have been accused of crimes against women that I do not support. It’s not gun possession, drug possession, tax evasion or any nonviolent crime that I can reason with; it’s rape, assault and sexual misconduct. Yet, their names are still huge, we all still listen to their music and the world just keeps going.

Sonali Chigurupati is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • D

    Duc de GuermantesDec 14, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I agree with the other commenter that your racism towards anyone who isn’t of color is keeping you from enjoying music from lighter-skinned “artists” who don’t use women as punching bags.
    Perhaps minority performers know that you will only follow their music, and being such a small percentage of the population, they know people like you have few other choices and will listen no matter what they do. So, in a sense, aren’t you partially responsible for the bestdown of women?

  • A

    amyDec 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    The reason is obviously racism.