Separating Art From Artist: Kanye West

Parker Sethaler


Super 45/Música Independiente

Kanye (Ye) West is constantly in the middle of controversy surrounding the bizarre things he has publicly stated.

Tony Peoples, Reporter

With a career spanning from music and fashion, Kanye West has established himself as a star with his 11 studio albums, 84 platinum singles, a diamond certified single, and many platinum albums as well. His work in fashion has also helped his rise to fame, from fashion collaborations to his brand Yeezy.

However in the past year, West has had numerous controversies from his increasing troubling behavior. In March, West was banned from performing at the Grammy awards. In April, he was withdrawn from headlining Coachella. In October, it appeared as though the internet had enough when West wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt at Paris Fashion week and then made a number of antisemitic remarks, aligning himself with white supremacists. In response to this, many brands have cut ties including Adidas which cost West $250 million.

Now with all that being said, he is still a great artist and many people listen to his music daily, so should we separate art from the artist?

Some believe works of art are entities in themselves. They should be valued separately from the creator. For others, supporting works of art means supporting its creator and therefore giving the creator’s actions and opinions a platform to have influence on people.

Do we remove the artists’ songs from our playlists? Do we stop wearing their clothing brands? Or do we continue to listen and support them knowing that their beliefs and actions don’t align with our own morals?

“It brings about a discussion of if you can appreciate somebody’s talent or their creativity or something that they do that’s a skill, and admit that it’s cool in itself and that its a contribution to society and its inspirational, and at the same time can you recognise that maybe their private life is not something to be emulated,” explained English teacher Mr. Schaper.

“You have to use art sometimes as an artifact, like something that informs the rest of your life. If it directly supports that person in however tangential a way, sometimes it’s like so be it, but maybe don’t go buy hundreds of dollars of their merch. Deciding what’s appropriate for yourself is totally different than deciding for someone else, what they can read, wear, stuff like that. There are definitely limits to that conversation too,” added Schaper.

Ultimately, the longevity of West and his future success or downfall depends on listeners, as many brands have cut ties with him. Will fans and listeners decide to cut ties too?